Italy, the land of pizza, pasta and gelato, is a culinary paradise. Every region has its own distinct flavors, and among the best is Tuscany. Here are a few delicious spots to savor la dolce vita in Florence, the heart of Tuscany.
This fantastic pizza and panino joint has a small, simple dining room and adjoining counter centered around a wood burning oven. Located right in the heart of central Florence steps from the Duomo, friendly staff serve up freshly baked meals at reasonable prices to hungry crowds of locals. Honestly, I’ve never had a panino as perfect as the ones at Le Bertucce. Their panini feature mouth-watering combos with cured meats and tuscan staples. The best part is the bread—baked fresh on the spot once you place your order. It’s an unforgettable sensation to bite into a steaming panino with bread pulled straight from the oven!
Le Bertucce | Via Santa Elisabetta 16/r
Trattoria Zà Zà
My favorite restaurant in the city, this spunky place has a nice big patio for dining al fresco on warm evenings. Inside, the decor is Italian kitsch, featuring brick walls lined with framed photographs of celebrity patrons, plus rows and rows of wine bottles and eccentric touches like hanging cured meats and a Pinocchio puppet. Meals are served on zebra and leopard print dishes. Almost everything is good here, but great dishes to try include the Crostini Toscano, Ribollita, Pappa al Pomodoro and Ravioli with Truffles.
Trattoria Zà Zà | Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 26/r
This pastry shop and cioccolateria has been around since 1928. With four shops in Florence, it makes the perfect stop for a light breakfast. Its windows are filled with the most ornate chocolates and sweets, while the counters inside offer rows of fancy puff pastries as well as small sandwiches. This is the perfect place to enjoy a cappuccino and pastry in the morning.
Robiglio | Via Tosinghi 11/r
This restaurant is gorgeous inside. Filled with colorful 18th century frescos and vaulted ceilings, this upscale ristorante is great for special occasions. It’s also a good place to sample the famed Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a T-bone steak grilled over a wood fire and served very rare.
Ristorante Paoli | Via dei Tavolini 12/r
Save Room for Gelato
No trip to Italy is complete without gelato, and lots of it. Be sure to ask for samples before choosing your flavor! (Just point to what you want and say “un assaggio per favore?”) Here are a few great places to try:
The best of the best, this lovely gelateria has tons of flavors and they’re happy to offer plenty of samples too. The fruit sorbets are surprisingly intense, and the lampone (raspberry) pairs excellently with dark chocolate.
Perché No! | Via dei Tavolini 19
This gelato shop near the Accademia serves up granite, or Italian ices with fresh fruit, a Sicilian specialty. They’ve also got cremolata, sorbet made with fruit pulp. The pistacchio gelato is exceptionally delicious here.
Gelateria Carabe | Via Ricasoli 60/r
Around the corner from the Duomo you’ll find Grom. Although the ambiance is lacking a bit and this is a chain, the gelato is tasty and made with organic and seasonal ingredients. Fiordilatte (literally “flower of milk”) is a good flavor to try here, made with just milk, cream and sugar.
Grom | Via delle Oche 24/r
Festival del Gelato
Like a deer caught in the headlights you’ll be drawn in by the bright neon lights and florescent rainbow ceiling at Festival del Gelato. This gelateria has a counter stacked high with sugar cones above a large array of tempting flavors.
Festival del Gelato | Via del Corso 75/r
More Florence, Italy Guides
Check out part 3 of our Florence, Italy tour, which highlights sumptuous Renaissance palaces, world-class museums, unforgettable churches and more:
Andiamo! Unforgettable Sights in Florence Italy (Part 3 of 3)
Missed Part 1 of our Florence, Italy guide? No problem, see it here:
Florence Italy: La Città Più Bella (Part 1 of 3)