Florence is renowned for its meat, of course — everyone knows about Florentine steak— but now it’s starting to pay attention to the culinary needs of those who have opted for vegetarianism, or even veganism. Whether out of ethical or health concerns, more and more people are saying no to meat. And even those who do eat meat, maybe a couple times a week, enjoy being able to vary their diet with some “cruelty-free” dining.
Many restaurants have added “veg-friendly” items on their menus to offer something for everyone, and recently several new restaurants have opened in Florence focused on vegetarian cuisine. Let’s start from the newest arrivals.
In mid-August a great restaurant, called Konnubio, opened, serving vegan cuisine as well as international and Tuscan cuisine, located on Via de’Conti, a street off Via Cerretani going towards the Central Market of San Lorenzo.
Photo credit: www.ioamofirenze.it
The large, quite attractive space even lets you eat on comfortable sofas, should you like. (Making it great for a romantic evening out.) You’ll be tantalized by a delicious selection of dishes, like potato and zucchini pies and “faux” eggplant Parmesan. Leave some room for dessert; they have an excellent hazelnut pie and lemon cream decked in strawberries.
The Panino Vegano opened right before summer in Via Bufalini right by the Duomo. They serve burgers based on soy, chickpeas and vegetables that are organic and even gluten free! They even have raw food on the menu.
A true rarity in Florence, Libreria Brac around for several years. It’s an art bookstore that also has a kitchen open for lunch and dinner, which serves vegetarian and other dishes; try them in three-dish sampler plates. This is one of the few places in Florence where you can have your meal with some green tea! Its original interiors features vintage furnishing and shelves full of books to browse as you like while you wait for your meal. It’s in a small street, Via de Vagellai, not far from Ponte Vecchio.
If you fancy trying some kosher cuisine, in addition to vegetarian cuisine, there’s Ruth’s, next to Florence’s synagogue, a Jewish restaurant with a spartan look, that has been there for years, bringing together the best kosher traditions of Mediterranean countries.
Another cute place is Miso di Riso, an organic restaurant decked out like a Parisian bistrot. Though the food choices are slim and the service is a bit slow, it’s a really sweet place, and a nice spot too to just sip a tea and try a slice of cake.
New in Florence is Bioveggy, open for lunch and dinner. It has a great “raw food counter.”
Photo credit: http://www.bioveggy.it
Florence’s long-standing vegetarian restaurants include La Raccolta in Via Leopardi, Il Vegetariano in Via delle Ruote, and the Sedano Allegro. And for vegans: Le Fate and Dolce Vegan. Some of these places are unfortunately a bit Spartan so you’ll have to consider the substance more than the form! And the service isn’t always great.