Your cappuccino would like to meet the pirulo, a gooey tartlet filled with rice or ricotta and spiked with chocolate, pistachios or various other yummy things that’s the specialty of this hygge spot with historic cred. (Several staff members came from the now-closed Caffè Giacosa, the birthplace of the Negroni.) All the goodies displayed in its glass pastry counter, including more typical Italian morning fare like cream-filled sfoglie, are baked in the upstairs kitchen, which customers can peek into if they crane their necks.
BTW: Italians often prefer to eat breakfast standing, but you can sit here, too. And unlike many places in town, there’s no extra table charge.
Piazza della Libertà, 6/7/8 Rosso, 50129 Firenze FI, Italy
No offense to its welcoming mid-century modern interior, but no one comes to Santarosa Bistrot hoping to sit inside. The lure of its location, just off the river, is the garden setting — an outdoor living room full of slouchy couches amid colorful blooms and towering trees. Decidedly un-Italian options dominate the breakfast menu (available until noon), including guacamole toast, eggs Benedict and pancakes with maple syrup, which you can wash down with a flat white, cold brew or Earl Gray Supreme.
BTW: Return at night for a different crowd (more people with cocktails than computers) and a seafood-heavy menu.
Santarosa Bistrot, Lungarno di Santa Rosa, 50142 Firenze FI, Italy
Red-and-white checkered tablecloths and mouth-watering Tuscan cuisine make this tucked-away trattoria the Florentine restaurant of dreams. And it’s even better because of always-smiling service and a ridiculously amazing lunch deal: two courses of your choice, served with wine, water and bread — all for under $15. Generous portions of tortiglioni tossed in walnuts and gorgonzola, penne paired with lamb ragù, spicy roast chicken and potatoes — or whatever seasonal dishes emerge from the open kitchen — will leave you stuffed (and ready to return).
BTW: The price also includes “coperto.” Many restaurants tack on this per-person fee (usually around 2 euros), which is essentially a service charge. If it’s on the bill, no need to add a tip.
Acquacotta, Via dei Pilastri, 51, 50121 Firenze FI, Italy
A panino makes for ideal grub on the go, especially if you’re grabbing one from this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bakery. Pick your bread, meat, cheese, veggies and condiments — from a huge board listing the choices — and they’ll build your creation. If the wait is too long, here’s a backup plan: Select a bunch of schiacciatine, which look like palm-size pizzas. They’re oily, salty, completely delicious and come loaded with assorted toppings, including artichokes, potatoes and eggplant.
BTW: Like at many family-run shops in Florence, afternoon business hours can be a bit unpredictable. It’s best to arrive at Panificio Brunori before 3 p.m.
Panificio Brunori, Borgo Pinti, 16, 50121 Firenze FI, Italy
When you need a break from Florentine steak, make a reservation at this chic restaurant-art-bookstore combo. You’ll pass under a ceiling dripping with pieces of fabric on your way into the cozy dining room, lined with both volumes and vino. The all-vegetarian menu — with plentiful vegan choices — is divided into three sections: salads, rice/pasta and dishes made with pane carasau (that’s a kind of crispy flatbread from Sardinia). Can’t decide between the pear carpaccio, potato tortelloni in arugula pesto, or pane carasau with buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes? Choose one from each section for a “piatto unico” sampler.
BTW: Take an after-dinner stroll past the nearby Galileo Museum, where the sundial out front transforms each night into a light display with shining zodiac symbols.
Brac, Via dei Vagellai, 18/R, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
This jewelry box of a wine bar obviously stocks plenty of reds, whites and bubbles — rows of bottles are dramatically lit along three walls. But the reason folks eagerly perch on the stools here is the truffles. Procacci has been a purveyor of luxury fungi since 1885, and it offers surprisingly affordable tastes in the form of its $3 legendary truffle finger sandwiches — fluffy buns slathered with black paste. Opt for a snack, or make it a meal by ordering a variety of sandwiches (other options include brie with pear-ginger jam and smoked salmon with cream cheese and chives), plus a cheese plate.
BTW: Another way to feel fancy without going broke on Florence’s most expensive shopping street is to visit the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum.
Procacci, Via de’ Tornabuoni, 64R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Pint of View
Jonesing for an Italian doppel bock? This craft beer-obsessed gastropub probably has it on one of its dozen taps, along with a selection of other Italian and European brews. A Korean food menu offers some unusual accompaniments, including a codfish burger with apricot-wasabi tartar sauce and homemade mandu dumplings stuffed with Florentine lampredotto (the fourth stomach of a cow). Head into the sleek space during happy hour, every day between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., for discounted prices on beer, cocktails and small plates.
BTW: There’s no sign to prove it, but you’re right next door to Rasputin. The entrance to the “secret” cocktail bar is disguised to look like a chapel.
Pint of View, Borgo Tegolaio, 17, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Gelateria de’ Medici
Of all the innovations to emerge from Renaissance-era Florence, gelato is definitely the tastiest. The dessert was originally invented for Medici family banquets, and this shop — which has another location in the Statuto neighborhood — pays homage to that luxe legacy with crystal chandeliers, gold furnishings and an epic display of nearly 50 flavors. But it’s still less than $3 for an overflowing cone, perhaps with its signature flavor, Crema de’ Medici. Beeline to the back for a more extravagant option: hollowed out pieces of fruit, including pomegranates and pineapples, filled with sorbet.
BTW: The same piazza is home to Kitsch, known for its vast (albeit salty) aperitivo buffet. For more nightlife options, head down Borgo la Croce.
Gelateria de’ Medici, Piazza Cesare Beccaria, 7R, 50121 Firenze FI, Italy