Whenever warm temps roll around, locals tend to want to lounge and linger over meals and drinks outdoors. This post is a round-up of my personal picks on where to eat outdoors Florence (all’aperto in Italiano) for Aperitivo hour and naming names for restaurants in Florence with outdoor seating. I will say, if temps are giving hot hot hot vs comfortably warm, I would suggest to opt for indoor dining if they have air-conditioning…
If you’d like to experience some of these spots on a curated walking tour, check out and book a seat on Curious Appetite’s Aperitivo Tour or our Progressive Dining Crawl of Florence.
Quick re-cap on the Aperitivo…
Aperitivo is one of Italy’s most iconic culinary drink rituals involving some simple snacks and an appetite-stimulating drink like a glass of bubbles, light wine, bitter-based cocktail (also analcolico like a San Bitter) or a beer before dinner time (so between 6-8pm)
Dinner usually works in 2 time slots, 7:30pm and 9pm, some restaurants allow 8/8:30 bookings but generally locals eat from 8pm and on.
During the peak heat weeks in cities like Florence which suffer the most, I would highly encourage you to Aperitivo before dinner and make your dinner reservation for no earlier than 9pm if you’d like to dine outside while avoiding oppressive temperatures.
I’ve reviewed mostly Aperitivo spots in this list, and at the end I’ll list some restaurants you can check out on your own and see if they fit your vibe.
You’ll have to pardon me for not writing full reviews for each restaurant recommendation, I’m doing my best to keep the blog updated while tending to my day job (i.e. giving food tours and freelance writing) and also having time for myself.
I have linked google listings, while I don’t take the reviews too seriously- the photos and uploaded menus give me a pretty good sense when I’m traveling myself and cross-referencing a recommendation. I feel I could convince you all day long what “the best restaurant in Florence” could be, but I think ultimately where you choose needs to aligns with what you have in mind of what you’re after (i.e. traditional? popular? modern? cozy? hole in the wall? good for people watching? etc).
If you’d like personalized travel dining consulting for Italy, I can help with that- drop me a line.
Starting with aperitivo/small bites, and not in any particular order:
Seeds Pop-Up at Ostello Tasso- Power couple Julian Biondi and Anastasia Kovrigina have taken over Ostello Tasso’s performance space to operate Seeds: Florence’s only pop-up bar open Sunday – Thursday (cheers to work life balance). What makes it special are the spirits made locally and in-house by Julian who is one of Italy’s most expert beverage experts.
Here we have a courtyard that’s a peaceful retreat from the city’s mass touristic madness where you can enjoy Mexcian and Japanese-inspired bar snacks using artisanal local ingredients (think cavolo nero tostadas, quesadillas using pecorino from a historic maker in the Mugello and Sichuan pepper chickpea farinata) plus omakase pop-ups.
Drinks are fun and play with seasonal fruits like loquat (nespole), tomato water, organic lemon and Calabrian bergamot. Plus they put on DJ events and taco Tuesdays. Believe me this is exciting and you’ll need to stop by. Address: Via Villani 15 (off Piazza Tasso) Instagram
Dorsoduro- Snag a spritz made with Select bitter and a cicheti platter inspired by the kind of fishy snacks one would find at the bacari of Venice. I dig this spot and wonder why it doesn’t get enough love. Could be the off-beat location in San Lorenzo, which is currently a quarter needing more love in terms of food/drink patronage. Address: Via S. Gallo, 31, 50129 Firenze FI (San Lorenzo)
Beppe Fioraia- A Florentine favorite, this osteria has ample indoor dining rooms as well as garden space with a bar. The cocktail options are solid, even if fluid, and you’d be a fool to miss out on lounging out in the prato with a charcuterie (tagliere) board brimming with cured meats, cheeses, fried coccoli and other finger snacks. Just watch out for mosquitos and wasps :/ Address: Via dell’Erta Canina, 6/R (San Niccolo’)
Il Locale- Il Locale can be described as a swanky New Yorkish cocktail palace with Renaissance frills, and made the World’s 50 Best Cocktail Bars list. While not outdoors, the bar area has a greenhouse vibe and gets a ton of light thanks to the sliding roof. They offer a 20eu mixology-level craft tipple plus a tower made of Tuscan olive wood filled with fancy chef’s kiss snacks like fried scamorza cheese bites and whipped potato canapés dusted with truffle salt. Sit facing the bar to bartender watch ice cubes hacked to perfection and all sorts of jedi tricks. Address: Via delle Seggiole, 12r (Santa Croce)
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Santa Cocktail Club- In Piazza Santa Maria Novella fills the bill for eating in a square, conveniently located near the train station, tasty craft cocktails and worthy small plates. Address: Piazza Santa Maria Novella, 1
Move On- If you’re looking for convenience, this record store/gastropub smack dab in the middle of Piazza del Duomo is prime real estate for a craft cocktail or beer, appetizer snack (bar food in quality) with an insanely beautiful view of Florence’s dome. Address: kinda next to the Duomo
Procacci- Now this historic bar known and loved for their secret-recipe truffle mini-panini has tables outside on Via Tornabuoni during the warm months and if you can snag a spot, it’s quaint for a cheese plate of pecorini, parmigiano chunks and truffle cheese plus a glass of sparkling wine or skip the cheese and stick to the signature panini (not just truffle, also butter and anchovies, etc). Address: Via de’ Tornabuoni, 64R
Circolo Aurora- another gem in Piazza Tasso, this is more has a Florentine vintage dive feel with a decent bar menu (food is all over the place from piadine to chirashi bowls), live music and quality DJ sets on the weekend. The menus are in old photo albums (remember those?) and I appreciate they have no-abv cocktails for those of us who need a break or are on a lifetime break from hooch.
