(updated August 2022)
The last time I updated this guide was in 2020, and it was one of the oddest years to be writing anything about dining. Remember the dilemma we faced (or still do) to dine out and support restaurants? Contact tracing, sanitation, limited tables, etc?
And now even though the pandemic isn’t over- maskless indoor undistanced dining and travel is back in full swing. And being someone who often experiences existential dread, who knows for how long this will be infinitely possible as it is very clear our planet is fighting back against us.
This post (originally written in 2017, I believe!?) is updated to be your guide to eating and drinking well in Florence during August (specifically, for one of Italy’s most important national holidays, Ferragosto, the 15th of August (Assumption day) with the hopes someone will find it useful.
When I last updated it, it was a guide to places open on Ferragosto. Since this year the holiday falls on a Monday, (a common closure day for restaurants/bars) the pickings are slimmer so I’ll focus on excellent restaurants in Florence open for most of August.
Apologies in advance for not marking all closure days, but since this blog is free and I’m a one woman show for my small business, I am imperfect! But the bigger picture is more important to me, and that is getting you the names that serve the worthiest calories. If you are looking for a meal on Ferragosto (August 15th) try hacking it by finding places open on Sundays/Mondays. Call the places or message them on IG to reserve. Links and notes all in this post!
The Ferragosto holiday is similar to the Christmas effect in terms of navigating closures and what to do in the city. The listings I’ve handpicked are restaurants mostly in the historical center because that is where I live and I don’t have a car/get around by bike.
In the center of Florence in August, you could probably never tell the city shuts down. The famous cultural sites will be open, lines still long and corporate/big brand shops open along the populated boulevards like Via dei Calzaiuoli. The places who shut their doors are really the restaurants, many bakeries and independently owned shops not smack dab in the historical center and its iconic squares.
Although I have spent hours calling what I consider to be the better or (dare I say!) best restaurants in Florence to check their hours, you still need to call in advance to double check before going. If there is something I have missed or needs correction, contact me in lieu of a stage 9 meltdown.
Reservations are essential for a place like Florence, at least for finding the worthiest calories. Yes, you could probably waltz in somewhere “following your gut” but it is very easy to get catfished for bad or mediocre food in Florence. Even if you think it looks like some hidden gem only you discovered. Trust me.
Unless you don’t care deeply about what you eat and are easy going about food outings (I have friends like that, I don’t know how they sleep at night) then yeah do that. But if you eat like you give a damn, and get upset over mediocre meals (which should cause you to loose sleep at night) then you’ll need to research and book in advance.
Tips for making reservations!
Especially since as mentioned, Ferragosto this year falls on a Monday and is a common day for restaurant closures. The best days to call to make reservations are at least 5 days in advance and don’t try to call between services. Avoid calling on Sunday-Tuesday as these are common closure days. Usually Thursday-Saturdays are the best days to call. Some places also take Tuesdays/Wednesdays off. I think the best times to call for reservations are right before they are set to open or right when they are about to end service. Calls during prep or in peak service hours might not be answered or met with stressful short replies.
Don’t rely on e-mail reservations or online booking platforms. I am severely old school when it comes to this in Italy. I book restaurants and taxis by speaking to a human on the phone. I do not trust those apps to be reliable in a country with people who have such a flexible relationship with time and efficiency. But! Sometimes reserving via DM on IG works!!!
Even if a restaurant is normally closed on a Monday, knowing Ferragosto will be a popular day for those in town to capitalize on- some are still deciding whether or not to be open. In the hours spent making phone calls myself, a few have said “we’re still deciding. but probably-maybe-I don’t know we’ll be open on Ferragosto.” Helpful, right? 🤦🏻♀️
This is a bit typical of Italian culture (i.e. the flexible relationship with time and efficiency) I appreciate. Generally speaking, they play things by ear. If they feel the juice isn’t worth the squeeze, they’ll take the day off. Americans (or perhaps Anglo-Saxon culture in general) are sticklers and rigid- they expect everything to be perfect, open even on holidays including their eves and have low tolerance for mistakes. Maybe this is why we’re all stressballs.
