Creative cuisine, talented chefs and well-stocked wine bars: there’s never been a better time for gourmands to embrace this city, says Helen Farrell…
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Florence wine bars and restaurants
La Bottega del Buon Caffè
Spellbinding farm-to-table Michelin starred dining by chef Antonello Sardi with audacious boutique wine pairings by sommelier Vito Angelilli.
Sip a glass in the adjacent Il Lounge wine bar or reserve a tasting in the 1,100 label-strong L’Enoteca wine shop.
Owner Jeanette Thottrup designed the relaxed, yet glamorous, interior – it’s hard to tear yourself away. www.borgointhecity.com
A market-turned-foodcourt featuring the finest Italian food artisans.
Go local and grab a lampredotto panino (tripe sandwich) and glass of Chianti Classico from the Enoteca, or opt for fried seafood and a pint of Moretti beer.
Ensure you visit the more traditional market downstairs too. www.mercatocentrale.it
Bathe in a Florentine sunset on the roof terrace of the Hotel Continentale (pictured top), just above the Ponte Vecchio.
The wines mostly hail from the Ferragamo family estates Il Borro and Castiglion del Bosco, while the cocktails are among the best in Florence.
You pay for the view. www.lungarnocollection.com/la-terrazza-lounge-bar
Find organic pasta and all-natural wines from small producers in casual, chic surroundings along the busy Via dei Ginori.
Open for lunch and dinner with a gourmet pizzeria owed by the same owners next door – a relaxing hangout after visiting Michelangelo’s David in the Accademia Gallery. www.simbiosi.bio
Il Santo Bevitore/ Il Santino
One of Florence’s first modern Tuscan restaurants.
A romantic candlelit ambience, where the waiters use a long pick stick to take down wine bottles from the overhead shelves.
The chicken liver terrine with Vin Santo jus and brioche is sublime.
Meanwhile, the wine bar next door prides itself on perfectly paired gourmet nibbles. www.ilsantobevitore.com
Buchette del vino (‘wine doors’)
A Florentine curiosity, the buchette del vino are the apertures through which Tuscany’s noble families once sold their wine to the public; a volunteer association has documented 159 doors to date.
It’s the perfect walk around Florence for oenophiles – one of the prettiest is at Via de’ Bardi 31. www.buchettedelvino.org
Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina
‘No water, only wine’ is displayed on the window of this wine connoisseur haunt.
Enjoy a glass of high-end, mostly Tuscan labels from niche producers while sitting opposite the Pitti Palace.
Coming soon from the gentlemen behind this venue is restaurant Osteria dell’Enoteca a short distance away in via Romana. www.pittigolaecantina.com / www.osteriadellenoteca.com
Vini e Delizie
A no-frills shop near piazza Santa Maria Novella serving well-curated wines by the glass with simple snacks.
An excellent place to buy a ready-chilled bottle to sip on your hotel balcony as well as local salamis and cheeses. +39 055 215 686
This is where Florentines come for Sunday lunch.
The simplest dishes become gastronomic highlights in the tiny kitchen: meat stock in a cup (exceptional!), a barely cooked artichoke omelette (heaven!) and their prized sizzling butter chicken breasts (astonishing!).
Expect neither well-mannered waiters nor coffee – and bring cash. +39 055 212 691
Chef Vito Mollica and pastry chef Domenico Di Clemente never cease to assuage diners with their Michelinstar restaurant in the refined ambience of the Four Seasons Hotel.
The wine list is stellar, too, with Italian and international gems, older vintages, magnums and half bottles. www.ilpalagioristorante.it
Helen Farrell is editor-in-chief of The Florentine, Florence’s English news magazine.
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