Vegan Travel in Florence

Florence_Cappuccino OK
OK vegan cappuccino!

Today there are no more worries about traveling in Italy for vegans or anyone with dietary considerations. While my list of restaurants, cafes and gelaterias in Florence/ Firenze is by no means exhaustive, I had a chance to sample a lot in a short time, just a little over 2 days in fact. Many non-vegan shops, and cafes stock plant milks and vegan snacks. Just ask. You will find a lot to eat in the supermarkets too.

 

Universo Vegano Desserts
Vegan pastries in Florence

Check addresses and hours of operation of each place before you go. Many restuarants close in the middle of the day, and are chiuso per fieri (closed for vacation) during August. Reservations are highly recommended. On the matter of cost, I live in New York City, where vegan restaurants are for the most part, pricy. I found the bills in Italy to be very reasonable. Mangia e beve bene!

 

Plant milk for your cafe
Plant milks on the menu

Vegano means vegan. Senza means without. “Which gelato is senza latte?” 

  • Senza Latte: Without Milk
  • Senza Fromagio: Without Cheese
  • Senaza Uova: Without Eggs
  • Senaza Glutin: Without Gluten

 

Vegan and Vegetarian Dining in Firenze (Florence)

Brac – A must! Reserve, it’s small. 
Via dei Vagellai, 18, 50122 Firenze, Italy
+39 055 094 4877
http://www.libreriabrac.net/brac/

Chef of Brac Restaurant Florence
At Librea Brac with Chef Sacha, Fran Costigan and Benay Vnyerib of Candle 79

A small gem near the Uffizi, you’ll get a warm welcome and great food and drink at Brac restaurant-library-bar. Chef Sasha is enthusiastic, super friendly and supremely talented. We went back another night for cocktails and more talking. I recommend choosing the Piatti Unico (one plate: salad, vegetable, pasta or rice), pictured.  Brac is a vegetarian restaurant with a lot of possibilty for vegans (or trust me, for anyone who appreciates creative fine cooking). Gluten-free options are available too. Local and organic ingredients are emphasized and the wine, cocktails and beer list is interesting.

Piatti Unico at Brac in Firenze
Piatti Unico at Brac in Florence

On my unico was an incredibly tender and well seasoned seitan masala, that was served with creamy, crispy roasted potatoes and pasta called pizzoccheri “non orodossi” (unorthodox). Chef Sasha prepared the pasta without the butter and cheese. No problem. The lightly dressed  salad of tender greens, avocado, citrus, sesame was welcome. That’s a lot of food, right? I ate it all. Plus the dish of gnocchi the chef wanted me to try. A crisp local wine accompanied our meal. I wish I had noted the name.

 

Vegan Chocolate Dessert Brac
Chocolate Vegan Budino at Brac Firenze

There only a few desserts on Brac’s menu and I don’t recall any that were vegan, but we were presented with a special chocolate dessert treat. Who made that dessert was revealed to us, quite by accident in Rome at Grezzo Chocolate. It’s a small six degrees of separation world.

 

Ditta Artigianale Café
Via dei Neri 32r. Firenze
+39 055 2741541
www.dittaartigianale.it

Artigianale2
Soy, almond and coconut milk are available for your coffee at Artigianale.

In an inviting cafe near Brac, you’ll find Seattle style pour overs on the International Style side of the menu, and Italian style coffees on the other. Either way, soy, almond and coconut milk are available for your beverage at Artigianale Cafe. It was a very hot day and I opted for an iced coffee, the first I’d had since I left the states. Coffee beans sold by the pound are fairtraded and single origin, all to the good!

 

Ristorante Quinoa
Vicolio Di Santa Maria Maggiore, 1 50123 Firenze
+39 055 29 08 76
www.ristorantequinoa.it

All Gluten-free restaurant
Gluten-Free Restaurant Quinoa in Firenze

Organic ingredients matter at Quinoa, where everything, even the bread is gluten-free (sense glutton).  We found many vegan options on the menu in the spacious but quite busy restuarant. We ate lightly this lunch and our salads were fresh and good.  Check out the large collection of Italian and International vegan cookbooks near the cashier. I hope to see a copy of Vegan Chocolate as Cioccolato Vegano there when I return. An Italian publisher bought the rights just before I left the U.S.!

 

Restuarant Quinoa Firenze
Lunch Salad at Quinoa Florence

 

ll Vegetariano
Via delle Ruote, 30-r, 50129 Firenze, Italy
+39 055 475030
http://www.il-vegetariano.it

Firenze IlVegetariano Restaurant
The famous Il Vegetariano Restaurant in Florence

A difficult choice had to be made about where to reserve for dinner, as earlier in the day we’d randomly come across an interesting restaurant that was not on our list. Benay and I decided to stick with the perennial favorite Il Vegetarinao. The menu choices were many, but truthfully at this point we were craving big plates of vegetables. That’s just what we had, as we pointed to the ones we wanted from the bowls of cooked, raw, steamed vegetables and grains. We enjoyed our dinner of simple food with local bio wine in the garden.  There is alot of choice, all vegan for dessert, but we passed, wanting instead to get some gelato on our walk back to our B & B. Prices were very reasonable as you can see from the menu.

