Florence is chock full of amazing food. Pizza, pasta, paninis, gelato—the list goes on and on. There are a few staple restaurants and gelato shops that appear on every list of the best Florence restaurants (I'm looking at you, Gusta Pizza). And for good reason! But if you're abroad for a whole semester—or even just a few weeks—the same five menus are going to get really old really fast. So I've compiled a list of my favourite under-the-radar spots to eat in Florence that you probably won't find on a Top Ten list.


I literally don't have enough good things to say about SimBIOsi. We found it completely by accident one night while we were actually en route to a different restaurant (fate, God—call it what you want, but it was meant to be). It's split into two separate restaurants right next to each other: one pizza and one pasta. It's all organic, has a huge menu, and offers tons of vegetarian and even vegan options. Don't forget to take a peek at the dessert menu too!

I recommend: spaghetti pomodoro e basilico (I know it sounds basic, but I promise that this spaghetti pomodoro will rock your world).

Il Vivandiere

Behold, one of the few restaurants in Florence that serves dinner before 7pm! Dinner at Il Vivandiere starts at 6pm, which was a big plus for me after spending a whole day walking around and building up an appetite. All the dishes here are fairly small and quite cheap, so it's a great place to bring a truckload of friends and share a meal family-style.

I recommend: spinach and ricotta dumplings and baked cauliflower cheese.

I Buongustai

While the food here isn't the prettiest to photograph, it's certainly some of the best we had while in Florence. The restaurant has a very home-y feel to it, and the pasta is no different. But the real icing on the cake here is the tiramisu. Life. Changing. For €5, you get a giant slab of the best homemade tiramisu you'll ever taste. They also serve warm ricotta cheesecake which is almost as amazing.

I recommend: penne con broccoli and tiramisu.

Shake Café

Monique Courtney

Shake Café's menu isn't exactly uniquely Italian. It's really not Italian at all. But after stuffing myself full of carbs all day, everyday, I needed some fresh veggies in me. This place is a mecca for health food. They've got salads, sandwiches, wraps, juices, fruit salad, smoothies, and açaí bowls, including tons of vegan and vegetarian menu items. Plus, the menu changes with the seasons, so you know you're always getting the freshest ingredients.

I recommend: raw cacao smoothie with almond milk (it's also amazing with coconut water!).

Trattoria Zà Zà

First thing you should know about this place: it's huge. We set out at 8pm on a Saturday night with a group of nine people and no reservation (yes, I know, we are the worst), and the staff at Trattoria Zá Zá were more than happy to accommodate us. The best part about trattorias (as opposed to ristorantes) is that the food is generally much cheaper. This is a place that tons of locals go to, so we knew it had to be good—and, of course, it was. Amazing, actually. From the moment they brought cheesy bread to our table before the meal, I was smitten. It's located right next to Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station, so it's the perfect place for a feed after a day of travelling.

I recommend: tagliatelle alla crema di tartufo (in English, truffle tagliatelle).

I found that the best places were generally ones we didn't find on Yelp or Pinterest, but were the ones we happened upon while wandering around one of the most gorgeous cities on Earth. I hope you enjoy these spots as much as I did. Buon appetito!