Italy is a food connoisseur’s nirvana, and Florence, home of the Tuscan trattoria, is one of its key culinary hubs. From intimate family-run restaurants to cosy local favourites and bustling eateries on historic piazzas, follow this guide to the best trattorias in Florence.
A rustic restaurant in the Oltrarno neighbourhood, Trattoria dell’Orto specialises in meat, grilled vegetables and fried foods cooked the Florentine way. A traditional Florentine trattoria through and through, the chefs here use only local products, such as fresh vegetables from nearby farms, cheese and sausages from producers in the Tuscan countryside, and extra virgin olive oil from a mill in San Casciano, just outside of the city. Everything, right down to the pasta, is homemade. Guests can choose to enjoy their meal in the dining room, on the terrace or in the brick cellar-style tavern that moonlights as a wine vault, where many famous Tuscan and Italian wines await tasting.
When visiting a new city, it’s always a good idea to take note of where the locals go. Considered the best trattoria in Florence by many Florentines, Trattoria 13 Gobbi offers authentic Tuscan dining in atmospheric settings. It’s a great place to sample traditional Tuscan dishes, especially since many of these recipes have been passed down through the generations. House specialities include the restaurant’s famous rigatoni in tomato and cheese sauce, and Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a Tuscan steak served on the stump to be shared between two. Enjoy your dinner in the inviting dining room, decorated with displays of bottles from leading Italian vineyards, or in the picturesque ‘winter garden’, a small, welcoming space for up to 40 guests.
Set in the shadow of the Basilica of San Lorenzo, Trattoria Sergio Gozzi offers visitors an escape from the tourist trap of Piazza San Lorenzo. Named after its founder, Sergio Gozzi, the family-run restaurant – which is lovingly known among locals as Da Sergio (meaning Sergio’s Place) – is currently managed by fourth generation Gozzi brothers Alessandro and Andrea. The menu is small yet concise with a selection of authentic Tuscan dishes such as ribollita soup, topini (a local version of gnocchi) and Florentine steak, and signatures such as peposo, a classic peppery beef stew.
Step back in time to ancient Florence at the traditional Trattoria Sostanza. Tucked away on side street near Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, the trattoria has a ‘no-frills’ style (think white tiled walls, hand-written menus and a cash only bar) - but people don’t go here for the décor. The menu, which changes daily, is full of rustic, Tuscan dishes that are cooked simply with quality, local ingredients. It’s particularly well known for its Pollo al Burro (chicken in butter), which is cooked on an ember fire – perhaps not the healthiest option, but incredibly tasty.
L’Brindellone is one of the best places to go if you’re hoping to sample a great Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Tuscan steak). The much-loved dish is a local favourite (like the restaurant that serves it) and while it’s available at most trattorias in Florence, L’Brindellone’s is particularly admired. The small restaurant on Piazza Piattellina also offers a selection of antipasti, perfect with an Italian aperitivo before dinner.
Continue your Italian gastronomic discovery at Irene, a Tuscan bistro at Hotel Savoy that combines local, seasonal produce with classic recipes.
Image credits: Bistecca alla Fiorentina © iStock/GMVozd, Trattoria 13 Gobbi © Trattoria 13 Gobbi, Rigatoni © iStock/MarianVejcik, Peposo © iStock/Geshas