Not to mention, the expectation of perfection and punctuality is not realistic when you are dealing with services provided by human beings. In other words, if you chose to be or ended up in Florence for August and on Ferragosto- plan to be flexible and make some phone calls yourself to double check when reserving tables and activities.
If you know the Ferragosto cultural song and dance, feel free to scroll to the listicle juice. But rest assured, everyone here on this list/article “listicle” (in no particular order) is doing food and drink in the city extremely well. I know taste is subjective, and everyone is an authority these days, but I hope you trust my POV as a certified sommelier, as someone who literally writes about food and does food tours for a living.
If you happen to be in Florence on this national holiday- bookmark this guide and I cannot stress enough- reserve in advance. Like now.
if you’re in town for August, I’d encourage you to sign up for one of my culinary food tours in Florence where we hit up the best spots open during the month. I’d suggest either our Progressive Dinner Crawl or Aperitivo Tour as the best bets.
If not this August, then bookmark for whenever you can visit- they make for good meals year-round. As well as top restaurants for eating on a Sunday or Monday in Florence in this post.
Here’s my picks for where to eat and drink well in Florence during the month of August. If you’re looking for somewhere open on Ferragosto, this list might help to seek the spots open on Sundays.
For traditional Tuscan homestyle cuisine (please note: the more historic & iconic eateries will probably be closed since they are usually family-run and have been around long enough)
Vini e Vecchi Sapori- (description riffed from my essential 38 on Eater) A family-run stone’s throw from the Uffizi Gallery makes its intentions clear on the handwritten menu outside: no pizza, no ice, no cappuccino, and no steak. This osteria serves traditional Tuscan food, and is known for its pappardelle in duck ragu, fried meat bracciole rifatta dressed in richly flavored tomato and herbs, fragrant saffron pasta tossed with zucchini flowers and a touch of cream, and meat-based mains like tomato-stewed cod and rolled, stuffed pork. This soulful Florentine institution is popular- there are outdoor tables (hopefully you get one of the tables smack dab in Piazza della Signoria!!!) so make sure to book in advance! Address: Via Dei Magazzini 3/5/7R ph: 055 293045 They are closed the 14th-22nd but I love them so much.
Club Culinario da Osvaldo- This is one of my favored restaurants in Florence, also in several listicles I have published online and often mentioned on my social media pages. Everything on this menu’ is worth eating, and their desserts exceptional. Closed Tuesdays at dinner and the last week of August. Address: Piazza dei Peruzzi, 3/r, 50122 (Santa Croce area)
Acquacotta- This restaurant is on a tiny street on the way to Sant’Ambrogio and is hidden by construction but is a sweet gem for traditional food. It’s named after a famous Tuscan soup “acquacotta” from the Maremma area of onion, tomato, olive oil, stale bread and an egg atop. Here there’s lots of thoughtful simple Tuscan fare. Not mind blowing but charming and local. Via dei Pilastri, 51/R (near Sant’Ambrogio)
Osteria Tripperia Il Magazzino- open all month, but unclear if they are going to take a couple days off so call in advance. This is the city’s offal osteria. I wrote a profile about them on Vice Munchies here which I believe has aged well. Address: Piazza della Passera, 2 (Oltrarno)
Did I mention Curious Appetite’s Progressive Dining Crawl? 4 eateries in one evening with all the food and wine explained by an expert guide taking you around like your bestie in the know. Just sayin.’
Antico Ristoro dei Cambi- One of the best greasy spoon eats in town for meatballs in red sauce, pici pasta plus steak and sides. It’s a stroke of luck these folks are open in August- and seemingly also on Ferragosto! Address: Address: Via Sant’Onofrio, 1R
I’Brindellone- For locally-loved, cheap trattoria thrills you can’t get any more salt of the earth than this. A go-to for staple Tuscan classics, bistecca alla fiorentina and homestyle pastas designed to appease every wallet (and most palates) in your group. You must make a reservation in advance. Call in advance as they are one of those places who are unclear. Address: Piazza Piattellina,10 Ph: 055 217879 (Oltrarno)
Trattoria Cesarino in Sant’Ambrogio is open too for Lunch and Dinner (full review here). When I called they were like “we never close!” So I think you can take them on their word!
