Unique Restaurants in Florence: 12 Eateries You Won’t Forget in Firenze

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Florence
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In this guide, we’ll take you on a tour of some unique restaurants in Florence. Experience the best of Tuscan cuisine, from classic pasta dishes to innovative gelato creations. Join us on a delicious adventure through Florence’s most unique and memorable dining spots!

Florence! Whisper the name, and instantly, visions of sun-kissed piazzas and Renaissance art fill the mind. And let’s not forget, this Italian gem offers a dining scene as rich as its history. Beyond the Uffizi Gallery and the Duomo, Florence is a haven for food enthusiasts. Picture yourself strolling through narrow, cobbled lanes, each turn presenting a new opportunity to indulge in delicious Tuscan food.

In this city, every restaurant offers a unique glimpse into local flavors and traditions. From the lively atmosphere of Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio to the inviting ambiance of Rivarno Café, Florence is a patchwork of gastronomic delights. Here, dining is an adventure, engaging all your senses.

Get ready for an exploration of Florence’s most unique restaurants. From the famous paninis at All’Antico Vinaio to the lesser-known but equally charming Trattoria Osvaldo, we’re set to uncover the reasons why Florence is a celebrated gem in Italy’s dining landscape. Trust me, you won’t want to miss all of these fun restaurants in Florence!

The top restaurants to visit in Florence right now

Unique Restaurants in Florence

Ready to explore Florence’s tantalizing culinary scene? There’s a delightful array of eateries awaiting you, from luxurious dining experiences to charming, quirky spots. Join me as we discover the best places to eat in Florence.

Are you in the mood for a steak grilled to perfection or perhaps a cozy café serving up authentic Tuscan treats? Florence caters to every taste and preference. Whether you’re seeking a traditional meal or something uniquely Florentine, this city has it all. Here’s your essential guide to the most unique restaurants in Florence. Get set for a dining adventure that’s as unforgettable as the city itself!

1. Rivarno Café

Step into Rivarno Café and step back in time. Right in Florence’s bustling center, a short walk from the iconic Ponte Vecchio, this café is a hidden treasure. Housed in an old pharmacy, it’s a quirky, inviting spot that’s full of character.

Imagine sipping coffee under the watchful gaze of a marble bust, the man who invented glasses. It’s not every day you get to dine in a place brimming with such history! The café’s must-try is the Il Toscano from their Taglieri menu. It’s a flavor-packed journey through Tuscany, right on your plate.

Rivarno Café is a hit among those who stumble upon it, so snagging a table can be a bit of a quest. A tip? Book ahead to secure your spot. Whether you’re fueling up for a day of sightseeing or winding down after, this café is your go-to.

In a city known for its culinary gems, Rivarno Café stands out for its blend of history, charm, and delicious eats. If you’re searching for unique places to eat in Florence, this spot is a top choice.

Rivarno Café is one of the unique restaurants in Florence.
Rivarno Café: a quaint, historic spot near Florence’s Ponte Vecchio, once an old pharmacy, brimming with character.

2. Zio Gigi

Zio Gigi is a true Florentine delight, located just a short walk from the majestic Duomo. This family-owned gem offers an authentic Italian experience, far from the typical tourist trail. It’s a place where the heart of Florence’s culinary tradition beats strong.

At Zio Gigi, the atmosphere is as rich as the food. The owner, an ex-opera singer, often serenades guests with famous Italian songs, adding a unique charm to your meal. The interior is cozy and unpretentious, creating a welcoming space for both locals and visitors.

The menu is a parade of traditional Italian dishes. Their seafood spaghetti is a standout, bursting with fresh flavors in a light garlic and tomato sauce. And let’s not forget the house red wine – an absolute steal and perfect for toasting a day in Florence. For dessert, I recommend trying the homemade tiramisu. It’s delicious!

Zio Gigi is more than just a restaurant. It’s an experience. With its friendly staff, generous portions, and reasonable prices, it’s a top pick for anyone looking for the best places to eat in Florence. It’s a spot where you can savor authentic Italian cuisine while soaking in the local culture.

Zio Gig is a genuine taste of Florence—a family-owned haven steeped in authentic Italian flavors.
Zio Gig is a genuine taste of Florence—a family-owned haven steeped in authentic Italian flavors.

3. La Giostra

Without a doubt, one of the unique restaurants in Florence is La Giostra. This place offers a dining experience that’s a blend of Florentine history and culinary excellence. Situated in Borgo Pinti, it’s a hidden gem in Florence, just a short stroll from the lively streets of central Florence. Established by Prince Dimitri Habsburg-Lorraine and his son, this spot has a royal touch and is a favorite among celebrities.

Enter into La Giostra, and you’re greeted by a warm, fairy-tale ambiance. The restaurant’s charm lies in its intimate setting, with twinkling lights and rustic decor. It’s an ideal spot for a romantic evening or a memorable meal with friends.

