Alabama is called the heart of dixie and has wonderfully diverse agriculture with produce in season throughout the year. From herbs, pecans, and sweet potatoes in January to citrus, persimmons, and squash in December, there is always a crop ready to be harvested. It simply stands to reason that you will always find great food at every turn in Florence AL restaurants.
Florence, Alabama is in the northwest corner of the state, situated along the Tennessee River. It is home to the University of North Alabama, the oldest college in the state. This is where you will find both a beautiful Italian fountain and the George H. Carroll Lion Habitat. Yes, a real lion lives here and serves as the college mascot.
This city of just over 39,000 has an abundance of fabulous attractions. Visit the cabin birthplace of W.C. Handy, “Father of the Blues” or the Rosenbaum House, which is the only house in Alabama that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Indian Mound and Museum and Pope’s Tavern are full of fascinating history and have super knowledgeable guides who are more than happy to answer all your questions.
Historic downtown Florence is filled with photo ops, shops, murals, and much more. Wilson Park on Tuscaloosa Street has a nice fountain and large picnic area and is host to many musical events. In close proximity is the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts. Here you will find vibrant exhibits, shows, and workshops, as well as a gift shop and outdoor art.
After exploring the many historical and cultural delights, you certainly will work up your appetite. Make your way to Court Street to then discover the culinary heart of Florence. Each of my top eight places described here is practically perfect in its own wonderful way.
Not in the mood to go out to eat tonight? Click here to have Grubhub deliver directly from the best restaurants in town to your doorstep.
Visiting other destinations in Alabama? Check out our other guides:
- 8 Best Things To Do In Florence Alabama
- 14 Best Orange Beach Restaurants
- 9 Must-Try Restaurants in Decatur, Alabama
- 10 Best Alabama Dishes
- 7 Must-Try Huntsville Restaurants
8 Best Florence AL Restaurants
311 N. Court Street // (256) 764-2225
Started by brothers Bart and Drew Davis in 2011, FloBama has been called a barbeque place, a pool hall, a music venue, and the loudest and most fun spot in Florence. It is all of that and much more. This is a big place with the big philosophy of Eat-Listen-Enjoy.
FloBama was designed to be a smoke-free and family-friendly experience that goes beyond music or food. The live music variety is truly a constant surprise. The menu is centered around the hickory-smoked barbeque, wings, wraps, salads, and potato skins. All meats and sides can also be purchased in take-home containers large enough for the whole family.
The cold draft beer, bar specials, and dessert specials are plentiful. Monday through Saturday they open at 11 am and closing time varies from 10 pm to 2 am. The night I was there, the group Outlaw Apostles performed such an excellent rendition of Keep on Rockin’ Me, Baby that I still find myself singing it and savoring the memory. For a rocking good night of Florence, Alabama food and fun… FloBama is the place!
117 N. Court Street // (256) 349-2074
Owner Paul Visuthikosol is originally from Thailand and has teamed up with Chef Mark Jaquette to bring the first authentic Thai and sushi restaurant to Florence, Alabama. YUMM is a sophisticated, delicious, and affordable choice for a memorable meal.
The owner recommends the clay pot steamed mussels, while the chef leans toward the green curry meals. I can personally praise the salmon crave sushi roll. It is a feast for the eyes, as well as the taste buds. Loads of fresh salmon, crab stick, avocado, cucumber, eel sauce, wasabi aioli, and siracha combine to make this some fine and fabulous food.
Black cloth napkins, white plates, and beautiful zhezhi artwork are just a few of the simple and elegant touches that raise YUMM a notch above many other options. This is the place for a simple lunch, or an elegant dining experience focused on the food and complete with fancy cocktails.
120 N. Court Street // (256) 349-5219
When owner Celeste Pillow partnered with Chef Josh Quick, the resulting Odette restaurant brought farm-focused dining in a contemporary and comfortable atmosphere. The ambiance and food are impressive, as is the assortment of bourbons and uniquely curated wines.
Chef Quick says Odette is a true labor of love where he teaches his staff to make fresh in-house items that include potato buns and condiments. The menu is southern rooted with international influences and fluctuates to feature sustainably sourced local meats, produce, and grains.
The salmon plate I enjoyed was complimented with sweet peas, baby carrots, black-eyed pea falafel, mint butter, with a hint of both zhoug and harissa yogurt. This was followed by a strawberry-rhubarb cobbler with almond-oat crumble and caramelized honey ice cream.
