Vegan experience in Florence

Are you ready to go on a culinary trip to Florence with me?

Let me first tell you from my experience that Italy hasn’t adopted many vegan meals yet. Being vegetarian there is very easy but as a vegan you need to double check all ingredients with the waitress and even then, you can’t be sure that the meal is 100% vegan. They might try to sneak some butter in your meal as they believe that the taste without it wouldn’t be as good as it should be.

What you can do is tell them that you’re dairy intolerant (even when you’re not) to avoid any surprises. There are just a few vegan places in Florence so if you stay for more than a couple of days you might feel like going to non- vegan places too 😊

RAW

Raw is a cute little place located on Via Sant’Agostino, 11R. Opening hours are from 11 AM until 6 PM. I’m not such a fan of completely raw meals as I like warm food a lot, but I wanted to try it as I read very positive reviews.

It is a kind of a self- service restaurant. If you want a drink from the fridge you can take it yourself. If you order something what is already prepared you just ask the cashier and he will give it to you. But if you order a main or a smoothie you just take a seat and they will bring the meal to you. It is a very strange principle but it seems to work. The interior is interesting and unique with many wooden elements. It’s super cozy and you will instantly feel relaxed. It’s like being having your lunch in the nature.

The staff is very friendly and professional. They prepare all meals themselves and can easily answer all your questions.

They offer variety of raw meals and all their products are raw vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free, and free from artificial preservatives.

Everything sounds so delicious that you will struggle to choose. They offer menus including: wraps, a burger, pizzas, avocado toast, various bowls, Zoodles, Pad Thai or spring rolls (each menu is EUR 8.50*), cold pressed juices (EUR 4.00* – EUR 6.50*), energy shots (EUR 3.50*), breakfast bowls (EUR 7.00* – EUR 7.50*), smoothies (EUR 6.50*) and last but not least delicious raw vegan gelato (EUR 3.50* – EUR 4.50*). They also have fresh coconuts! (EUR 6.50*)

We ordered a few meals and decided to try a little bit of everything. I don’t have all of them on my photos as my friend was very hungry and started munching on her Zoodles before I had a chance to take a photo 😊

First meal was the Classic wrap. It was filled with lettuce, spinach, carrots, avocado, cabbage, pesto and peanut sauce. It also came with some dehydrated celery chips sprinkled with sesame seeds. It was so good that I ate it all before my husband had a chance to try one. Well, if something is so good I can’t stop eating until it’s gone 😊

The size of the portion was quite big and perfect to share. It was fresh and crunchy. I’ve never had the combination of pesto with peanut sauce and I was positively surprised. It was delicious!

I also liked their presentation on a black stone plate and I loved that they are using bamboo cutlery set. I was very excited until I got my juice served in plastic cup with a plastic straw. Looks like their concept is not perfect yet.

Next meal that we ordered was Pad Thai. To be honest it was exactly what we had in the Classic wrap just without pesto and with addition of arugula, peanuts and zucchini. The presentation was nice, and the peanut sauce was served separately so we could decide how much we wanted to use. Overall it was very tasty, but it was too similar to what we had before.

What I loved were those two tiny pieces of bread. I have asked about the recipe, but they were not willing to share it. They only said it was made from dehydrated vegetables and seeds. I spotted some pieces of tomatoes and onions, but I was not able to say what else they used. It was so good! The taste was strong and it kind of chewy.

The last meal that we ordered were the Spring rolls. We were not sure what to expect as the spring rolls in Indonesia are deep fried and this doesn’t go together with principles of raw eating. These ones were however wrapped in rice paper.

This was my favorite meal! The vegetables used were very similar to the other two meals, but the sauce was so good. It was a little bit spicy as well. We also got some flax seeds chips that were very good too.

I have enjoyed the atmosphere in the restaurant. The guys were very friendly and they all spoke good English, so it was easy to communicate.

The only minus point I would give them would be for dirty tables and plastic straws/cups. These are just minor issues that can be resolved quickly and I’m sure that this place should be on your list of restaurants to visit 😊

Shake cafe

Shake cafe is a super trendy cafe located on Via del Corso, 26. It’s open every day from 7 AM to 7.30 PM. It is a small place with high ceiling, big windows and cool trendy interior.

It’s mainly vegetarian cafe but they have many vegan options. They even serve vegan croissants – plain, chocolate or with jam! But you need to come early in the morning to get these as they’re gone very fast.

