Top Florence Restaurants by Neighborhood: Santa Croce

One of the best ways to explore Florence is to pick a street, start walking, and see where the city takes you. When you start your journey behind the bustling Duomo area, you’ll quickly end up in the eclectic and historic Santa Croce neighborhood.

Woman walking her dog in front of a large church in Florence, Italy on a clear day.
Santa Croce’s eponymous basilica. Photo credit: Lorenzo Moschi

Hope you got hungry while doing all that walking, because the few minutes of separation from the larger attractions makes Santa Croce restaurants even more authentic and cozy. Check out our list of our 10 favorite Florence restaurants in Santa Croce.

L’Ortone

L’Ortone straddles that fine line of rustic Tuscan cuisine combined with modern culinary ideas. While modern and stylish inside, L’Ortone is a great place to eat in Florence with your kids as they have a kid’s menu (a rare thing for Italian restaurants!). This Santa Croce restaurant also has plenty of “grown up” dishes to love like handmade fresh pasta.

Pasta dish made with wide, flat noodles and topped with truffle shavings on a table beside a glass of white wine.
Tuscan truffle pasta is one of the standout dishes at L’Ortone. Photo credit: Min Che

Universo Vegano

Vegan eaters, rejoice! Universo Vegano is one of the best vegan restaurants in Florence. Facing Piazza de’ Ciompi, you’ll really get a feel for the energy of the Santa Croce neighborhood while chowing down on vegan bakery treats and burgers.

Vegan burger with guacamole and vegetables
Even diehard carnivores won’t miss the meat in Universo Vegano’s incredible plant-based burgers. Photo credit: Lefteris Kallergis

Cibrèo Trattoria

Cibrèo is a family-owned enterprise, focusing on traditional Tuscan cuisine. And the Cibrèo culinary universe is centered in the Santa Croce neighborhood, complete with a restaurant, café, a Tuscan-Asian fusion spot, a culinary academy, and of course the Cibrèo Trattoria.

We love the affordable menu of simple Tuscan dishes at the trattoria, so try a glass of house red wine with chicken liver paté to start and lampredotto stew for a fully Florentine meal.

Tuscan bread and kale soup in a white bowl
Cibrèo is the place to go for classic Tuscan dishes, like cozy ribollita. Photo credit: Kent Wang

Melaleuca Bakery + Bistrot

The concept of brunch is growing in popularity in Florence, and Melaleuca Bakery + Bistrot (Lungarno delle Grazie, 18) is the place to be. Enjoy your seat in the bright and airy dining room right on the river while you bite into savory avocado toast or a sweet cinnamon bun.

Overhead shot of avocado toast topped with cherry tomatoes and pepitas on a white plate beside two cups of iced coffee slightly out of frame.
Avocado toast may not be the most traditionally Florentine breakfast out there, but it always hits the spot. Photo credit: Anastasiia Rozumna

Baldovino Bistrot

Just behind the Basilica of Santa Croce is Baldovino Bistrot (Via S. Giuseppe, 22R). They say they serve “down home cooking” in their wood-beamed and vaulted ceiling dining room, but their dishes are so much more than that.

You can get Tuscan classics, sure, but they also prepare seafood dishes like tuna tartare, panzanella salad with seafood, and salt cod stewed in white wine. Baldovino Bistro is a great choice for Santa Croce restaurant dining.

Groups of people standing outside a restaurant with the name Baldovino above an awning.
Baldovino is a popular choice among locals and an excellent option in Santa Croce. Photo credit: ohbendorf

Antico Bottaio

A favorite spot of locals, the cozy Antico Bottaio has everything you need for a delicious night out in Florence. The extensive menu is loaded with classic dishes like pappardelle with wild boar ragù and minestrone soup.

If you’re a truffle lover, definitely add this spot to your list of places to visit. The Antico Bottaio truffle menu allows the savory flavors to really shine with pasta and steak dishes all topped with Italian truffle.

Wide pasta noodles with wild boar ragu on a black plate
Pappardelle pasta with wild boar ragu is one of Tuscany’s must-try pasta dishes. Photo credit: Wei-Duan Woo

Il Pizzaiuolo

For old-school, Southern Italian inspired cuisine, Il Pizzaiuolo (Via dei Macci, 113R) has you covered. They bake delicious Neapolitan-style pizza in their wood-fired pizza oven, and also serve other dishes typical of the seaside Campania region like pasta with mussels.

No matter your food order, be sure to check out their wine list, mostly consisting of wines from the Campania region.

Simple salad of cherry tomatoes and burrata cheese.
Fresh seasonal tomatoes topped with incredible burrata from Campania at Il Pizzaiuolo. Photo credit: star5112

Semel Street Food

Save yourself hours of waiting in line at other Santa Croce panini shops when you stop by Semel Street Food (Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti 44/R). Tucked in next to the Sant’Ambrogio market, Semel is a favorite among locals.

The friendly owner serves up gourmet panini on warm bread and filled with local flavors like anchovies with fennel and orange or cheese with pear and truffle. Be sure to ask for a translation so you know what to expect when you bite into your sandwich. Be prepared to be a return customer!

Empireo Rooftop View American Bar

Splurge a little for drinks with a view when you visit Empire Rooftop View American Bar & Pool (Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia, 38). Guests of the Hotel Plaza Lucchesi and locals hang out at the rooftop bar and pool to sip on cocktails and take in the break-taking views of the city. Be sure to make a reservation to enjoy the Empireo experience and live music at this Santa Croce restaurant.

View of the Arno River in Florence from a rooftop bar
The relaxing view of the Arno from Empireo. Photo credit: Sailko

La Carraia

Don’t forget dessert! La Carraia in Santa Croce serves up light and creamy gelato in abundant portions. They also have vegan options and a full list of ingredients and potential allergens by gelato flavor on their website.

Gelato cone being held up in front of a bridge over the river in Florence, Italy
Enjoying La Carraia’s incredible gelato with a view. Photo credit: La Carraia