As the biggest city in the Shoals area, it’s no surprise that Florence, Alabama, is home to several stellar restaurants. Take a walk in the city’s charming historic downtown and you’ll get a taste of what Florence’s eclectic dining scene is all about from. Farm focused fare with Southern flavors to gourmet pizzas and Thai cuisine, you’ll be spoilt for choice? Let our Florence dining guide help you choose where to go.
Since opening in late 2012, Odette, a neighborhood bistro serving upscale New American fare with distinct Southern and international flavors, has become a local Florence dining favorite. Odette’s owner, Celeste Pillow, is driven by a desire to bring urban, farm focused dining to the city and chef, Josh Quick’s, menu, think eclectic plates like blackened Alabama catfish with shrimp risotto and candied golden beet relish or bulgogi tofu with jasmine fried rice and a sunny side up egg, certainly delivers. Team your meal with a signature cocktail, Alabama-brewed craft beer or a selection from Odette’s extensive whisky list.
Ricatoni’s is where diners in the know head for their fix of authentic, hearty Italian fare. Situated in a handsome redbrick building in downtown Florence, Ricatoni’s has been a dining mainstay since owner Rick Elliott first opened its doors in 1996. Its stylish interior, exposed brick walls, comfy booths and an open kitchen, adds to its buzzy vibe. You’ll find plenty of Italian favorites on Ricatoni’s menu, from classic pasta and pizza to hearty sandwiches and specialty dishes like shrimp spiedino, breaded shrimp skewered and grilled, topped with lemon butter sauce and served with Ricatoni’s signature tagliarini piace pellerossa.
Located in a Florence landmark, the former Rogers Department Store dating back to 1894, Yumm Thai: Sushi and Beyond is the creation of chef Paul Visuthikosol and offers diners a smorgasbord of sophisticated but affordable Thai and sushi dishes. Its chic, upscale interior was designed by Birmingham based architecture and interior design firm Studio C, and features a contemporary Eastern theme with additional sidewalk seating perfect for summertime dining. Choose from sushi including yellowtail nigiri, BBQ eel sashimi and spicy tuna roll or opt for one of Yumm’s signature dishes like Tiger Tears, grilled Thai style ribeye with tangy dipping sauce, steamed broccoli, carrots and steamed rice.
Situated atop the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa’s Renaissance Tower, 360 Grille boasts the honor of being the city’s only revolving restaurant and thus offers each and every guest stunning, panoramic views of Florence, the Tennessee River and the surrounding Shoals area. Contemporary American cuisine crafted from regional, seasonal produce is the name of the game at 360 Grille and while its menu is concise, it nevertheless impresses with tempting appetizers like pan-seared scallops with roasted peach gazpacho and mint oil and hearty entrees like bone-in pork chop served with smoked bacon baked beans, grilled vegetable slaw and peach BBQ sauce.
Serving traditional American cuisine with a distinct Southern accent, City Hardware is another restaurant from Rick Elliott, in fact it’s located just next door to his flagship restaurant, Ricatoni’s. Like its sister restaurant, City Hardware is a hip, laidback space with comfy booths that invite guests to try hearty all American dishes like bacon wrapped meatloaf with caramelized onion mashed potatoes or pecan crusted catfish with an Andouille sausage, sautéed shrimp and steam broccoli sauce. Alternatively, opt for one of City Hardware’s succulent, handcrafted burgers or a tasty flatbread.
Opened in 2013, The Pie Factory specializes in authentic New York-style pizza with a gourmet edge and has quickly become a local dining go to for pizza fanatics. All of The Pie Factory’s pizza dough is made in house daily and guests can choose from pies including the Boss Hogg (topped with BBQ sauce, pork BBQ, mozzarella, cheddar and peppers) and the locally themed Muscle Shoals (with two layers of pepperoni, hot sauce, tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan sprinkles) or craft their own from scratch. Wash down your pizza with one of The Pie Factory’s craft and small batch beers, many are brewed locally in Alabama.
With live bands and artists featured most evening, On The Rocks is one of the Shoals area’s premier music venues, Its daily lunch and dinner service make it an ideal destination for casual, American style pub grub too. Choose from appetizers like honey BBQ wings or chilli cheese nachos, juicy burgers and succulent sandwiches or hearty entrées such as the hand-battered chicken tenders or grilled mahi mahi with blackened Cajun seasoning before chilling out to the sounds of talented Alabaman artists like eight-piece soul band Bad Brad & the Sipsey Slims and folk rock outfit Winston Ramble.
Boasting almost 100 years in business, Trowbridge’s, an ice cream and sandwich shop located in the heart of downtown Florence, is the city’s most long-standing business. First opened in 1918 by its namesake Paul Trowbridge, the much loved mainstay is still owned and operated by the Trowbridge family and continues to serve its popular soda fountain classics. Take a seat in its cozy, retro interior and chow down on savory fare like hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade chicken soup and don’t leave without trying at least one of Trowbridge’s legendary ice creams, including cherry ice cream soda, banana split and hot butterscotch sundae.