Italian food is one of the world's most popular cuisines. Therefore, when traveling in Italy, there's a temptation to stick to classic Italian cuisine wherever you go.
That's not the worst idea in the world. But the truth is unless you're Italian yourself, you probably don't know Italian food as well as you think you do. There's far more to eating like an Italian than stuffing your face with pizza and pasta, and when you visit the city famous as the home of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you'll have a great opportunity to experience authentic Italian cuisine — as long as you're willing to step away from the tourist restaurants with pictures of the food on their menu.
There's no shortage of fantastic food available in Pisa. But if you want to eat what the locals eat, your best bet is to stick to traditional Tuscan dishes, including the best street food in Pisa, so that you'll get a better sense of all the delicious food on offer here.
And yes, there will be pizza and pasta dishes, along with all the tomato sauce you can handle. But the traditional cuisine and excellent street food of Pisa is what you should really be seeking out. Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in the shadow of the Leaning Tower, and you'll be ready to immerse yourself in some absolutely delicious food. No matter what you like to eat, you'll find something good here, including exceptional vegetarian dishes at the best vegetarian restaurants in Pisa.
Pisa Food: Panzanella
A classic Tuscan dish, panzanella is a bread salad that's popular in the summertime. It's made with stale bread that's been soaked in water and then squeezed dry. The bread is then mixed with tomatoes, onions, basil, and olive oil.
This is a dish that's meant to be eaten at room temperature or even cold, making it perfect for a summer day spent exploring Pisa. It can be found all over town, but one of the best places to try it is at All'Antico Vinaio, where you can get a huge portion for just a few Euros. Really though, wherever you try it, whether at All'Antico Vinaio or the outdoor seating of a café with a view of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you'll be sampling truly local cuisine.
Pisa Food: Bistecca alla Fiorentina
This is one of the most famous dishes in all of Italy, and it's definitely something you'll want to try while you're in Pisa. Bistecca alla Fiorentina is a massive t-bone steak that's grilled over coals and then seasoned with nothing more than salt, pepper, and olive oil.
It sounds simple, but don't be fooled. This dish requires great skill to prepare properly, and when it's done right, it's absolutely delicious. The best place to try bistecca alla Fiorentina in Pisa is at Da Gherardo, where they serve up huge portions of this Tuscan classic.
Pisa Food: Crostini Toscani
Naples may be famous for delicious pizza, but Tuscany is known throughout Italy for its own bread-and-toppings concoction.
Crostini Toscani are small, round slices of bread that are grilled and then topped with a variety of different things. The most common toppings are chicken liver pate or Truffle Butter, but you'll also find crostini with everything from mushrooms to steak. These are a classic Tuscan appetizer and make for a lovely food to whet your appetite for your main course when you visit Pisa.
You can find these all over Pisa, but one of the best places to try them is at Il Teatro del Sale, where they have a huge selection of different toppings. They also do an excellent job of cooking the bread so that it's nice and crispy.
Pisa Food: Ribollita
Ribollita is a soup made with bread, vegetables, and beans. It's usually made with Tuscan kale, but you'll also find other greens in there as well. This is a hearty soup that's perfect for a winter day or any day when you need a little something extra to fill you up.
Ribollita is traditionally made with leftover bread, which is why it's also called "reboiled." The soup is simmered for hours until everything has broken down and the flavors have melded together. This results in a thick, hearty soup that's absolutely packed with flavor.
You can find this soup all over Pisa, but one of the best places to try it is also at Da Gherardo, where they make an excellent version of this Tuscan classic.
Pisa Food: Fagioloi con salsiccia
This is a dish made with beans and sausage, two ingredients that are very common in Tuscan cuisine. The beans are cooked with garlic, olive oil, and sage, and then the sausage is added in and cooked until it's nice and crispy.
It's also a great way to try some of the excellent Tuscan sausage and a very filling meal. Get this one if you visit Pisa in the winter, and you'll warm up in no time!
Pisa Food: Porchetta
Porchetta is a dish made with pork that's been slowly roasted over coals. The result is tender, juicy meat that's absolutely packed with flavor.
Porchetta is typically served on a sandwich, and it makes for an excellent lunch or snack while you're out exploring Pisa. After all, the city of the Leaning Tower was making incredible street food before anyone was calling it that, and porchetta is a tasty example of the local expertise in making fast food that doesn't taste like fast food.