Restaurant tips with some outdoor seating
Enoteca Sant’Ambrogio (not a restaurant I just forgot to list them)
Amble’ (same deal, more of a spritz spot just forgot to list)
Gucci Osteria (spendy splurge but worthy of its star)
La Leggenda dei Frati (also star/spendy but killer view)
Osteria delle Tre Panche (rooftop truffle restaurant? Yes please.)
Trattoria Omero (a bit outside the center, but worth the trek if you have time)
Il Vecchio e Il Mare (in a little shopping center but the pizza and seafood is top notch)
La Casalinga (they have some outdoor tables, and is great for people watching. Lots of motorini and cars zooming by too.)
Antico Ristoro dei Cambi
T’amero Pasta Bar (also a great Aperitivo spot)
Fuori Porta Enoteca (really enjoy this wine bar bistro in San Niccolo’)
Club Culinario da Osvaldo (a few tables outside)
Culinaria Bistro (Piazza Tasso with a few tables outside, great small plates/slow food kinda spot)
Casa Ciabattini (on Via il Prato, not the coolest neighborhood but the food/drinks/wine are worth it)
Fusion Bar & Restaurant (more if you’re feeling sushi/asian raw bar situations)
Ditta Artigianale‘s Ferruci and Sant’Ambrogio location (more modern/international hipster food but great drinks and music)
Bar Bar (I’m going to get heat for listing this one, as its one of the few gems left to locals)
Signorvino (book in advance to get a table with the Ponte Vecchio in view)
Melaleuca (more for brunch, if you can manage to get a table outside)
Rari Bistro (a bit out there along the river near Piazza Ferrucci)
Foody Farm (hate the name, but the food is OK/can’t beat the location, FYI it’s always crowded)
Calistro (fun for what they call fried tortelli but are fancy hot pockets, as well as weekend brunch)
(Also, I have been doing a lot of work to refrain from speaking negatively online/in general but I will never recommend Santa Rosa Bistro, please don’t even ask me or invite me there for anything other than coffee I actually hate it, the food is always awful, the seating super uncomfortable and the drinks are mediocre. Good for wifi and coffee in a bind.)
Lungarno del Tempio is a fun all’aperto riverside street eats complex for summer pop-up bars like Dogana with redeeming food. Respectable names are braving the heat such as Il Pizzaiuolo (original spot is on Via de’ Macci) spinning Neapolitan pizzas, Pescapane for fried fish, Ara’ for Sicilian treats (arancine, panelle, etc) and Fuoribordo for tacos. (nearest bridge: Ponte San Niccolo’)
Molo Firenze-Another cluster of outdoor pop-ups and bars with live music every night. At Rex, stick to the cocktails (the wine will give you an unworthy hangover) and for food, keep your expectations to a bare minimum and just know you’re there for the vibe, music and ease of finding seating. For better food, head down the road to Lungarno del Tempio.
Full list of eats along the river in Italian HERE
Add-ons: Off Bar at Fortezza da Basso, Light in Campo de’ Marte and urban garden space Serre Torrigiani in Piazzetta tucked a stone’s throw from Piazza della Repubblica. I’d also check out Floreale on Borgo San Frediano even if they aren’t outdoors, they rock at cocktails and the space is large and bright. Mad Souls & Spirits has some tables outside across the street too for a little bar crawl situation.
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Kidnap one of your besties, take the bus up to Fiesole for a romantical Aperitivo @pensionebencista (but book a table in advance). Cheesily watch the sunset over Florentia with a bottle of funky wine (this long macerated orange Vernaccia di San Gimignano was all over the place but 😳 interesting) pair with a cheese board or flat out 🐽 arista and 🥔 and likewise funky grooves on Thursdays when they have solid DJ sets spun by quality ears like @dredecor8 @mmmmmmmmimmy @florence_lofi_sunset. The only snag is the last bus leaves at shy of 10 so plan on a taxi splurge (unless you’re set with a car). Well worth the treat! 🌅#curiousappetite #fiesole
For more outside the historical center spots (I desperately need out get out of the center more so please feel free to troll me with hate DMs for having left out Le Cure, etc): Melloo (now also in Sant’Ambrogio) for craft beer and prosciutto/stracchino stuffed coccoli and groovy music, Pensione Bencista’ (Fiesole) for Thursday DJ sets, snagging a bottle of natural wine plus artisan cheeses off the menu on a little terrace overlooking Florence from afar and a romantical sunset to match. Cafe de Paris in Piazza Dalmazia (truth be told, I’ve never liked it there but tons of Florentines dig it so I guess you gotta mention it) Il Pavoniere at the Cascine, Manifattura Tabacchi (Bulli e Ballene for Venetian-style cicheti crostini bites, cones of classics like fried mozzarella panini or meat-stuffed olives and spritz and Soul Kitchen for music)
Other splurge-worthy spots with a view would be: La Terrazza at Continentale (historical center) which has a canape’ plus drink formula for around 20eu and a view overlooking Ponte Vecchio, Grand Hotel Minerva (Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 16) who has Kareem Bennett behind the bar and is one of the city’s best bar pros. Hotel Lucchesi (Lungarno della Zecchia Vecchia) is doing a rooftop poolside aperitivo platter and drinks thing for around 25eu- their booze and food program is run by Gabriele Frongia who knows his (good) stuff.
Any others to add? Message or comment vs having a stage-5 meltdown. Oh and I intentionally left out Serre Torrigiani until they get their plastic situation under control.
If you’d like to consult more wine bar picks, consult this guide. Stellar spots for craft cocktails in Florence? Hit this up.
In your love for al fresco,