“Florence and art is something that is part of my life and is part of myself,” Roberto Cavalli said. The famous Italian designer must have included Florentine cuisine in this statement. Its diverse dining options allow Florence, or Firenze, to continue its modern-day Renaissance. Visitors can discover a hidden gem along its narrow streets or dine in former palaces of the famed Medici family.
Nestled on a cozy street near the River Arno is the traditional Buca Mario. Run by the hospitable Pasquetti family since 1886, Buca Mario features a menu of handcrafted pasta — with a showstopping Taglierini al Tartufo — and famous Florentine steaks.
Locale sits in the former historic Concini Palace, which has strong roots in politics during the time of the Medicis. While the cocktail-inclined will wait in line as this bar and restaurant become a late-night hotspot, those who want an incredibly imagined menu are in for a treat. If one has several hours to spare, the multiple-course tasting menu is worth every euro, especially if paired with the skilled bartenders’ cocktail pairings.
The English translation of Senz’Altro is “of course,” and this tiny bistro’s menu is certain to please even the most discerning palate. Rated as the No. 1 restaurant in all of Florence on Trip Advisor, Senz’Altro’s unique take on Mediterranean and Italian fare is not only Instagram-worthy but rich in unique flavors. The entire menu is based upon strict principles of gastronomic research, and the pigeon entrée is not to be missed.
Locals point to the three All’antico Vinaio spots for the best paninis in all of Florence. It’s a short walk from the Ufizzi Gallery, and visitors and Florentines alike queue up to order fresh paninis such as La Dante with Capocollo and truffle crème nestled in fresh bread.
Housed in the first luxury hotel in Florence — now the St. Regis Florence — is Michelin-honored Winter Garden by Caino. With the building originally built in the 15th century, the restaurant and its world-class bar are in what was formerly the winter garden. Now a collaboration of chef Gentian Shehi and two Michelin-starred chef Valeria Piccini, Winter Garden by Caino offers Tuscan cuisine with an inventive flare, including a homemade pasta starter prepared with lamb ragu, apples and coffee and a main of braised beef cheek styled with potatoes, sautéed mushrooms and truffle.