Osteria Antica Mescita- Traditional Tuscan conveniently located in Piazza San Niccolo, an ideal lunch or dinner spot near Piazzale Michelangelo and Forte Belvedere. Simple Tuscan fare like bruschetta, Bistecca alla Fiorentina & potatoes, pasta & wild boar ragu, etc in a not over-the-top kitsch Florentine woodsy/straw and hanging prosciutto e fiaschi decor. (Lunch and dinner) Address: Via di S. Niccolò, 60 r ph: 055 234 2836
Cibreo (most of their addresses)- This is (usually) one of the few places I could eat nearly every day and never tire. I will say I don’t recommend their Helvetia Bristol outpost. It’s pricey and I was recently served half a tomato on one plate and a bite of squid on the other for 30eu at lunch for a menu’ item described as a seafood salad. I would stick to their revered classics like the caffe, the trattoria or their Asian-Fusion bar (even though not a fan of their choice to name it Cibleo’). Apart from the luxury hotel restaurant, the food by Cibreo is uniquely special. Address: Via dei Macci, 122r ph: 055 2341100 Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Playful twists on traditional Italian, not necessarily rooted in the Tuscan repertoire
Ristorante Vivo- This restaurant specializes in fresh catches and traditional plates from the Maremma (Southern Tuscan coast). Optimal choice for raw fish, oysters if you must, interesting wines from the Maremma and Monte Argentario, and delicious seafood pasta dishes. Good for families and big groups- I must warn there is little atmosphere but it makes up for it in food quality. Address: 9A/B, Largo Pietro Annigoni, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy (Lunch and Dinner) +39 333 182 4183
Martare’ Ristorante- I reviewed this place in the past for The Guardian (full review/list here) and it’s one of these places I wish I went to more. It’s lovingly husband/wife owned, has a colorful, tastefully designed atmosphere and food is made creatively well without pretention. Near the Accademia museum and also near a couple great spots for gelato post dinner! (Ara’ and Carabe!) Via degli Alfani, 93R (IG)
T’Amero- This restaurant is a pasta bar, they make their own pastas from scratch on-site and are located in Piazza Santo Spirito. The menu’ is dominated by funky twists on Italian traditions like pancetta & gamberi dressed potato-filled curlugiones to classic spinach & ricotta ravioli in butter & sage. A plus to eating inside is proper air-con and the tables outside which are perfect also for Aperitivo hour & people watching in the square. Address: Piazza Santo Spirito, 11r
Culinaria Bistro in Piazza Tasso– Seasonal, farm-to-table small plates, fresh pasta with a Mediterranean identity. When they first opened, they showcased tagines and their menu continuously evolves. It’s family-owned by people passionate about inclusivity, honoring small local producers and making delicious seasonally-inspired food. Address: Address: Piazza Torquato Tasso, 13rosso
Coquinarius- Wine lovers- this restaurant is for you. Here we find an appetizing list of pastas (my favorite being their burrata ravioli in pistachio pesto) but also a break-from-the-industrial ordinary selection of boutique small producer wines hand-picked from one of the best sommeliers in town. For those needing a break from heavy Tuscan fare, they have decent salads and finger food tagliere (charcuterie) boards of interesting artisan cheese & meats. Address: Via delle Oche, 11R (also be sure to check out their scenic 2nd location in Fiesole) ph: 055 2302153 (center) ph: 055 597 8356 (Fiesole)
Ruth’s Vegetarian Kosher- This isn’t a creative spot, but a delicious comfort food destination in Florence’s tiny Jewish quarter. Fresh tabbouleh salads, creamy hummus, some fish dishes, shakshuka, couscous dishes, and more are wonderfully made. (Next to the Synagogue of Florence: Via Luigi Carlo Farini, 2A)
Burro e Acciughe- top notch spot for seafood in the Oltrarno. Everything they do here is magic. I can’t recommend enough. I recently went with my chef boyfriend who was visiting and we thoroughly enjoyed every item ordered. Address: Via dell’Orto, 35/R Try their sister restaurant Il Guscio as well!
