In a narrow street between Piazza Santa Maria Novella and Porta al Prato, a quick walk from the Firenze S.M.Novella station, I was drawn by the sign of a recently-opened little restaurant. I decided to try it out a few nights ago. The place is called BVeg Bistrò.
My curiosity was first piqued with the name that the owner Massimiliano decided to give his restaurant where beer and vegetarian and vegan specialties are in an original marriage. Massimiliano, who has been a vegetarian for years, explains, “The vegetarian diet doesn’t actually consider alcoholic beverages. That’s BVeg’s challenge, the singular combination of vegetable and beer.” What they want to do is attract both vegetarians and non-vegetarians to the bistro, letting patrons dine or just enjoy a nice glass of beer or wine. Massimiliano says, “The challenge becomes harder if we consider that we are selling exclusively Italian beers, even though Italy doesn’t have the long-rooted tradition in beer like other European countries do.”
Right at the entrance we can see the on-view kitchen where cooks are busy preparing the food. Lara, our waitress for the evening who gave us a short introduction to the different dishes, welcomed us in with a smile. We sat in the small dining area which has a decidedly vintage feel. Its old restaurant tables and chairs are made with recycled materials. There is a huge chandelier made of a collection of large colored bulbs, and a lampshade from living rooms of eras gone by… All this makes for a unique, casual atmosphere, but one that I found a bit on the cold side overall. The shelves hold all kinds of books to browse and board games for patrons to play.
The menu is written out by hand and based on a few dishes made with fresh vegetables that vary according to the season. We chose an all-in-one dish that let us sample a bit of everything, including hummus, vegetable cous cous, seitan “carpaccio” with zucchini and tomatoes, a mix of steamed vegetables, and an absolutely delicious eggplant Parmesan in a summer version with mozzarella and fresh tomatoes.
The presentation was excellent, but the dressings and originality in ingredient combinations could perhaps use some work. To be honest, I expected less traditional combinations and stronger flavors. A pinch more creativity wouldn’t hurt and would, indeed, be in keeping with the nature of the restaurant that is on the scene with an innovative idea.
To drink we had a glass of nice white wine, but of course we had to taste the craft beers too. They are Massimiliano’s biggest passion. There are eight beers on draft that change week to week. If you can’t decide what to try, give them an idea of your preferences, and they will bring you small glasses to sample several varieties from which you can choose the beer that best fits your personal taste. They are happy to give detailed descriptions of the differences between each type of beer, including different alcohol content and suggestions for the perfect combination to go with the food you’re eating. If you prefer to avoid alcohol, BVeg suggests special fruit and vegetable smoothies.
To round off the meal, naturally, we had to try some of the desserts made according to vegan recipes, without butter, milk, or eggs. We had strawberry tiramisu and apple pie; both exquisite!
The restaurant also organizes evenings with live music and is a nice place to just have a drink and snack or go out after dinner.
BVeg Bistrò (Beer and Vegitalian Food)
Address: Via degli Orti Oricellari, 6 – 50123 Firenze
Telephone: 055 281995
HOURS: Open every day from 7 pm to midnight