A few weeks ago, I had a friend from overseas who is vegan come and spend two weeks with me. When I started to plan his visit, I panicked a bit about what he’d be able to eat while he was here.
Would he be confined to eating pizza rossa and pasta al pomodoro for two weeks straight?! My heart nearly stopped at the thought. Not that those things aren’t good, but how can you come to Italy and not eat cheese? Prosciutto? Porchetta? CARBONARA?!
Well, friends, as I learned in July, you can, and you can eat well to boot.
Our first stop was Florence. My primary concern, to be frank, was myself (sorry, friend). How was I going to be able to enjoy all my favorite dishes if we had to go to vegan places for every meal!?!
The great thing I discovered is that there are quite a few restaurants in Florence that offer vegan options, alongside things for vegetarians and omnivores. We ate at three, and had great experiences at all of them.
If you’re traveling to Florence with a group of people who have different eating habits, then this is the post for you! Here’s my list of restaurants with vegan options in Florence. Buon appetito!
Table of Contents
Restaurants with vegan options in Florence
Via del Moro 87r
This place was great for several reasons. The first is that it had quite a few vegan options, as well as offering local classics.
My vegan friend was satisfied with his starter of bruschetta with plump, juicy tomatoes, and my sweetheart and I enjoyed a plate of sliced cold cuts and fried polenta with creamy liver paté.
For our main course, we decided to take advantage of Mattacéna’s best feature, which is that they offer half portions of nearly everything on the menu. This means you can try more than one thing without paying too much or being overly stuffed! Amazing!
Sweetheart got a half portion of fresh pasta with porcini mushrooms and a half portion of sliced pork. The pork was stuffed with chestnuts and came with a beet purée, an earthy combination of sweet and savory.
I got a half portion of pasta with duck ragù. The meat was tender enough to be cut with a fork, and its richness was complemented perfectly by the pasta and delicate vegetables in the sauce.
My vegan pal enjoyed a veggie tart which was filled with vegan béchamel, giving it a creamy texture. It also came with a hefty portion of grilled vegetables. Everything was delicious!
If you’re looking for a place that offers traditional Tuscan fare but has plenty of options for vegans and vegetarians, this is it! The décor is cute, and the staff very friendly. Don’t miss Mattacéna!
Book at Mattacéna
Book online through The Fork.
Via dei Vagellai, 18/R
Libreria Brac is part bookstore, part restaurant. We ended up there after a long day of battling our way through the Uffizi and then getting caught in an unexpected downpour. It was a welcome respite from the crowds and weather.
The inside is very cozy. It feels like you’re walking into the house of a friend who his an avid reader. There’s a small outdoor courtyard with tables and chairs, which unfortunately, we couldn’t sit in because of the rain, but was nonetheless very cute to look at.
Brac is completely vegetarian and vegan, so you won’t find any meat-based dishes here, but even the omnivores among us were very happy with our meals.
The vegan dish my friend got was absolutely delicious. He ordered the spaghetti alla chitarra with aglio, olio, e pomodorini secchi. The spaghetti were cooked to perfection, with a sauce of garlic, oil, bright parsley, and tangy sun-dried tomatoes. The dish was made extraordinary with the addition of a hint of peperoncino that made your lips tingle, and savory, salty, crunchy breadcrumbs sprinkled over the top. The flavors and textures were perfect.
My sweetheart went with the lasagna verde, which had sheets of fresh pasta stacked with tomato sauce, fresh spinach, creamy ricotta, and aged parmesan. It was another stellar dish.
I went out on a limb and ordered a tofu scramble that was served in a chick-pea flour crêpe with a spicy yogurt sauce and sprinkled with nutty, toasted sesame seeds. I’m glad to say that I was delighted with my veggie and protein packed meal.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, or just want a really good meal in a quaint setting, Libreria Brac is the perfect place! Our server was lovely and spoke great English.
Book at Libreria Brac
Call for bookings: +39 0550944877
Via Santa Monaca 7r
Vivanda serves several vegan and vegetarian options, but has meat and cheese on the menu as well. It’s another great place if you’re traveling in a mixed group.
It also has the added bonus of being in my favorite neighborhood to stay in, Borgo San Frediano. If you’re looking for a central location that isn’t too touristy, check it out!
We walked into Vivanda not knowing what to expect. It’s small, but inviting, with cool decorations and a beautiful wine selection. We learned that many of the wines on offer are produced by the owners of the restaurant. They also produce a lot of what’s on the menu at their farm, including the organic vegetables.
After we ordered, a bread plate arrived. If you’re a regular reader, you might have read my post that talks about pane toscano, and how it’s pretty bland due to the lack of salt. Well, this bread was definitely not pane toscano! It was unique and full of flavor, each piece more delicious than the last.
I wasn’t starving, so I got an appetizer as my main course, called the Tris dello Chef. A kind of tasting plate, it had sliced veggies with a light dressing for dipping, two pieces of breaded and fried camembert with citrus jam, two falafel-style eggplant balls that came with a cube of tomato agar, and caponata. It was the perfect meal for a glutton like me who likes to taste a bunch of different things, and it was also relatively light, which was great for a hot summer evening.
My sweetheart had a plate of gnocchi in a creamy blue cheese sauce and – wait for it – licorice powder. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but combined with the blue cheese, the powder gave the dish a subtle, tangy sweetness. He ate the whole thing.
The vegan dish that my friend ordered was couscous with a variety of vegetables, some or all of which probably came from the owners’ farm. The meal was deconstructed, so that he could choose which veggies to mix in and which to eat on the side.
The service at Vivanda was excellent. We chatted to two staff members, who walked us through the menu and recommended a delicious wine. We liked it so much that we ordered a bottle to go, and drank it on the fountain in Piazza Santo Spirito before heading home.
Book at Vivanda
Book online here.
Any other restaurants with vegan options in Florence to add to the list? Share them in the comments! And if you liked this post and found it useful, please Pin it!
Visiting the Eternal City, too? Here’s my post on vegan restaurants in Rome!
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