A Crudo- In Santo Spirito for fresh carpaccio plates, plant-based, red meat and seafood tartares. Address: Via Mazzetta, 5R
Modern, creative and casual fine dining
Fusion and Caffe Dell’Oro- for Michelin-quality gourmet dining at respectable prices (think tomato pasta al pomodoro with umami-laden fish egg bottarga, lemon and shrimp risotto. If you’re craving something a little more fresh, check out the sashimi small plates at Fusion off the Arno river near Ponte Vecchio. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Il Locale- This spot has it all: ambiance, service, craft cocktails, design, history and exceptional food and drink. Located in a restored & restructured palace whose foundations date back to the 1200’s but eventually changed hands to the Medici family in the Renaissance. You get to dine in a slice of history while being treated to an immersive culinary trip. The current chef is Simone Caponnetto who has a modernist tasting menu’ approach (fermentation geeks, this is your jam) and drinks ardently creative with an obsession for detail.
Don’t baulk at the pricing- where else in Florence can you get a shaken and stirred show at the bar, dine in their Medieval era underground dining rooms, provide impeccable service and delightful food? If you value dining experiences as an investment, promise me you’ll snag a table at Il Locale. Address: Via delle Seggiole, 12/R (open Ferragosto)
Cestello Ristoclub (their sister restaurant in Piazza di Cestello) will also be open and is also on point for creative fine dining in a well-heeled club vibe setting. Not for everyone, but if you’re a bon vivant, enjoy an eclectic luxury atmosphere to dress up and eat fancy seafood and craft cocktails-this is your spot. It is sheer decadence. Address: Piazza di Cestello, 8
L’Essenziale- Modernist casual fine dining. Ingredient-driven. Open in August, but their closing day is Monday. Address: Piazza di Cestello, 3R Review on IG feed here.
Cuculia- In the Oltrarno, this couple-owned restaurant is doing creative fine dining with mostly seasonal produce driven dishes and a global approach in terms of style/cuisine. Address: Via dei Serragli, 3/R Open all month except Sunday/Mondays.
The Lodge- Open all month only Sunday closing. Read entire review on my IG page:
View this post on Instagram
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie….
Largo 9- Located in Sant’Ambrogio with a gourmet pizza program with shareable tasting options and craft cocktail bar offerings. Closed August 14-23rd Largo Pietro Annigoni, 9/C
Berbere- New wave pizzeria started in Bologna where an emphasis is on ancient grains, natural rising and Italian craft beer. Still decent place for a pie in August if you can’t land a table at Santarpia, I suppose. What I dig about Berbere is not only the quality of the dough, but the fact you can order a few pies and share them since they come sliced up. Toppings seasonal from specialty ingredients like Cetara anchovies, tomatoes and meats from heritage varieties. Address: Piazza de’ Nerli, 1 (Oltrarno) and Via de’ Neri (Santa Croce) ph: 055 3994589
Pizzeria Giotto in Piazza Santa Maria Novella- This is an adored pizzeria by Florentines and locals who appreciate a good pie, that originally started in Novoli (outside the city center). Now they’ve opened in the center and you’re lucky if you love pizza and can snag a table here. Closed Mondays. Website Address: P.za di Santa Maria Novella, 24/r
Caffe Italiano- A fixture on the Florentine pizza wall of fame (get it?! 10 points if you get this amazing pun) Caffe Italiano near Santa Croce has revamped its menu to offer (in addition to their pizza mainstays) and Tuscan dishes (steak/pasta fagioli). Address: Via Isola delle Stinche, 11R, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy Phone: +39 055 289080
Le Follie di Romualdo- There is a term in Italian “pizzeria dell’autore” which basically means when a pizzeria is modeled after the technique of a particular pizzaiolo. Romualdo Rizzuti is the author of the pizza types served here and he’s earned accolade from Gambero Rosso as Florence’s best. First spinning pies at Mercato Centrale, then opening a spot in the outskirts of the historical center then moving to San Niccolo’ and a street food stand in the Lungarno del Tempio complex. According to their website, these pies can be found at the Four Seasons. Another hack: hotel restaurants should be open even on Ferragosto.
