Here are a few restaurant suggestions in Florence, as well as a few shops and top hotels.
These top stars are for the world of Cibreo, my favorite for sure. The café is the place that I love the most. The Theatre is interesting to say the least and has entertainment in the evenings. The restaurant can be over the top, but unforgettable. The same food can be had in the café in the evenings. Look for Giulio, chef owner Fabio Picchi’s son. Say hi. He spent a month here in Boulder with me when he was 15. He’s an accomplished artist as well who’s art is seen in the cafe and at the new Cibreo in The Helvitia Bristol 5 star Hotel.
Florence is a fun food town, so make sure you get out and explore. The few I have mentioned are surely musts, along with a few well visited shops.
Cibreo Ristorante* Via A del Verrocchio, 118r tel 055 2341100
Alfonso – maitre’d, Christina at the door. To quote chef Fabio Picchi, “quel ristorante molto costoso”. Cibreo is expensive, yet it’s a foodie institution. There are options, but this is a mecca of sorts. The food is good and classic Florentine, yet It’s about the whole experience. The place has a magic element that rests with some places that have been around for a long while and can still hold the note.
Teatro del Sale * Via dei Macci,111r tel 055 2001492
(Theater and Private Club, 7 euro membership required) Fabio Picchi – chef owner. The Teatro is theatre from the minute you walk in the door. The place looks like it’s been there for 200 years. It’s been only 10, but it has an inviting quality of relaxed refinement. Once through the velvet curtains you’ll find a world of food theatre and a stage for entertainment. Its buffet, but fresh dishes are served through a glass window and yelled out to let everyone know what’s coming. It’s a get up and down kind of experience, but one full flavor and delight.
At night after dinner, the kitchen shades descend, the tables disappear and the red velvet chairs are turned around to face the stage. It might be Fabio’s wife Maria Cassi, a comic actress, or music, etc. If it’s Maria, go anyway, even if you are not certain you will understand. You will. She’s a riot. They have a signature Fabio Felt Chef’s Jacket that you might love for lightweight fare.
Café’ Cibreo * Via del Verrocchio tel. 055 2345853
Isidoro is one the best barmen in Florence and for me makes the best cappuccino. Go at different times of the day for various atmospheres. It’s right next to the mercato di Sant’Ambrogio. The world of Cibreo is worth spending some time in. If you want to meet Fabio let me know and I will introduce you, or no doubt you will run into him and if so, tell him you are a friend.
I have spent countless hours in this cafe and at one point, it was the center of the universe for me. Here is a story: http://peggymarkel.blogspot.com/2010/06/usho-bottega-glimpse-into-florentine.html
Trattoria Camillo Via San Jacopo. Quintessential Florentine trattoria
Dalla Lola Via della Chiesa . In the family of Camillo, a young, rustic place full of fun and good food.
Osteria dei Nerli Piazza del Nerli Warm atmosphere. Good food.
Osteria Personale Borgo San Frediano, 167,r 0559331341
Quite nice, modern, lovely staff. Matteo Fontini is dear. Local and fresh.
Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori. Via dei Maggazzini, just off of Piazza Signoria. 055293045
Mario and his son Tomaso run the front of the house, his mom is in the kitchen (dang, can’t remember her name). This is my favorite trattoria by far. It’s tiny, but delicious. You sit at tables with other people and wait to be fed seasonal food from a great cook. Simple and delish. Say hello. Be sure to make a reservation.
Sostanza via del Porcellana 25/r 055 212691
Another great trattoria institution. They cook on wood coal fire and make a fabulous artichoke and spun egg tartine.
Cantinetta Antinori Piazza Antinori tel. 055 292234
Antinori’s wine bar and restaurant. Off Via Tournabuoni. Classic Florentine fare, for classic Florentines. Tignanello by the glass.
Nugolo Via della Mattonaia, 17 055 0944712
A new restaurant founded in 2019. Young chefs doing it right. Home grown.
La Volpe e l’Uva* Piazzale de Rossi tel. 055 2398132
Another favorite. It’s run by the 4 foxes, all more clever than the next. Blackboard wines by the glass and great bruschetta and cheese plates. It’s serious but rustic, tiny but worth it. Only open from 11 until 8 pm.
Go for aperativo. It’s right across the Ponte Vecchio up via Gucciardini, when you hit the first little piazza take a left and it’s three or four doors up on the left. Say hello to Ciro (the young cheerful fox), Emilio (the poet fox) and Ricardo (the more serious fox). Here’s an article I recently wrote: https://peggymarkel.com/poggerino-and-the-florentine-fox-and-grape
Procacci (since 1885) Via Tornabuoni tel: 055 211656
Upscale and elegant. Small and refined. Great quality wine and small plates.
