Florence has many inexpensive places to eat if you know where to look. Finding a place to eat a good lunch in Florence without paying a big price may be difficult if you stay in the tourist center, especially if you want to sit at a table outside. Many places charge a higher charge for outdoor table service. Locals eat inside, often at a place that's kind of a cross between a restaurant and a bar or sandwich shop.
Here are a few places where you can eat lunch reasonably and well in Florence. After lunch skip dessert and head to a gelato shop, see Where to Eat Gelato in Florence.
Florence's central market has stands selling all kinds of food so of course, it's a great place to stock up for a picnic. But there are also places inside the market that serve lunch, either a sandwich or pasta and main dishes. Nerbonne has been around since 1872 and is very popular with locals and tourists alike. Order at the counter and sit at crowded communal tables. Nerbonne is known for their sandwiches but have pasta and main dishes, too. It's easy to eat a good meal here for under 10 euro.
Restaurants Near Florence Mercato Centrale
As in many European cities, you'll find good inexpensive restaurants very near the central market. I had an inexpensive lunch at Trattoria Palle D'oro, Via S. Antonino 43r. The place was filled and at least half were locals. On Via Faenza there are several inexpensive places, too. Enzo Piera is a good place frequented by locals. The fixed price lunch is a good deal if you want a full meal. Ryan Cooper, our guide to Punk Music
, likes the popular Trattoria ZaZa, Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 26, where there's an outdoor seating area.
Kyle Phillips, about.com's guide to Italian Food
, took us to eat at Trattoria Sabatino, one of his favorite restaurants in Florence. It's filled with locals at both lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday (closed on weekends). Their daily menu includes their standards and a few seasonal dishes. In fall 2008, pastas and soups were all under 4 euro while meat and fowl dishes ranged from 4.50 to 5.10 euro. The food is nothing fancy but very tasty. Trattoria Sabatino is on Via Pisana just outside the San Frediano gate, near Ponte Vespucci (bridge).
Even though you'll find lots of tourists in Piazza della Repubblica, there are places that locals frequent, too. Giubbe Rosse, a historic cafe on the piazza, has a very inexpensive buffet lunch. It's a good deal if you sit inside where there's no table service charge. Outside the prices are much higher. In the evening they have a large apertivi buffet that comes with the price of a drink, inexpensive if you sit inside. Recommended by Kristin Stasiowski of Context Florence.
Eating near the Uffizi - Trattoria RobertoWe enjoyed a good lunch at Trattoria Roberto with a mix of locals and tourists. They have a good selection of reasonably priced pastas and traditional second courses on the menu. They're behind the Uffizi, near the river at Via Castellani 4r.
Salumeria Verdi - Sandwiches and Pasta
Salumeria Verdi serves sandwiches and primi piatti. The Salumeria sees a lively lunch crowed and many expats living in Florence frequent the shop. There's a pleasant room next to the shop where you can sit and enjoy your lunch. Salumeria Verdi is at Via Verdi, 36/R, not far from Piazza Santa Croce. Pino and Antonella, the friendly owners, are from Naples and also own Pozzo Divino at Via Ghibellina 144R, a great place for wine tasting. Recommended by Kristin Stasiowski of Context Florence.
Lampredotto Stands - Traditional Street Food
If you're adventurous and really want to eat like the locals, head for a lampredotto stand. What's lampredotto? It's a traditional food of Florence, made from the fourth stomach of the cow. You can get a lampredotto panino (sandwich) with the traditional green sauce or a spicy red sauce. Lampredotto stands usually have tripe, sausage, and porchetta (roast pork), too. The stand in the picture, Lampredottaio di San Frediano
on Borgo San Frediano, is one of the best in Florence. Here James Martin, of Europe Travel
, and Kyle Phillips, of Italian Food
wait for a sandwich.
Procacci Sandwich Shop - Truffled Sandwiches
If you want to try something different, Procacci serves panini tartufati, truffled sandwich. Customers are a mix of tourists and locals. They also have an appetizer buffet in the evening that comes with the price of a drink. I've been told it's one of the best around. The shop is on Via Tournabuoni, a street lined with designer shops and a shoe museum at one end.