For international food offerings, try Ararat, Il Gusto Dim Sum, Ristorante Tehran (Persian food), Kyoto Ramen, or Iyo Iyo (call first)
For more summer-themed eat/drink listicles, bookmark this for Aperitivo, and this for spots near Florence’s major attractions for The Guardian or this guide. Call ahead, as usual!
When you consider wine an essential food group…
Signorvino- Another wine bar selection. While their wines aren’t as special as the Volpi e L’Uva, I appreciate the selection of regional Italian wines, the river-hovering patio outside overlooking the Ponte Vecchio (if you can snag a table that is) and their kitchen snacks are not all bad- especially if you do not consider this more than a simple eatery with decent food. Nothing organic or chef centric- just straightforward acceptable food to accompany the endless bottles of wine in stock. Address: Via de’ Bardi, 46R (also near Ponte Vecchio)
Enoteca Vigna Nuova near Piazza Goldoni (near train station and Via Tornabuoni) they have a killer wine selection, tasty plates of fresh pasta (think Tuscan ragu’ tagliatelle, thick saucy pici, etc) rotating specials and loads of gourmet crostini and board options with specialty varieties of cheeses and cured meats to crush. The point is for a wine selection this ample, there should be delicious food to stand up to it and these guys make the mark. Plus their bubbles fridge is worth a trip in it of itself. Indirizzo: Via dei Federighi, 3/R, ph: 055 280778
Enoteca Spontanea- This natural wine spot just opened on Via Maggio and Nicola from Coquinarius (iykyk) is behind it. I haven’t been in yet, spotted it via our Girl in Florence as it’s brand spanking new and I’m already obsessed. Well-made minimal intervention wines, fresh pasta, boards- sign me up! Via Maggio 61R (IG)
I’ve tried calling wine bars and sometimes they are too busy to pick up, so consult this guide for drinking wine in Florence too for more options. I know Vineria Sonora will be closed, Le Volpi e L’Uva will be closed from August 22nd-28th and Enoteca Bellini (honestly my favorite) has some select days in August and closed the 12th-23rd. I will update this post as I find more!
For beer lovers…
Picking a favorite anything is like picking a favorite child, whether that be a favorite beer pub, restaurant or gelateria. I love all the craft beer pubs in Florence for different reasons. These ones just happen to be open on Ferragosto in Florence:
Alibi- A quality rotating selection of Italian-made and international craft beers and at least one of the owner’s designed brew on tap at any given time. Delicious burgers and bar food, too. The beer and staff are extremely friendly, happy to share intel especially when one of the owners Lapo is around. Their collection of bottles and cans are exceptional, their burgers and fries (with plant-based options too) are some of the best I’ve been able to find in this ribollita, lampre and chianti town. Address: Via Faenza, 21/R
The Joshua Tree Pub- An Italian version of “Cheers” in Florence and the space recently underwent a renovation so it’s nicer than ever. They added more taps and are now more dedicated to serving craft beer, a mix between Italian and international brews. If any of their beer staff geeks are around, you’ll be one of the luckiest beer lovers in town. Max, the owner is pretty awesome too and is super available to answer any and all questions (as long as it’s not a music night or they’re packed to the brim.) Beer lovers, stop by during the day if you wanna catch one of the extremely knowledgeable staff pourers. Address: Via della Scala, 37 (near the station)
Move On– This record store doubles as a craft beer and cocktail smack dab in the middle of Piazza del Duomo. They don’t have a huge selection of Italian craft beers, but enough to make it a unique stop for a sip with the best view in town (and tunes to match) Piazza del Duomo (no reservations needed)
Circolo il Rondinella- This is a community center (how do you explain arci/i circoli in English?!) which also does dirt cheap family style trattoria dishes, but while the restaurant section is closed- the old school classic Italian (NO FRILLS) bar is a vibe for a cheap Peroni beer and bag of chips to snack on at aperitivo hour outside along the river Arno. Address: Lungarno Soderini, 2
Looking for craft cocktails? Check my list on CN Traveler for best bars in Florence and call the one you fancy to check if they are open before going. Please bear with me, with the pandemic, there have been closures/etc and I’m a little strapped on time to call/figure out every single one of my past recs on other guides. Forgive me!
