Florence cuisine is rustic, rich and more meat-oriented. The dishes here have extremely simple ingredients, especially cow’s organs are used quite a lot. According to my taste, the food here is a bit salty, but overall it is quite delectable. Almost anyone who mentions Florence immediately thinks of Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine Steak). But besides this one, what other delicious foods do Florence have? Find out with me! So, what to eat in Florence (Florence what to eat)? Let’s check out our suggested 17+ must eat Florence (must eat in Florence), must try food in Florence (best food to try in Florence, Florence must try food, food to try in Florence) including best food in Florence (best food to eat in Florence), famous food in Florence, Florence local food, traditional food in Florence to find out the answer!
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Contrary to what many people think, the definition of Italian cuisine is not uniform but has big differences between more than 20 regions in the boot-shaped country. With the same basic ingredients, each region brings a new and creative dishes with distinctive characteristics. That makes anyone, no matter how many times he has visited Italy, dare not assert that he is a food connoisseur here.
The land that we visit in today’s Italian culinary journey is the capital of Tuscany – One of the Italy’s most beautiful regions, with a list of 17+ must try food in Florence, best food in Florence, famous food in Florence, must eat in Florence, traditional food in Florence that if you miss out on your trip to Florence, you will feel extremely regretful.
What to eat in Florence: Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine Steak)
This is a legendary, famous dish of Florence. The true style of Florentine steak is a large piece of beef with a T-bone shaped, 5-6cm thick and weighing at least 1 pound. Usually one side is fillet, and the other side is tenderloin. The price of steak at the restaurant is therefore also calculated in pounds. The best and most expensive beef is Chianina.
Florentine steak is usually grilled to crispy on the outside and still pink, juicy in the inside. Those who do not eat or do not like raw meat must accept it, because it is true as the saying of Trattoria Mario restaurant: “It is strictly forbidden to ask for well done steak”. When it’s cooked, it’s not a Florence steak!
When I went to Florence to eat steak, I kept hearing the waiter mention that the meat was “frollata” (dry aged). At that time, I didn’t understand what it was, but later found out that this was a technique of “aging” to make the beef more tender. No surprise that the true Florence steak is tender and juicy with little blood, even if the inside is not cooked through!
This dish is made from the meat of the local Chianina beef and will always be served rare. This is where Florence’s bland slices of bread come into play: Make it as a spoon so you can enjoy the gravy pouring from the steak. Bistecca alla Fiorentina is not served with any sauce, but when you taste it, you will realize that this dish does not need any other sauce.
Out of the 2 steakhouses I’ve eaten at in Florence, my favorite is Perseus (Address: Viale Don Giovanni Minzoni, 10/R, 50129 Firenze FI, Italy/Hours: 12–2:30PM, 7–11PM/Sunday: Closed)
What to eat in Florence: Lampredotto
If you love offal dishes, you can’t miss this one. This is a very popular street food of Florence. Lampredotto is cooked from the fourth stomach of cow (beef tripe), usually stewed with water, tomatoes and vegetables. Lampredotto when eaten as a normal meat dish is also delicious, but eating as sandwiches is even more tastier. The meat is tender like melting in the mouth and slightly greasy, combined with a little green sauce and spicy oil to make the taste even more appealing.
The most prominent dish of the culinary style cucina povera (poor cooking) can be found at every restaurant in this city, but the best and most authentic Lampredotto comes from the sidewalk stalls, where lampredotto is served in the form of a sandwich, with two layers of bread dipped in of offal broth with the inside of lampredotto.
Must try food in Florence: Bombolone (doughnut)
It is said that the famous Italian dish Bombolone was actually created in this city of Florence. The pastry is made from soft dough, added sugar to sweeten and fried until golden brown. When the cake is golden, people will roll another layer of sugar outside. You can eat this cake alone or with cream, chocolate or jam.
Must eat Florence: Torta di Ceci (Chickpea Pancake)
This is the name of a type of pancake made from chickpea flour, salt, water and olive oil. People in Florence also call it by another name, Cecina. This dish is popular and is most commonly found in restaurants along the Tyrrhenian coast. In the Livorno region, this snack will be called by another name, which is Cinque e Cinque.
Florence what to eat: Trippa alla fiorentina (Florentine Style Tripe)
It is also an offal dish, but this is another part of the stomach of cow, which in is known as beef tripe. The Florence-style beef trip is simmered with onions, celery, carrots and tomato sauce for 2 hours, and finally sprinkled with parmigiano (parmisan) cheese and it’s ready to eat to the last slice of bread.
Famous food in Florence: Zuppa di fagioli (Florentine Bean Soup)
Tuscans love beans and dishes made from them, so when traveling to Florence, don’t forget to try at least one dish made from cannellini beans. The dish that I recommend you to try is Fagioli all’uccelletto. If you’re a vegetarian and know a bit of Italian, don’t worry, there’s no bird meat in this dish (Italian: uccelli).
