Florence is by far our favorite city in the world for many reasons, but let’s talk about what is most important – the food! We curated this list of the best places to eat in Florence on budget while backpacking Europe and had Florence as our home base. Seth also lived here for two years prior to us traveling full time. As budget backpackers, we always look for the best deals in town. We have personally tried every restaurant on this list and each one has earned The Jet Lag Journey seal of approval! Keep reading to find out the best places to eat in Florence while on a budget.
This list was built with budget backpackers in mind. For a complete Florence food guide, read about all of the best places to eat in Florence.
Best Budget Places to Eat in Florence: Pizza and Pasta
These restaurants are mostly sit down options for either lunch or dinner. We always take into consideration the cost of wine (very important) which can drive up the cost of a meal. While budget traveling in Italy, always opt for the house wine. Even the cheapest option will be better than most options in your hometown.
This is a bit more touristy of a restaurant so be sure to make a reservation in advance for the family style option. It costs €15 per person for family dinner and €25 to also include steak. The family style dinner includes appetizers, a variety of pastas, and ample wine. Whether or not you opt for the steak option, this is a great way to try several tuscan favorites without breaking the bank.
This is a small hole in the wall family run restaurant with only ten tables. Everything on their menu is made that day and it is possible that your initial choice might be done for the day. Luckily, everything on the menu is delicious! Most dishes are between €8 – €10 but the real selling point is that a liter of wine is only €7. This is a great restaurant to try coccoli which is a typical tuscan starter of fried dough, prosciutto and stracchino cheese. During the lunch hours you can also order from the counter for take away at a discounted price.
Less than 400 feet from the Ponte Alle Grazie, this is a perfect spot either on the way up to or down from sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo. This restaurant has AMAZING pastas. Their house wine is delicious and the Fagottini pasta is a must try, but is best to share that and another pasta dish with a friend because it is rather rich.
Situated a little outside the exact center of historic Florence, this restaurant is in perfect location to break up the walk from Piazza Repubblica and the green expanse that is Parco delle Cascine. They serve huge portions of pasta, so great to heat up leftovers the next day or split a dish with a friend. We recommend the Seafood Tagliatelle!
Mastrocilegia sits in the quaint Piazza di San Pier Maggiore which is home to a few sandwich shops and The Lions Fountain, a lively Italian owned Irish pub that is a great home to travelers. Mastrocilegia has a variety of delicious menu options and is perfect for both pizza and pasta lovers. We recommend the Diavola pizza and pesto linguine with calamari.
This pizza hot spot is located near Stazione Santa Maria Novella and Piazza Santa Maria Novella. This is arguably the best pizza in Florence. We recommend the Contandina Pizza. The pizza chef’s hours are difficult to keep track of but luckily if he’s away they also have great pasta dishes.
Gusta Pizza has been featured in countless blogs and even on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”, so needless to say it is a must visit in Florence. The menu consists of five pizza options and one calzone with a bonus pizza of the day. The pizzas cost between €6 – €8. Due to the size of the restaurant and it’s popularity, if you opt to sit inside a staff member will help place you at a round table and you will most likely share this space with other strangers.
One of our favorite things to do is to order it as take out and go enjoy it in Piazza Santo Spirito just a few steps away. Also located in Piazza Santa Spirito are their other two establishments Gusta Osteria, which is more of a sit down restaurant, and Gusta Panino, which is a sandwich shop.
Best Budget Places to Eat in Florence: Sandwiches
Sandwiches here are around €4.50 and are the best sandwiches in Florence. We believe this is one of the best places to eat in Florence on a budget. The service from Pino and his family is an added bonus. For years Pino, his wife Antonella and daughter Martina have been the family to study abroad students living overseas for the first time. We have known Pino since 2012 and every time we are back in Florence it is as if we have never left. All of his sandwiches are amazing but they also make fresh pasta and sides daily. A secret about Pinos is that on Fridays they make seafood pasta that you can purchase a large plate for only €5.00. You can also schedule the best wine tasting in town through Pino.
This is one of the most well known sandwich shops and sandwiches cost around €6. It is always crowded but the sandwiches are delicious. While living above this establishment we learned a trick that there are two All’antico Vinaios directly across from each other and usually only one has a line. It seems to be that wherever the line starts that day that is the one that all of the tourists think is the only one, but you can easily skip the line and go to the opposite side of the street as it is actually the same shop.
This shop located across the street from the restaurant (where google maps will direct you). This is a cute small shop with only a couple tables inside. They also offer small wine tastings and sandwiches cost around €5.00.
This hole in the wall is located in the tunnel connecting Piazza di San Pier Maggiore and Via dell’ Oriuolo. It is a great spot to grab a sandwich on the go when other establishments are overcrowded with long lines. Sandwiches cost around €5.00.
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This is located in Piazza Santa Spirito and is a great option for sandwiches on the Oltrarno side of Florence. It’s owned by the same family that runs Gusta Pizza. Sandwiches cost around €5.00.
Depending which locals you ask, this is a top sandwich shop. There are no tables or seating around so feel free to grab a sandwich and sit on the street side. Just watch out for pigeon poop, we’ve been hit there before. Sandwiches cost around €5.00.
Best Budget Places to Eat in Florence: Aperitivo
Aperitivo is an Italian tradition similar to happy hour. This is a time to meet for a drink and snack on some small plates to prepare for dinner. Whether you are looking to partake in this the traditional Italian way or are on a budget and looking for a cheap meal, this experience is a must do when in Florence. All you have to do is purchase a drink and you have access to all of the food laid out in buffet style.
Colle Bereto is an aperitivo staple in Florence, and located steps away from the famous Teatro Odeon in Piazza degli Strozzi. We tried lots of Aperitivos during our time and this was our favorite! Colle Bereto is definitely the aperitivo option in Florence that has the most bang for your buck and absolutely delicious cocktails.
Moyo features ample outdoor seating as well as a couple small rooms inside and is steps from the Ponte Alle Grazie.
This is located near Piazza Santa Croce this is a cafe by day and typical aperitivo spot by night.
Located in Piazza di San Pier Maggiore, this is a great place to grab a drink and quick bite before popping over to The Lions Fountain or anywhere else you might go that night.
Victoria Lounge Bar is a total vibe in the center of the action in Florence. They are know for their specialty cocktails!
Golden View is located in Oltrarno and sits right on the river with a beautiful view of the Ponte Vecchio. While it is a little pricier for Aperitivo, it is worth it for the view!
We hope this guide was helpful and provides plenty of affordable food options for your trip to Florence. It is possible to enjoy all of the local flavors on a budget! We would love to hear any reviews or thoughts you have on the restaurants recommended here. Also, please reach out if any of these prices change over time. As much we hope to make it back to Florence to regularly verify, it is always helpful to hear from other travelers!