A Guide to the Can’t Miss Eats in Florence, Italy

Advisor - Julia Tafoya
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Julia Tafoya

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  • Solo Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Luxury Travel

  • Florence

  • Italy

  • Downtown

  • Shopping

  • Sightseeing

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore Florence
Curator’s statement

If you’re anything like me, food stands at the heart of planning any trip. It involves countless days spent browsing food accounts across all platforms and finding that one place that I must visit. From there, I find my hotel, activities and book that reservation! Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but for me, food is what transforms my experience in new places and what ultimately connects me to the locals living there. Here’s my take on the best eats in Florence, Italy, after living in the city for over four months. Mangia!

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Where to stay in Florence, Italy

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Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

An oasis in the city center, home to an Old World style, a Michelin-starred restaurant and Florence’s largest private garden.

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  • When you book Four Seasons through Fora, you will enjoy exclusive Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits. Your advisor will be pleased to give you more details.

Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel, Florence

Hilltop property in a former 15th-century monastery with elegant rooms and villas.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Gallery Hotel Art

Refined Florentine architecture and gallery with an inviting lounge library and Eastern cuisine.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Places to eat & drink in Florence, Italy

Two sandwich guide pictures in a restaurant

Local Spots

Sandwichic: I wish I could offer you countless places to grab a panino in the streets of Florence, but to be honest there is only one I would ever recommend and that is Sandwichic. At the right times of day you won’t have to wait in line, but if you do, I promise it’s worth it. With only three seats inside you’ll stand at the corner and order your panini, which will come out perfectly toasted on a fluffy piece of schiacciata bread piled with thinly sliced meat, cheese and their signature sauces. Compared to many of the shops you’ll find in heavy tourist areas, Sandwichic offers a lightly salted bread with the ideal amount of meat that leaves you without the feeling you just devoured a panini the size of your face.

What to Order:

  • Ask for Fennel Salami, Gorgonzola and Peperoni Spread (Red Pepper Spread)

  • Prosciutto Cotto, Fresh Mozzarella, Porri Spread (If in season) or Balsamico

  • Mortadella, Fresh Mozzarella and Balsamico

Bonus: If you’re a student, you can order a panini, drink of choice and water for only six euros!

Mercato Centrale: For another easy and cost-effective meal, head to the Mercato Centrale for an experience that goes far beyond your meal. You’ll be greeted by the high ceilings of the market encasing many of Florence’s finest artisans. A place for people to watch as busy locals head in and out of the market purchasing fresh meats, cheeses, pastas and produce! Head upstairs for a food hall that has almost every fare of food you can think of.

What to Order:

  • Homemade Arancinis

  • Fresh plate of pesto pasta

  • For the Brave: Lampredotto (A Florentine Speciality)

Salsamenteria De’ Ciompi: It doesn’t get more authentic than fresh served pasta on a paper plate. This neighborhood restaurant serves everything from your classic aperitivo snack to cones of freshly fried fish, steak, and of course, fresh pasta in meat sauce.

What to Order:

  • Pasta of the Day!

Splurge Spots

La Menagere: If you’re looking for an “Instagrammable” cafe, look no further than La Menagere. As someone who studied abroad, this was the perfect place to meet with friends and study over a cappuccino. Inside you’ll find yourself within uncovered walls, boutique goodies, flower walls and colorful glasses that line a giant communal table. Opt for an outside seat where you can watch people all morning or afternoon.

What to Order:

  • Cappuccino, of course

Le Reggia Degli Etruschi: Should you find yourself wandering the streets of Fiesole, you must stop at La Reggia Degli Etruschi. Not only will you taste one of the best bowls of spicy rigatoni and sausage, but you will do so while enjoying a sunset view overlooking the city of Florence. It’s what dreams are made of and truly one of the most unique dining experiences you will find in Florence.

What to Order:

  • Spicy rigatoni with sausage, tomatoes & cream

La Giostra: If you only have one night in Florence, then I am begging you to reserve a night at Giostra. A meal I have thought about since the first time I had it in 2015. Dine under a starlit ceiling while you sip on a complimentary glass of prosecco and snack on their aperitivo sampler each table is given when you sit down. As if this isn’t enough, the boar pappardelle is unlike any other. Melt in-your mouth pieces of meat accompanied by thick noodles are something only Giostra does best.

What to Order:

  • Boar Pappardelle

  • Tiramisu

Tip: Make a reservation as soon as possible.

Gelateria dei Neri: I speak as someone who spent almost every day while studying abroad looking for The Best gelato in Florence, and my consensus lands with dei Neri. You’ll likely have to wait in line, but the minute you taste the creamy goodness that is dei Neri you will not regret your decision.

What to Order:

  • Fragola

  • Stracciatella

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Alison Pantano guide, A Foodie's Guide to Florence.

Advisor - Julia Tafoya

Travel Advisor

Julia Tafoya

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Florence.