This dish consists only of cannellini beans stewed in olive oil and tomatoes, with a little salt, garlic and sage leaves for flavor. Although the Zuppa di fagioli may sound a bit bland, it goes well with the roast meat that is so popular in Tuscan cuisine.
Best food in Florence: Peposo (Tuscan Red Wine Beef Stew)
This dish still has beef as the main ingredient, but it is beef stewed with red wine and pepper. Beef is stewed for many hours, so it is very tender when eaten. Because of stewed with with wine, the dish has a dark black color and a very rich taste. This dish originates from Impruneta, a town near Florence, so the full name of the dish is usually peposo all’imprunetina or peposo alla fornacina.
Best food in Florence: Panzanella (Tuscan-Style Tomato and Bread Salad)
If you happen to be visiting Florence in the summer, please include the local Panzanella salad on your must-try list. It is also a product of Tuscany concept of “Kitchens for the Poor”.
This salad uses the main ingredient of stale bread, soaked in water and squeezed dry, then the chef will add tomatoes, onions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to create this very traditional Florentine dish.
The bread used for Panzanella can be soaked directly in olive oil or Balsamic vinegar or other ingredients such as mozzarella cheese, lime juice or caper nuts can also be added but this is definitely not an option for those locals love the tradition.
Best food to try in Florence: Ribollita (Tuscan Vegetable Soup)
Each season in Italy in general and Tuscany in particular introduces visitors to specialties or different dishes (except for Gelato, you can enjoy it all year round). If the summer specialty of the region is Panzanella, in the winter, the menu of most restaurants in Florence will appear Ribollita (recooked or reheated).
The list of delicacies of Florence cannot be complete without ribollita. This is an stale bread soup cooked with beans, kale, and vegetables, usually eaten in the winter. Called ribollita (recooked) because the dish is cooked several times, first with only the vegetables, then again and with the stale bread, and then a little more stew. The more you recook it, the better it will be for the next day.
Ribollita is also another dish with culinary style cucina povera, because it is made from leftover vegetable soup from a previous meal, and thickened with stale bread. You may be asking yourself how can a dish consisting only of stale bread, kale, carrots, tomatoes and other vegetables make it to this list? But believe me, your trip to Florence in winter will be much warmer and more complete if you enjoy this simple dish.
Best food to eat in Florence: Porchetta (Authentic Italian Pork Roast)
Another extremely famous dish of Italy originating from Florence street food. This dish is made from pork, specifically boneless pork and stuffed with some spices such as garlic, rosemary, sage, mountain dill. The most important spice that makes the flavor and difference for this dish is mountain dill leaves. Regardless of the lack of spices, the mountain dill is definitely not to be missed. After stuffing all the spices into the pork, it will be roasted.
At food kiosks in fairs, festivals or street vendors around the city, you will have the opportunity to enjoy this dish. Of course, it is also in restaurants across Florence.
Must eat in Florence: Necci (Tuscan chestnut flour pancakes)
This dish is a specialty in the mountains of Pistoia and Luca, Garfagnana and Bolognese Apennines. The necci is like an Italian crepe but with a rather different recipe. The pancake will be pressed into a double-sided pan. The inside of necci is usually skim milk cheese or chocolate. Sometimes, thanks to creativity in cooking, the necci filling can also be savory.
Necci includes three main categories divided based on the filling with three different names. Guercio is a necci cooked with a thin pancetta. An inciccaito is a rolled necci filled with sausage or meat. Finally, there’s the baoucio, which is a necci without filling.
Traditional food in Florence: Pappardelle
Cinghiale (wild boar) is a very popular specialty in Florence. This wild animal is so loved that the city built a small fountain in its honor.
When traveling to Florence, you will often encounter menus with pasta dishes served with wild boar sauce written in chalk. Cinghiale, with its stronger flavor than regular pork, may scare off a lot of visitors, but if you get past that first impression, you’re sure to become a loyal fan of this specialty.
In Tuscany, wild boar sauce is often served with pappardelle, a large flat pasta. However, you can sometimes find variations using tagliatelle at local restaurants.
Florence must try food: Pappa al pomodoro (Tuscan Bread and Tomato Soup)
This dish is very rustic and made of extremely simple ingredients: Only stale bread, tomatoes, broth, garlic and basil. Only that much is enough to create a “porridge” of tomato sauce bread with a very savory taste. You can easily find this dish in traditional trattoria (a term refer to an Italian restaurant serving simple food) in Florence. I personally enjoy this dish at agriturismo A Casa di Dona near San Gimignano, cooked by the owner herself, simple but incredibly delicious!
Tagliatelle Funghi Porcini e Tartufo (Pasta with Porcini and Truffles)
Tagliatelle with Porcini and truffles is a dish you’ll find on almost every street in the city of Florence. However, there is an art to striking a balance between the simplicity of this dish and the depth of flavor. Handcrafted tagliatelle is made with locally sourced ingredients to offer a signature dish to the culture and way of life in Florence.
