The city of Florence has a lot of things going for it: One of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world, Renaissance-era masterpieces around every corner, and an undeniable charm that makes its walkable cobblestone streets so inviting. But, when it comes to the thing our team of experts loves most about the Tuscan capital, the answer is clear… it’s the food! Whether you set off during free time or dig in on a foodie walking tour on our Food & Wine: Piedmont & Tuscany with America’s Test Kitchen tour, you’re guaranteed to love everything you try. Every. Single. Thing. “You can walk around and end up anywhere, and it’s gonna be good,” said staffer Marina.
Here are some of the most delicious, authentic, go-back-for-seconds dishes to try on tour in Florence, and some of our team’s favorite restaurants to order them in.
Some of the best food in Florence comes out of the city’s bakeries. No matter where you are in the city, you’re sure to come across a bakery where traditional sweets and breads are whipped up with traditional ingredients in the traditional way—and it’s worth trying them all.
Of all the food in Florence you need to try, bistecca alla fiorentina should be at the top of your list. This bone-in steak—cooked rare!—is made from prized Chianina beef, and is one of the city’s best-known dishes. “You usually don’t think of a large, juicy steak when you think of Italian food but, in Florence, this is the meal to have,” says staffer Gustavo.
What is Florence known for, you ask? The city has a long tradition of “peasant food,” which dates back to when citizens didn’t have ready access to expensive ingredients, and instead had to get creative with the seasonal produce they cultivated from the land.
Today, some of the best Italian food in Florence still highlights the concept of “cucina povera,” or “poor cooking,” and humble ingredients from the surrounding Tuscan countryside shine in simple, flavorful, hearty dishes—including traditional soups like ribollita (a vegetable soup made from chunks of stale bread, cannellini beans, and black cabbage) and papa al pomodoro (a thick soup made by blending tomatoes with stale Tuscan bread, topped with extra virgin olive oil).
Florentines are known to whip up some of the best and most traditional meat-based dishes, and wild boar is one of the quintessential staples. From November through January, you’ll find hunters in the sprawling Tuscan countryside scouring the landscape for these wild pigs. This is a must for two reasons: It helps keep the boar population in check, and makes it possible for restaurants in Florence to serve a traditional ragu that’s sure to warm you up during chillier, off-season trips to Italy.
That’s right, prepare to dig in to one of the world’s most indulgent flavors on tour in Florence: truffles! The forests in Tuscany are full of ‘em, and local chefs take full advantage of their ready access to the prized ingredient. Whether you have black truffles shaved over a pasta dish or enjoy a cream sauce drizzled with truffle-infused olive oil, any Florence food that includes truffle is guaranteed to be great.
When it comes to traditional dishes in Florence, it all goes back to peasant food sourced from the Tuscan countryside. Locals have raised and grown food on the land for centuries, and have found a way to use even the most seemingly unappealing ingredients—including lampredotto and trippa, two different parts of cow stomach. Both are slow cooked with tomatoes, and most often served on crunchy bread at outdoor food stalls. Be brave, traveler, be brave: These are two of the most quintessential foods in Florence, and they’re worth trying at least once!
What do you get in a city known for delicious meats, cheeses, and breads? The perfect bite when you sandwich all those ingredients together! A panini makes for an inexpensive, portable lunch during a day of sightseeing in Florence, and our team knowns just where to get the best.
Okay, so these staples are must-tries no matter where you are in Italy. But, like the rest of the food in Florence, you can taste some of the best in the Tuscan capital! The food scene in the city really is that good.
Save some room after indulging in all of the famous food in Florence, Italy—no visit to the city is complete without having a cone of gelato! The sweet treat was invented here, after all, which makes it a must-try food in Florence.