12 Best Restaurants in Florence, Alabama

Florence, Alabama is a beautiful city located along the Tennessee River known for its rich music history. But beyond its charming downtown and cultural attractions, Florence also boasts a tasty dining scene! From down-home Southern cooking to elevated takes on classic cuisine, there are plenty of delicious restaurants to choose from.

Rosie’s CantinaFresh Mexican flavors, famous margaritas, Baja Fish Tacos.
The FactoryLocavore Southern food, industrial-chic ambiance.
Ricatoni’s Italian GrillRustic Italian cuisine, house-made pastas.
Southern PlateHearty Southern cuisine, comfort food classics.
City HardwareUrban dining, globally inspired small plates.
Wildwood TavernIrish pub vibes, craft beers, gastropub plates.
The DepotRefined regional cuisine, historic train depot setting.
Strick’s Bar-B-QSouthern BBQ, smoked meats, laidback atmosphere.
The MarketFresh salads, gourmet sandwiches, Parisian-style space.
River City GrillWaterfront dining, regional meat and seafood dishes.
360 GrilleSteakhouse with panoramic views, USDA Prime Beef.
OdetteElevated fine dining, seasonal prix fixe menus.

In this article, we’ve compiled 12 of the best and most popular restaurants that you must try when visiting Florence. For each restaurant, we detail what makes them stand out, highlight some signature dishes you shouldn’t miss, and provide some helpful info for planning your meal. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, use this guide to discover some new favourite spots!

Rosie’s Cantina

Name and Location: Rosie’s Cantina, Florence, AL

History and Significance: This vibrant Mexican eatery owned by the Luna family brings color and flair to the downtown dining scene, celebrating 20 years strong in 2021 as a Shoals favorite praised for skilled, made-from-scratch Southwestern comfort fare and festive ambiance.

What to Expect: House specialties like chimichangas plus enchiladas awash in tangy verde sauce share the menu with Tex-Mex staples like sizzling fajitas and signature margaritas frothy with fresh fruit puree served amid bright decor dotted with papel picado banners.

Visitor Information: Located on West College Street in the heart of downtown. Open daily 11AM-9PM. Reservations accepted for large groups.

Rosie’s Cantina brings vibrant, fresh Mexican flavors to Florence in a funky yet inviting setting. Focusing on traditional tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas made from scratch with quality ingredients, Rosie’s puts care into their food while also keeping the vibe casual and laid-back.

Their margaritas are also legendary in Florence – made with freshly squeezed citrus juice instead of sweet-and-sour mix. We recommend their Baja Fish Tacos served with creamy chipotle slaw and spicy sauce. Be sure to also try their signature Prickly Pear Margarita for a sweet-tart kick!

The Factory

Name and Location: The Factory, Florence, AL

History and Significance: Finding new life in a converted 1920s overall factory, this popular dining and entertainment venue opened 2018 in the heart of downtown celebrating Shoals culture and creativity under one trendy exposed brick roof.

What to Expect: Handcrafted New American fare shines at the Stovehouse restaurant while libations flow from the barroom still anchored by equipment cranes. Enjoy comedy, live music and more hosted onsite plus outdoor patio seating along a bustling avenue.

Visitor Information: Located on Seminary Street. Kitchen open Tuesday through Saturday serving weekend brunch, dinner nightly, and late night small plates.

The Factory combines industrial-chic ambiance with locavore Southern food made from regional meats, produce, and dairy. Set in a former 1930s stove factory, the restaurant retains architectural details like exposed brick and rafters while addingmodern touches.

This provides a cool-yet-cozy backdrop for enjoying creative takes on comfort classics executed impeccably with local ingredients. Can’t-miss dishes include their Seared Peppercorn Filet served with blue cheese potatoes au gratin and haricots verts as well as their Seasonal Vegetable Plate showcasing the best of what’s growing around Florence.

Ricatoni’s Italian Grill

Name and Location: Ricatoni’s Italian Grill, Florence, AL

History and Significance: This lively trattoria owned by the Leberte Family transports patrons to Southern Italy through family recipes packing bright flavors into generously sauced pastas, thin-crust pizzas, chicken parmesan and other favorites using fresh, housemade ingredients since 1992.

