The central city in the fabled Tuscany region, Florence is an excellent destination in which to sample the classics of Italian cuisine. It also may work wonders in replacing that Olive Garden commercial that you undoubtedly have imbedded in your brain, for even though the romantic images of Tuscany may be correct, you'll be woefully under-prepared for the deliciousness and freshness of the cuisine.
The range of foods alone are a sign of Tuscan excellence, all coming from local meat, dairy, and produce that include extra virgin olive oil, tomatoes, ham, prosciutto, artichokes, eggs, fish, and so much more. With all of these ingredients on hand, it's no surprise that Florence has been a center of quality food for many centuries. Typical Florentine foods include pastas (carbonara, spaghetti, lasagna), the Florentine steak (charcoal-grilled), omelets, gnocchi, minestrone soup, and the go-to snack, canapés. But where in Florence can you eat these delicious classics? There are plenty of choices, no matter what district you may find yourself in.
One rule of thumb that stands up well in Florence is if you want authenticity, then you ought to avoid the main tourist areas. These include quite possibly the entire historic city center, like social hubs Piazza del Duomo, Piazza della Repubblica, and Piazza della Signoria. Even then, there are a few great places hidden amongst the Hard Rock Cafes and other obvious tourist grabs, while the city is small enough to get to any of the good trattorias or osterias from the more central areas on foot. Specific places of note that serve delicious and authentic food (and are usually decently priced) include, in no particular order, Ostaria Dei Centopoveri on Via Palazzuolo (great lunch specials), the famous Il Latini on Via dei Palchetti, Trattoria 4 Leoni on Via de'Vellutini (massive Florentine steaks), Golden View Open Bar on Via dei Bardi (great jazz and views of the Ponte Vecchio), and the classy La Giostra on Borgo Pinti. By no means an exhaustive list, these will get you started on your gastronomic travels in Florence. There is also a reputation for desserts in Florence that include pastries, cheesecakes, tiramisu, and more. Grom is the gelateria people talk about, although it is not homemade and comes with a higher price tag due to its central location; if you want authenticity, try Vivoli in Santa Croce or Gelateria La Carraia in Oltrarno.
For further information on cuisine in Florence, look through our neighborhood write-ups or contact other travelers in our embark community.