Florence restaurants

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Ora d'Aria

Price guide: Expensive
#1/25
expert-rated restaurants in Florence
Best for Gourmets -
Expert overall rating:4.8 (out of 5)

Gourmet dining and reasonable prices a stone’s throw from the Uffizi.

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Borgo San Jacopo

Price guide: Expensive
#5/25
expert-rated restaurants in Florence
Best for Romance -
Expert overall rating:4.6 (out of 5)

Fine food and fabulous views of the Ponte Vecchio.

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Oliviero

Price guide: Expensive
#6/25
expert-rated restaurants in Florence
Expert overall rating:4.6 (out of 5)

Retro glamour and delicious food not far from the Ponte Vecchio.

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Targa

Price guide: Expensive
#7/25
expert-rated restaurants in Florence
Expert overall rating:4.6 (out of 5)

A soothing oasis serving imaginative food on the north bank of the Arno.

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I’ve been eating out in Florence for nearly 30 years during which time the food scene has evolved considerably. Once dominated by very traditional places, today there is a much wider variety of eateries: modest, family-run trattorie, new-generation osterie, ethnic joints, gastrobars, trendy pizzerie, hole-in-the-wall wine bars and smart, Michelin-starred restaurants. As a visitor, you will find plenty to choose from but do be aware that this city is geared towards tourism and too many restaurants are inclined to rest on their laurels allowing standards to slip. To avoid disappointment (or being fleeced), follow my advice or ask a local. And avoid anywhere with a menu fisso in six languages.

For the best possible eating in Florence, bear the following in mind.

Where to eat

Full meals can be expensive affairs in Florence; even in the most unpretentious trattoria, you are unlikely to get away with a bill that comes in at less than 25 euros per head, and given the euro exchange rate these days, that’s quite a hefty sum if you have to do it repeatedly. Cheaper alternatives include pizzerie, rosticcerie (rostisseries), bars which serve a small selection of hot and cold dishes at lunchtimes and the market for the makings of a picnic.

The bill and tipping

The bill will usually include a cover charge (pane e coperto) which ranges from 1.50-5 euros per person. This covers bread and should reflect the general standard of the place. Service is not usually included in the bill, so feel free to leave a modest tip (between 5-10% is plenty).

Mealtimes

Florentine mealtimes normally run from 12.30-2.30pm for lunch and 8-10.30pm for dinner. Pizzerie generally stay open later.

Eating out with kids

Italy is a very child-friendly country in general and the Florentines are no exception. Children are welcome even in the poshest restaurants, and if there’s nothing on the menu that appeals, a chef will always be happy to produce a plate of pasta al pomodoro (with tomato sauce) and a bowl of ice cream.

What to order

Once upon a time, eating out here meant being obliged to tuck into at least four courses. That’s no longer true although it won’t go down very well if you just order an antipasto and coffee in a place that serves full meals. Two courses, however, is generally acceptable. If you do want to go the whole hog, however, a traditional Florentine meal starts with antipasto, moves on to a primo (either pasta or soup), secondo (meat or fish main course) plus contorno (veg) and finishes off with dolce (dessert). Phew!

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For starters, I can guarantee that I’ve eaten in every one of the places that I’ve listed here. I’ve tried to include a good range that will cater for all tastes and every budget and I would happily go back to any of them at any time. Indeed, I do quite often. However, restaurants have off-nights, chefs and staff change and eating out is very subjective, so I am always glad to have your feedback, both positive and negative. Of course I wouldn’t pretend to know about every restaurant in Florence, so if you’ve had a great meal at a place that’s not listed here, let me know; I’ll go and try it out. Buon apetito!