American in Italy, expat, food, italy, life, restaurant, tips, travel, tuscany, Uncategorized

Vegetarian, Vegan & Gluten-Free Options in Florence, Italy

Normally, you would never think of Italy as a place for vegetarians. This is a land known for bistecca, cured meats and all sorts of delicious goodness. In fact if you go to places like Umbria or Emilia-Romagna, people might give you the side-eye if you talk glowingly about your vegan diet.

That being said, the traditional Mediterranean diet is very vegetable based and healthy to boot.

Personally, I tend to eat very little meat – just out of habit more than anything so this list is just as good for me than anyone else. We like to stick to a once a week meat deal, usually out since I hate messing up dinner. Plus you would be surprised how yummy and eclectic some of these options really are.

When you have dishes such as a perfectly-cooked risotto with asparagus, fresh Spring pea soup, creamy pumpkin soup made with coconut milk & curry, fragrant fresh ravioli – need I say more. Plus with wonderful grains such as farro or quinoa for your protein, who really needs meat?

I also added a list of vegan and gluten-free options since they definitely have opened up quite a few options lately in the city, they even have macrobiotic and raw options (newly opened).

Enough about that, before I go stuff myself with pizza {hint to self-never write a blog post about food when you’re hungry!}, I think it’s about time I wrote a post about where vegetarians, vegans or those who are gluten-free can go to get a great meal in Florence. Luckily I live in a pretty dynamic city with all sorts of options, especially in 2016.

So put make a cow happy, slap someone with a head of cavolo nero and indulge in your inner veggie lover!

Libreria Brac

This is one of my favorite places to bring people because its super hidden but very central, they have great—and affordable wine, a nice aperitivo option and good food. I highly recommend asking for their well-priced ‘piatto unico’ which is not only a steal, but also offers three different tasting options for  those who want to enjoy vegan and vegetarian gourmet Italian cuisine. Reservations are recommended and the service can be a bit slow but just having a glass of wine in that courtyard is pretty awesome! Plus — they serve brunch and are open on Sundays! address: Via dei Vagellai 18R, 50122 Firenze, Italy, Phone number +39 055 0944877. website.

Il Vegetariano

 As far as I know, this place has been here quite some time, less of a restaurant and more of a quick-lunch place but they do serve dinner. It does get rave reviews! In fact, I went with a few friends and was impressed with the variety of options and cute atmosphere. Closed Monday, Open Tuesday to Sunday. address: Via delle Ruote 30r, 50129 Firenze, Italy, Phone number +39 055 475030. website.

Cuculia

Really cute library cafe ‘book bar’ located in the oltrarno area of Florence. They host cultural events here, serve a great aperitivo in addition to the very nice restaurant. They specialize in creative, vegan and vegetarian cuisine. Besides serving up organic, bio-dynamic wines their dishes are quite interesting and change seasonally. Plus they serve Moscow mules which makes this girl, very happy – as you all know! Via dei Serragli 3/R, 50124 Firenze, Italy, Phone number +39 055 2776205. website.

Cuculia interior. Ph. eristorante.com

Cuculia interior. Ph. eristorante.com

Konnubio (vegan-vegetarian-pescatarian)

This place wins with both ambiance and quality and is conveniently near the train station. They offer a variety of Italian food with a special vegan menu and win on the fish front. Lunch entrees around 15 euros. If you eat fish, I highly recommend their sesame-crusted tuna steak. This is the kind of place you never want to skip dessert, I had a caramel semifreddo here recently that was mind-blowing. Dinner a few euros more. address is : Via dei Conti 8R, 50123 Florence, Italy: neighborhood Santa Maria Novella/San lorenzo.

Photo credit: Konnubio.it

Photo credit: Konnubio.it

Sweethings Vegan Firenze | Bakery

I recently walked by this pretty bakery on borgo san frediano  143/r and rushed to add it to my list since everything looked pretty amazing in the window. Check out the latest baked goods via their FB page.