The menu showcases traditional Tuscan and Lorraine cuisine, each dish telling a story of flavor and tradition. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Bistecca alla Fiorentina. This is a 1.5kg steak for two people, and it’s incredible! The highlight is the “VIP” table, reminiscent of King Arthur’s round table, offering a unique dining experience.

La Giostra is one of the coolest places to eat in Florence, where history and modern culinary art meet. Perfect for those looking to indulge in a luxurious yet authentic Tuscan meal, La Giostra is a must-visit for a truly special dining experience in Florence.

La Giostra is where Florence's history meets culinary excellence, a royal favorite near the lively heart of the city.
La Giostra is where Florence’s history meets culinary excellence, a royal favorite near the lively heart of the city.

4. Ruth’s Kosher Jewish Restaurant

Ruth’s Kosher Jewish Restaurant is a delightful surprise in Florence’s dining landscape. Located near the main synagogue, it’s a haven for those seeking a unique culinary experience. This kosher vegetarian spot is a fusion of Jewish classics and Mediterranean specialties, which makes it one of the most unique places in Florence to eat.

Inside Ruth’s, you’re greeted by a cozy ambiance. The light-colored wood tables, blue and white striped curtains, and walls adorned with pictures of famous Jewish figures create a welcoming atmosphere. Here, every meal feels like dining with family.

The menu is a standout, featuring dishes like hummus, falafel, and cheese pastries. Each dish is served with homemade pita bread, adding an authentic touch to your meal. Don’t miss their falafel platter. It’s a festival of flavors with generous dollops of hummus and a tzatziki-style yogurt sauce. And for dessert, their cheesecake, following the Italian tradition of using ricotta, is a must-try.

Ruth’s is more than just a restaurant. It’s a culinary adventure. With friendly service, fair prices, and deliciously fresh desserts, it stands out as a hidden gem in Florence. Perfect for those seeking something different in the city’s food scene, Ruth’s offers a delightful and unique dining experience.

Ruth's Kosher Jewish Restaurant: a unique fusion of Jewish and Mediterranean cuisine near Florence's main synagogue.
Ruth’s Kosher Jewish Restaurant: a unique fusion of Jewish and Mediterranean cuisine near Florence’s main synagogue.

5. Trattoria Mario

Ever wondered where to find authentic Florentine cuisine at its best? Trattoria Mario is your answer. Tucked behind Florence’s central food market, this bustling trattoria has been a local legend since 1953. It’s a place where traditional Florentine cooking meets the charm of a family-run eatery.

At Trattoria Mario, expect a lively, even chaotic atmosphere, but that’s part of the fun. The place is always buzzing, filled with a mix of locals and curious travelers. Here, the menu changes daily, handwritten and dictated table-side, showcasing the freshest market finds.

Dishes like ribollita, trippa alla fiorentina, and the iconic bistecca Fiorentina are staples. The food is homemade, simple yet bursting with flavors. It’s a testament to the timeless appeal of Tuscan cooking. And the best part? The prices are incredibly fair, which makes it one of the unique restaurants in Florence for those on a budget.

Trattoria Mario doesn’t take reservations, so arriving early is key. It’s a perfect spot for a hearty lunch, where you can rub elbows with locals and savor genuine Florentine dishes. For a true taste of Florence, Trattoria Mario is a must-visit.

Trattoria Mario has been the quintessential spot for authentic Florentine cuisine since 1953.
Trattoria Mario has been the quintessential spot for authentic Florentine cuisine since 1953.

6. All’Antico Vinaio

Craving a sandwich that’s not just a meal but an experience? I recommend All’Antico Vinaio in Florence. Located on Via dei Neri, this panineria has become a global sensation. It’s the place for the best sandwiches in Florence, hands down.

The queue outside All’Antico Vinaio is a testament to its fame. But trust me, it’s worth the wait. Once you bite into their sandwiches, packed with Tuscan flavors like tartufo, pecorino, and prosciutto crudo, you’ll understand the hype. The freshly baked schiacciata bread is a game-changer.

I suggest trying the ‘Favorita’ – a crowd favorite loaded with sbriciolona (a spicy salami), stracchino cheese, and truffle cream. It’s a flavor explosion in every bite. The shop’s simple yet fun menu, paired with a glass of Tuscan red wine, offers an authentic taste of Florence.

All’Antico Vinaio isn’t just about great sandwiches. It’s about the joy of Italian street food. It’s a must for anyone looking for fun places to eat in Florence. Join the queue, make some friends, and get ready for a sandwich that you’ll dream about long after you’ve left Florence!

All’Antico Vinaio on Via dei Neri is the global sensation for the ultimate sandwich experience.
All’Antico Vinaio on Via dei Neri is the global sensation for the ultimate sandwich experience in Florence.

