We all have a hunger to hang out with friends, boost Florence’s flagging economy and enjoy a few leisurely bites of the city’s eclectic restaurant scene this summer. That’s why we came up with Florence Restaurant Weeks, in conjunction with David Bach, the bestselling American financial author who moved to Florence for a “radical sabbatical” and generously purchased advertising space in The Florentine, which he donated to Florence’s businesses during these challenging times.
Gianni Iacovitti is a born restaurateur. His natural bubbliness is one of the main reasons why locals and internationals keep returning to the piazza San Marco institution he’s been running with his family for the last 25 years. “I like to take care of my customers and to give them that Italian feeling. It’s what people expect.” His Abruzzese origins shine through in dishes like cavatelli pasta, roast lamb and meatballs, as does his respect for Florentine tradition and international influences, which see those meatballs served with spaghetti, the way they were centuries ago in southern Italy. Gianni’s caring too: during lockdown, he introduced a random home delivery Thanksgiving feast as comfort food, fish and chips Thursdays and poke Fridays, and wholeheartedly gave out free meals to healthcare workers.
Signature dish: Basil Ravioli filled with Pappa al Pomodoro and served with Burrata di Andria cheese. 10 euro.
Australian-style independent cafe and bakery Melaleuca is much loved among the city’s international community. Located on Lungarno delle Grazie, around the corner from Santa Croce, Chloé and Marco’s airy space has quickly become The Place to Brunch, Lunch and for catered events. Expect quality coffee and relaxed service as the team go the whole hog, smoking their own bacon, hang their own cheese, foraging and fermenting. Bagels, croissants, sourdough breads and cinnamon rolls are found alongside freshly made treats like Portuguese tarts, tahini brownies and passionfruit cheesecake. The summer menu includes Baja fish tacos on hand-pressed tortillas, slow smoked pulled pork, avocado toast and house-made natural sodas.
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Signature dishes: Bacon Benny: house-made sourdough English muffin, maple smoked bacon, eggs, cultured butter, baby spinach, lime hollandaise. 10 euro. Avocado Toast: Melaleuca sourdough, avocado, beetroot labneh, almond dukkah, radish sprouts. 10 euro. Carrot coconut + walnut cake. 5 euro.
One of the most scenic aperitivo settings in Florence with golden views of the Ponte Vecchio, Signorvino is a wine store with a difference. A “cellar with a kitchen” is how the staff like to call it, but the approach is more authentic as the resident food specialists seek out hidden gastronomic gems, striking up friendships among producers all over the country in a quest to find the perfect food and wine pairings. If you’re looking for something to impress or to chill, the Via de’ Bardi store (there are 18 or so Signorvino shops across the peninsula) boasts a medley of labels from big names and little-known Italian wineries. It’s a happening hangout with tastings, masterclasses, lunch and dinner.
Signature dish: Tagliere Imperiale, a curated selection of top Italian cheeses and meats, including Prosciutto di Parma DOP 24 months Leoncini, Mortadella “Favola Gran Riserva” Palmieri Salame Campagnolo “Peveri”, Coppa Piacentina DOP Grossetti, Fiocco di Prosciutto “Culaccina” Salumificio Rossi, pistachio-crumb goat cheese “Cora Formaggi”, Gorgonzola DOP “L’angelo” Baruffardi, Pecorino Toscano DOP Caseificio Maremma, Burrata Pugliese “La golosa di Puglia”, Parmigiano Reggiano DOP 24 months “Caseificio Gennari”, with pickles, preserves, honey, focaccia, and grissini. 35 euro.
Palazzo Tempi – Terrazza Soprarno
The minds behind Palazzo Tempi started elsewhere in 1982 as the popular Pit-Stop in suburban piazza Dalmazia. A few years ago, the restaurant owners made their move to the present-day iconic setting in the triangular piazza Santa Maria Soprarno, with riverside views overlooking the Uffizi. Pull up a contemporary chair in the spacious and sumptuous or book your spot on the shaded terrace, styled Terrazza Soprarno. Fresh pastas are the house specialties, especially the chef’s pici made purely from water and flour, served with sausage and porcini mushrooms from the Mugello and pecorino cheese produced in the Siena countryside. It’s a traditional dish that’s flavorful, nourishing and easy on the stomach.
Signature dish: Chef’s pici with sausage, pecorino, porcini mushrooms and leeks. 12 euro.