Ristorante Quinoa (gluten-free)

This new place is located in Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore, 1 in the new ZAP area (old casa della creativita). I recently ventured there with my friends and really liked it, lately I have gone quite a few times.  It’s actually a 100% gluten-free restaurant but the veggie options are abundant, great sformatino di vedure, ceviche, Thai options and of course their namesake quinoa. The design is modern and sheek, plus you can eat outdoors!Prices range around 16€ a dish (updated for 2017). Website.

quinoa firenze quinoa2

L’OV Osteria Vegetariana

A restaurant dedicated not only to vegetarians, but for everyone at the table to forget their love for meat. From the same owners of Quinoa, you will this adorable restaurant nestled in a quiet corner of Piazza Carmine on the other side of the river. The menu is vast, and contains Tuscan staples such as cavolo nero (a type of kale), a type of vegetarian “peposo” served with polenta, Florentine “ramen” with porcini mushrooms, lasagna with red cabbage, leeks and taleggio and much more (I loved this lasagna dish).

Address: piazza carmine 4r

Il Fresco Senza Glutine (gluten-free)

This is a bakery a little further out near piazza liberta. They sell gluten-free cookies, pastries and pizza and give you a smile while doing so. Viale Spartaco Lavagnini 2, 50129 Florence.

Photo credit: Yelp

#Raw (Raw Vegan)

#Raw | Via Sant’Agostino, A recent open in Florence this raw vegan tiny caffe is just behind Santo Spirito on via sant’agostino.

Owned by a young couple, one half Swedish, one half Florentine on a quest to provide people on a raw diet with options. They offer morning muesli, vegan panini and their own gelato made with coconut water which is pretty fabulous. They also sell whole coconuts to drink Thailand style and are working on cold-pressed infused juices. :-). I’m a fan!

Dolce Vegan

This place is catered to vegans and known for their sweet desserts. Truth be told, I’ve never been there but I would absolutely stop by for a sweet escape next time I’m in the area.Via San Gallo 32R 50129 Firenze. Neighborhood: Indipendenza.

Universo Vegan (Vegan)

I call this place ‘fast food for vegans’ and it’s smack dab in the historical center to boot. If you plan on sitting inside, there’s isn’t much space but it looks like they offer quite an array of options, from snacks to mains to desserts. I might have spotted a vegan sacher cake on the menu. address: Via Pietrapiana 4750121, Florence, Italy. 

Il Carduccio (Vegetarian, Vegan, Organic)

Healthy options have arrived in the oltrarno, lucky for us who need some nice options for days we are on a detox and just plain want to eat some vegetables that aren’t overcooked to death. As they tend to do in Italy.

Il Carduccio is a beautiful small cafe run by Maria and her partner who’s fresh organic vegetables and fruit are delivered direct from a farm every morning. Here you can get a healthy breakfast (including vegan croissants), freshly-squeezed juices, instead for lunch or aperitivo there are options such as a ‘green gazpacho’, zucchini salads, vegetable pudding, flavored water and vegan wine. I have always had a delightful meal here and I dare say they serve the best salad in town.

The perfect healthy go-to in the Oltrarno neighborhood. Prices range from 8€ (salad).  Open 8am-8pm, address: sdrucciolo de pitta 10/r Facebook page.

Ruth’s (Vegetarian)

Next to the beautiful synagogue, I’ve been to this place many times and always enjoyed it. I highly recommend the falafel plate and the apple cake. Plus the guy who works there is a real character.Via Luigi Carlo Farini 2A
50121 Firenze, Italy, Phone number +39 055 2480888/.

Crepapelle (Vegan/Vegetarian)

A fun and friendly vegan and vegetarian cafe on Via Giampaolo Orsini, 55/A known for their creative crepes. The two owners are passionate about serving up seasonal foods, along with their little dog Pixel. They also have a variety of organic beer and wine. Closed on Monday, open for both lunch and dinner.

