Eating major food porn in Florence

written by Tiana Kai
Vin Santo e cantucci in Florence restaurants

How to eat like a local

This post is dedicated to those who salivate whenever they see an Instagram shot of pasta or watch a waiter pour a glass of wine. Get ready to eat your face off, Florentine style! After all, you didn’t come to see the Mona Lisa, oh wait… You came to gorge yourself at the best Florence restaurants!

Two full days of eating like a Florentine

Here are the best Florence restaurants that are jammed packed in two full days. Get ready for a 4-5 meal day from cappuccino, to pizza, to steak and gelato. No plate was left uneaten during this rigorous research, so enjoy.

Day 1 in Florence/Fiesole


Best coffee bar in Florence

Induldging in hot chocolate and chai tea at Chiaroscuro

Sorry to break it to you, but there are no eggs here especially for colazione, breakfast. I’m NOT going to send you to The Diner where you can eat food that tastes better in ‘Murica anyways. No. Unless you HAVE to have a burger in Florence.

I am however going to steer you to Chiaroscuro located on Via del Corso, 36/r. Get a cappuccino and pastry and move along. Italians do this most every morning AND all while standing up. I know, I know, they’re crazy, but it’s what keeps them thin, standing up. I swear.

I love Chiaroscuro’s endless coffee bar menu. They have heavy duty hot chocolates, creamy chai tea, espresso with liquors, and on and on. Don’t forget that a caffè is your version of an espresso, so don’t order an espresso order a caffè!

Let’s not forget the newest and coolest coffee spot in town, Ditta Artigianale


All Antico Vinaio Florence

After shopping around the San Lorenzo market and down Via Tornabuoni you’re hungry for pranzo, lunch. You desire wine with your lunch, do you not? Thought so.

Head to the most famous sandwich—I mean PANINO—spot in town, All’Antico Vinaio! It’s on Via dei Neri 65 between the Uffizi Gallery and Santa Croce. It’s rated as TripAdvisor’s numero uno restaurant. This means two things. One: you’ll eat one crazy panino. Two: it’s popular so don’t let the line deter you.


Best bar in Florence

Being naughty on Ponte Santa Trinita with a VIP view to Ponte Vecchio

After all the art you’ve seen today you must be ready for a drinky drink. Want a view with your Spritz? Head to the posh SE.STO bar at the Westin Excelsior smack over the Arno River. Drink in the view and drink up that Spritz in style. Check out their live webcam to pump you up for your visit!

A more dangerous option: If you want to live on the edge, literally, then grab a to-go drink or bottle and sit along the river…and maybe hop over the Santa Trinita bridge. Don’t get fined though, look natural and unsuspicious!


bistecca fiorentina at Il Fiesolano

The best bistecca fiorentina in Florence is at Il Fiesolano

The one thing that you MUST eat while in Florence is a bistecca fiorentina. Say it with me now… bee-steak-ah fee-or-ent-eena. Eh, close enough. It’s the only thing that you’ll tell your foodie friends about when you get back home. You’ll say exactly this, “Dude, I ate a steak that was 5 fingers thick! Wait wait wait. And. Rare! Ya, seriously, like red and everything.”

Now, in order to show off about being a know-it-all foodie you have to eat this bistecca fiorentina in one place. Ready!? It is called Perseus. The name sounds much sexier in Italian. Perseus is the son of Zeus, so there’s no screwing around here.

Lucky for you Perseus has two locations. The best one is a bit further in Fiesole, called Il Fiesolano. Fiesole is a gorgeous city overlooking Florence and it’s where I got married. 😉 Listen, you came here to eat! Do you want to go back home and miss out on the best steak of your life? No, didn’t think so. Google the bus schedule for Fiesole and off you go! Go on.

If you’re not feeling like a 20-40 minute ride up (depending where you start from) into the gorgeous Tuscan hills with incredible views of Florence—ya I’m trying to make you feel guilty here—then head to the other location in Florence, simply called Perseus on Viale Don Minzoni 10.

What do you order? Remember a bee-steak-ah fee-or-ent-eena! That’s pretty much it, seriously. Don’t look at the menu or you’ll get confused. One hunk of a 50€ bistecca fiorentina for two people with a side or two of veggies. You can order traditional white Tuscan beans, spinach or mushrooms. The best wine pairing for such a plate of rawness would be their Il Re delle Carni Chianti Classico.