Mannifatura Piazza San Pancrazio. The best cocktail bar in town with a 50’s touch. Great Negroni’s.
Enoteca Bellini Piazza San Pancrazio A wine bar with local flavor, run by Camilla Bellini, a young, hip American Italian from a prestigious wine family.
Il Rossolino Settignano tel. 055 697245
Up above Florence in Settignano – romantic enoteca with good food. Say hello to Damiano. It’s a worthwhile shlep, but better in summer.
After dinner drink
Hotel Lungarno– Lobby (across the Arno. Via San Jacopo) . Sweet. Sophisticated. View of the Arno. Good Scotch. Colonial white and blue, classy. Cozy. Or the rooftop of the Hotel Continentale.
Ditta’ Artigianale . is new for Florence. Francisco Senapo is operating a Seattle style coffee house with single variety coffee with 18 hour cold drip. Wifi friendly. Luckily in my neighborhood on Via dei Neri, 33. It’s just behind the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi.
They now have three new locations. One even located in Sant’Ambrogio giving Cafe Cibreo a run for it’s cappuccino and evening aperitivo. The second in Via Delle Sprone and the third in Piazza Ferrucci.
Reviore Piazza della Signoria
Since 1892. Stand at the bar and have thick hot chocolate with panna. Classic bow-tie service. Pay at the register before you order, then take your ticket to the bar.
Via del Te’ Piazza Ghiberti, 22/23r
if not Cibreo, then, this place is around the corner, cozy and over 200 teas. Right across from mercato San’t Ambrogio. They also serve chai. Maybe too hot for the summer, but great tea selections nevertheless and a great reprieve from the heat of the market.
‘Grom’ Gelato Via delle Oche
It used to be a Slow food ice cream shop. Sustainable ingredients. It tastes so good and so cold! There are a million new gelateria now in Florence. They closed restaurants and opened up gelatarie when the economy was tough. Take your pick, they are everywhere. Supposedly Grom sold, but it’s still good.
Carapina and Caribe is also very good. Caribe sells granita which is great for the summer.
Perché No? And Vivoli are Florentine favorites, especially the Affogato at Vivoli.
Mercato San’t Ambrogio. My favorite outdoor market in the city. It’s near Cibreo and has outdoor vendors as well as indoor. It’s iconic and has been there since the 1800’s
Completely renovated Central Market is a great place to go, even alone. Many food booths to choose from. Great cheeses, pizza, gelato, beer, etc. Located in the San Lorenzo outdoor market where you find the stalls full of leather, scarves, etc.
‘Pegna’ Via dello Studio, 8 tel. 055282701
This is a tiny indoor city market that has everything. Quite gourmet, but has familiar English items as well. (Across from Zecchi, the best art store in town).
A Few Good Shops
Il Torchio Via dei Bardi, 17 tel. 055 2342862
My friend Erin owns this fabulous shop with Florentine paper bound journals, books, etc. Everything is made there in her ‘bottega’. Not in a factory. Lovely. Across the Arno.
Lisa Corti. Next to Cibreo Caffe
Eclectic colorful table linens and home textiles designed by Italian designer Lisa Corti in India. You will die at their table linens and caftans! The ladies are Angela and Paula. Please tell them hello for an extra smile.
Gerard Loft Clothing and shoes.
Madova Gloves Via Gucciardini (on the left just at the start of the street.)
COS Scandinavian design Via Tornaborni
Michele Negri- Via della Rossa and two other locations.
Women’s and men’s clothing- well constructed collections. $$$
Calvani Shoes on via del corso
Great collection of eclectic shoes from various European designers.
Aveda Spa~ Il Contrasto Via Dei Neri.
Aesthetics: Hair, facial, wax, etc.
UB. An eclectic vintage store on via dei Conti, 4r and a bar on Via dei Renai.
Air B and B’s are plentiful if that’s your style, check the app.
J.K Place Firenze
Belmond Villa San Michele (Up near Fiesole)
Hotel Palazzo Guadangni
Hotel Gallery Art
Helvitia and Bristol ~ has the addition of a sister Cibreo Cafe and restaurant. They also have a spa.
I no longer frequent these hotels because I live there and no longer have a favorite. It also depends on your budget. I can attest that these are however, excellent choices.
Un caro saluto,