BioVeggie (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

Yet another spot that I have yet to try, however good friends have vouched for the place for me as wonderful for snacks and gluten-free wine and beer. They offer a delicious sounding tasting plate for 12 euros and their menu boasts items such as curried lentil polpette, vegan burgers, pizzas and salads. Located in the suburbs near the Gavinana shopping center, address: Via Erbosa 12R50126, Florence, Italy. 

Veggy Days

In the San Marco/Piazza independenza neighborhood, Veggy days offers healthy options for solo travelers. address: Via San Gallo 75/R, Florence, Italy. Plenty of vegan options in addition to vegetarian and think of it as ‘vegan fast food’ with burgers made of spinach and all sorts of goodies.

Veg & Veg (Central Market) 

For those who might not yet have heard, back in 2014, the central market in San Lorenzo inaugurated their ‘primo piano’ or first floor fancy food court offering an array of Italian options. Naturally they want to cater to everyone, and Veg & Veg is their vegetarian/vegan option offering up vegan/veggie burgers, fruit juices, big salads in ‘taco bowls.’  10am-12am. address: Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 4. 

Albero Cafe

I’m still pretty shocked that we actually have a decently priced organic juice bar near the Ponte Vecchio but yes, it does exist. While “Shake” (see below) is more well-known, this juice bar is my absolute favorite. In addition to fresh juices, they also have smoothies, fresh sandwiches and salads. The interior is the size of a postage stamp but it’s a pleasant atmosphere. Go here. address:  Borgo S. Jacopo, 7. Open 8am-8pm. 

Il Sedano Allegro

This place has been in the Sant’ambrogio area of Florence near the market. A small place, but people say it is worth visiting so go ahead and make your celery happy! 😉 . Via Farini 1. Phone number +39 055 2344020. Open Monday through Saturday from 12 – midnight. 

La Raccolta

This place serves up really yummy food and has a surprisingly awesome website. They sell organic foods and even offer take-away. Worth trekking over to the viale for sure!

Via Giacomo Leopardi 2R
50121 Firenze
Neighborhood: Santa Croce

Vivanda

Vivanda has long been a favorite of mine. It boasts a pleasant contemporary-bistro atmosphere with organic wines and a screamingly cheap lunch menu (10 euros for good stuff). What I like about them is that they really look for high-quality ingredients and I’ve never had a bad meal here. Highly recommend. They offer vegetarian, vegans and gluten-free dishes. address:  Via Santa Monaca, 7, 50124 Firenze.

Interior of Vivanda

Interior of Vivanda

Le Fate {Vegan}

Interesting restaurant that apparently serves you more than just vegan food. Your {lunch} or dinner will be aligned with your zodiac star sign + the wine! Nope we are not making this up. They moved locations from the Santa Croce area to nearer to San Marco/independenza. I have been there myself and really enjoyed my meal so I highly recommend. It’s great when you’re looking for something a little different. address: via San Zanobi, 126/r. Phone: +39 055 3841998

5 e Cinque (Vegetarian & Organic)

For a nice dining experience in the Oltrarno, 5 e Cinque is a wonderful option for our vegetarian friends. The location itself cannot be beat, while the inside space is limited, they have adorable two-seater tables outside in the square in the warmer months. The menu is eclectic and tasty (and very small) and changes by the season, they typically have everything from couscous, egg in tomato and fresh pasta, also try the cecina (chickpea pancake) and focaccia with melted cheese. While a little pricier than most vegetarian places and expect small portions, it is a nice experience and you’ll definitely have space for gelato afterwards. Neighborhood: Oltrarno, address: piazza della passera. Reservations recommended +39  055 274 1583. 