7. Trattoria Osvaldo

Welcome to Trattoria Osvaldo, where Tuscan flavors come alive in every dish. This charming eatery, nestled at the foot of Settignano’s lush hills, started as a wine shop in the 1960s and has since transformed into a hub of authentic Tuscan cuisine. Believe me, it’s one of the best places to eat in Florence for traditional Italian food.

Here, the Righi family’s passion for traditional cooking shines through. The atmosphere is lively and welcoming, a place where locals, professionals, and celebrities alike gather. The walls, adorned with sketches from various patrons, add a unique and personal touch.

The real star at Trattoria Osvaldo is the homemade pasta. Each plate is a celebration of flavors, crafted with age-old family recipes. It’s like taking a delicious journey back to the roots of Tuscan cooking. The trattoria’s commitment to authentic, simple, and hearty meals makes it a standout destination for food lovers.

For an unforgettable meal, I recommend Trattoria Osvaldo. It’s a place that goes beyond dining. It’s an immersion into the vibrant heart of Tuscan food culture. For an authentic and memorable meal, Trattoria Osvaldo is the place to be.

Trattoria Osvaldo is a Tuscan gem by Settignano's hills, offering authentic Italian cuisine since the '60s.
Trattoria Osvaldo is a Tuscan gem by Settignano’s hills, offering authentic Italian cuisine since the ’60s.

8. Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio

Looking for a taste of authentic Florence? Head over to Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio. This bustling market, a favorite among locals, offers a vibrant slice of Tuscan life right in the heart of the city. You’ll find everything from local produce, artisanal cheeses, and an array of fresh meats and seafood.

At Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio, the air buzzes with the chatter of locals and the clatter of vendors. It’s a lively scene, a place where you can rub shoulders with Florentines doing their daily shopping. The outdoor stalls are a colorful display of the season’s best, while inside, the butchers and fishmongers are masters of their craft.

What makes this market a must-visit? It’s the authentic eateries tucked within. These spots serve up some of the best food in Florence, offering a chance to dine like a local amidst the market’s vibrant energy. It’s a dive into the real Florence.

Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio is a snapshot of Florentine life. For anyone seeking the coolest places to eat in Florence, this market is a treasure. Grab a bite, soak in the atmosphere, and enjoy a slice of daily life in Firenze.

Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio—a bustling hub in the city center, offering fresh produce, cheeses, meats, and seafood.
Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio—a bustling hub in the city center, offering fresh produce, cheeses, meats, and seafood.

9. Procacci

Imagine a place where every bite is a truffle-infused delight. Welcome to Procacci, a legendary deli shop founded in 1885 on the prestigious Via de’ Tornabuoni. Famous for its truffle sandwiches, Procacci is a must-visit for anyone exploring the unique restaurants in Firenze.

Procacci’s charm lies in its centenarian tradition and royal recognition, having been awarded The Royal Arms by King Vittorio Emanuele III. The shop, with its original walnut shelves and Art Nouveau green marble counter, oozes elegance and history.

I recommend trying their truffle cream sandwiches, a true gastronomic joy. Each sandwich is a masterpiece, combining the earthy richness of truffles with the freshness of artisanal bread. It’s a flavor that stays with you, which makes Procacci a memorable stop on your Florence journey.

The shop also offers a selection of excellent wines, perfect for pairing with your sandwich. Despite its sophistication, Procacci maintains a casual vibe. It’s a welcoming spot for a quick lunch or an elegant snack.

Procacci is more than a deli. It’s a piece of Florence’s culinary heritage. For a unique and exquisite taste of the city, Procacci’s truffle sandwiches are an absolute must-try.

Procacci, the iconic 1885 deli on Via de’ Tornabuoni, a truffle paradise revered for its legendary sandwiches.
Procacci, the iconic 1885 deli on Via de’ Tornabuoni, a truffle paradise revered for its legendary sandwiches.

10. Vini E Vecchi Sapori

In the heart of Florence, Vini e Vecchi Sapori is a hidden gem that locals and tourists adore. This cozy restaurant is a burst of classic Tuscan flavors, offering a dining experience that’s both rustic and refined.

Vini e Vecchi Sapori is known for its no-nonsense approach to Italian cuisine. Here, you won’t find pizza or cappuccino. Instead, the focus is on traditional dishes made with local ingredients. The menu changes daily, reflecting the freshest market finds. It’s a place where simplicity shines, and every dish is a celebration of Tuscan culinary traditions.

The atmosphere is as inviting as the food. The staff’s warmth and passion for their work add to the charm of this small, bustling spot. It’s one of the coolest places to eat in Florence, where you can enjoy a meal that feels like a warm embrace from an old friend.