Follow up with the most famous Tuscan dessert, Vin Santo e cantucci biscotti. Dunk the biscotti in the sweet dessert wine and melt away. P.S. I prefer my Vin Santo heated up!


best gelato in Florence, Tuscany

Now that you’re in Fiesole you’re close to my neck of the woods, Le Cure! Le Cure’s a neighborhood with Florence’s most famous gelateria, Badiani! You may find me here around midnight ordering a massive load of pistacchio gelato topped with creamy orange gelato. No sprinkles.

Badiani won a gelato competition in 1979 in honor of Bernardo Buontalenti, the inventor of gelato (in 1565). They won with their now signature AND trademarked Buontalenti gelato, my husband’s favorite. It’s made with egg based cream and fresh whipped cream. Get some at Viale dei Mille, 20/R!

Check out the top Gelaterias in Florence.

Day 2 in Florence


best restaurants in Florence, Cibreo

If you wake up in time for breakfast then head to Cibrèo Caffè on Via del Verrocchio, 5r. If you already know this place you may be thinking “for breakfast?”. Good point because this place is my top dinner spot, but they serve all day long and the ambiance is just so charming; it’s perfect for that Italian cappuccino and ciambella donut!

The owners are best friends with my husband so we may be biased 😉 but it really is the best in town! I recommend other dinner spots in this post so that you get Tuscany by the plate full, but if you’re here for more nights, please reserve a spot at Cibrèo Caffè! P.S. they’re famous for their non-pasta dishes, like lamb brain.


best pizza in Florence

I’m giving you two options, since you have the power of putting things in your belly.

Option uno: PIZZA! Let’s ignore how cliché this is and just roll with the dough. Gusta Pizza is amazing! My favorite is spicy sausage with an extra kick to your face ‘nduja sauce. Mammamia, it’s hot. It’s on Via Maggio, 46R by the Boboli Gardens.

Option due: LAMPREDOTTO! Nothing says Tuscany like a juicy bread roll filled with cow stomach. To best eat this mecca of meat and to have fun in the process go to a street vendor or any food market. You can grab a lampredotto sandwich at the Sant’Ambrogio market or San Lorenzo market. The best street vendor is Mario’s by Porta Romana. There are many, even on Via dei Macci right by Cibrèo Caffè.


Best wine bar in Florence

Hanging outside Il Santino

Time to unwind after all the eating and walking. Hm, how about some prosciutto? Thought so.

My most guarded secret—no longer a secret—is Il Santino. They’re located in Oltrarno, the cool part of town. Cross the Arno River and get to Via di Santo Spirito 60r. It’s close to Palazzo Pitti and the Santo Spirito church, but remember you’re over the sightseeing at this point, so those spots can wait for the morning.

Il Santino is snug and tasty. The menu has the best little Tuscan snacks you saved months of your salary to fly here for, so drink up and eat. Don’t fill up too much on prosciutto, cheese or their drool inspired whipped cod because dinner’s up next!


Best restaurants in Florence

Ravioli di lampredotto at Il Magazzino

Time for real Tuscan goodies like tripe and lampredotto. If you didn’t eat lampredotto for lunch, then you really have to order Il Magazzino‘s ravioli di lampredotto! I take all my outta town friends here and make them eat it. I sit back and watch their eyes roll onto the floor.

This unassuming dish is plated with three large perfectly cooked ravioli. The taste is meaty and not as strong in case you fear the lampredotto. You’re here on a journey, so please do not NOT order it!

Il Magazzino is one of the most typical Tuscan restaurant in Florence, so no matter what you get you’ll be set. They prepare the best of what’s in season and have an amazing wine list to perfectly pair with your stomach, I mean lampredotto. Don’t leave without sharing a plate of their best dessert of the day.

The bonus is that it’s located in the most precious piazza in Florence, Piazza della Passera 2/3. There’s a bar, gelateria and two other restaurants in this tiny spot. FYI, Passera is slang for vajayjay ahem vagina.


best gelato in Florence

I know you’re full, but we’re almost done. You’re doing great, just one more bite of creamy, mouth watering, you flew to Italy for this, fresh gelato. Rivareno is one of my absolute favorites! They properly cover the gelato so it remains at the perfect temperature made with nothing but fresh ingredients. It’s about a 5 minute walk from the duomo at Via Borgo degli Albizi 46R, close enough to run back and re-enact this photo!

*For more restaurants save my Foursquare lists!

