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!
GirlinFlorenceSeptember 9, 2014 at 7:40 am (9 years ago)
love this list my girl! especially everything you listed in the oltrarno, I also highly recommend you try Enoteca Barrique on via del leone which is a real find (in my opinion). I have been dying to try ‘io personale’ on borgo san frediano so you might have given me the push to now do so
ps. totally agree about cibreo, the trattoria is just as good and a lot less expensive
Curious AppetiteSeptember 9, 2014 at 4:11 pm (9 years ago)
Ooooooohhh girl! I cannot wait to be back in Florence:)
GirlinFlorenceSeptember 9, 2014 at 6:06 pm (9 years ago)
Girl it’s on when you’re back 😉
JoannaSeptember 9, 2014 at 9:34 am (9 years ago)
Bravo – I love this post and will try these scrumptious establishments. Gelateria de’Neri is now my favorite thanks to you! We’ve been in Florence just over two weeks and I’ve grown quite weary of the “overpriced leather selling bozos” … so funny (and true).
Curious AppetiteSeptember 9, 2014 at 4:09 pm (9 years ago)
That’s awesome, thank you! Keep in touch with your experiences!
Sharon StinsonSeptember 9, 2014 at 10:18 am (9 years ago)
Thanks so much for this list. Our first trip to Italy is in less than 4 weeks and we haven’t found many good sources for non-touristy food in Florence. The whole goal of our trip is to wander neighborhoods to really get a feel for the cities we’re visiting, you’ve just made that easier.
Curious AppetiteSeptember 9, 2014 at 4:04 pm (9 years ago)
Thanks Sharon! I hope you keep me posted on your travels.
SharonSeptember 9, 2014 at 5:54 pm (9 years ago)
I’ll keep you posted. I’m spending much more time researching food than art. In Italy art will be everywhere we look so other than brief trips to a few museums it will be all about walking and eating and drinking and absorbing.
AmeliaJune 29, 2019 at 12:07 pm (4 years ago)
All great tips – but am doubtful of one.
Sadly Sabatino is cheap for a reason now I think – maybe it had a heyday but it was one of my worst dining experiences in the city – was there with 6 people so we tried a lot of dishes. The vegetarian offerings seemed so lacking in texture as to feel almost pre-digested (minestrone felt like baby food), the meats were served in saucer sized plates (strange), they would not bring us separate water and wine glasses (also quite strange) and salads (even the tomatoes in high summer) were drained of colour and not of a quality I would serve to my own guests.
Maybe this was a blip and it’s really great now – my experience was 2 summers ago and I’ve not been game to return!!! Maybe it’s improved?
Coral | Curious AppetiteJuly 3, 2019 at 11:24 am (4 years ago)
Hi Amelia, thank you for stopping by, reading and leaving a thoughtful comment! To each their own, I say but I would politely say Sabatino’s and what you are describing is actually really authentic to blue-collar eateries in Florence, and Italy and general. The food is meant to be no-frills, home-style experience and the prices are so low for this reason. Most trattoria’s don’t give salads their due justice and i think foreigners may not totally be able to understand a place like Sabatino’s and how it relates to how (blue-collar/everyday) Italians really eat/drink at home (all this fanciness of wine glasses is for restaurants;) All the food you describe (mushy soup, meats served in saucers, etc) is pretty authentic I’d say- Italian food isn’t all pizza and fancy pasta, consider Italy while seen as glamorous from the outside is essentially a very humble culture in certain aspects. What you experienced was the real-deal- relish in it! Or not- your choice:)