What to Expect: Aside from savory pasta platters crowned with silky Alfredo or herb-kissed pomodoro sauce, house specialties include chicken marsala wine-kissed with mushrooms plus hand-rolled meatballs doused in hearty marinara. Tiramisu and cannoli for dessert.

Visitor Information: Located just off Court Street downtown. Open Monday-Saturday for dinner. Reservations recommended for large parties. Extensive wine list.

Ricatoni’s brings hearty, rustic Italian cuisine to Florence with their house-made pastas and sauces taking center stage. Their pasta is extruded in-house daily using organic semolina flour and farm-fresh eggs, yielding a silky texture that perfectly balances toothsome and tender.

Signature dishes include their Ricatoni Ragu featuring their namesake thick tubed pasta blanketed in a rich, slow-simmered Bolognese sauce. Seafood lovers will also appreciate their Shrimp Scampi Linguine tossed with plump garlic shrimp, white wine, tomatoes, spinach, and chili flakes. Ricatoni’s also offers nightly early bird specials from 4-6 pm Tuesday through Friday.

Southern Plate

Name and Location: Southern Plate, Florence, AL

History and Significance: Nestled downtown in a historic corner space, this cozy cafe owned by Bobby and Amanda Webb turns out comforting Southern favorites passed down honoring heritage and made using quality ingredients sourced as locally as their own backyard garden since 2015.

What to Expect: Crowd pleasers like crispy fried catfish and smoky pulled pork share daily menus with regional veggie plates, simply dressed salads, and from-scratch comfort sides like mashed potatoes and field peas passed down generations in the Shoals area cooking canon.

Visitor Information: Located off Court Street. Open Wednesday through Friday for lunch and dinner plus breakfast on weekends. Call ahead for takeout orders.

For hearty, comforting Southern cuisine just like Grandma used to make, head to Southern Plate. Located in a former 1920s farmhouse on the outskirts of Florence, the restaurant has a cozy, lived-in vibe perfect for enjoying plates laden with regional specialties.

Daily meat-and-three lunch specials satisfy with options like Smothered Pork Chops, Chicken & Dumplings, or Country Fried Steak – all served with scratch-made sides like mac n’ cheese, fried okra, and turnip greens. And no visit is complete without indulging in one of their Mile-High Merigues, towering confections with billowy meringue kissing a rich wedge of coconut cream or chocolate pie.

City Hardware

Name and Location: City Hardware, Florence, AL

History and Significance: Anchoring downtown in Florence’s former City Hardware building, this exposed-brick gastropub owned by musician Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers fame dishes creative Southern fare alongside 30-plus craft beers on draft since opening in 2015.

What to Expect: Artfully plated share plates range from cast iron pan pizza with farmers’ market veggies to ribs glazed sweet & spicy beside signature CBC burger dripping pimento cheese and hoppy Truck Stop Honey brown ale brewed in-state. Live music weekends.

Visitor Information: Located off Court St, dinner only Tuesday through Saturday plus Sunday Jazz Brunch. Limited street parking, rear lot available weeknights.

Located in Florence’s bustling downtown, City Hardware delivers a hip, urban dining experience with its chic exposed-brick interiors centered around a gleaming bar slinging craft cocktails. The vibe is just as draws as the globally inspired small plates perfect for mixing, matching, and sharing with friends.

Playful takes on bar bites like Korean Fried Cauliflower, Chicken Tikka Masala Poutine, and Bao Buns with Crispy Pork Belly satisfy cravings and culinary curiosity alike. City Hardware doesn’t take reservations, so be prepared to wait during peak times – luckily, there’s plenty of people watching and handcrafted Old Fashioneds and Negronis to savor while you do!

Wildwood Tavern

Name and Location: Wildwood Tavern

History and Significance: This spirited downtown dive bar pours ice-cold beers and slings hearty pub grub nightly, cementing its status as beloved neighborhood hangout affectionately nicknamed “The Tavern” across three decades attracting all walks behind weathered brick walls.

What to Expect: From tower burgers dripping cheese to hot wings by the dozen to loopie fries piled high, the kitchen focuses on American tavern staples affordably priced to pair with 36 taps pouring regional microbrews and domestics starting at just $2 happy hour when the locals roll in.