Have you drooled all over your iPad yet? Good, which restaurants sound the best and what dishes would you love to try in Florence!

Loved this post? Then please share it and pin those pics!

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Rick Zullo January 3, 2014 at 1:52 am

Il Santino looks like it right in my comfort zone! Thanks for all the great suggestions!

Tiana Kai January 3, 2014 at 12:07 pm

It’s the best, plus coolass staff. The restaurant next door, Santo Bevitore (same owners) is one of the top in town…fancier than a typical trattoria, but exquisite menu.

Reply January 3, 2014 at 2:49 am

Ugh, these photos make me miss Florence so much! When I lived there (too many years ago) I literally ate gelato at least once a day, totally worth every calorie.

Tiana Kai January 3, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Haha, I try NOT to eat gelato too often, my American genes don’t fit in my jeans!

Cat of Sunshine and Siestas January 3, 2014 at 9:41 am

I would so humbly add Trattoria da Guido near the central market, too. SO yummy and SO cheap! My boyfriend even had the famous wild boar!

Tiana Kai January 3, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Nice, that’s on via Faenza…a bit touristy street but no doubt good! I will add it to my Foursquare To Do list! Another great one is Mario right across from the Mercato Centrale (San Lorenzo), the best place for lunch and totally packed! But the places I recommended are more Tuscan!

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[…] Eating Major Food Porn in Florence by Tiana Kai – If you are headed to Florence, bring this handy list with you and you will be enjoying some of the best dishes in the city. Get ready to indulge! […]

Becky Padmore January 3, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Ahh I so miss the gelatos think I need to head back to Italy soon! 🙂

Tiana Kai January 3, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Come on over Becky, I’ll take you to the best in town! The hardest part for me is deciding on which flavors!

Peg Fitzpatrick January 3, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Oh my goodness, I love your blog Tiana! Florence is one of my favorite cities in the world.

Tiana Kai January 3, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Grazie Peg! I love to hear how much people love this city. It is so amazing and I honestly have to pinch myself every now and then. Hit me up if you ever visit! I’ll be the one pouring wine and eating cheese. 😉

Silvia January 7, 2014 at 5:18 pm

I love food and I loved food in Florence. I was lucky to have Tiana as my own personal guide to eat, drink and be merry.

Tiana Kai January 8, 2014 at 12:31 am

I ate so well with you too. So glad we made it up to Il Fiesolano. It was great to hear that how much you loved the bistecca fiorentina—made me so happy!

BrowsingItaly January 7, 2014 at 9:29 pm

The next time I’m there, we’ll have to hit all these spots!! I’m so ready to book my train ticket to Florence!!

Tiana Kai January 8, 2014 at 12:31 am

Yes please, would love to see you again…on my turf this time 🙂

Imen McDonnell January 9, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Tiana, this is fantastic! Thanks a million for sharing. So excited for next week! xx

Tiana Kai January 12, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Great Imen! So happy you are coming at the best time, the weather has been gorgeous and less tourists walking around! Enjoy it, keep in touch!

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Jennie April 1, 2014 at 7:29 pm

Great post Tiana! I’m heading to Florence soon and really want to try the bistecca, but I’ll be traveling solo. Is it possible to get a single person portion anywhere? Thanks!

Tiana Kai April 1, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Yes Jennie! You can ask for one serving, especially if you go alone I’m sure they can figure it out for you…if not you should plan on having a 5 hour dinner 😉

Jennie April 3, 2014 at 11:27 pm

haha, good thing I’m a carnivore then 😛

Tiana Kai April 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Haha! Have a great time and let me know how it goes!

Victoria Bradley April 17, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Thanks for the tips Tiana! Does Perseus take dinner reservations and what time do Italians eat dinner?

Tiana Kai April 17, 2014 at 6:38 pm

They do take reservations, I would definitely make one during the weekend. Dinner is about 8 or 9pm until late. They usually have openings at 9.30 if you call late in the afternoon, at least when I’ve called. Lmk if you end up going!

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Raxine Ho July 15, 2014 at 7:40 am

Hey Tiana. Just stumbled across your blog while planning what to do in Florence.

Was wondering if you have and articles or suggestions for those who are travelling alone or on a tighter budget? That would be extremely helpful.