A couple convenient food court picks:
Mercato Centrale/Central Market (top floor)- Open everyday and this is like a street food court/hall and communal seating. My picks on the market’s top floor: Rome’s Trapizzino (hand-held pizza squares filled with deliciousness like double panna and anchovies, Roman oxtail or eggplant parmigiana), Il Tartufo for truffle pasta, L’Enoteca by Sandro Soltani for wine and Pizza at Sud. Address: Via dell’Ariento (open every day including Ferragosto)
Lungarno del Tempio- A small outdoor street food & drink yard with just a handful of restaurant names in Florence with street-food stand outposts. The way it works is get here fairly early if you’d like to dine “al fresco”, snag a table, order food from one of the stands and drinks at the bar. Spots available include arancini from Ara’, pizza from Le Follie di Romualdo, chianina burgers from La Toraia, fish food truck Pesce Pane for fried fishy frittura mista and other sea-snacks and La Dogana wine and cocktail bar. Address: Lungarno Cristoforo Colombo, 27 (open till 12am)
For dessert and when I say dessert I mean gelato- most gelaterie (gelato shops) will be open all of August but the 15th can be tricky. In general, feel free to consult my articles on where to find the best gelato in Florence by clicking here (but these notable faves will be open in August: Perche’ No, ‘Sbrino, Sorbiettiera, My Sugar and Gelateria de’ Neri.
When in Rome, eat with the seasons! Here’s a little reminder of summer flavors to respect and take advantage of:
Cold coffee, firstly in the form of a cafe shakerato (cold, shaken espresso served in a fancy martini glass!) All things tomatoes, peppers, zucchini flowers/ fiori di zucca, (mostly fried), panzanella (fresh tomato, cucumber and bread salad), pappa al pomodoro (stewed tomato and bread), black summer truffle, a decent variety of locally caught seafood, friggitelli (mild non-spicy green peppers which you normally fry or pan-fry), all things made with eggplant, figs, watermelon, loads of basil, green radicchio, mint, peaches, nectarines, etc.
For more additional resources: my talented, hardworking friend Georgette of Girl in Florence wrote guide to her picks to where to eat in August for the entire month which notes closure days. Be sure to check it out! It’s definitely helped me in a bind!
Also our pal Sophie Minchilli did this handy post on IG for those headed to/in Rome. Lot’s of my faves on here!
In your Leo season eating trust,
Stay in touch with more up-to-date eating tips on my Instagram & Facebook (search: curiousappetite)
GirlinFlorenceJuly 12, 2016 at 6:08 am (7 years ago)
Great post Coral, love your suggestions and I think we need to go back to Il Carduccio! I’m craving one of their yummy salads 🙂
Ellen TaylorAugust 4, 2017 at 11:32 pm (6 years ago)
Cool collection Coral,
Will visit T’Amero soon to try their Pasta.
And thanks for your suggestion.
Coco PazzoJuly 28, 2018 at 12:58 pm (5 years ago)
Does anyone in Florence offer decent PIZZA ROMANA TONDA, the cracker thin pizza that is usually for one person? Very different from Neapolitan pizza.
Not to be confused with what are also called “Roman style pizzas,” Pizza al taglia (there are lots of examples in Firenze) or Pizza alla Pala or a Metro (also available).
YankaAugust 22, 2018 at 3:12 am (5 years ago)
I had the privilege to visit Florence a significant number of times. I agree with most of the points you shared.