315 N. Court Street // (256) 415-8545
So, a regionally famous chef opens a breakfast place and puts a 1946 Cessna airplane fuselage on the wall for no particular reason. That should give you a hint about this quirky restaurant. The locals love the décor and the food. I have a strong feeling that you will, too.
You can go with typical breakfast fare or try several items with a strong New Orleans twist. How about a Creole omelet and a cold brew that includes chicory coffee? Or maybe you crave French toast with a side of Andouille sausage.
While owner John Currence is seeing to his other locations or busy writing articles and cookbooks, rest assured that manager Rena Smith has matters well in hand. Locals and visitors are often waiting at the door when she opens at 7 am. They all have a great appreciation for the full flavors which lead to full tummies and satisfied smiles.
313 N. Court Street // (256) 693-0074
What would be a fun night out in a unique setting? Let me suggest an old boiler room that has been transformed into an intimate bar, complete with a four-lane bowling alley.
The Boiler Room is located in the basement of the Stricklin building and is filled with many types of games. It opens at 5 pm Monday through Saturday and has great drinks and snacks. Lots of locals enjoy loaded fries and chicken tenders between games of darts or skeeball. Maybe you would prefer a shrimp po’ boy and skillet cookie before shuffleboard or foosball.
This has been a great starting place for many comedians, singers, and songwriters. The Boiler Room has a nice variety of entertainment, drink specials, and no cover. You are invited to come to discover old games and new sounds combined with food and fun. It might just be the best place to relax and be yourself.
107 N. Court Street // (256) 718-1002
Owner Rick Elliott opened Ricatoni’s in 1996 and since that time many Florence locals say it is the best Italian food ever. They seem to love his alter ego Ricatoni “Boom Boom” Valentino who does bizarre and silly TV commercials and unexpected, offbeat promotions.
Perhaps part of the charm is the custom-made Italian brick pizza oven. Or maybe it is the ambiance of the upholstered booths beside the beautiful brick walls. They do catering and custom-ordered pizza but they do not take reservations. Hours of operation have been known to fluctuate, so it may be best to call ahead to be sure.
Ricatoni’s serves all the usual classic pasta dishes and many sandwiches. Their veal marsala is excellent and served with Tagliarini Piace Pellerossa. If you wish to try a dessert other than the cannoli or tiramisu, you could opt for the sogno di cioccolata or Italian cheesecake. Any choice is a good choice at this exceptional Italian restaurant in Florence, Alabama.
302 N. Court Street // (256) 767-5599
No, Mexican restaurants are NOT all the same. Some are nice for simple tacos at lunch, like Rosie’s. But wait until evening in Florence and just look around. The largest crowds in town are lining up at the corner of E. Tombigbee and N. Court, waiting to get in at Rosie’s Mexican Cantina.
When I asked why I was told by older locals about the fish tacos. I was told by the college students about the combo platters and margaritas. I was told by tourists that Rosie’s had a great reputation and appetizing photos on social media.
They were all correct. The mahi-mahi fish tacos are delicious and so colorful, topped with purple cabbage and red onions. The legendary Mambo Taxi margarita is so refreshing, frozen, and swirled with Yago Sangria, oh my! Rosie’s is a most excellent Mexican cantina.
316 N. Court Street // (256) 764-1503
Words often used to describe Trowbridge’s include classic, vintage, nostalgic, lunch counter, soda fountain, and ice cream. Once you walk under that green awning and enter the front door, you are in a happier time and an unforgettable place.
Opened in 1918 and quite famous for orange-pineapple ice cream, Trowbridge’s is a reasonably priced bit of history that will thrill hungry people of all ages. No trip to Florence, Alabama would be complete without seeing this charming spot and enjoying a bite or three.
Want a savory sandwich, try the egg and olive with lettuce. Seek something sweeter, then go for the banana and peanut butter. This popular place is particularly picturesque and open Monday through Saturday from 9 am until 7 pm.
So there is your list of the eight best restaurants in Florence, AL. Bon appetit!
Angela worked in radio and counseling until taking arthritic disability. She now writes about exuberant people, places, food, and art in the southern United States. Her travel website is EmbraceSouthernStates. When not traveling or writing, she can usually be found at home in Florida painting or playing with her dog Gizmo.