Here’s our guide to Florence’s eight Michelin-starred restaurants: Enoteca Pinchiorri (3 stars); La Leggenda dei Frati (1 star); Il Palagio (1 star); Borgo San Jacopo (1 star); Ora d’Aria (1 star); La Bottega del Buon Caffè (1 star); and two new 1-star restaurants for 2020: Gucci Garden Osteria and Santa Elisabetta.
“For decades Pinchiorri has represented luxury and haute cuisine at the highest level in Italy. The restaurant has a number of dining rooms, including a historic room, which has an almost museum-like feel. Highly attentive service from the legendary owners, Annie and Giorgio, and an excellent menu featuring the best of Tuscan, Italian and international cuisine. The wine list is renowned across the globe.”
Via Ghibellina 87, Florence
Santa Elisabetta – New for 2020
“Thought to date back to Byzantine times, the Torre della Pagliazza has had many uses over the centuries, including housing a women’s prison in the 12C. Today it is home to one of the city’s most famous gourmet restaurants, where the chef from Campania creates fresh, Mediterranean cuisine which is elaborate and imaginative in style.”
In the heart of the historical center of Florence, Santa Elisabetta offers an exquisitely balanced and considered minimalist cuisine. The creative talent of southerner Rocco de Santis is served in the centuries-old Pagliazza Tower, part of Hotel Brunelleschi. Tasting menus start at 149 euro.
piazza Santa Elisabetta 3, Florence
Gucci Garden Osteria – New for 2020
“The cuisine of theatrical chef Massimo Bottura has arrived in Florence, demonstrating an openness to the rest of the world, with influences and reinterpretations of dishes from other countries, as well as Italy and Modena in particular. A visit to the Gucci Garden, an elegant museum on the upper floors dedicated to the famous fashion house, is highly recommended.”
piazza della Signoria 10, 50122 Florence
La Leggenda dei Frati
“Things start well and only get better… Once you have entered the beautiful Villa Bardini not far from Palazzo Vecchio, you are plunged into an elegant and welcoming ambience. This serves as the perfect setting for delicious creative and modern cuisine. There is an additional treat: anyone who dines at the restaurant can also choose to visit the museum accompanied by the restaurant owner who has a set of keys. A truly multi-sensory experience!”
Filippo and Ombretta Saporito craft cuisine as scenic as the views from their modern restaurant up on the hill overlooking Florence. The highest expression of culinary skill never losing sight of simplicity while affording a reworking of Tuscan traditions, focusing on the very best zero-food-mile ingredients (the restaurant has its own vegetable and herb garden, with views of the Duomo!), excellent meat as well as a sensitivity to vegan and vegetarian needs. Villa Bardini as a location is the envy of many, while the restaurant also acts as an art gallery thanks to rotating artworks due to a collaboration with the Galleria Continua in San Gimignano. Tasting menus begin at 95 euro, drinks not included.
Costa San Giorgio 6/a, Florence
Il Palagio, Four Seasons Hotel
“The magnificent decor of one of the most impressive palazzi in Florence has been given a more contemporary feel in this restaurant. It offers delicious and carefully prepared reinterpretations of traditional Italian cuisine.”
Il Palagio, at Florence’s luxurious Four Seasons Hotel, owes its culinary excellence to executive chef Vito Mollica. Mollica stands firm to the belief that fine dining comes from “knowing the man behind the producer”, something that the chef became acquainted with as a young boy, watching his mother cook in the kitchen of their southern Italian home. The style is traditional but innovative, with dishes that are pleasing to the eye and a balm to the taste buds. Pastry chef Domenico Di Clemente ensures a sweet finish to your meal. In the summer Il Palagio opens its garden terrace for alfresco dining. Tasting menus begin at 145 euro per person, wine excluded.
Borgo Pinti 88, Florence
“This restaurant behind the Uffizi comprises a basement room surrounded by walls dating back to Roman times, which is used for evening dining or as a private room, and the main ground – floor dining room which faces the open-view kitchen, allowing a continuous exchange of dialogue between chefs and diners. The cuisine focuses on mainly Tuscan produce served in dishes that blend traditional skill with contemporary style.”
A name with a story, “Hour of Air” refers to the outdoor time in which inmates exercised at the prison beside the restaurant’s previous location. Head chef and co-owner Marco Stabile originally hails from Pontedera in Tuscany and is regarded as one of the region’s rising culinary stars. The restaurant’s à la carte menu presents traditional cuisine with innovative twists. Locally sourced ingredients form the basis of the cuisine: Chianti, truffles, vin santo, chestnuts, cavolo nero. The location is special, too: a stone’s throw from the Uffizi Gallery, the ambience is modern classic with one dining room far from the street and the other in the basement, vaunting sleek white chairs and grey banquettes.
Via dei Georgofili 11R, Florence
La Bottega del Buon Caffè
Situated on the Lungarno, this elegant restaurant with a charming outdoor area and open-view kitchen combines an urban-chic atmosphere with Florentine style. The dishes here focus on top – quality products from various regions and traditions, which are intelligently prepared with creativity, spontaneity and expertise. Excellent wine list with a choice of over 1 000 wines.
The restaurant offers an inspiring “Farm to Plate” experience serving seasonal dishes that each reveal the region’s rich gastronomic culture, while the extensive wine list reserves a few memorable surprises. Ask to try a sample of one of Buon Caffè’s homemade jams, sauces and honey. Designed by renowned international designer, Jeanette Thottrup, the interior seamlessly combines classic and contemporary design. The restaurant overlooks the romantic river Arno and in the summer offers alfresco dining under the splendour of the San Niccolò tower. Tasting menus start at 80 euro at lunchtime.
Lungarno Cellini 69R, Florence
Borgo San Jacopo
“Housed in one of the most charming hotels in the city, this restaurant boasts the same elegant and exclusive style as the hotel itself. Having had experience working in top-quality restaurants, this is a return home for the new chef who creates refined fish and meat dishes from carefully chosen Italian ingredients.”
Looking out over the River Arno, Ristorante Borgo San Jacopo offers guests the ultimate fine dining experience with unforgettable views of the Ponte Vecchio. New chef Claudio Mengoni brings his philosophy of authentic cooking with ingredients, which stand out for their uncompromising creativity and rigour. He melds flavours, colours and forms to create memorable dishes with a distinctive taste. A selection of unmissable dishes from his first menu for Borgo San Jacopo: raw and cooked vegetables with tomato sorbet and fig molasses; milk-fed porchetta with black salsify, port-reduced shallots and Dijon mustard; calamarata pasta with scorpion fish, broccoli and tarragon. Experienced sommelier Salvatore Biscotti is on hand to share his extraordinary knowledge about the wine list consisting of over 900 prestigious labels. Tasting menus start at 150 euro.
Borgo San Jacopo 62R, Florence