Florentine steak is to Florence as carbonara is to Rome; the two simply go hand in hand. Florentine steak, also known as Bistecca alla Fiorentina, is no ordinary cut of beef; it must follow some specific rules to be allowed to declare itself as such.

For starters, this T-bone steak must be cut from a Chianina cow raised in Tuscany but must also be within a certain thickness. We’re talking 5-6 cm, so it’s best to avoid attempting to tackle it by yourself! Served rare, this steak has to be cooked over a fire to be truly authentic.

Trust me when I say this: your first Bistecca alla Fiorentina will be your best. With that in mind, I’ve rounded up all the spots serving the best Florentine steaks in Florence, so you can put this statement to the test!

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Bistecca alla fiorentina. (Photo credit: Flickr)

Trattoria Sostanza

Trattoria Sostanza, Florence
The fire is burning in the kitchen all night for your bistecche. (Photo credit: Simon Griffee)

Quaint, cozy, and understated, Trattoria Sostanza is a little-known hidden gem of a steakhouse in Florence that stands out among the other best restaurants offering Florentine steak on this list. However, it has been getting more popular in recent times.

The warm ambiance, picture frame-covered walls, and welcoming staff all contribute to the charm of Sostanza. Paired with their delectable, traditional food, it’s little wonder this Centro Storico restaurant has been around for over 150 years.

I naively turned up on a busy Wednesday evening without a reservation, having been inundated with recommendations to visit Sostanza. On arrival, I quickly learned that bookings are essential here, and I’d need to join the long line of patiently waiting patrons to get a table.

Luckily, I had a handful of days left in the city center of Florence, so I secured a table for the Friday lunchtime slot instead. As it was still pretty early in the day and I wasn’t too hungry, I was pleasantly surprised to find the Fiorentina steaks were 500g a piece, noticeably smaller than the usual 1-1.5 kg cuts.

Don’t get me wrong, this is still an undeniably large serving of steak, but it was perfect to share with my buddy for lunch. Gently seasoned, bursting with juices, and melt-in-your-mouth tender, this succulent Florentine steak was made even better by the side dish of nutty white beans and olive oil.

Trattoria Sostanza (€€€)Via del Porcellana, 25/R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy, Monday to Friday, 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm

Buca Lapi

Right around the corner from the Church of Saints Michele and Gaetano is another long-standing must-try Florentine institution, Buca Lapi. Although it’s quite a sizeable restaurant, Buca Lapi still has an intimate charm you’ll love.

It could be the old wine cellar it’s set in or perhaps the wait staff’s attentiveness; either way, there’s something about this place that I find so adorable. Having started as a rest stop for coachmen searching for tasty tripe sandwiches, Buca Lapi is now famed for its Florentine steaks.

Beef steaks at Buca Lapi come in two serving sizes for either one or two people. However, I found the individual portions to be substantial in their own right and could easily feed two people when paired with a couple of side dishes.

I was skeptical if the Florentine steak here would live up to the stellar reviews, but it most certainly did. Both the strip and tenderloin cuts were beautifully marbled and oh-so-soft, and the intense salty flavor from the juices made the creamy potato puree even more indulgent.

The sauteed spinach was also a fantastic addition to the meal, and the punchy garlic flavors perfectly complemented the meat.

Buca Lapi (€€€) Via del Trebbio, 1r, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy, Monday to Saturday, 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm

Trattoria la Casalinga

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If you’re strolling around the picturesque neighborhood of Oltrarno, you likely stumble upon a slew of people patiently waiting for a table outside a gorgeous Tuscan restaurant called Trattoria la Casalinga.

Far from its modest beginnings, this family-run trattoria started out as a small local haunt and is now among the most acclaimed spots for a classic Florentine steak. Regrettably, I’ve only made it here once so far, but it’s high on my priority list for my next visit, especially after seeing the mouthwatering serving of tomato bruschetta they offer.

Despite the ample seating, I had to make a booking a few days in advance to bag a table rather than sacrificing a chunk of my day to line up for one. That being said, as soon as I sampled the Florentine steak here, I probably wouldn’t be opposed to queuing up for another!

Don’t be thrown off by the volume of other tourists dining at Trattoria la Casalinga, as the steak was nothing short of incredible. Between the lightly charred flavors from the outside and the evenly-cooked inside, the chefs here really hit the nail on the head.

