There are rumors that Thomas Brieghel, the 28-year-old Danish chef at this ravishing new hotel outside Siena, may soon have Michelin stars. The genesis of all that buzz: his exquisite tasting menus, with dishes like tortellini with lobster, delicate tuna tartare in 25-year-old balsamic vinegar, and turbot with pumpkin puree and spinach.
We loved: Chocolate fondant with yogurt sorbet and crème anglaise.
Insider tip: Book a room here, since the restaurant is only open to hotel guests.
On a narrow side street in San Frediano, far from Florence’s touristy fray, is this small, charming restaurant. The sophisticated menu features excellent handmade pastas and gnocchi and a lengthy, surprisingly affordable wine list.
We loved: Rabbit in just-harvested olive oil with sun-dried tomatoes; beef cheek in red-wine sauce; yellow-squash lasagna.
Florentine matrons and fashionable couples looking for a fabulous dessert to bring to a dinner party convene at this Art Deco café for delicate pastries like tarts topped with strawberries, raspberries or a mix of wild berries.
We loved: Flaky, cream-filled cornetti (sweet Italian pastries similar to croissants).
Insider tip: Come early for the tarts—they sell out quickly.
Florence Chef Vito Mollica at this new luxury hotel restaurant has wisely recognized that the best Tuscan food is firmly classical rather than nouveau, so his menu is full of traditional favorites like beef fillet with porcini mushrooms. Desserts are more modern, like a chocolate-and-hazelnut cylinder filled with caramel ice cream and topped with espresso zabaglione.
We loved: Maialino (roast suckling pig); red chicory lasagnette with Taleggio cheese.
Insider tip: Since even the humble wines are somewhat overpriced, splurge on Brunello elsewhere.
After elevating mozzarella to cult status with his Obikà cafés, Bulgari executive Silvio Ursini recently launched this new restaurant in the 15th-century Palazzo Tornabuoni. The menu was developed by Rolando Beramendi, who spent 25 years in the restaurant and food-importing business in New York City and San Francisco, and includes only dishes from Tuscany using only Tuscan ingredients, like aged pecorino from Pienza.
We loved: Sliced fennel with aged pecorino.
On a small street near the Arno, notoriously eccentric chef Gianluca Paoli prepares great food, like veal involtini (a roll-up) stuffed with seasonal vegetables and basil meat loaf, for locals willing to follow his wacky rules (no coffee, no credit cards and no steak that isn’t blood-rare).
We loved: Salted cod (served only on Fridays).
Insider tip: : If you want the steak Florentine, tell them when you make your reservation.
This basic, lunch-only trattoria near the San Lorenzo market may not look like much from the outside, but few spots do Florentine classics better—for a fraction of the price of more pretentious, less authentic places. The simple food is best, like local favorite conoglio arrosto (roasted rabbit).
We loved: Tortelli al ragu; pappa al pomodoro (tomato bread soup); calf’s liver.
This old-school trattoria, open since 1869, is always packed with diners seated on its long wood benches, a sight that has earned it the nickname Il Troia (“the trough”). There’s a chance one of those diners might be a visiting celebrity—director Steven Spielberg was spotted recently—making a pilgrimage for the best bistecca alla fiorentina (T-bone porterhouse) in town.
We loved: Bistecca alla fiorentina; roast chicken with white beans.
Insider tip: Book a spot well in advance, since many locals have standing tables.