One of the questions I get most often when people ask me about restaurants in Italy is where can they eat outside? Sometimes, for instance at the beach, it’s a given. Other times, like in Rome, you have to pick and choose where things like trafficked roads need to be factored in. And while everyone wants a nice view, the food has got to be good too, right?
No where is the combination of outdoor tables and good food more difficult to come by than in Florence. Like any touristy city in Italy it’s got its fair share of just plain bad restaurants. But the nature of the city itself – small streets, not a lot of big piazzas – makes outdoor dining a bit of a chimera.
As far as the good eating part goes, I’ve got your back with my app Eat Italy. But I also thought I’d do you the favor (you’re welcome) of pulling together my short list of places to eat and/or drink outside.
A word of warning: I had meant to publish this list 2 months ago, before the real summer heat hit. The list is still valid, but you may want to reconsider dining outside at lunch time this time of year. I mean it’s supposed to be 99f/38c tomorrow!! So for lunch head to the coolest place you can think of, but once the sun goes down (way down) these places should come in handy.
I’ve divided the list into Restaurants and Cafes. I haven’t included full descriptions (for those you’ll have to either download my app Eat Italy or else link through to my blog post where I’ve written about several of these)
Osteria delle Belledonne
I’ve been going to this tiny place ever since I lived in Florence in the 80’s. The outdoor tables are a relatively new addition. I’m not quite sure how they fit them in, but the tiny sidewalk and narrow street holds a half dozen tables.
All’Antico Ristori di Cambi
Traditional Florentine food in the San Frediano neighborhood.
Their courtyard in the Palazzo Tornabuoni is a cool respite in the summer
A great place for wine and nibbles.
Antica Mescita San Niccolo
Traditional Florentine food with a small terrace in the San Niccolo neighborhood.
Currently one of the best restaurants in Florence, they have a darling inner garden.
One of the best views in town in Piazza Signoria also has very good food.
Although I’m one of the few people who don’t love the restaurant Cibreo, I’m totally smitten with their caffe.
I know it’s over priced and touristy, but hey – that view! And the coffee and pastries are always spot on.
There are two outposts of this Florentine caffe and bakery, once on Via dei Servi and the other on Via dei Tosinghi (near the Duomo). They are both excellent places to hang out near the sites, outside, without paying a fortune. Great pastries too!!
Caffeteria delle Oblate
Amazing views from this rooftop bar located on top of a library. Everyone’s favorite once they’ve managed to find it.
Caffe degli Artigiani
It’s mostly locals here,with tables on a small alley off of one of the most darling piazzas in Florence.
There is something about this hispterish place I love. No view to speak of, but this hidden piazza won my heart.
For more information on dining in Florence and Italy download my app, EAT ITALY. EAT ITALY is a free app, and contains guides to Venice, Milan, Rome, Florence and Umbria (and an ever expanding list of regions and cities) available as in-app purchases for both iPhone and iPad
(NOTE: if you bought the previous version of EAT FLORENCE, which I first published in 2011 as a stand alone app, thank you! I hope you enjoyed it, but that version is now officially obsolete and will no longer be updated. If you have it on your device, it will continue to work, more or less, but the content will be outdated. For the new version, and future updates, I invite you to download EAT ITALY. ) (grazie!)