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Photo: Francesca Fumagalli

Food & Drink

The best restaurants and bars in Florence

If you avoid the tourist traps and go where the locals go, you will have some very exciting wine and food experiences in Florence. And Åsa Johansson, who has been living in Tuscany for the past 18 years, knows exactly where to go.

Drinks with a view

The rooftop bar and pool at the Hotel Plaza Lucchesi has a view over the red tile roofs of Florence and the dark waters of the Arno River. In the middle of it all, the many famous monuments of the city soar up towards the sky like mountain peaks. In other words, the view is incredibly Instagram-friendly. Here, the heels on women’s shoes are higher and the Italian men are dressed in that casual chic way that only they can pull off. The drinks are classic, as are the wines. The service is good, but the romantic views are quite unbeatable. The bar opens at 7.30pm to non-hotel guests, and it’s a good idea to book a table well in advance.

Empireo Rooftop Bar

Lungarno della Zeccha Vecchia 38, Florens

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Closed during the winter

Francesca Fumagalli

Try Italian natural wines

This is a new wine bar that focuses on natural wines. If you’re interested in small wine producers that most people have never heard of, this is the place to go. The young owners work in the wine industry and have opened the bar out of sheer passion for their craft. The wine bar is located on the heavily trafficked Via degli Alfani right behind il Duomo, Florence’s imposing cathedral. Inside the bar, the noise of the cars and scooters outside disappears, replaced by wonderful vintage music played from well-worn vinyl records. An additional bonus is the very knowledgeable and helpful staff.

Vineria Sonora

Via degli Alfani 39R, Florens

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Francesca Fumagalli

Cozy wine bar in central Florence

Il Santino is located in Florence’s Oltrarno district, on the other side of the Arno River and a bit away from the most central and touristy parts of Florence. This wine bar is cozy and small, with bright walls, vaulted ceilings and an antique bar made from dark wood. The bar stools are in high demand and there are a number of small tables that quickly fill up, so get here early if you don’t want to stand. There is an extensive wine list, and the wines are served in combination with exquisite snacks. The bar also has a large selection of Italian beers. The same owner also runs the Il Santo Bevitore restaurant that serves Tuscan food with a modern twist and the S.Forno bakery, which is a source of delicious smells throughout the day. Both are only a stone’s throw away from each other.

Il Santino

Via di Santo Spirito 60, Florens

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Francesca Fumagalli

Florentine fast food for the brave

If you’re feeling really brave, make a stop at the cult-like kiosk on wheels Il Trippaio Sergio e Pier Paolo, which, in a very Italian way, is parked in the middle of the street. It is located just around the corner from the lively Sant Ambrogio food market. They sell the typical Florentine fast food: lampredotto and tripe. Given that this is a cow’s stomach cooked in tomato sauce, celery, onion and chili peppers, it’s not a dish for those with a sensitive digestive system or for vegetarians.

Il Trippaio Sergio e Pier Paolo Pollini

Via De Macci 126, Florens

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Francesca Fumagalli

Enjoy a gourmet panini

When Florentines want to eat a really good panini they go to Da Semel. This is a minimal bottega, no larger than a hole-in-the-wall that is located immediately adjacent to the popular Sant Ambrogio food market. At Da Semel, you eat standing and usually out on the street. Da Semel is a place for real gourmets as they sell freshly baked rolls with surprising fillings such as tortellini or donkey! A glass of red to go with your panini is a must. On the wall next to the entrance hangs a cabinet made from highly patinated wood with small, numbered shelves on which you can place your wine glass so that you don’t lose it.

Da Semel

Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti 44R, Florens

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The coolest bar and the tastiest drinks

Gurdulú is an ambitious restaurant located just behind Piazza Santo Spirito in the Oltrarno district. The décor is sparse and well designed, the guests well dressed and the service excellent. In the summer, you can sit on the cozy courtyard amongst green plants and brick walls that change color as the sun slowly disappears behind the rooftops. But the best thing about Gurdulú is the long, shiny bar that is a popular retreat late in the evening. One of the favorite drinks is the Florence66, which contains pomegranate juice, champagne and Alkermes elixir, a red-colored Florentine liqueur that has been popular ever since the Renaissance.

Gurdulú

Via della Caldaie, 12 rosso, Florens

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Francesca Fumagalli

Classic Florentine food

With a long white beard, Fabio Picchi looks like Santa Claus, but he doesn’t give out presents. However, he does brighten up the lives of Florentines by cooking really good Tuscan food. He is one of the most well-known chefs in Florence and, over the years, has opened several dining venues in the Sant Ambrogio district. He runs the Teatro del Sale theater, where you can eat a buffet before the show begins, and the new Il Cibléo, where Japanese and Tuscan cuisine meet in an imaginative menu. But the favorite is Caffé Cibreó. Freshly-baked croissants and fantastic cappuccino for breakfast, affordable lunches and, in the evening, classic Tuscan cuisine. The decor is elegant but relaxed. The service is perhaps the best in all Florence, so expect to be well looked after.

Caffé Cibréo

Via Andrea del Verrocchio, 5 rosso, Florens

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Francesca Fumagalli

A bookshop and wine bar in the same place

This small and simply furnished locale is not far from the Santa Maria Novella train station. At Todo Modo, you can try interesting wines from the long wine list, work at one of the small wooden tables using the free Wi-Fi offered or eat the dish of the day, which is made using seasonal ingredients. You can also experience theater shows and lectures. But best of all is to go there and have an aperitif before moving on and eating dinner.

Todo Modo

Via dei Fossi, 15 rosso, Florens

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Best pizza in Florence

The celebrated and renowned pizza maker Romualdo Rizzuti has just opened a new restaurant a little way out of central Florence in the southern residential district of La Gavinana. Le Follie di Romualdo, which means “Romualdo's madness”, undoubtedly serves the best Neapolitan-style pizza in Florence, as well as a number of well-cooked pasta dishes and fresh buffalo mozzarella. Try the Napoli gourmet pizza, which is served with a side of anchovies. Combine it with a glass of bubbly, and your evening will be an undoubted success.

Le Follie di Romualdo

Viale Europa 4, Florens

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Last edited: October 9, 2018

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