We’ll just come right out and say it: it feels silly to be talking about the best Italian restaurants in Florence! It reminds us of a video by Italian TikTok creators lionfieldmusic: “Do Italians eat Italian food in Italy?” (If you’re on the app, look them up! They post hilariously wholesome content about Italian culture.)
By definition, wouldn’t any food made in Italy with Italian ingredients be…Italian?
Well, yes and no! Florence is a hugely multicultural city. About one-quarter (around 100,000) of Florence’s population is made up of expats. Chefs and restauranteurs come from all over the world to lay down culinary roots in Florence. If you dig a little deeper, you might find that some popular Italian restaurants in Florence might not actually be that Italian!
Our Rules for the Best Italian Restaurants in Florence
If you’re seeking wholly authentic Italian food in Florence, we got you covered! When compiling this list of our seven best Italian restaurants in Florence, we gave ourselves two simple rules:
- The restaurant must serve Italian cuisine.
- The restaurant must have Italian ownership.
Some preferences include the restaurant having an Italian chef, being family-owned and operated (multiple generations a plus), and restaurants with a long history of operation.
That’s it! With that, let’s get to our list of the seven best Italian restaurants in Florence for an authentic bite you’ll not soon forget.
Our Picks for the Best Italian Restaurants in Florence
You’ll taste the love in every bite at family-owned Trattoria Mario (Via Rosina 2R). Trattoria Mario changes their menu weekly, guaranteeing the freshest local, seasonal ingredients. Eating seasonally is the Italian way, so that’s why Trattoria Mario is the first on our list of the best Italian restaurant in Florence.
Along with seasonal weekly dishes, some evergreen Italian fare you can enjoy every day includes Trattoria Mario’s signature “super” ragù and ribollita. Ever heard of “fish Friday”? Partake in this Catholic tradition with baccalà, stewed salt cod in flavorful tomato sauce.
Related Reading: Curious to try more Italian vino? Stop by our favorite wine bars in Florence!
Gelato was invented in Florence, so we had to mention one of the oldest gelateria in our list! Family-owned for four generations, Vivoli has been serving cold and creamy gelato to hot and hungry patrons since 1930.
Try all the classic Italian flavors like fior di latte, stracciatella, chocolate, and pistachio. You won’t find cones here though! Vivoli only serves their impeccable gelato in cups.
There are few foods as iconically Italian as Neapolitan-style pizza, and the humble pizza chef Giovanni Santarpia is tossing up not just the best pizza in Florence, but some of the best in the entire country. Giovanni Santarpia was ranked number 35 in the 50 Top Pizza list of Italy in 2022.
With a commitment to high-quality raw ingredients and making little else other than pizza, Giovanni Santarpia pizza is sure to dazzle. The soft dough is shaped just so to make a high crust to frame all the toppings, and baked in a wood-fired oven. Pure, simple deliciousness in every single bite.
Osteria Belle Donne
You’ll find Tuscan classics and some wild cards on the menu here. Classics include meaty pappardelle with wild boar ragù and a rack of lamb with truffles. A quirky dish to try is thick pasta with bacon, cabbage, and egg. And if avocados are in season in Italy, you’ll find them on the menu at Osteria Belle Donne as well.
Does this spot look familiar? You may have seen it on episode 5 of the CNN show Stanley Tucci Searching for Italy! Here Stanley had the classic after-dinner combo of crunchy cantucci cookies and Vin Santo wine, another Italian dish you should try when visiting Florence.
Antico Caffè Torino
In their display cases, you’ll find all the sweet treats your heart desires: cornetto and other breakfast pastries, tiny buttery biscotti, cakes, and incredible chocolate millefeuilles.
Insider’s tip: Hungry for more than breakfast? Check out our picks for the best lunch in Florence!
Trattoria la CasaLinga
At Trattoria La Casalinga, you’ll get a taste of the Tuscan countryside. Casalinga is an old-school family-owned restaurant, founded in the 1960s by two friends that left the small-town hills of Chianti Classico to open a restaurant in the big city of Florence.
If you’re looking to eat light, Casalinga might not be the best place for you. They serve hearty pasta dishes, peposo–classic Tuscan beef stew, roasted rabbit with potatoes, roasted pork…our mouths are watering! The reason behind serving substantial dishes is to “help the mouth carry the legs,” as Nello, one of the founders of Trattoria la Casalinga, used to say.
An elegant space with a completely seasonal menu, Ristorante Frescobaldi sits on a corner of Piazza della Signoria and is Italian through and through. The Frescobaldi family is older than Italy itself and one of the most important families in Tuscany, with a winemaking history of over 700 years and 30 generations. Frescobaldi remains an Italian wine giant today, owning 11 estates and distributing their wines to over 65 countries.
But can you get Italian food at this Italian restaurant owned by an Italian family? Of course you can! Get the most out of your experience by trying their well-curated tasting menu. All pasta and bread at Ristorante Frescobaldi are homemade. We recommend pairing your email with some of their fantastic Tuscan wines.
Verity Pryor-Harden is a freelancer of many talents living in the historical Tuscan city of Arezzo while studying Visual Communications in Florence. She’s a sucker for a cold spritz in a piazza on a hot day, enjoys making bizarre wine pairings, and is a Tuscan street food enthusiast. Follow along on Instagram @verityeph.