Eat Like a Local in Florence

These friendly, reliable, and supremely delicious restaurants will welcome you as if you were one of the locals who have been in the know for years. Here, the first in our Eat Your Way Across Italy series.


Packed and noisy—because people can't get enough of its bistecca

Via Rosino 2,

Okay, this eatery isn't exactly a secret—you'll likely have to wait for a seat, and you'll be packed in there with plenty of other folks who've heard of this place. Tables are so close together even a New Yorker may yearn for elbow room, and lines can be long. But there's a good explanation for why we keep filling the tables at Mario's. "People put up with it for one good reason: the food," says Minchilli. What to order? "Mario's has one of the best bistecca alla fiorentina's in town."

While you're in the neighborhood, don't miss:

Accademia Gallery (Via Ricasoli, 66). Two words: Michelangelo's "David." And on the same street, drop by...


Gelato you'll dream about

Via Ricasoli, 60,

Ready for some of the best gelato in a gelato-crazed town? Head for the Sicilian gelato shop Carabé after any meal—or when you feel like treating yourself to the ultimate sweet treat between museum visits. "They are at their best playing with Sicily's traditional ingredients, like almonds from Noto and pistachios from Bronte," says Minchilli. One of their specialties is a riff on Neopolitan ricotta cake (pastiera), traditionally made for Easter. Here, the cheesecake concept morphs into a rich, creamy ricotta-based scoop that's studded with chunks of candied orange peel and citron. "They are also very well-known for their granitas—no surprise there!—and many die-hard southern Italians stop by for their breakfast granita made from almonds, black mulberries, or lemons."

While you're in the neighborhood, don't miss:

Stroll south on Via Ricasoli with your gelato and head for the big dome—the iconic church of Santa Maria del Fiore, which, of course, everybody just calls "the Duomo," and its accompanying tower, baptistery, and museum.


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