photo credit: Silvio Palladino
photo credit: Silvio Palladino

Are you looking for where to eat in Florence on Christmas day? Fear not, traveling food lovers! Curious Appetite did all the dirty work of calling around Florence, even across the world as currently I’m hanging out on the West Coast spending the holidays with friends & fam. The pickings for what’s open in Florence on christmas day are tight & clean including Persian kebab, Georgian dumplings, traditional spots for Florentine fare & steak and pasta & pizza bars. I first compiled this list in 2016 and have updated it for your dining delight. 

Florence is less of a ghost town during the holiday season than in August and there are some valid places open, serving up quality food. Plus, my specialty culinary tours are still going on before & after Christmas Day thanks to my excellent team of experts- so in case you’d like a moveable feast during your stay- check out Curious Appetite’s food tour options, too.

My advice is to plan to visit one of these restaurants during lunch if you can, as Italian Christmas food-wise is a lunch affair. I would call and reserve asap- if you’re like me, you probably don’t make reservations even 3 days in advance but I would suggest calling and snagging a table pronto.

Where to Eat in Florence on Christmas Day (updated for 2017)

Club Culinario Toscano da Osvaldo- Open for lunch & dinner. I’ve listed Club Culinario now in several guides so I won’t bore you with the details, but know I love everything they are and do. Italian soul food at its best, only for the adventurous and curious. Not for those who want tomato sauce and meatballs. Think braised & stewed game meats, tortelli (big ravioli) filled with potato and slathered in goat ragu. Great wines. Address: (Near Santa Croce, off Via de’ Benci) Piazza dei Peruzzi, 3R, Phone: +39 055 217919 website

Trattoria dell’Orto- Seems like they are already fully booked- but call the day of for last minute cancellations. Simple and sweet trattoria with classic Tuscan food (soups, ribollita, pappardelle pasta, Florentine steak, etc) Very characteristic but not overwhelmingly charming, a great spot on the other side of the river for a no-frills, homestyle meal. Address: (near Piazza Tasso/Piazza del Carmine) Via dell’Orto, 35 Italy Phone: +39 055 224148 website

Il Guscio- I’ve only been once and the food is a bit hard to describe. It’s like they are trying to be one of those gourmet refined takes on Tuscan cuisine (ricotta gnudi with porcini or sliced steak with crispy rosemary & a balsamic reduction, etc) but with a cosy, traditional vibe and hearty portions but not greasy spoon in quality, if that makes sense. I don’t really get all the fuss to be completely honest, I don’t think the food is particularly interesting or exceptional. I much rather go to a historical trattoria or Club Culinario for rustic fare and fancy pants places like Il Locale for more modern interpretations of Italian ingredients & dishes- but I get why people like it if they just want simple food and good wine. The wines are pretty worthwhile. They are full booked as well, but doesn’t hurt to call the day of. Address: Via dell’Orto, 49a, Phone: +39 055 224421 website

Culinaria Bistrot- Open lunch and dinner- but hurry only a few spots left! Again, written about this place many of times. One of my favorites, although not traditional Tuscan it fuses exotic flavors from North Africa with meticulously select Tuscan-sourced ingredients from tiny, organic slow-style producers. Think mini-tagines with plump olives and chicken, charcuterie spreads, pates, and gourmet sweets (i.e. vin santo soaked cantuccini/biscotti tiramisu). Very much worth a visit, especially if you’d like a unique dining experience with some spice and soul. Address: (Oltrarno) Piazza Torquato Tasso, 13R Phone: +39 055 229494 webpage

Trattoria Giovanni- Nice, sleek trattoria in the Oltrarno doing quality, slightly modern, lighter versions of normally heavy Tuscan fare. Great Tuscan pasta selection (thick pici and wide pappardelle) and humane portions of meat (wild boar, roasted pork, steak, etc) and offal-based mains (lingua, tripe, etc). Only open for lunch. Address: Via Sant’Agostino, 38r +39 371 194 0715 (no website)

Trattoria Angiolino and Trattoria 13 Gobbi- Angiolino is only open at lunch and 13 Gobbi is lunch with a special Xmas menu. Run by the same ownership, but to me completely different vibes and cuisine. I much prefer Angiolino on Via Santo Spirito but since it’s a holiday I thought to list their second location. Angiolino has an old-world kitschy Tuscan decor and atmosphere, service jovial and food dependable for greasy-spoon that’s not too greasy Tuscan food, I’m a particular fan of their meats and mains. Address: (Angiolino) Via di Santo Spirito, 36R Phone: +39 055 239 8976 (13 Gobbi) Address: Via del Porcellana, 9R Phone: +39 055 284015 website

Less Traditional Tuscan, more trendy contemporary


T’Amero Pasta Bar & now Pizzeria- Open all day/evening. If you’re looking for something less elaborate and more pasta based, hit up casual, young “hip” T’Amero. They make all their pasta fresh in house, practically right in front of you. A great aperitivo spot, too! They will be doing a special xmas menu, please check their website for updates & details. Address: Piazza Santo Spirito, 11r Phone: +39 055 282596 website

