Florence is a diner’s delight. Home to a wealth of trattorias and gelaterias, pizzerias and Michelin-starred restaurants, you could quite happily eat here for the rest of your life. Clear your schedule and book a table at one of our favourite restaurants in Florence, for a decadent evening meal (or ask our concierge to help you to do that).
But during the day, as you’re exploring the Renaissance capital, you’ll want the perfect panini to keep you going. Happily, Florence is also one of our favourite places in all of Italy to eat the perfect sandwiches. But how can you tell a hole-in-the-wall treasure from a tourist-facing sandwich factory? Our travel experts have spent years researching the best panini and these will not disappoint.
Where to eat the best panini in Florence
Just thinking of this elegant deli makes us hungry. Since 1885 in the historic centre of Florence, on the very chic Via Tornabuoni, these masters have been selling small sandwiches al latte (in a bun) filled with prosciutto and truffle sauce.
Remember: the elegant panini has nothing to do with lunch-al-desko-at-home. Procacci’s excellent offerings are best enjoyed on the spot with a glass of prosecco.
This little shop a few steps from the Ponte Vecchio may look like a hole-in-the-wall, but it sells the best panino con porchetta (that’s roast pork sandwich) in central Italy.
Stand at the counter and enjoy one of these treats, in which the delicious fatty slices of pork contrast with a firm white roll, with a glass of wine.
This bijou alimentari on Via del Parione is the best in town for panino with roast beef and mustard, or tongue, if that’s your thing. It's one of our favourites – run by Marione himself, along with his wife and son Matteo. This bar also has a lovely wine selection and top home-made desserts.
This justifiably famous shop near Piazza della Signoria and the Uffizi is popular — we’ve seen queues around the block so allow for up to 30 minutes of waiting time, for its 5 euro sandwiches.
Fans are drawn in particular by the big filled schiacciate. This simple Tuscan flatbread has been a feature of the region since ancient times, and gets its particular flavour from the drop of olive oil on the top.
All of the fillings here are delicious, choose from a variety of cured meats, cooked meats, cheeses and spreads. Do follow the rules on the wall and don’t try to go off piste with vulgar sauces like ketchup. Instead, put your fate in the capable hands of the experts and you can’t go wrong.
Hunters of authenticity should head to San Frediano — one of the most authentic quartieri di Firenze between Boboli Gardens and the Arno — to order lampredotto from Simone.
Named for the lamprey eels it resembles, this Florentine traditional dish takes the fourth (and allegedly most flavourful) stomach of the cow, which is then slowly braised in a tomato stock until it is delightfully tender. Simone then stuffs it into a white roll for a rich and filling meal.
Outside of the historic centre on Via Malta, the century-old Caffe Dogali is a lesson in the importance of sourcing your ingredients. Here they use the focaccia from one of the most famous bakeries in Florence, Pugi. In fact, head to the bakery for cheap and fast pizza in Piazza San Marco.
The focacce are piled with cold cuts and sauces; we particularly recommend the combination of prosciutto and crema di funghi (mushroom sauce).
If you are in the mood to spend a bit more (10 euros per panino), this elegant restaurant near the Uffizi serves up pure poetry in a sandwich.
It is celebrated in particular for the range of options (making it a good choice for picky eaters). The Prosciutto Toscano is guaranteed to melt in your mouth.