Pisa Food: Tagliatelle al tartufo
This is a dish made with tagliatelle pasta, mushrooms, and truffles. It's a simple dish, but the flavors come together beautifully. The truffle really shines through in this dish, and it's a great way to get a taste of this luxury ingredient without breaking the bank.
One of Pisa's own dishes, you can find this just about anywhere in the city, especially when truffles are in season. Look for a restaurant that uses homemade pasta to really bring out the best of this incredible meal. And if you can pair this incredible meal with a wine tasting, even better.
Pisa Food: Pecorino Toscana
This is a type of cheese made with sheep's milk. It's a hard cheese, and it has a strong, salty flavor similar to parmigiano. Pecorino Toscana is often used as a grating cheese, but it can also be eaten on its own.
If you're looking for something to take home with you from Pisa, this is a great option. It pairs well with red wine, and it's a delicious addition to any cheese board. You can find this cheese all over Pisa, but one of the best places to buy it is at the market in San Frediano.
Pisa Food: Potato Tortelli
Potato tortelli is a type of ravioli made with potatoes and cheese. It's a simple dish, but it's absolutely packed with flavor. The potato filling is rich and creamy, and the cheese adds a lovely depth of flavor.
This is another dish that's commonly found in Pisa, and it makes for a great lunch or light dinner. One of the more hearty pasta dishes you'll find in the city, it's a great meal to beat the chill of a Tuscan winter. With a good portion of this in your belly, you might be able to tolerate enjoying the outdoor seating even during the low season.
Pisa Food: Torta di Ceci
This is a cake made with chickpeas. It might not sound like much, but it's actually a delicious cake that's perfect for a snack or dessert.
Torta di ceci is commonly found in bakeries all over Pisa, so it's easy to find if you're looking for something quick to eat. It's a great option if you're looking for something a little bit different from the usual cakes and cookies, and it's sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Because it's made with chickpeas, it's higher in protein and lower in carbs than most other baked goods, and it's another example of traditional Tuscan street food you'll find in the city. Strangely, you may also find this cake served inside a sandwich, negating the low-carb aspects of the torta itself. Smothered in tomato sauce, it can also make a base for pizza.
Pisa Food: Biscotti di Prato
Biscotti di Prato are almond cookies that are popular all over Italy. They're a little bit crumbly, and they have a lovely almond flavor.
These cookies are often served with coffee, and they make for a great snack or dessert. You can find them in bakeries all over Pisa, but get yours at the market in San Frediano when you're picking up your Pecorino cheese.
Pisa Food: Castagnaccio
Castagnaccio is a type of cake made with chestnut flour. It's a dense cake, and it has a slightly sweet flavor.
This is a traditional Tuscan dessert, and it's one of the more unique things you'll find to eat in Pisa. It's not too sweet, and it's a great way to finish off a meal. You can find castagnaccio all over the city, but one of the best places to try it is at Il Teatro del Sale.
Pisa Food: Cinghiale in Umido
This is a dish made with wild boar. It's a hearty, filling dish that's perfect for a winter meal.
The wild boar is slow-cooked in red wine and tomato sauce, and it's absolutely packed with flavor. This is another dish that's common in Pisa, and it's one you shouldn't miss if you're looking for a true taste of Tuscan cuisine. You'll also find wild boar used in a variety of different dishes, as this is a key element of traditional Tuscan cuisine. Don't be surprised to find it in delicious pasta dishes or in sandwich form.
Pisa Food: Lampredotto
Lampredotto is a type of stew made with cow stomach. It might not sound appetizing, but trust us, it's delicious.
This is another typical Tuscan dish, and it's one of the most popular street food items in Pisa. Lampredotto is usually served on a bread roll, and it's often topped with a variety of different sauces. If you're feeling adventurous, this is definitely a dish you should try. You can find lampredotto all over the city, but one of the best places to get it is at All'Antico Vinaio.
As you can see from this list, there is no shortage of delicious food to eat in Pisa. But forget what you think you know about Italian cuisine. Tuscan recipes rule here, and they may well change your perception of what Italian food can be. From soups, salads, and stews to meat, cheese, and desserts, you definitely won't go hungry when you spend time in Pisa.
Climbing the steps of the Leaning Tower is one way to burn off all the calories you'll be consuming as you eat your way through the city. Another option is to try some of the best hikes in Pisa to find a use for the energy you've consumed in the restaurants and street food vendors of Pisa.
But however you choose to spend your time visiting Pisa, don't forget to try some of these incredible meals. Enjoying true Tuscan cuisine in this unforgettable city is an experience that will stay with you for a long time afterward.