I dined here around midday when the Tuscan sunshine was out in force, so I opted for a mixed green salad to accompany my steak rather than one of the heavier options. Crunchy greens, sweet tomatoes, and a drizzle of oil; the salad added a little zest to my meal.

Trattoria la Casalinga (€€)Via dei Michelozzi, 9R, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy, Monday to Saturday, 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm, and 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Trattoria Mario

Trattoria Mario - Florence
(Photo credit: trattoria-mario.com)

There seems to be some kind of correlation between Florence’s time-honored restaurants and the best steak, as Trattoria Mario has been around since the 1950s and has gone from strength to strength ever since.

Regularly packed with a mix of locals and tourists, Trattoria Mario is near Riccardi Medici Palace and was where I tried one of my first-ever Florentine steaks. As you can probably infer from this article, it left a pretty lasting impression on me.

With no-frills furnishings, wood-paneled ceilings, and hearty regional fare, Trattoria Mario feels like you’re dining in someone’s family home. I stopped by for lunch just as it had opened, so thankfully, I snapped up a table right away. 

If you get lucky, you’ll be able to peek into the kitchen from where you’re sitting and watch the chefs charring the steaks over hot coal, traditional style. The meat looked sensational, with smoke sizzling as it was dropped on the table, but nothing prepared me for how fantastic the taste would be.

From my first bite, the robust umami flavors and succulent texture were delightful, while the center was just slightly bloody. I teamed my steak with a side serving of white beans, and the delicate flavor palette and the hint of garlic balanced out the meat. 

Trattoria Mario (€)Via Rosina, 2r, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy, Monday to Wednesday and Saturday, 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm, Thursday and Friday, 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm and 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm

Antico Ristoro di Cambi

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Antico Ristoro di Cambi is a terrific restaurant I came across by chance as I walked south of the Arno River across Ponte Amerigo Vespucci. As soon as I saw Florentine steak and fresh artichokes on the menu, I was sold.

Set in a vaulted wine cellar with red-brick archways and a vibrant outdoor patio, Antico Ristoro di Cambi screams old-school Italian and is easily among the most ambient spots in Florence. 

From the moment I sat down, the staff went above and beyond and couldn’t have been more accommodating. I had my heart set on the Florentine steak, so I didn’t need any suggestions in this department, but the waitress gave me a top wine recommendation, which I gladly accepted.

A Chianti red was the suggested wine. It came with an explosion of cherry, smokey notes, and rustic aromas. The high tannin levels allowed the taste of the steak to shine through, and the fat made the wine feel even smoother. In short, it couldn’t have been a more ideal pairing!

It’s challenging to find the words to do this meal justice; it was some of the best I’ve had in the world. The deep, rich flavor of the steak was undeniably the main event, but the earthy and almost butter-like artichokes added even greater depth to the dish.

Antico Ristoro di Cambi (€€)Via Sant’Onofrio, 1R, 50124 Firenze FI, Italy, Every day, 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm and 6:00 pm to 10:30 pm

I’Tuscani 2

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Just around the corner from Museo Marino Marini Firenze, where the church of San Pancrazio once stood, is I’Tuscani 2, a stylish restaurant that’s garnered an impressive reputation amongst locals and visitors.

The interior is something I love about this place: partially wallpapered walls, dark wooden furniture, and rows of wine bottles in every direction. Best of all, the staff greet every customer with a smile and take pride in their top-notch service.

Steaks are taken very seriously here, offering a solid selection of high-quality varieties. However, when in Florence, there’s only one option for me. I’Tuscani 2 serves up generous portions of Florentine steak, so ensure you come hungry and with company who are just as famished.

Lightly seasoned, just enough not to overpower the meat, and perfectly pink, it was cooked to perfection. I can confidently say that the Florentine steak here lives up to the hype, between the salty and peppery notes and the earthy juices.

Deciding to keep things simple, I added a side of roasted potatoes that arrived just as I like them, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. 

I’Tuscani 2 (€€)Piazza di S. Pancrazio, 2r, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy, Thursday to Monday, 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm and 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm

Conclusion

If this list doesn’t inspire you to visit a Florentine steakhouse, I don’t know what will.

You need to check out some of these spots, dishing out the best Florentine steak in Florence before you leave.

The best way to sample Florentine steak is on one of our Florence food tours; savor some of the tastiest cuts of meat with some local recommendations!

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