Il Locale- Open at Dinner. Swank bar and restaurant that makes you feel like you’re dining in a both a museum, New York bar near Madison Square Park and a Renaissance palace as you dine under frescoes. The cuisine here is elegant and revisited, definitely a pick for fine dining lovers. Think angel hair pasta with red shrimp & caviar or lamb & foraged mushrooms touched with ginger. The risotto they do with vanilla bean, pigeon and vin santo reduction is super. Their cocktails may seem pricey, but after drinking mediocre $15 cocktails in NYC, the production Locale puts on (welcome punch, novel presentation and well-balanced drinks, snacks) is worth every penny. Address: Via delle Seggiole, 12/R Phone: +39 055 906 7188  website 

Menagere-  In case you haven’t been/heard of Menagere, it’s no different to those light-filled concept bistros with frilly brunch food, a florist, hipster music and acceptable coffee. If you know Seattle, it’s basically a carbon copy of the London Plane but with mediocre food and hit or miss service. While I’ve never been happy with the food here, the drinks aren’t terrible and the atmosphere is solid in case you’re in a pinch for something to do at night on Christmas. Address: Via de’ Ginori, 8 Phone: +39 055 075 0600 website

Buoneria- If you’re looking for a quality spun pizza pie, head to Buoneria. This Neapolitan concept pizzeria is a bit outside the historical center but easily reached by taxi and is helmed by the tradition of pizzaiolo Don Antonio Starita from Naples. They will be open lunch & dinner and they do optimal fried pizza snacks & pies for those with an iron stomach & appetite. Address: Via del Fosso Macinante, 4 Phone: +39 055 365500 website

I’m nearly sure that most hotel restaurants will be open, I did a round-up of great hotel eateries on Vogue so you may want to give them a call too and see if you can get a table. http://www.vogue.com/13482348/best-food-in-florence-guide-hotel-restaurants/

International Food! Persian Kebab, Japanese Ramen and Georgian Dumplings? Yes!

Ristorante Tehran- Located a stone’s throw from Piazza della Signoria, Tehran does key dishes from the Persian culinary repertoire extremely well. They will only be open by reservation so I’d suggest snagging a table soon as it’s a small, soulful nook which fills up quick. I must note again I’m half Iranian and I love this place so much, Persian food is so interesting and accented with pistachios, rose and saffron. Not to mention succulent grilled meats like beef koobideh or distinctly flavored stews like pomegranate molasses & walnut marinated chicken fesenjan or herby greens & lamb ghormeh sabzi. Address: Via dei Cerchi, 25r, Phone: +39 055 094 5695 website

Ararat- Restaurant & Wine Bar-  Another restaurant with Persian intersection, Ararat serves Georgian & Armenian specialties. The Persian culinary repertoire spans several centuries and influenced territories which were once under various Iranian empires, like Georgia and Armenia. While you won’t find Iranian saffron rice or stews, you’ll find grilled kebabs & flatbreads reminiscent of Iranian food but also unique specialties like Georgian dumplings khinkali stuffed with mushrooms or flavorful ground meat, cured spiced meats and Armenian flatbreads spread with tomato & meat fillings. I went here for Thanksgiving and I did not regret the decision. It’s a pleasant gem and I highly recommend it for a unique change from traditional Tuscan. Please try the Georgian wine here- while the selection is modest, Georgia is considered the birthplace of wine and if anything, you should match gastronomic identities and ditch the Tuscan Chianti. Address: Borgo la Croce, 32/r, Phone: +39 375 515 3626 website

Koto Ramen- As if Florence’s international food offerings weren’t getting extensive enough considering the tiny city, we now have a choice for getting quality bowls of Ramen. Before it was just Banki near the station but now you can get craft beer and (mediocre) ramen at Diorama Beer Pub, and more importantly- solid fare at Koto Ramen in Santa Croce. At night they have a few ramen bowls to pick from (sesame pesto, miso, duck, funghi, etc) along with sides like gyoza, japanese squash marinated in rice vinegar & sake, paprika edamame etc. Open only at dinner, reservations highly encouraged! Address: Via Giuseppe Verdi, 42r,  Phone: +39 055 247 9477 website

If you have heard of a great place open (that isn’t 4 Leone or Il Giostra, aka nothing special touristic restaurants) please do let me know by leaving a comment and I will add it!

In your holiday eating trust, 

Curious Appetite (cheers from the emerald green beauty of Seattle!)

Curious about taking a food tour in Florence during the holidays or visiting this winter? Despite where I am in the world, Curious Appetite Gourmet Tours still go on, led by a small-curated team of culinary wine experts (food historians, sommeliers, cooking class instructors, etc). While we won’t be running tours on Christmas day, we will be before and after. An aperitivo tour, dinner crawl or food lover’s tour are the most popular tours and sell-out quick- book today!

Info on tours & booking tickets online: http://curiousappetitetravel.com/food-and-drink-tours-in-florence/

 

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