Florence is blessed with lots of wonderful places to eat, from snacks to full blown meals. As well as restaurants serving delicious, traditional pasta, pizzas and gelato, it also has its own local dishes too. Bistecca alla Fiorentina is a large T-bone steak seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon. Traditionally it was cooked over roasted chestnuts to get a smoky flavour. I watched some being served to tables and they appeared succulent, juicy and enormous! Other dishes enjoyed in Florence include ribollita, a hearty soup made with bread, beans and vegetables. Also, Lampredotto, which is a popular sandwich filling made from a cow’s fourth stomach. All the food I ate while in Tuscany was outstanding. Here are 5 great places to eat in Florence that I can recommend from my solo travels…
1. Cafe Scudieri
Cafe Scudieri is located in a prominent position on Piazza di San Giovanni. In front of the outdoor dining area is imposing Florence Cathedral with its dome. After the sun has set, it is lit up so you can benefit from a spectacular view while dining.
The menu consists mainly of pizzas, pastas and salads. The rich and creamy carbonara I had was outstanding.
2. Move On – Italian Pub & Record Store
Move On also has an outdoor seating area on Piazza di San Giovanni with stunning views of Florence Cathedral.
This friendly restaurant mainly serves pizzas, crostini, salads and burgers. Additionally it has a store selling new and second hand vinyl records.
The generous sized pizza was amazing and reasonably priced at Euros 12. This restaurant was generally a great place to chill out, have a relaxed meal and watch the world go by.
If I had to pick a favourite restaurant from my trip, this would be it. Osteria Antica Mescita San Niccolo is an impressive, non touristy restaurant to come to after marvelling at the views from Piazzale Michelangelo.
At the bottom of the steps leading to Piazza Michelangelo, this gem of a restaurant can be found. It is situated on the corner of Via di San Niccolo. There may be a wait for a table but it is worth it.
The restaurant serves outstanding food including some of the local favourites, tagliolini with fresh truffles, bistecca alla fiorentina, lampredotto and ribollita. The menu was written in Italian without English translations. However, the staff spoke excellent English and were very happy to translate for you. They were extremely knowledgeable about the dishes they served. I chose finocchiona and burrata with toasted bread. Finocchiona is a type of salami flavoured with fennel. Burrata is a cheese made from mozzarella and cream. An additional bag of bread is served with the dish too. The food was delicious and very good value for money costing Euros 10.
4. Caffe Corona
Caffe Corona is a busy cafe situated on Via dei Calzaiuol and after tasting some of the food, you can see why. The staff I spoke to were quite abrupt but since the snacks were being purchased to take away, the service wasn’t a problem.
Food served here includes a selection of mini sandwiches, panini mignon, for Euros 2, tempting pastries for Euros 2.50 and a large selection of delicious ice creams. I can recommend the bignone. Bignones are a type of pastry, rather like choux, filled with a rich vanilla custard. The mint and lemon sorbet I ate from here was the best I have ever tasted.
5. Mercato Centrale – Food Court
Mercato Centrale is a great, casual place to eat in Florence with reasonably priced food. The food court in this undercover market place opened a few years ago. A variety of foods are available and you can watch it being prepared too. Some of the food types you can find here are pizzas, sushi, cheese, Chinese dumplings, bread, chicken and ice creams.
Full solo dining reviews of Osteria Antica Mescita San Niccolo, Move On Italian Pub and Record Store and Cafe Scudieri will follow soon.
Suggested Further Reading:
Hotels in Florence – Links to where I have stayed and enjoyed as a solo traveller
Things to do in Florence – recommended solo activities
Things to do in Florence on a budget – recommended things to do free or under Euro 5
Gallery of Photos in Florence – selection of pictures taken on my solo trip