Visitor Information: Located off Court Street downtown. Open Monday 3PM-midnight, Tuesday-Saturday 11AM-2AM. Kitchen open until 10 nightly. 21+ only after 7PM.

For a more casual, livelier night out, Wildwood Tavern hits the spot with its friendly Irish pub vibes matched by an extensive draft beer list pouring a rotating cast of sought-after craft brews. Bar bites and gastropub plates like Beer Cheese Dip with Soft Pretzels, Chicken & Waffle Sliders with Honey Sriracha Sauce, and Brick-Pressed Burgers adorned with unique toppers also satisfy.

Settle into one of their cushy leather booths, soak up the laidback energy, and wash down hearty pub grub with your new favorite IPA, Stout or Amber Ale on tap. Games like pool, shuffleboard, and foosball make for a fun night hanging with friends or cheering on your team during big matchups.

The Depot

Name and Location: The Depot, Florence, AL

History and Significance: Set inside Florence’s 1902 train depot, this unique restaurant owned by musician John Stirratt of Wilco transports diners via flavor to the bayous of Southern Louisiana through Cajun/Creole dishes prepared with skilled technique across two decades in operation.

What to Expect: House favorites include crisp fried catfish, blackened redfish tacos and NOLA classic like jambalaya baked in cast iron, alongside specialty cocktails blending Southern liquors like bourbon with bright citrus and herbs. Live music weekends.

Visitor Information: Located downtown adjacent rear parking. Open Tuesday – Saturday nights serving dinner plus Sunday Jazz Brunch. Call ahead for priority seating.

Set inside Florence’s beautifully restored 1929 train depot, The Depot transports visitors back in time while treating them to refined yet rootsy takes on regional cuisine with an emphasis on New Orleans Creole dishes. Staples like Shrimp & Grits and Chicken & Waffles get an upgrade thanks to pristine ingredients and skilled culinary prowess.

More indulgent menu items like Creole Stuffed Lobster swimming in rich sherry cream sauce or coffee-rubbed Filet Mignon topped with Louisiana crawfish tails take center stage as well. Their bartenders also shake up an impressive array of craft cocktails that look as gorgeous as they taste. Equal parts swanky and soulful, a meal at The Depot is a special night out.

Strick’s Bar-B-Q

Name and Location: Strick’s Bar-B-Q, Florence, AL

History and Significance: This old-school cinderblock smokehouse located “out back” behind a simple country store has been dishing hickory smoked Southern BBQ since 1954 using time-honored methods perfected across three generations. Cash only.

What to Expect: Locals line up daily to pile paper trays and Styrofoam clamshells with smoky pork ribs, beef and sausage links plus Southern staples like baked beans, slaw, tater salad and flaky pecan pie sourced from the market up front.

Visitor Information: Located on Old Florence-Athens Hwy, 10 minutes north of downtown. Open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner until sold out. Takeout only.

For finger-lickin’ good Southern BBQ cooked low-and-slow over hickory wood, Strick’s is king in Florence. Tender, smoke-infused Pulled Pork and Pork Ribs glazed with sweetly tangy sauce headline alongside BBQ Chicken and Texas-style Beef Brisket sliced thick.

All meats are pit-smoked for up to 18 hours resulting in that perfect pink smoke ring and fall-off-the-bone texture BBQ fans crave. Homey sides like baked beans, slaw, potato salad and collard greens complete the experience. Styled after an old gas station, the laidback roadhouse vibe encourages you to eat messy – just be sure to roll up your sleeves!

The Market

Name and Location: The Market, Florence, AL

History and Significance: Anchoring downtown Florence’s burgeoning entertainment district in a restored Art Deco building, this casual eatery opened in 2018 celebrating Southern traditions of quality, farm fresh ingredients and skilled handmade preparation across all menu offerings.

What to Expect: Regional favorites like pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes, cast iron seared steaks share daily menus with creative sandwiches and comfort entrees like honey-glazed meatloaf and chargrilled salmon highlighting what’s in season from area producers.

Visitor Information: Located off Court Street. Open daily for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch featuring organic roasted coffees. Full bar with Southern craft beer/wine focus.

When craving a lighter bite, The Market hits the spot with their super fresh salads and gourmet sandwich creations perfect for pairing with one of their specialty sodas or homemade desserts. Set inside a sunny, Parisian-style space with exposed brick walls and antique cafe tables, the ambiance matches the thoughtfully sourced, scratch-made food.