Osteria dell’Enoteca offers traditional Italian dishes accompanied by traditional Italian wines in a cozy but refined environment along historic via Romana. In summer of 2017, Chef Nicola Chiappi created this recipe, drawing inspiration from the abundance and variety of tomatoes available during the hotter months. The sauce is a trinity of three different types of tomatoes, each prepared in their own style, bringing different notes to the dish. San Marzano tomatoes are used for the liquid base; Datterini tomatoes are slow cooked into a confit over six hours in the oven; and Cuore di Bue are chopped fresh with onion into a concassè. This dish is all the more special as it is only available at the height of summer when Osteria dell’Enoteca sources the best quality, fresh tomatoes.
Signature dish: Artisanal Spaghetti Pasta with a Sauce of Tomatoes Prepared in Three Ways. 12 euro.
Acqua al 2
Acqua al 2 is all about constancy. After all, the restaurant has been “giving people what they want” for over 40 years in its green-toned premises around the corner from Teatro Verdi and the Bargello. The blueberry steak has raised more than a few Florentine eyebrows over the years. But at the time of the Medici, co-founder Stefano Innocenti insists, sweet fruits matched with meats, roasts and game (think duck and orange). Now a classic, in normal times, people travel from all over the world to taste it; right now, it’s all yours in this theatrical hangout worth exploring.
Signature dish: Filetto al mirtillo, hand-carved filet mignon cooked in a blueberry reduction sauce. 24 euro.
The prettiest of Florence’s newer restaurants in the Sant’Ambrogio area, Nugolo makes for relaxed (and wholesome) dining this summer. Bunches of tomatoes dangle like cotton-wool clouds from the ceiling as excited diners cross the threshold into the garage turned garden-style restaurant along via della Mattonaia. It’s all about the biodiversity for owner Nerina Martinelli, whose family grows 200 or so rare varieties of tomatoes and other vegetables in scenic Settignano. This appetizer showcases the brilliant bounty of nature with a cornucopia of tomatoes, including Dark Galaxy, Bosque Blue, Datterino Marchetti, Perina Gialla, Tigrato Verde, Iceberg Bianco, Evergreen, Nugolo-Brain Voyage, Cuor di Bue and Golden Beef, all drizzled with anchovy sauce and fresh almonds.
Signature dish: Nugolo tomato antipasto with anchovy sauce and fresh almonds. 7 euro.
L’Angolo del Mare
This neighborhood seafood restaurant is the closest you can get to the sea, food-wise, in Florence, although it’s physically by the Fiorentina football stadium. Just 13 dining spots (booking’s a requirement) await seafood connoisseurs who crave the freshness that L’Angolo del Mare serves all week long. Brilliant chef Mirco and trained maître Carmelo explain all, from the tartare appetizers to the salt-baked bream. The wine list is exceptional too. Ordering the Catalan-style crustaceans with crudités reveals the Tuscan quality and Apulian authenticity, simple yet complex in its sublime flavors and extraordinary freshness.
Signature dish: Catalan-style crustaceans with crudités (approx. 80 euro for 2 people)
Sponsored by reader Aimee Maldonado (Houston, TX)
Along picturesque via dell’Orto in the San Frediano neighborhood, talented young Leonardo Lanini follows in the family tradition—his folks have run a butcher’s shop in Florence since 1978. Lanini serves top-quality cooking that shows his fervent love for the finest ingredients and traditional local flavors.
Signature dish: Fiorentina steak (45 euro per kilo)
Florence Restaurant Weeks: address book
Piazza San Marco 7R
FB: @ristoranteaccademiafirenze / IG: @ristoranteaccademiafirenze
Open daily for lunch + dinner
Via Romana 70R
055/2286018 or WhatsApp 366/4526210
FB: @osteriadellenotecafirenze / IG: @osteriadellenoteca
Closed Tuesdays + Wednesdays; open Thursday-Monday for dinner; open for Sunday lunch
Via della Mattonaia 27R
FB: @ilnugolo / IG: @ilnugolo
Open Saturday + Sunday for lunch; Wednesday-Saturday for dinner
Via de’ Bardi 33-37R
FB: @palazzotempifirenze / IG @acquaal2firenze
Open daily for lunch + dinner
Melaleuca Bakery + Bistrot
Lungarno delle Grazie, 18
FB: @MelaleucaFirenze / IG: @melaleuca.florence
Open all day (9am-4pm) Thursday-Sunday
Via de’ Bardi 46-48R
FB: @FirenzeDeiBardi / IG: @signorvino
Open daily 10am-midnight
Ristorante Acqua al 2
Via della Vigna Vecchia 40R
FB: @acquaaldue / IG @acquaal2firenze
Open daily for lunch + dinner
L’Angolo del Mare
Viale Edmondo de Amicis 1R
FB: @langolodelmare / IG: @l_angolo_del_mare
Closed Mondays; open Tuesday-Sunday for lunch + dinner
Via dell’Orto 5R
FB: @LeVolteFirenze / IG: @le_volte
Open for lunch + dinner
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