Restaurants in Florence
Mercato Centrale Firenze was the brainchild of Umberto Montano, who launched the project with Claudio Cardini. It gave Florence back one of its most important locations: the first floor of the covered market in the San Lorenzo neighbourhood.
The market reminded me of Mercato Metropolitano in London which is unsurprising given it is Italian! There was just so much to choose from we had to have a look around before deciding. We stopped off at Il Libro Di Traprizzino for their pizza pockets with a variety of fillings (€4). The meatball one we had was delicious! Next stop was a small stand hailing from Sicily where we had an enormous arancini with ragu sauce (€3.50). They also sold the fantastic cannoli!
Our favourite dish from Mercato Centrale was the homemade gnocchi right near the entrance. It may have been called La Mozzarella Di Bufala. The gnocchi was filled with spinach and ricotta and served with pesto sauce. It was the best gnocchi I have ever tasted and worth every bit of the €12 we paid. You absolutely have to make a trip here – it is open from 8am – midnight so no excuses!
We had read fantastic reviews of Fuoco Matto near our Hotel so had to try it out! It only opens at 7pm but when we arrived at 7:40pm we had to wait until 8.30om for a table which shows how popular the restaurant is! The restaurant is spacious and modern with a small section outside for alfresco dining. We were presented with a small glass of prosecco on arrival followed by focaccia bread with rocket, tomatoes and mozzarella, which were both complimentary.
We opted for the risotto of the day (seafood) and pasta with nduja paste. Both meals were impressive – the risotto had great flavour and texture and the pasta was al dente with the spice from the nduja not overpowering the dish.
To finish the meal we had the most amazing vanilla baked cheesecake. It was literally melt in your mouth delicious! Oh and maybe a couple of shots of limoncello too…
The staff were extremely lovely and had a good joke with us. I absolutely recommend this restaurant – fantastic food, lovely interiors and amazing they give you some complimentary nibbles and fizz! The bill for two including a glass of wine came to very reasonable €50.
Hotel Cellai is situated close to our hotel and right next to Fuoco Matte (see above). If you are waiting for a table there, we absolutely recommend you come here for a cocktail! We were there for Aperitivo time where cocktails were priced at €9. You can get your classic as well as a few signature cocktails. We had a Mojito and a Passoa passionfruit based cocktail which were delightful!
The buffet is limited to tortilla chips, crackers and some bread but the interiors are lovely and cocktails spot on. We were also told by a couple that stayed at the hotel that when the bar is shut they operate a ‘honesty’ bar where you can pour your own drinks and pay!
On our walk from Santa Croce to the viewpoint at Piazza Michelangelo we stopped off for lunch at Cantinetta Allegri Trattoria.It was a small rustic restaurant with both à la carte and a fixed menu offering. The latter started at only €6.50 and €13 for a first and second course with water and coffee!
We opted for the à la carte menu to try some local dishes. We started off with the Bruschetta I’ll Pomodoro (€5) which was a huge portion of four pieces! Only order this if you really fancy it as you are served with complimentary bread anyway.
We had a signature Florence dish of pappardelle with wild boar sauce (€10) and the special pasta of the day with beef and red wine (€9). The portion sizes were huge, the pasta was al dente and perfect and the portions of ragu and beef were extremely generous. We absolutely rated this restaurant for lunch and our waiter was very friendly and spoke good English. The food, a carafe of wine and an espresso came to €40 which was great value.
Our guide, Julia, from our Florence walking tour said we could not leave Florence without trying the infamous Fiorentina steak (unless of course you are a veggie!). After some research, we came across The Cut Steakhouse which had amazing reviews on Trip Advisor. The restaurant is situated in the Oltarno district the other side of the river to the centre. The stripped back modern decor with seats at the bar made it feel cosy and fancy without being pretentious.
We had read a lot about the lovely owner, Lorenzo, and how he was a real draw to the restaurant. From the moment we arrived he was very pleasant and accommodating and clearly very passionate about his business.
We were presented with a glass of Prosecco each followed by an amazing iberico appetizer. He talked us through the different cuts of meats which were in front of us! There were a choice of two Argentinean cuts of steak but we obviously had to choose the Fiorentina steak (€6.50 per 100 grams). The cattle lives wild during summer time, during winter in the stable only eating sugar beet. This type of dairy leads to meat with extreme marbelling, unique favour and great tenderness.
We added delicious chimichurri and Pico de Gallo sauces and spinach (€4 each). After ordering we were also served with a lovely bread bag!Accompanying our meal we had a white and red wine. As I’m not a huge red wine fan, Lorenzo took time in finding a white one that worked well with the steak. He chose Derthona Vignetu Massa which was smoky and worked well with the meat.
When the steak arrived we were amazed at how perfectly cooked it was – crispy on the outside and so tender on the inside. The chimichurri sauce was absolutely delicious and the spinach was perfect, especially as it was not too creamy.
We devoured the meal without feeling too full and uncomfortable! We loved sitting on the bar stalls speaking to other customers and to Lorenzo – it felt like a lovely neighbourhood restaurant. As cliché as this sounds, it certainly is a cut above the rest and one of the best restaurants in Florence we visited!
I normally avoid any restaurant that is near a main square of centre, especially the Duomo! However, I was encouraged to read the good reviews of Mister Pizza so decided to try it out!
We certainly were not disappointed. Mr Pizza prides themselves on high quality ingredients and they personally select suppliers to choose only the best products. From the dough with fine Caputo flour to the stuffing with Torrente tomato sauce, their pizzas are recognized on the palate for the refinement of raw materials The pizzas (a margherita) started at only €6! We had a Salamino: Tomato Mozzarella, Salamino Piccante and Basil (€8) and a Nduja pizza with mushrooms (€9).
They also cater for gluten free diets which their gluten free base! The views of the Duomo from Mister Pizza are fantastic and the food matched. Open all day into the early hours, this is definitely a restaurant in Florence to check out!
Not a restaurant but I had to mention this place! Mad Souls and Spirits cocktail bar is a couple minutes away from The Cut (above). It is an awesome and quirky venue hence the name! As you go in there are random signs and directions on the wall and even the toilet had a few surprises in it…
We sat up on the stools playing cards and chilling out with some cocktails. The menu changes regularly and it the cocktails are priced between €8 and €10. We love their various mottos including “non-alcoholic cocktails not in our bar – you never go to a restaurant without eating, why should you go to a bar without drinking”.
Mad Souls and Spirits is a no-nonsense and fun cocktail bar in the Oltarno district.