Photo by Neil Andrews
Il Vegetariano

 

5 e Cinque
Piazza Della Passera 1, 50125 Firenze
+39 055 274 1583
https://www.facebook.com/5-E-Cinque-Firenze-207476789340595/timeline/

5 e Cinque organic vegetarian restaurant
5 e Cinque Organic Vegetarian Restaurant

It was not easy to make the decision about where to eat dinner after we spotted 5 e Cinque by chance on our way the Ponto Vecchio. We chatted with the owner about vegan food and asked him the meaning of the last line on the door (“No Microwaves”). It was clear from the enticing menu and his enthusiasm that the vegan dishes would be very good. As you read, we choose Il Vegetariano but when I am back in Florence, I’m making a booking here.

 

Dolce Vegan
Via S. Gallo, 92r, Firenze, Italy
+39 055 019 5437
http://www.dolcevegan.it

Dolce Vegan Restaurant in Florence
Dolce Vegan in Florence

I didn’t get here personally,  but I have heard about this vegan restaurant / natural foods store for years. Neil and Susan from my Vegano Italiano group especially liked the vegan gnocchi with shredded seitan. Neil’s photo tells me they did eat dessert!

Vegan Desserts at Dolce Vegan
Vegan Desserts at Dolce Vegan

 

Universo Vegano
Via Pietrapiana, 47 Rosso (Piazza dei Ciompi) 50121 Firenze
+39 338 8477269
http://www.universovegano.it/en/

Vegan Desserts at Universo Vegano
Vegan Desserts at Universo Vegano in Florence

Want to open a vegan restaurant in Italy? This chain of 100% vegan “fast food” restaurants is a franchise. There are Universo Veganos already in several cities across Italy. I was wary of ordering a vegan tuna salad, but I’m glad I did. The vegan tuna looked and tasted like the tinned tuna I ate as a kid.  For dessert… well just look at these pastries. I sampled many.

 

Il Mercato Centrale Firenze
Piazaa del Mercato Centrale |Via dell’ Ariento
+39 0552399798
http://www.mercatocentrale.it/en/

Vegan at Mercato Centrale
Vegan food at Mercato Centrale Florence

What a change at the Mercato! The first floor of this market is still filled with stall upon stall of vibrant seasoanal produce and regional foods, but the second floor where I bought my first fresh porcini from an Italian farmer, has been totally transformed. Think Eataly meets Dean & Deluca, and you’ll have some idea. Several varieties of vegan burgers were spotted but not tasted. They looked great.

Vegan Burgers at Mercato Centrale
Which vegan burger would you choose at merecato central?

 

Gelateria Santa Trinita 
Piazza Frescobaldi, 11/12 R, Firenze, Italy
+39 055 238 1130
http://www.gelateriasantatrinita.it/index_ita.html

Firenza-GeletariaSantaTrinita
Gelateria Santa Trinita Florence

I had absolutely the best red grapefruit sorbetto I never had imagined at Gelateria Santa Trinita. I’m still dreaming about it! The chocolate was excellent too and that was my combo cup, twice in fact. Walk across the arno and directly it’s on your right.

 

 

Firenza-GeletariaSantaTrinita-Grapefruit
Yes, please. Vegan Gelati in Florence

 

Edoardo il Gelato Biologico 
‪Piazza Duomo 45/R, 50122 Florence, Italy
+39 055 281055
http://www.edoardobio.it

Edoardo Gelateria Florence
Long lines day and night at Edoardo Gelateria. Worth it!

There’s a good selection of vegan gelato, but expect long lines. Wait on the line. It’s worth it. The chocolate gelato is the stuff of dreams. Go twice, at least.

 

ITIT Il Sandwich Cafe
Via Cavour 33, 40126 Florence
https://www.facebook.com/loveitit/

Vegan Vegan Croissant and Soy Cappuccino in Italy
Vegan Croissant and Soy Cappuccino in Florence

ITIT, a modern cafe with wifi, serves vegan cappuccinos, and tasty vegans croissants. I got the last one. It was flavorful and flaky but not greasy. Upcharges for plant milk were not the usual but we appreciated the choice of soy, almond, rice milks available.

Bed and Breakfast

Casa di Barbano
Via Di Barbano, 1-50129 Florence
Tel: +39 055 475016
Fax: +39 055 537 0711
E-mail: info@casadibarbano.it
PI 05251890488
http://www.casadibarbano.it

Casa di Barbarino, which  is close to the train station and the Mercado Centrale, is an easy walk to the Duomo and Ufizi, but the neighborhood is nice and quiet. The owner, Morag, an American is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. I booked through hotels.com but you could book directly. Let Morang know that you are vegan when you book and you’ll find a vegan pastry for breakfast, along with fruit and juice and freshly made coffee. The room was newly renovated and immaculate, and the free wifi worked.

Vegan Tart in B & B Casa di Barbarini Firenze
Vegan Apricot Breakfast Tart at Casa di Barbano

 

I’d love to hear about your favorites in Florence, too so we can grow this list.

Be sure to check back next week to read about traveling plant-based in Rome. It’s not just for vegans but for everyone who likes good food, real food. Plus, I’ll have a GUNAS bag giveaway too! Sign up for my mailing list to make sure you don’t miss it!

 

Many of the photos in this post are were taken by Neil Andrews.

 

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