The best fish restaurants in Florence
Feel like seafood? Here are the addresses not to be missed in the city!
Who says that you can only eat good fish at the sea? Forget about Florentine steaks and tripe for once, because there are fish restaurants in Florence for true connoisseurs where you can enjoy excellent dishes in which the quality of the raw materials and the flavor harmonies are the prime elements. Fresh fish arrives every day from the nearby Versilia coast for restaurants that make even the most nostalgic beachcombers feel right at home. Do you want to get to know our favorites? Come along with us.
We’ll start on the other side of the river, “di là d’Arno”. Fuor d’acqua is just a short distance from the San Frediano city gate. It’s a favorite of personalities such as rock star Sting, who has dined here with his wife on a number of occasions. The produce of the season and the catch of the day dictate the law in the kitchen. The specialty of the house, in addition to the crudités, are the incredible appetizers, both cold and hot, which alone constitute a complete and intricate gourmet experience. Once tasted, never forgotten!
Among the imperative first courses, remember pasta alla Trabaccolara and paccheri allo scorfano. With their impeccable presentation, they are a delight to the eyes and the palate. For those with a sweet tooth, the proposals on the dessert menu are all handmade. It’s enough to make you fall in love. So will the enchanting winter garden, an ideal location for a romantic supper and more (Via Pisana no. 37r - ph. +39 055 222299).
Ph. Giovanni Corti
In the typical piazza of the Cestello church, you’ll see the outdoor seating of one of the historic fish restaurants of Florence, the Cestello Ristoclub, a place dedicated to the Mediterranean gastronomic culture. Upon entering, there’s a lounge zone open until late at night for a cool aperitif or an after-dinner cocktail, and a full seafood stall where guests can choose the fish they want to take home for preparation or entrust to the able hands of the chefs for transformation into refined dishes.
It’s a new and original way of going out to eat and, above all, to savor good fish. A suggestion? Try the grand trayful of crudités, the delicious French ostriches and Iranian Beluga caviar. All accompanied by an interesting selection of champagne and Italian and French white wines (Piazza del Cestello no. 8 - ph. +39 055 2645364).
In the San Niccolò neighborhood, just before exiting the city gate, Filipepe is another address fish lovers won’t want to miss. Dishes from the Italian tradition dominate the menu, from spaghetti allo scoglio (with shellfish) to frittura di paranza (mixed fry of local trawler catch), passing through crudités and simmered fish prepared with dedication and flair by the young chef, Vanni Romoli, a young son of Florence who is back in town after an important experience in Versilia where he learned all the secrets of exalting fresh fish. Simple, authentic and very tasty flavors, served in an elegant and welcoming dining ambience characterized by soft lights and a refined background of greys and blue.
Indoor rooms with stone paving create a romantic link with the external spaces, the wooden beams and small niches are ideal for a dinner date, with corners that resemble modern aristocratic sitting rooms. In the summer, outdoor tables and the fascinating internal courtyard offer an enchanting alternative for a candle light supper or an evening with friends, surrounded by punctual and cordial service (Via di San Niccolò no. 39r - ph. +39 055 2001397).
On the tree-lined boulevard of Viale Mazzini, just outside of the downtown area, we will end our tour at Ristorante Portofino, a truly marine place with an elegant and welcoming atmosphere. Guests are welcomed with Alta Regia, an extra-dry Valdobbiadene wine and exclusive of the restaurant, with which they also prepare the delightful “Portofino” aperitif.
Fish is all rigorously from the nearby coasts, greens and vegetables of the seasons, all cooked delicately to conserve their authenticity and flavors, creating a cuisine that enlivens traditional recipes with a touch of innovation. Don’t miss the ostrich tasting with different varieties every week and the “fisherman’s catch”, proposed in a thousand versions. For a great finish, try the “frozen fruit”, mini sherbets served inside little fruit containers, a specialty of an ancient ice cream maker in Campania (Viale Mazzini no. 25/27r - ph. +39 055 244140).