Farmer’s Market Po’Boys pile roasted turkey, cranberry chutney, brie and arugula onto crusty baguettes while hefty wedges of Stratos Cheesesteak Melt overflow with shaved ribeye draped in provolone on stretchy hoagie rolls. Shareable salads tossed table-side also satisfy lighter appetites, as does a slice of their seasonal fruit galette or creamy cheesecake sourced from a local dairy farm.

River City Grill

Name and Location: River City Grill, Florence, AL

History and Significance: Soaring floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the Tennessee River at this contemporary kitchen celebrating local terroir through New Southern cuisine paired with one of Alabama’s largest collections of boutique wines and whiskey since opening in 2016.

What to Expect: Menus shift seasonally guided by what’s peak harvest in North Alabama informing creative plates like pan seared duck with bourbon-orange glaze and bread pudding enriched with local Amory peaches rounded out by 200+ high-end wine labels and small-batch spirits.

Visitor Information: Upscale casual dress. Located downtown next to Marriott Shoals Hotel. Open daily 5PM-10PM. Reservations recommended via Open Table. Valet parking available.

For a dining experience highlighting Florence’s beautiful Tennessee River locale, River City Grill can’t be beat. Situated at the ground level of the landmark Renaissance Tower directly on Wilson Lake, the restaurant’s soaring floor-to-ceiling windows offer unparalleled waterfront vistas. Enjoy the spectacular sunset displays while feasting on the chef’s creative preparations of regional meat and seafood.

Signature dishes like Pan-Seared Duck Breast with sweet potato hash and blackberry gastrique cater to refined palates but approachable American classics like hand-pressed Burgers and zesty Shrimp & Crab Cakes also satisfy. With a plush open-air patio overlooking the marina and an adjacent chic piano bar pouring hand-crafted martinis and Manhattans, RCG pairs waterfront views and gourmet fare for memorable fine dining.

360 Grille

Name and Location: 360 Grille, Florence, AL

History and Significance: The scenic rooftop of Marriott Shoals Hotel overlooks downtown Florence through floor-to-ceiling windows while showcasing creative Southern cooking traditions via herb rubbed pork chops, grilled Atlantic salmon, house smoked baby back ribs, and indulgent desserts since 2012.

What to Expect: Upscale yet approachable dining perfect for enjoying libations and sunset views along the Tennessee River. Covered terrace accommodates private events while firepits bring warmth to cooler nights. Live music weekends in the UL certified kitchen.

Visitor Information: Located atop Marriott Shoals Hotel downtown. Dinner only plus Sunday Brunch. Reservations recommended via OpenTable or hotel concierge. Valet parking available.

Steak aficionados flock to 360 Grille for Florence’s finest cuts of perfectly aged USDA Prime Beef seared expertly over a wood-fired grill. Set on the top floor of the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa overlooking Wilson Lake, 360 Grille pairs dramatic views with an open-concept kitchen adding exhibition flair.

While flawlessly prepared Wet and Dry Aged Steaks starring bone-in Ribeyes, Porterhouses and Filet Mignon take center stage, lighter seafood and chicken offer variety. Don’t miss their table-side Caesar salad prepared right beside your table in dramatic fashion. With first-rate service, swanky ambiance and crafted cocktails to boot, 360 Grille is Florence’s steakhouse gold standard.


Name and Location: Odette, Florence, AL

History and Significance: Opened New Year’s Eve 2018, Odette celebrates the soulful richness of modern Southern cuisine guided by the seasons and local bounty across dishes like salty country ham with buttermilk biscuits, chicken & dumplings, and Alabama Gulf shrimp prepared refined yet comforting in a historic downtown space.

What to Expect: Chef Bloom stocks the daily changing menu from regional farmers cultivating heirloom produce and humanely raised proteins plated alongside updated versions of cuisine matriarch Odette’s recipes measured in “dashes and splashes” across over 50 years cooking.

Visitor Information: Located downtown off Court Street. Reservations recommended via website or by calling restaurant directly. Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday.