Booking is essential at Vini e Vecchi Sapori, as its popularity is well-deserved. For an authentic taste of Florence, away from the tourist traps, this restaurant is a must-visit. It’s a place where every meal is a reminder of why Italian cooking is loved worldwide.

Vini e Vecchi Sapori blends rustic Tuscan flavors with refined dining in the city's heart.
Vini e Vecchi Sapori blends rustic Tuscan flavors with refined dining in the city’s heart.

11. Sbrino – Gelatificio Contadino

If you’re after the best gelato in Florence, head straight to Sbrino. This charming gelateria is a paradise for anyone with a sweet tooth, offering flavors that are as authentic as they are delicious.

Sbrino stands out for its commitment to using fresh, local ingredients. Each scoop is a burst of pure, natural flavors, crafted with care and passion. From classic favorites to innovative creations, the range of choices is a testament to the gelateria’s creativity and love for gelato. I highly recommend the pear sorbet, which is brilliantly refreshing on a hot day in Firenze.

The atmosphere in Sbrino is as delightful as its gelato. It’s a cozy spot, perfect for enjoying a refreshing break on a sunny Florence day. The staff’s friendly smiles and the inviting ambiance make every visit a joy. What’s more, the gelato here is surprisingly affordable.

For a truly unique Florence experience, Sbrino is a must-visit. It’s one of those rare places where every lick of gelato feels like a journey through the sweetest parts of Tuscany. Don’t just take my word for it – try it and let the flavors speak for themselves!

For Florence's best gelato, visit Sbrino—a sweet-tooth paradise with authentic, delicious flavors that delight.
For Florence’s best gelato, visit Sbrino—a sweet-tooth paradise with authentic, delicious flavors that delight.

12. Ristorante Greco Mame

Situated in the vibrant Oltrarno area of Florence, there’s a unique restaurant that’s perfect for Greek cuisine lovers. Ristorante Greco Mame is a family-run spot where the humble pita and gyros are transformed into a feast for the senses. It’s a place where Mediterranean flavors meet the heart of Florence.

This quaint eatery is all about authentic Greek dishes, served up with a generous side of hospitality. The gyros here are a must-try, packed with succulent meats, fresh veggies, and tangy sauces, all wrapped in a perfectly grilled pita. It’s a flavor-packed journey to Greece, right in the middle of Florence.

Ristorante Greco Mame is known for its affordable prices, which makes it a top pick for budget-conscious travelers looking for a delicious meal. The casual, friendly atmosphere adds to the charm.

For those exploring the Oltrarno and in search of cheap eats in Florence, Ristorante Greco Mame is a delightful discovery. Here, every bite is a reminder of the simple joy of good food and good company. Don’t miss out on this little slice of Greece in Florence!

Ristorante Greco Mame is one of the unique restaurants in Florence.
Ristorante Greco Mame: a family-run gem, where Greek cuisine turns humble pita and gyros into a sensory feast.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Unique Restaurants in Florence

Searching for more information to help you decide where to eat in Florence? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about Florence’s best restaurants.

What food is Florence famous for?

Florence is renowned for its rich, hearty cuisine. The star is undoubtedly the Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a thick, succulent T-bone steak grilled over chestnut embers. Don’t miss trying Ribollita, a robust vegetable and bread soup, perfect for colder days. For dessert, Cantucci con Vin Santo, almond biscuits dipped in sweet wine, is a delightful treat amidst the array of activities in Italy.

What time do locals eat dinner in Florence?

Locals in Florence typically dine later than what many visitors might be used to. Dinner usually starts around 8 PM, sometimes even later. I recommend embracing this local custom. It’s a great way to soak in the city’s evening atmosphere.

What is a typical breakfast in Firenze?

A typical Florentine breakfast is simple yet satisfying. It often includes a cappuccino paired with a pastry, like a cornetto (Italian croissant) or a sfoglia (puff pastry). For an authentic experience, grab your breakfast at a local café and enjoy it standing at the bar, just like the locals do.

Freshly baked Italian croissants, known as a "cornetto"
Freshly baked Italian croissants, known as a “cornetto”

Is there a famous pasta dish in Florence?

Yes, Pappardelle al Cinghiale, wide ribbon-like pasta served with a rich wild boar sauce, is a famous pasta dish in Florence. It’s hearty, flavorful, and embodies the essence of Tuscan cuisine. Definitely give it a try when you’re in the city.

Where is the best place for sandwiches in Florence?

For the best sandwiches, head to All’Antico Vinaio. Their paninis, stuffed with local ingredients like prosciutto, pecorino cheese, and truffle cream, are legendary. Be prepared for a queue, but it’s absolutely worth the wait. My personal favorite is the ‘Favorita’ – it’s a flavor explosion at this beautiful spot in Italy!

The top restaurants in Florence for all types of travelers
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