14 Best Restaurants in The Oltrarno, Florence

Fuori Porta

$ | San Niccolò Fodor's choice

What is, perhaps, the oldest and best wine bar in Florence serves cured meats and cheeses, as well as daily specials. Crostini and crostoni—grilled breads topped with a mélange of cheeses and meats—are the house specialty, but the verdure sott'olio are divine, too. The lengthy wine list offers great options by the glass and terrific bottles from all over Italy and beyond. All this can be enjoyed at rustic wooden tables and seated outdoors when weather allows.

Il Santino

$ | Santo Spirito Fodor's choice

Though it has only four tables and four small stools at an equally small bar, Il Santino is blessed with a big wine list and superior cheeses, cured meats, and other delicacies. It's the perfect place to have a snack or a light lunch.

Il Santo Bevitore

$ | Santo Spirito Fodor's choice

Florentines and other lovers of good food flock to "The Holy Drinker" for tasty, well-priced dishes. Unpretentious white walls, dark wood furniture, and paper place mats provide the simple decor; start with the exceptional verdure sott'olio (vegetables in oil) or the terrina di fegatini (a creamy chicken-liver spread) before sampling any of the divine pastas. Count yourself lucky if the extraordinary potato gratin, served in compact triangular wedges, is on the menu. The extensive wine list is well priced.

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La Casalinga

$ | Santo Spirito Fodor's choice

Casalinga means "housewife," and this place, which has been around since 1963, has the nostalgic charm of a midcentury kitchen with Tuscan comfort food to match. If you eat ribollita anywhere in Florence, eat it here—it couldn't be more authentic. Paintings clutter the semi-paneled walls, tables are set close together, and the place is usually jammed. The menu is long, portions are plentiful, and service is prompt and friendly. For dessert, the lemon sorbet perfectly caps off the meal.

Le Volpi e l'Uva

$ | Palazzo Pitti Fodor's choice

An oenophile's dream, this spot—whose name translates as "the foxes and the grape" and is based on one of Aesop's fables—is off Piazza Santa Felicita. Here, affable, knowledgeable "volpi" (foxes), pour wines by the glass and serve equally impressive cheeses and bite-size sandwiches.

Piazza de' Rossi 1, Florence, 50125, Italy
055-239–8132
Known For
  • French wines (in addition to Italian)
  • A great cheese selection (including French cheeses)
  • Outdoor seating
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.

Alla Vecchia Bettola

$ | Oltrarno

The name doesn't exactly mean "old dive," but it comes pretty close. The recipes here come from "wise grandmothers" and celebrate Tuscan food in its glorious simplicity—prosciutto is sliced with a knife, grilled meats are tender, service is friendly, and the wine list is well priced and good. This lively trattoria has been around only since 1979, but it feels as if it's been much longer.

Viale Vasco Pratolini, Florence, 50124, Italy
055-224158
Known For
  • Grilled meats
  • Firmly Tuscan menu
  • Just outside the centro storico but worth the taxi ride
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon.

Borgo Antico

$ | Santo Spirito

While you wait for your pizza or other trattoria fare, enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail.

Formaggioteca Terroir

$ | Oltrarno

This little wine bar combines the best of Italian and French cheeses with wine from the same places to create true gustatory pleasure. The list of crostini is creative and offers some unusual pairings (like French Brie with Italian Speck, which is dotted with a spicy tomato chutney). Bottles of wine and artisanal foodstuffs are also available for purchase. All this can be enjoyed while sitting outside.

Gelateria la Carraia

$ | Santo Spirito

Although it's a bit of a haul to get here (it's at the foot of Ponte Carraia, two bridges down from the Ponte Vecchio), you'll be well rewarded for doing so, with standard gelato flavors or creative options such as limone con biscotti (lemon sorbet with cookies).

L'Osteria dell'Enoteca

$$ | Santo Spirito

This innovative, charming place serves up remarkable food. Anyone looking for sublime bistecca fiorentina should stop here: it serves the cut from different places on the planet, so you can sample and decide. The wine list, as befits the love child of a fine enoteca, is divine.

Via Romana 70/r, Florence, 55100, Italy
055-228–6018
Known For
  • Fantastic primi
  • Secondi with dash and fantasy
  • Beyond gracious service
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Tues. No lunch Mon., Wed., and Thurs.

Osteria Antica Mescita San Niccolò

$ | San Niccolò

Always crowded—but always good and inexpensive—this osteria is next to the church of San Niccolò, and, if you sit in the lower part, you'll be in what was once a chapel dating from the 11th century. The subtle but dramatic background nicely complements the food, which is simple Tuscan at its best. The pollo con limone is tasty pieces of chicken in a lemon-scented broth. In winter, try the spezzatino di cinghiale con aromi (wild boar stew with herbs). Reservations are advised.

Pitti Gola

$ | Palazzo Pitti

At Pitti Gola you can order tasty tidbits to accompany your choices from the extensive and impressive wine list. The outdoor seats have a view of Palazzo Pitti.

Quattro Leoni

$$ | Palazzo Pitti

The eclectic staff at this trattoria in a small piazza is an appropriate match for the diverse menu. In winter, you can eat in one of two rooms with high ceilings, and, in summer, you can sit outside and admire the scenery. Traditional Tuscan favorites, such as taglierini con porcini (long, thin, flat pasta with porcini mushrooms), are on the menu, as are less typical dishes such as the earthy cabbage salad with avocado, pine nuts, and drops of olio di tartufo (truffle oil). Reservations are a good idea.

Via dei Vellutini 1/r, Florence, 50125, Italy
055-218562
Known For
  • Funky food combinations
  • Tuscan favorites
  • Outdoor seating on a quaint piazza

Zeb

$$ | Oltrarno

"Zeb" stands for zuppa e bollito (soup and boiled things), but you can't go wrong with anything at this small alimentari (delicatessen). It's home-style Tuscan cuisine at its very best, served in unpretentious, intimate surroundings: there's room for only about 15 guests. Giuseppina and her son, Alberto, insist on cooking what's best that day, reflecting the season's best offerings.

Via San Miniato 2, Florence, 50100, Italy
055-234–2864
Known For
  • Fantastic soup
  • Terrific pasta
  • Lovely wine list
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed Wed. Nov.–Mar.: no dinner Sun.–Tues. Apr.–Oct.: no dinner Sun.