Led by Florence native Chef Bryce Culton, Odette continually earns national praise as Shoals’ most elevated fine dining experience centered on prix fixe tasting menus spotlighting Alabama’s seasonal bounty. Honing his techniques in top San Francisco kitchens after culinary school, Chef Culton returned home to blend classical French technique with regional ingredients encompassing elevated surf-and-turf along with dazzling desserts.

Menus change weekly but may include dishes like Seared Scallops with corn pudding, truffled mushroom ragu and crispy leeks followed by Grilled Hanger Steak in a coffee-chili rub alongside charred okra and smoked tomato molasses Mysteries emerge as well, meaning dishes that will only reveal themselves through the meal’s unfolding courses. For locally-sourced cuisine as cutting-edge art form, Odette delivers.

Ed’s Soul Food

Name and Location: Ed’s Soul Food, Florence, AL

History and Significance: This cozy 20-seat cafe dishes Southern specialties passed down for decades that represent heritage, hardship and hope across the generations, striving to preserve food traditions rooted in the twin values of loyalty and community since launching their trailer in muscle shoals 2016.

What to Expect: Daily specials like smothered pork chops, baked turkey wings join menu mainstays of fried catfish, meaty oxtails, mac-n-cheese and seasonal sides sourced locally when possible to honor time-honored soul food preparation. Cash only.

Visitor Information: Located north of downtown just off Cloyd Blvd. Open Wednesday through Friday for lunch and dinner plus breakfast on weekends. Call-in takeout orders suggested.

When a traditional Southern soul food fix is in order, Florence locals make their way Ed’s which dishes out specialties perfected by owner Ed Knight alongside his family for decades. Smothered pork chops, crispy fried chicken, catfish fillets, and grated cheddar-studded grits headline the menus of classics but be sure to also try staples like baked mac & cheese, collard greens stewed with smoked turkey, and candied yams.

Served cafeteria-style in a casual space where locals gather to catch up over steaming plates, the vibe at Ed’s feels more like your grandparent’s kitchen on a Sunday afternoon. Reasonably priced and portioned generously, one meal at Ed’s fills you up with soul and Southern hospitality.

High Point Grill

Name and Location: High Point Grill, Florence, AL

History and Significance: Located atop Broadway Mall, this scenic restaurant overlooks the downtown Florence skyline through floor-to-ceiling windows having earned a devout following for Chef Han’s bold Asian-Southern fusion flavor profile masterfully blended across Pacific Rim classics and regional favorites since 2014.

What to Expect: Signatures like fortune cookie crusted catfish and Singapore street noodles share space on culturally diverse menus with traditional American plates satisfying all appetites. Monthly event dinners feature prix fixe menus.

Visitor Information: Dinner nightly plus Sunday Brunch. Located on top floor of Broadway Mall off Court St. Garage parking off Seminary St. accepts card only.

When craving chef-driven updates on Southern and American classics paired with local craft brews, High Point Grill hits the spot. Helmed by Chef William Donaldson, formerly sous chef at revered Highlands Bar & Grill, the locally-loved eatery turns out creative plates highlighting quality ingredients and skilled technique.

Gourmet burgers piled sky-high with unique toppings star alongside Southern staples like Shrimp & Grits and Country-Fried Pork Tenderloin upgraded with contemporary twists. Hand-battered onion rings, homemade pimento cheese and cast iron chocolate chip cookie skillets also shine. With live music acts keeping the energy lively indoors and pet-friendly patio seating too, High Point Grill brings a festive, welcoming vibe to Florence’s dining scene.


Florence serves up an array of tempting restaurants spanning soulful Southern cooking, zesty Cajun/Creole cuisine, thick chopped BBQ, and elevated New American bites. High-quality meats, seafood, and produce from local purveyors star on menus that stand out from routine chain fare.

You’ll also find specialty cafes slinging artisan sandwiches perfect for a quick lunch along with market halls stocking gourmet products, freshly baked goods and prepared meals ideal for picnic provisions or hosting friends.

So next time your Alabama adventures take you through Florence, spend a few hours – or days! – exploring this tasty dining scene. From sunset waterfront steak dinners to barefoot barbecues, daggy diners to white-tablecloth hot spots, you’re sure to find savory specialties suiting your tastes and budget. Just come hungry and ready to discover new favorite destination dining gems in Florence.

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