Florence’s latest crop of chic eateries and trattoria-inspired haunts is reinventing Florentine dining, making it daring and innovative enough to rival the culinary scene in Rome. Indagare contributor Ondine Cohane reports on the latest hotspots igniting Florence’s culinary scene.
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In the trendy neighborhood of Oltrarno (Florence’s equivalent to Paris’s Left Bank), Gurdulu’ is quickly redefining Florentine cuisine. From its decor—which features a long steel bar and Art Deco light fixtures—to its extensive drinks menu, the restaurant is a favorite of locals and visitors. Seasonal specials include fish served with fennel and buckwheat ravioli filled with polenta and braised rabbit. Drop in before dinner for an aperitivo, like a Negroni made with tequila, served with delicious fried cod balls. Read more.
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With all due respect to classics like bistecca alla Fiorentina and pasta, sometimes one longs for lighter fare in Florence. Fishing Lab fills that need with its raw crudo menu, which includes tuna tartare and rockfish nuggets topped with spicy mayo. The tender salmon wrapped in walnut paper and grilled is another highlight. Read more.
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Burro e Acciughe
Italians love anchovies, so it’s unsurprising that the little fish inspired its own restaurant. Burro e Acciughe is also known for its chic design, vintage furniture and handsome wait staff. Read more.
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Bottega di Pasticerria
Florence insiders flock to Bottega for breakfast, when it turns out freshly baked cornetti, and for aperitivos, when it serves an excellent Aperol spritz that pairs beautifully with a meat and cheese plate. With its affordable prices and delicious eats, it’s no wonder this eatery is already a classic. Read more.
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Helmed by rising chef Simone Cipriani and open since late 2016, Essenziale is already exciting Michelin-star buzz. The cuisine consists of Florentine classics with a twist: baccala comes with cacio (pecorino cheese) and pepe (pepper), and the “comfort spaghetti” mixes anchovies, chicken liver and raspberry. The Sunday brunch has become a city favorite, but the sexy space is just as perfect for a romantic tête-à-tête. Read more.
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Having customers write their own orders on a chalkboard may seem a bit precious, but along with this, Gesto offers great food and excellent value. Tuck into perfectly cooked octopus salad with crispy pecorino accompanied by a glass of wine from its well-edited list. Read more.
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Arà è Sud
This fresh-faced Sicilian eatery serves sublime panelle (fried chickpea fritters), an excellent selection of wines from Etna (up-and-coming site of some of Italy’s best vintages) and melt-in-your-mouth cannoli. Add in the affordable prices and fun atmosphere, and it’s easy to understand why it’s a magnet for visiting foodies. Read more.
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With its boho-chic outdoor space (think wooden benches and tea lights), hip bartenders and hampers of artisanal snacks, Santarosa Bistrot has become an aperitivo hotspot. The playful atmosphere and seriously inventive cocktails make it a fun place to begin or end to a night out. Read more.
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The sister of the hugely popular Il Santo Bevitore, this wine and tapas bar has only four tables and a small bar, but regulars and oenophiles still pile in. The impressive menu highlights meat and cheese platters and classic Florentine dishes like pappa al pomodoro. The bar doubles as a gourmet deli selling to-go items. Read more.
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