By Tess Berger
From trattorias and osterias to pizzerias and gelaterias, Florence is teeming with delicious restaurants and cafes that epitomize Tuscan cuisine. However, sometimes the limit does exist when it comes to pasta and gelato. Whether you’re craving a juicy burger or an Asian-inspired bowl of noodles, you can find a variety of international cuisines as young entrepreneurs globalize Florence’s food scene.
- Koto Ramen: 42R Via Giuseppe Verdi, Florence
Japanese for “ancient capital,” this ramen joint’s namesake reflects its mission: to bring two traditional ancient cuisines — Italian and Japanese — together. The five young restaurateurs who founded Koto in 2015 tastefully fuse Japanese techniques with local Italian ingredients, an initiative executed by their Italian and Japanese head chefs. The menu features homemade noodles served cold or in hot broth and Japanese small plates like clams steamed in sake. Check out their blog for some interesting ramen-inspired stories — just translate to English.
- Le Vespe: 76R Via Ghibellina, Florence
Ah, the great American millennial pastime that is brunch: sipping on mimosas and fresh-pressed juices, feasting on eggs and pancakes, spilling all the gossip in a trendy atmosphere. Whether you’re curing a hangover after a long night at Kikuya (your friendly English-inspired Pub) or you simply woke up needing eggs Benny, Le Vespe Café has everything your host parents probably don’t have in their kitchen. Not only do they have a Sunday brunch from 10-3:30, they also have a daily brunch beginning at 9 a.m. Pair The Logan (breakfast wrap filled with potatoes) with the pink mimosa.
- 7 Secoli: 140R Via Ghibellina, Florence
A few blocks from Le Vespe at 7 Secoli, imported Argentinian steaks are the star of the meal. They are served with crisp, tender fries and herby chimichurri sauce. If you’re feeling bold, go for the grilled sweetbreads or the cow tongue appetizer; if not, stick with the empanadas and grilled corn. This place is a bit pricey but cheaper compared to most bistecca fiorentinas, which serve classic Florentine T-bone steak.
Just because you (probably) haven’t tried Iranian food in the States, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it in Florence. Ristorante Tehran is unique because, unlike the other restaurants on this list, the menu is not influenced by Italian cuisine. You’ll find unique dishes like tahdig (the crunchy, oily rice that forms on the bottom of a pan), kuku sabzi (Persian vegetable frittata), and baghali polo (dill and lima bean rice with veal). All the entrees are reasonably priced, coming in at around €10. Make sure to sip on their bergamot-infused tea and wrap up the meal with delicious Persian ice cream.
- Cloud 59: 59R Via dè Genori, Florence
Nothing compares to a good American burger, but you shouldn’t have to cross the Atlantic to get a pretty tasty runner-up. Italians and foreigners alike rave about Cloud 59’s burger selection — many arguing that they’re not just the best in Florence, but the best ever. The Cloud 59 kitchen uses 100% all natural grass fed Tuscan prime beef for all their burgers — from their NYC Classic burger to the Truffle Royale burger, which is stacked with shaved truffles, Swiss cheese, grilled mushrooms, sautéed onions, arugula, tomato, garlic mayo, and truffle oil. Bonus: any burger can be made vegetarian or vegan. Double bonus: any burger can be double or triple stacked for only a few more euros.