The city of Florence has a legendary heritage of culinary excellence, with a wide range of unique regional specialties as well as all the national favorites on the menu. And while everyone who visits Florence should certainly experience a gourmet meal in a grand fine-dining restaurant, you can also enjoy some of the best food in the city for an extremely reasonable price. From traditional trattorias to no-frills modern eateries, from market stalls to family-run restaurants and hidden gems in the city’s backstreets, some of the finest food in Florence is surprisingly cheap.
However, it does take some local knowledge to root out the places where you can eat amazing food at prices that are so low it might even leave you feeling a little bit guilty when you receive the bill!
This charming osteria serves authentic Florentine cuisine in a timelessly rustic setting. With wooden tables and shelves of Tuscan wine on the walls, the menu includes classics such as homemade tagliatelle with delicious fresh porcini mushrooms or, if you prefer, a wild boar sauce.
There’s a great selection of vegetarian food as well as Mediterranean-style dishes, although the menu mainly consists of Tuscan favorites such as locally sourced beef and pasta dishes. Prices are extremely reasonable and you can have a meal and glass of wine for as little as 10 to 20 Euros per person.
This lovely, romantic restaurant offers some of the top Indian cuisine in Florence at prices that are more than fair. As well as all the leading Indian staples, the restaurant also has a huge range of vegetarian options on the menu making it ideal for non-meat eaters. Particularly specializing in Chettinadu cuisine, a delicious style of Indian food that includes a selection of fish and meat dishes with tamarind and roasted spices.
Hugely popular with students, backpackers and young professionals, the Indian Palace is perfect for a low-cost evening meal with a beer in a laid-back and friendly atmosphere.
With beautiful home-cooked food and huge portions, the Trattoria la Casalinga is a charming Tuscan restaurant that gives customers a taste of authentic Florentine cuisine at an excellent price, with the average meal costing less than 20 Euros per head. Located in Oltrana, it’s open for lunch and dinner and is a favorite among local Florentines and savvy Expats, although it’s too often overlooked by tourists.
Some of the highlights on the menu include the Minestra soup, the Trippa alla Fiorentina, the Peposa red wine beef stew, and the Baccalà salted cod served with tomatoes and fresh basil. A flawless spot for a relaxed family get-together or an affordable romantic dinner for two, Trattoria la Casalinga is undoubtedly one of Florence’s best-kept secrets.
Situated in a tiny alleyway, just a stone’s throw from the busy Piazza Santa Croce, Da Vinattieri is a Florentine nook where you grab some fantastic food for under 10 Euros. You can either take the food away to eat in a nearby piazza or sit on one of the stools beside the hole-in-wall bar. Da Vinattieri opens early and serves Tuscan breads fresh out of the oven with fillings such as salami, gorgonzola and artichokes.
As the day progresses Da Vinattieri serves street-style snacks such as Schiacciata as well as heartwarming soups and super-filling stews. If you’re looking for a genuine slice of Tuscan history and some tasty street food at an incredibly affordable price, then look no further than the tiny Da Vinattieri’s counter just off the Piazza Santa Croce.
Founded more than 50 years ago by the Buccione family, Trattoria Sabatino is a delightful restaurant in the Santo Spirito district that serves Tuscan cuisine for around 15 Euros per person. The Italiano-style decor of the trattoria, with a white-tiled bar, red-checked tablecloths and black wooden beams, gives Sabatino an old-school feel that matches the genuine Tuscan food on the menu.
Among the mouth-watering selection of Tuscan classics, the roast guinea fowl and the tortellini with a thick ragu sauce really stand out, while the Osso Buco veal shank is definitely worth every penny. The dynamic menu includes seasonal daily specials so there’s always something new to try at Sabatino.
Located in the bustling Mercato Centrale, Nerbone is one of the many bars, food stands and small restaurants that serve food to the crowds of shoppers. However, even amongst the wide range of choices in the market, Nerbone is probably the most famous place to grab a bite to eat. First opening its doors in 1872, Nerbone is an iconic symbol of the market’s heritage and serves a magnificent range of traditional dishes. Some of the best dishes on the menu include bowls of homemade risotto as well as succulent ox tongue, tripe braised with beans, bruschetta with fresh chicken liver pate and Pappa al Pomodoro.
If you’re looking for a gourmet panini with a glass of wine or a light snack at lunch, Casa del Vino, off St Lorenzo street market, has got you covered. The small wine bar has a superb selection of Tuscan vintages on offer as well as tasty salads, hams, local cheeses, anchovies, sardines and even whole roast pigs on a marble slab, ready to be cut up for a delicious porchetta sandwich.
A real favorite among local Florentines, the Casa del Vino is always busy and although most people eat at the counter you can also squeeze onto one of the street-side benches. With an average meal, including a glass of wine, costing around 10 Euros, Casa del Vino is the quintessential Florentine eatery for a low-cost lunch.
One of the smartest ways to get a cheap meal in Florence is to dine at one of the APICIUS International School of Hospitality’s restaurants! Up-and-coming, student chefs are trained to cook world-class cuisine and they serve their creations at the school’s public cafe, Fedora, and its fine dining restaurant, the Ganzo.
The talented young chefs make delightful pastries and savory snacks for the Fedora public cafe while at the Ganzo restaurant, you can enjoy a gourmet 3-course meal and wine for under 40 Euros. This is definitely one of the easiest ways to eat for cheap in Florence, and while this is widely known among the local Florentines, it’s a trick that most Expats and tourists are completely unaware of!
Circo-lo Il Teatro del Sale is a one-off, low-cost members-only restaurant, and entertainment venue with a small 5 Euro joining fee. Open from Tuesday to Saturday each week, Circo-lo Il Teatro del Sale serves a fantastic buffet of Tuscan food and wine each night that is followed by a huge variety of live music shows and performances.
Each night the huge buffet is laid out while the chefs pass new dishes from the kitchen to top up the feast. Guests line up to get served from more than 10 different dishes in the buffet before sitting down to enjoy their meal with wine as the live entertainment gets started. The average price for a meal, once you’re a member, is under 20 Euros per head, making Il Teatro del Sale one of the best culinary experiences in Florence for anyone on a budget.
Serving food to hungry Florentines for over 50 years, Trattoria da Mario is situated just behind the Mercato Centrale. It’s surrounded by numerous other restaurants, bars and pizzerias, but it really is a cut above the rest. Famous in the area, the legendary trattoria is family-run and serves a superb lunch each day, creating a seasonal menu that reflects the organic produce of Tuscany.
Some of the regular features on the menu include the traditional Ribollita vegetable soup, boiled beef with a parsley sauce and the huge portions of Bistecca Fiorentina. The prices are very reasonable in the Trattoria da Mario and you can get an amazing lunch for less than 20 Euros per person.
Florence Has Plenty Of Affordable Restaurants.
Florence is famous for being home to some of the finest, upmarket restaurants in Italy but it also boasts an exciting range of trattorias, hole-in-the-wall bars, student chef restaurants and lively entertainment venues. This means that even if you’re on a really tight budget in Florence, you can still experience and enjoy superb Tuscan food and warm hospitality without breaking the bank.