Un Punto Macrobiotico {Vegetarian}

A cultural center and restaurant, this place has received raved review so far and it is in one of my favorite piazzas in town, a little away from the center but quite nice. Keep in mind you need to sign up to a yearly membership (10€) in order to eat there but I’ve heard the food id quite good. Nearby is also a wonderful outdoor open bar in the center ‘Aurora’. Address: Piazza Tasso 3R, firenze.

Shake Cafe

The healthy version of fast food, Shake Cafe serves up  breakfast, green juices, shakes (hence the name) salads and sandwiches in a cute environment in both piazza santa maria novella and via dello corso 26. I’ve also spotted avocado toast on their menu (though you can also get this at Ditta Artigianale).

Albero Cafe

A small juice bar on Borgo San Jacopo close to the Ponte Vecchio (Oltrarno side), I actually like this place better than Shake Cafe. First, nicer service, second, their organic pressed juices don’t break the bank. You can order from their chalkboard menu or mix up your own concoction. address: Borgo S. Jacopo, 7.


Also don’t forget to read this great post by Cross Pollinate about their own experience in Florence discovering vegetarian food!

**Looking for gluten-free? This is an official list of restaurants etc. that specialize in Gluten free food in and around Florence

SaveSave

You Might Also Like

Previous Story
Next Story

12 Comment

  1. Hannah
    07.11.2013 at 22:43

    Glad you mnetioned Ruth’s. Last year april we had some very good veggy lunches. The falafel plate was also my favorite. Ciao Hannah

  2. Michelle
    07.11.2013 at 23:01

    Il Desco on Via Cavour is also great. And you’re right, you should definitely try Il Vegetariano – a Florentine institution for veggie-lovers!

  3. Jean-Pierre Fabre Bruot
    07.11.2013 at 23:52

    Reblogged this on Delightfully Italy and commented:
    You are in Tuscany but couldn’t stand Fiorentina any more? Fed up with Trippa? Tired of Lampredotto? Here is the (“healthy) solution: the recommended hidden vegetarian restaurants in Florence. Persoanl picks from Girl in Florence.

  4. bakeritalia
    08.11.2013 at 7:33

    I’ll pass this on to all my vego friends, I seem to have quite a few while living in Florence!?

    1. ggnitaly84
      08.11.2013 at 10:02

      Me too!

  5. Megan
    08.11.2013 at 11:11

    My kind of post! Love it!!

    1. ggnitaly84
      08.11.2013 at 14:36

      Thanks Megan!

  6. Andy
    12.11.2013 at 17:13

    I’ve just returned from a holiday in Florence and loved your food guide to the city. I am a vegetarian and found that so many restaurants in Florence catered superbly for vegetarians. In particular L’Osteria di Giovanni and il Santo Bevitore, were outstanding and provided extra choices that were on the main menu for me. I mentioned in advance when booking via email that I was veggie and they did the rest. Thanks for this list, always good to know more when i return, keep up the good work. ciao Andy

    1. ggnitaly84
      12.11.2013 at 19:26

      Thank you Andy! I’m happy you had a nice stay in Florence. 🙂 I agree that Florence is not a bad city to be a vegetarian and there are so many amazing meatless dishes here, you don’t even miss it! Those are both good restaurants – good choices davvero!

      1. Andy
        13.11.2013 at 15:00

        Thank you 🙂 I am in the process of setting up a vegetarian food blog here in the Uk which will focus on eating out and places that I have found and other vegetarians would find to be a good place to eat out in. In particular it will cover my travels and Florence is certainly the best place in Italy that I have eaten, with as you say numerous meatless dishes that flavour the season, the region and traditions of the area.

        1. ggnitaly84
          13.11.2013 at 23:19

          Hello Andy, how exciting! Make sure to pass me along the link once you start the blog. How awesome that you found Florence to be the best place you’ve eaten. I certainly would agree ;). The only problem I have with food here is that there is too much to choose from, I have to walk extensively to counterbalence all of the great food.

          1. Andy Hare
            15.11.2013 at 9:58

            Thank you for that, that’s very kind 🙂

Comments are closed.