While the protagonist of Santa Croce is its stunning Franciscan basilica, there are numerous culinary gems scattered around the quarter, demanding attention. With fresh, high quality ingredients on offer at the nearby Sant’Ambrogio market and a wealth of historical architecture as a backdrop, this neighborhood has all the tools to be a culinary paradise. The following list explores some of the area’s top restaurants.
The name Finisterrae derives from the Latin phrase ‘finis terrae’ meaning ‘the edge of the earth’ and traditionally referred to the Strait of Gibraltar. This stylish establishment, located in the Piazza Santa Croce, is an homage to the vibrant and varied culture and cuisine of Mediterranean countries. The chilled atmosphere conjures up a sense of voyage as diners explore the flavors of the Mediterranean. With an impressive list of gourmet pizzas at affordable prices, Finisterrae is not one to be missed. Address: Piazza Santa Croce, 12, Florence, Italy, +39 055 263 8675
La Giostra interior and wine collection | Courtesy La Giostra
La Giostra was founded by Dimitri Kunz, a prince of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine with a passion for gastronomy. The restaurant’s motto ‘In Food We Trust’ conveys the spirit which is fostered there. As the business is passed from generation to generation within this noble family, the culinary magic is not lost but is shared with the growing number of patrons. An impressive display of wine bottles lines the walls becoming a key feature of the decor, transmitting the sense of reverence that the family holds for high quality food and drink.
For creative pizzas fired in a wood oven, head to I Ghibellini. Palazzo Corbizzi, a sterling example of traditional Florentine architecture which dates back to the 14th century, is the ideal location for this authentic family-run business. The pizza menu is updated regularly, reflecting the establishment’s proactive and innovative attitude towards traditional gastronomy. If you’ve had your fill of pizza, try the local dish, ribolita, a bread soup that will not disappoint. The numerous dining halls feature diverse atmospheres and decor to cater for all occasions and tastes. Address: Piazza San Pier Maggiore, 8, Florence, Italy, +39 055 214424
Bar, Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Boccanegra is unique in that it offers three diverse dining experiences from which to choose. The elegant restaurant attracts a classy clientele for its attention to detail in the elaboration and presentation of high-quality Mediterranean dishes. A more informal atmosphere can be found in the wine bar which serves a selection of the regional antipasti including cured meats and cheeses. For pizzas, head to the intimate wine cellar. Common to the three environments is the professional and friendly staff who are particularly helpful when it comes to selecting the right wine for your meal.
Artsy types should head to Brac where a passion for culture is married together with a love of good food in this bookshop-restaurant. Specializing in vegetarian and vegan dishes, this trendy haunt stands out in the home city of the Florentine steak. Their menu showcases the delicious natural ingredients yielded by the Tuscan landscape. The decor creates bohemian vibes and a key feature is the shredded fabric which hangs over the courtyard, adding a splash of color to al fresco dining.
Trattoria Cibrèo, known by the locals as Cibreino, is one of the three establishments which makes up this Florentine institution. Serving the same high quality ingredients as its more formal counterpart, Cibrèo Restaurant, but for lower prices and in a relaxed atmosphere, this rustic establishment is worth a visit. Pasta and pizza are left off the menu so the spotlight can be shone on lesser-known Italian delicacies. Given that the menu reflects the daily market stock, rather than providing a physical list, servers will recite options to diners, an impressive feat which not only confirms the freshness of the ingredients but is also an important feature of their first class customer service.
Enoteca Pinchiorri is a culinary temple for foodies from all around the world. This dining experience is advertised as a party for the senses and it doesn’t disappoint. From the selection of the finest quality ingredients to their innovative elaboration and the scrupulous attention to detail in presentation, the world-class chefs offer a delight to the five senses. The kitchen is treated as a laboratory in which traditional Tuscan produce is met with a heavy dose of creativity in order to provide award-winning dishes. Address: Via Ghibellina, 87, 50122 Firenze, Italy, +39 055 242757
Osteria De’Benci is a must for meat-lovers. Their Florentine steak is renowned throughout the city and it is not difficult to understand why. Along with traditional favorites, this tavern offers a selection of intriguing creations such as the strawberry risotto. The interior oozes rustic Tuscan charm, complementing the relaxed ambiance. The terrace is equally as atmospheric offering views of the fine Florentine architecture. Servers will assist you in choosing from their wide selection of Tuscan wines to accompany your meal. Address: Via dei Benci 13/r- Florence, Italy, +39 055 234 4923
Antica Macelleria Falorni
Butcher, Restaurant, Italian
Antica Macelleria Falorni is a gem in the Florentine culinary scene, offering the unique experience of dining in a butcher’s shop. Most restaurants in the area boast locally sourced ingredients, but the freshness at this restaurant is guaranteed by the fact that their produce comes straight from their own farm just outside the city. Their cheese cave is a foodie’s dream and the bonus of this restaurant’s double function is that you can take some home with you. Their wine vending machine is an entertaining way of sampling a selection of regional wine.
Dine in this cozy renaissance palazzo or bag a table on the terrace of Piazza Santa Croce for spectacular views of the basilica. Either way, Boccadama offers the ideal setting for an authentic Tuscan dining experience. The menu showcases the delights of the regional cuisine. Considering that this restaurant began its days as an enoteca, a bar specializing in wine, the meals are complemented by a selection of regional beverages.