Hidden Gem Restaurants In Florence Are Waiting For You

These hidden gem restaurants in Florence, Italy are great experiences for travelers looking for traditional Italian food, local ingredients and amazing wines.

hidden gem restaurants in Florence - Ossobuco

Amazing Ossobuco in Florence

Hidden Gem Restaurants In Florence Are The Best

Recommending the ‘Best’ restaurant in Florence is difficult for me. You see the same question posted on Reddit, Facebook and YouTube and I’m starting to believe that asking for the Best restaurant in any given city is the wrong question. Besides the obvious biases and subjectivity of asking someone: “What is the best carbonara spot in Rome?”, would you really feel like you missed something important if you can’t get a reservation? My current thinking is that you should just want to learn how to spot a good restaurant, because there are tons of them across Italy.

The Best Sandwich Shop In Florence

My dislike for the question: ”What is the best…” regarding picking a quality restaurant was reinforced on this trip to Florence. If you look online, you will see people raving about a sandwich shop called All’Antico Vinaio. It was near our hotel and we saw lines hundreds of people deep every day we were there. It is clearly very popular, but we wouldn’t stand in line for an hour regardless of how good the sandwich was. Jump ahead to our return to Rome and we were able to get a couple sandwiches here without much of a wait, and to be totally honest, we didn’t care for them and probably won’t order from them again. This isn’t a criticism of the restaurant because they are obviously doing something right. It is more to the point that tastes are subjective and while they might very well be the best food in Florence and you haven’t been to Florence until you get a sandwich from here (I heard someone claim this), it wasn’t for us.

Top Hidden Gem Restaurants In Florence, Italy

These restaurants have fantastic quality, traditional menus and you don’t need to wait in line for hours to get a takeaway sandwich. You should, however, make a reservation.

Best Florence Restaurant For Lunch – Ristorante del Fagioli

We first went to Ristorante del Fagioli 5 or 6 years ago and it was unplanned and last minute. We showed up right before they closed for lunch, but they took pity on us and couldn’t have been nicer. The meal was fantastic and memorable enough that since that amazing experience we have been looking for an opportunity to return and eat another great meal and that moment arrived for us.

hidden gem restaurants in Florence - Boiled Meat

Delicious Boiled Meat

We made reservations for lunch because we didn’t want to miss our opportunity, and because they aren’t open on the weekends. I have been wanting to try a classic tomato and bread soup, Pappa al Pomodoro, since I made it at home so I could get a sense of how it is supposed to be made, so we ordered a bowl to split. This tomato and bread soup is simple, but they made a delicious soup delicate and subtle with hints of onions and basil. It was a great start to the meal.

Our mains were boiled beef with a green sauce (Magro di Manzo con Salsa Verde) with a side of Tuscan white beans  (Fagioli bianchi Toscani) and Ossobuco alla Fiorentina. This was our first time trying boiled beef and that alone was delicious and more flavorful than we imagined it could be, but it was brought to a new level with the green sauce (salsa verde). The side of white beans rounded out the course, but were expectedly understated, which worked for us.

The Ossobuco is a familiar dish for me, but the Florentine style was new. The tomatoes paired well with the slow-cooked meat, which, although a bit hidden by the sauce, was quite a bit larger than I was expecting. It was tender and delicious.

We got a very simple house red wine that was inexpensive but tasted great and went well with all the traditional dishes we enjoyed. We finished with some espresso, but skipped dessert because we were pretty full. We were so happy that we wanted to return during our three-day trip to Firenze, but this is when we learned they aren’t open on the weekends and we were sad. Next time!

Best Florence Restaurant For Dinner – I’Brindellone

Returning to I’Brindellone was in the back of my mind for a number of years. I first visited this restaurant 5 or 6 years ago on the recommendation of a friend whose family is also full of butchers. He said THIS is the place to try the traditional steak of Florence (Bistecca alla Fiorentina) and he wasn’t wrong. Since my first visit I have been waiting for an opportunity to return and that came recently.

hidden gem restaurants in Florence - Tuscan Bread Soup

Tuscan Bread Soup

We had a big lunch, so I tried to focus only on the Steak. We had Ribollita and Tuscan dumplings for our starting course. The Ribollita, a Tuscan bread soup, was delicious and had smaller chunks of bread and vegetables than other restaurants, which was welcome and made for a better mix of flavors in each spoonful. The waiter helpfully topped it at the table with olive oil and it made for a delicious start to the evening. The Tuscan dumplings were delicious, but admittedly a little hard to describe. Large, crunchy dumplings that seemed like they may have been fried but weren’t oily at all, so I can’t be certain they aren’t baked. I loved the salty flavor, but I saw other people dipping them in some type of sauce, so I’m not certain if I missed something. Either way, a delicious surprise.

The steaks were worth the wait. They were cooked and salted perfectly. Crunchy with the grill flavor on the outside and bloody on the inside. Just that way it was meant to be. Since I was still full from lunch, I got the smaller cut on the helpful waiter’s recommendation, but I feel confident on my next visit the larger cut will be mine. We also had a side of white beans that were stewed in tomato sauce, which may have been the first time for both of us, and something I will need to try at home because they were delicious.

We didn’t get dessert because there was no room left, but we will next time, and there will be a next time!

Hidden Gem Restaurant In Florence – Mangiafuoco Bracerie

Stopping here for lunch was unplanned, which is usually risky in a city as touristy as Florence, but we had a plan. We avoided menus that looked intended for the tourists and we looked for restaurants offering Tuscan classics like Pappa al Pomodoro and Ribollita and our plan worked. Mangiafuoco Bracerie was a great choice that hit all the right notes.

hidden gem restaurants in Florence - Pappa al Pomodoro

Pappa al Pomodoro

We enjoyed our two new favorite Tuscan bread soups, Pappa al Pomodoro with tomatoes and Tuscan bread, and Ribollita, with bread and vegetables. Both were hearty and delicious that were a welcome change from all the meat we ate the day before. I don’t normally like the unsalted bread of Tuscany, but the basket brought to the table was used to mop up every last drop of both soups. We had a side of roasted potatoes and a bottle of house red wine that was inexpensive and delicious.

We didn’t get dessert because we had other plans, but we thoroughly enjoyed the meal and definitely would recommend it for lunch.

More Information On Florence And Beyond

If you enjoyed this post about hidden gem restaurants in Florence, Italy and would like to read more information on traveling around Italy and eating in Rome, check out some of these articles as well:

hidden gem restaurants in florence - roasted potatoes

Roasted Potatoes

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