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Best places to eat in Florence

A juicy bistecca alla fiorentina at Trattoria Mario

Eating, drinking and embracing la dolce vita in Florence has honestly never been so tantalizing or diverse.

Sheng Jian Bao (steam-fried bao buns) bursting with Tuscan truffles. Cocktail pairings mixing urban spirits distilled with olive leaves and artichokes. Plant-based tasting menus… Sure, decades-old trattorie continue to faithfully cook up cockle-warming trippa all Fiorentina (tripe stew), pappa al pomodoro (bread and tomato soup) and other time-honored classics that established the Tuscan capital’s gourmet reputation. And si, dining is still as stylish and gluttonous as this Renaissance city’s masterpiece-on-steroids surrounds.

But amid the breathtaking kaleidoscope of street tripe carts, wine bars, historical cafes and old-school eateries strung with cured ham legs, spectacular openings – market stall to Michelin-starred – with a new generation of bold women chefs at the helm are reinterpreting culinary traditions. Watch this space.

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1. Il Santo Bevitore

One of those rare, uber-fashionable addresses that hasn’t lost an ounce of its epicurean sass since opening in 2002, Oltrarno’s The Holy Drinker consistently delivers brilliantly creative Tuscan cuisine in a vaulted candlelit space. Pasta is handmade, specialty breads and sublime focaccia come fresh from its own artisanal bakery and the wine list celebrates boutique Tuscan vintages. Reservations essential.

2. Osteria I Buongustai

Tuscan home cooking rules the roost at Laura and Lucia’s cheap-as-chips osteria in the historical center. Grab a pew – table-sharing mode on – and watch cooks in hair caps whip up Real McCoy spaghetti alla carbonara (with egg, no cream!), coccoli (hot fried bread to die for with different toppings) and other traditional dishes at lightning speed. Mood and hearing depending, the minuscule jam-packed dining room can be thrillingly atmospheric or a dreadful din.

A juicy bistecca alla fiorentina at Trattoria Mario © Nguyen Anh Tu / Moment Open / Getty Images

3. Trattoria Mario

Spurn touristy restaurants touting bistecca alla Fiorentina in the crowded streets around the Duomo for the real deal at this family-run trattoria, an icon among San Lorenzo market workers since 1953. Florence’s feisty T-bone steak for two is chargrilled just one way: seared outside and pink inside, with a sacrosanct strip of bloody blue. In the finest…

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