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.
Odette, 120 North Court Street, Florence, AL, USA, +1 256 349 5219
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.
Ricatoni’s, 107 North Court Street, Florence, AL, USA, +1 256 718 1002
Dish Gourmet Café
Open for lunch Monday to Friday between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm, Dish Gourmet Café is one of downtown Florence’s favorite daytime venues. Aiming to offer food that is both delicious and a little out of the ordinary, Dish Gourmet Café’s menu features a number of unique sandwiches and salads available to eat in, takeout or have delivered. Choose from sesame seared ahi tuna salad with Asian slaw and wasabi mustard or the hearty beef tenderloin hoagie roll with fontina, horseradish mayo and caramelized onions. On Friday and Saturday evenings, Dish Gourmet Café opens for dinner, treating guests to dishes like Mediterranean salmon with couscous or smoked Gouda and caramelized onion stuffed chicken breast.
Dish Gourmet Café, 118 West Mobile Street, Florence, AL, USA, +1 256 766 2414
Yumm Thai: Sushi and Beyond
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.
City Hardware, 105 North Court Street, Florence, AL, USA, +1 256 275 3666
Imagine That is a cute, cozy bakery and café boasting a recently renovated new space on Florence’s Court Street. Open for breakfast and lunch daily, brunch on Sundays and dinner Thursday to Friday, Imagine That’s creative menu is constantly evolving from regular dishes like bistro mac and cheese and honey bourbon burger to daily specials such as hand-rolled eggplant ravioli or lump crab cakes, while diners with a sweet tooth are spoilt for choice with the bakery’s many sugary treats – choose from red velvet cupcakes, chocolate cookie sandwiches and gluten-free blueberry muffins.
Imagine That, 320 North Court Street, Florence, AL, USA, +1 256 349 5665
The Pie Factory
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.
The Pie Factory, 106 North Court Street, Florence, AL, USA, +1 256 275 3248
On The Rocks
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.
On The Rocks, 110 North Court Street, Florence, AL, USA, +1 256 760 2212
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.
Trowbridge’s, 316 North Court Street, Florence, AL, USA, +1 256 764 1503