Tiana Kai July 15, 2014 at 2:32 pm

I don’t have a Budget post JUST yet, but the lunch places I mentioned here are the best and cheapest in town. I recommend lunch at Osteria Santo Spirito, really great food at a decent price. Dinner at trattorias. Also, have a picnic! Go to the Sant’Ambrogio market before 2pm and grab some prosciutto, bread and fruit and head to a park. Better than any restaurant!

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Tiana August 6, 2014 at 11:16 pm

Ah, Florence. Boy, do I miss it. I totally tried to get “American breakfast” at The Diner, too. It was terrible haha. My mistake!

P.S. Nice name 🙂

Tiana Kai August 8, 2014 at 12:34 am

NICE name? You mean we have a GREAT name! 😉

Ya, what a shame, but luckily we have a new coffee bar in town that blows The Diner away. It was opened by an Italian and it has a NY kinda vibe to it. In case you’re curious —>

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Ruth December 3, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Tiana, you are absolutely fantastic! My boyfriend and I had our first trip to Florence last week, and I am so happy I found your blog. We basically followed your eating directions for two days and every meal was awesome. Our best meal was Thanksgiving with a bistecca fiorentina at Perseus. Thank you so much!

Tiana Kai December 7, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Awesome!! So happy you enjoyed it all Ruth, nothing like eating well on vacation. There are so many amazing places that it was hard to choose, but thought it was the best Florentines spots to share.

Ileana Bravo January 1, 2015 at 12:33 pm

Ciao Tiana! Like your wit and culinary taste. I’m a Miami girl on holiday in Firenze. Come here often but want to try a couple of your choices– what’s open tonight– Caffe Cibreo, Perseus, or Il Maggazino?

Tiana Kai January 1, 2015 at 6:16 pm

Ciao Ileana! I would Google them all and see, I’m not in town for New Year’s so haven’t looked into who’s open. Have a great time! The good thing is that all those places take reservations.

Ileana Bravo January 1, 2015 at 6:21 pm

Thx Tiana.. Auguri! We’re going to Cibreo tomorrow night.

Tiana Kai January 2, 2015 at 4:15 am

Awesome, have a great time! Check out Pentola dell’Oro too, it’s one of my favorites with a Renaissance-type menu and great wine list.

Ileana Bravo January 4, 2015 at 8:29 pm

Thx for all the recommendations Tiana! Loved Perseus– holy cow; Pentola is a hidden gem; but didn’t like Cibreo– Firenze nouvelle cuisine without passion, sorry. Off to Roma.. A la prossima!

Tiana Kai January 6, 2015 at 9:24 pm

Thanks for letting me know, shame about Cibreo as I’ve always had great experiences there. As for Pentola, no one talks about them and I think they’re amazing. Have fun in Rome!

Vfrois March 14, 2015 at 6:40 am

Hi Tiana

Can you recommend a nice place for dinner with husband for birthday celebration?


Tiana Kai March 14, 2015 at 5:38 pm

Depends on how much you want to spend… You can eat at Portrait Firenze’s Caffe dell’Oro at the Portrait Hotel, Borgo San Jacopo at Lungarno Hotel (both owned by Ferragamo) or you can go to Cibreo (not the caffe). Those are all pricey. For medium of the line price head to Pentola dell’Oro or Cibreo Caffe. The have great desserts for a birthday candle!

ramaiolo April 15, 2015 at 2:11 pm

Firenze, un luogo per mangiare e sognare! (a place to eat and dream)

Tiana Kai April 15, 2015 at 10:57 pm


Laura Hussain May 26, 2015 at 2:59 pm

Loved reading this, thanks Tiana! My husband and I will be in Florence for 2 days in October as part of our honeymoon and we’ll be using your post as our food guide! 🙂

We’re especially excited about Perseus and were wondering how to go about making a reservation? Would you recommend we call them well in advance of arriving seeing as we’re only there for 2 days? Thanks again for a great post!

Tiana Kai May 27, 2015 at 5:02 pm

Yes, call them and reserve a time and day. Happy Honeymooning!! Don’t forget to take a vintage Ape Calessino tour, I wrote about that too

Donna Petrucci Glover June 5, 2015 at 4:37 am

Love your blog!!
I will be in Florence one day (on a cruise). Where can I buy the best, least expensive linens?

Tiana Kai June 7, 2015 at 6:34 pm

Check out La Rinascente in Piazza della Repubblica or see if there are any sales at Frette between the duomo and Piazza San Marco.

Donna Petrucci Glover June 8, 2015 at 12:49 am

Thanks Tiana!

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