Schiacciata (Traditional Tuscan Flatbread)
Tuscan cuisine is widely known as cucina povera as mentioned above and the bread dishes in Florence are an obvious example of this concept.
The reason I can say so is because in the 12th century Florence did not want to pay a salt tax to the city of Pisa, and since then the whole city has eliminated salt from the ingredients of bread. That’s why the bread in Florence is extremely bland. Because of that, the Schiacciata dish gives visitors a very interesting surprise.
Schiacciata is basically a flatbread drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with granulated salt. However, you can also try this bread with cheese and a bit of bacon salumi for energy for a walk around the city.
If you do not have much time and want to eat quickly, in addition to the lampredotto sandwich above, Florence is also famous for the flatbread schiacciata. Schiacciata is very similar to Rome’s bianca pizza, but a little softer. Usually, the inside of the bread is often sandwiched with cold cuts and cheese. One of the most famous places for schiacciata in Florence is All’Antico Vinaio (Address: Via dei Neri, 65r, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy/Hours: 10AM–10PM), often packed with people waiting in line to buy. But actually you can go to any bakery or alimentari shop and buy it. The price of a schiacciata usually ranges from 4-6 euros a piece.
Cantucci (Italian Almond Cookies)
Florence may not be the right foodie destination for those looking for rich and sweet desserts, because the city’s cuisine favors olive oil over butter. However, don’t let that stop you from stepping into the cute little pasticceria and ordering yourself a bag of Cantucci cookies.
This famous almond cookie is best paired with vin santo (a typical Tuscan sweet wine). Crispy cookie combined with the sweetness of wine make the perfect pairing to end a flavorful meal in Florence.
Your morning cappuccino or evening espresso will be so much better with these crunchy double-baked almond cookies. However, according to me, Cantucci is best when dipped in a glass of Vin Santo – the local dessert wine of Tuscany.
Must eat in Florence: Olive oil
Around the city of Florence there are many olive bushes dating back to 600 years ago, and from these bushes, the most delicious olives are harvested every year. In Tuscany, olive oil is not a luxury, but an indispensable “tonic” in every meal.
Like wine, olive oil has a strong regional flavor. Compared to southern regions, olive oil in Tuscany generally bring a lighter and more delicate flavor. Don’t forget to stop by the shops in Florence and the shop owners will most likely invite you to try this product.
Coccoli Prosciutto e Stracchino (Prosciutto Fried Bread balls & Cheese Spread)
The deep-fried bread balls, stuffed with stracchino cheese and prosciutto as the youngest dish on the list, locals started eating Coccoli as a street snack, and it quickly became one of the most delicious foods in Florence. Although creative minds have created many different versions, the original Prosciutto e Stracchino is a must try food in Florence and best food to eat in Florence!
Best food in Florence: Gelato
Gelato is a typical dish of Italy, not just Tuscany, and this dessert does not receive anything special from the culture of the city of Florence. However, when you visit this central Tuscan city, you will not be able to help but come across each store selling each refrigerator compartment filled with this sweet dessert, drawing a stream of tired tourists to rest.
However, it is advised you not to fall into those gelato parlors, because traditional gelato is usually made in small batches, and certainly does not have bright colors like pink or green.
In addition to above dishes, Florentine pizza is also a must try food in Florence. Pizza makers in Italy have fragrant baking techniques, skillfully make the crust crispy and the cake has a beautiful appearance. There are quite a few delicious pizza shops here, such as: Gustarium, PizzAgnolo, Pizzeria Spera, Il Pizzaiuolo, I’Pizzacchiere…
Florence has many signature delicacies that you should definitely try when visiting here. Don’t forget to order a glass of premium Chianti wine! Sip some famous red wine of the region along with beef dishes is nothing better.
Florence travel blog: Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Florence you can refer to
- Duomo Monumental Complex Direct Access Ticket in Florence with Guided Visit
- Florence Duomo, Baptistery, and Museum Tour
- Small Guided Tour with Fast Track Entry to Duomo and the Secret Terraces
- Florence Duomo Skip-the-Line Tour with Balcony & Dome Access
- Uffizi Gallery Guided Tour with Fast Track Entry
- Accademia Gallery Skip-the-Line Ticket in Florence
- Val d’Orcia Tour from Florence
- Pisa Half Day Tour from Florence
- Florence Bike Tour with Food Tasting Experience
- Florence City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Tour (Open Top) and Leonardo da Vinci Museum Skip-the-Line Ticket
- Tuscany Day Tour with Lunch and Wine Tasting from Florence
- Rome to Florence Day Tour
- Chianti Afternoon Tour from Florence
- Excursion to Pisa through the Tuscan Countryside from Florence
- Florence Dome Tour with Skip-the-Line Ticket + Free Souvenir Old Polaroid Photo
- Florence Accademia Gallery Skip-the-Line Ticket with Tour
Are you looking for more top things to do in Florence: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out here. And Italy guide here.