I’ve come to appreciate how teeny tiny Florence is whenever I leave, where I could walk from one end of the city (Santa Croce) to the other (Oltrarno, Santo Spirito) in about 20 minutes. However as tiny as Florence is, about 5 areas/neighborhoods come immediately to mind when looking for consistently good food in Florence. While I have endless places to eat in my massive food memory banks, I’ve narrowed it down to a few. Here are my quick picks on where to eat in Florence in these 5 distinct quarters:
1. Sant’Ambrogio. Commonly lumped in with Santa Croce, it is one of the best if not best neighborhoods in Florence. You can generally bank on a place not sucking if you wonder around the streets of this area. Places of note are: anything at the Sant’Ambrogio market, Gilda’s, Vivo for fresh seafood, La Ghiotta for simple “tavola calda” style eats, Cibreo (any of his restaurants) and La Divina Pizza
2. Santa Croce, I’ll give you my 2 favorite picks in that area: Ristorante Fagioli and Club Culinario da Osvaldo.
3. On the other side of the river, is the quarter called “Oltrarno.” Places of note in Santo Spirito are: Magazzino, Casalinga or Trattoria Cammillo
4. San Frediano (still Oltrarno). Take a jaunt down past Santo Spirito on Borgo San Frediano to eat in one of the cutest residential areas of Florence while being just outside the historical center. This is really the place to escape the herds. This is probably my favorite next to Sant’Ambrogio for eating in Florence. During the day, there is an amazing food truck/stand I recall as being sublime for all things offal named: L’Trippaio di San Frediano. This food stand is also amazing because they have an array of first courses for lunch like pasta dishes with boar meat and potato ravioli. Other places of note: Sabatino for dirt cheap eats and Io Osteria Personale or Essenziale for tasting menu modern.
For Piazza Tasso- Culinaria Bistro or La Vecchia Bettola, L’Brindellone or Il Guscio would be my go-tos.
5. San Lorenzo. I think this is a bashed neighborhood. Yes, it is touristic but for good reason! It is the epicenter of Florence’s food history with the central market and still has some serious Florentine soul. Yes, it is now filled with a bunch of tourist crap and overpriced leather selling bozos, but you can’t let that interfere with you experiencing San Lorenzo and its food. Places of note are: Trattoria Mario (only open for lunch! Always a goodie!), Sergio Gozzi for traditional lunch, Trattoria Enzo e Piero for dinner, lunch at Nerbone in the Central Market for comfort Tuscan food, Casa del Vino for a good wine/snack bar and Focaccine Bondi for one of the best, cheap hole-in-the-wall panini experiences of your life.
Been to any of my haunts or have one of your own? Leave a comment below and share your experience!
In food hunting,
Want to discover more eateries, wine bars and street food with me? Let me know when you’re in Florence!