 

They only have a few tables available and many people order something to take away. The service is very nice and fast. You place the order, take a seat and wait until they announce your meal. You go to the counter, collect your order and enjoy it. I saw a few people order the same but somehow the waitresses know who came in first so that it doesn’t get mixed up.

Their menu is changing every season and in summer they have these vegan options available: bagel (EUR 4.50*), sandwich (EUR 7.00*), various salads (EUR 8.00*), wraps (EUR 6.00*), smoothie bowls (EUR 7.00*), smoothies (EUR 4.00* – EUR 5.00*), super smoothies (EUR 6.50*) – you can choose from aloe vera, raw cacao or green matcha and elixir shots (EUR 3.00*) – ginger, turmeric, lemon or cayenne pepper.

They have also big selection of warm beverages. I took matcha latte with blue matcha instead of the green one. It has a nice blue color but I don’t think there is much difference in taste.

We went there for breakfast and ordered one Energy smoothie(blackberries, blueberries, almonds, banana), Matcha green smoothiea vegan bagela vegan sandwich and a croissant filled with blueberry jam. All of it was so yummy! Next day we came there just to get some croissants to go as they were so good!

Vegan bagel was filled with spirulina hummus, sun dried tomatoes and spinach and vegan sandwich was filled with hummus, lettuce, sun dry tomatoes and carrots. Both of them were perfectly toasted.

This is a lovely place for everybody. It doesn’t matter if you’re omnivore, vegetarian or vegan. You will surely be happy with these delicious meals. It is the best place to visit in Florence if you’re looking for quick and fresh meals to go!

Universo Vegano

Universo Vegano is a vegan fast food located on Via Pietrapiana, 47r and it is open everyday from 10 AM to 10.30 PM. However they stop serving food at 4 PM and start again at 6PM.

First of all, we thought it was a very nice place. It looked fresh and clean. They serve variety of vegan croissants including ones with turmeric, ginger/lemon or blackberry jam.

They also have huge variety of vegan sweets that I didn’t even know could be made vegan. We came here directly from the airport. We were so hungry but they haven’t started to serve the lunch yet, so we settled for some croissants and one sweet treat. I tried their tiramisu which tasted heavenly.

We thought we will come again as their menu looked interesting. They offer various lasagna, risotto, pizza and pasta all priced reasonably (EUR 7.50* – EUR 9.50*). They also have salads (EUR 6.90* – EUR 8.00*), burgers (EUR 7.00* – EUR 9.00*), sandwiches (EUR 7.00* – EUR 7.50*) and wraps (EUR 6.50* – EUR 8.00*). They have a couple of English menus so just ask them if you need one.

We were so looking forward to come again and so we did.

I think we didn’t choose the right time or the right day as the cook (the one on the photo) was a bit grumpy. I was looking forward to order gnocchi with tomato sauce and he told me they didn’t have them anymore. I wanted to change my order and get one of their burgers.
They didn’t have it either. At this point I was getting a tiny bit frustrated. I tried and asked for a sandwich. When I got to hear that they didn’t have it I asked him if he could kindly tell me what they have so that we don’t spend the rest of the day ordering. Now he seemed to be a little grumpier than before and told me they only had pizza. I said Thank you and left.

I can’t say how their meals were, but I know I wouldn’t go there anymore. I don’t understand why they offer so many meals and then they don’t prepare enough to serve throughout the day. It doesn’t make any sense.

If you happen to be in Florence and get a chance to go there I would like to know your opinion about the service and the food – if you manage to get something to eat 😊

Carduccio

Carduccio is located on Sdrucciolo de’ Pitti, 10/R, just a few streets away from Palazzo Piti.

     


It is a vegetarian restaurant where you can also buy some local products including some olive oil, vinegar, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, fresh fruits and many more. It is open everyday from 8 AM to 7 PM.

Vegan options include burgers (EUR 10.70*), couscous from the oven (EUR 10.70*), buddha bowls (EUR 14.50*), salads (EUR 12.00*) and smoothie bowls (EUR 8.50* – EUR 9.20*). They also have almond milk so you can enjoy your favorite coffee. I had a cappuccino and it came with perfect foam.

If the menu says couscous from the oven then you would expect it to be warm, right? Well, it wasn’t. I’m sure it was kept in fridge as it was cold. We asked the waitress to heat it up. It took her 10 minutes to come back again and guess what? It was still cold.

I don’t like food waste so we ate it as we understood it didn’t make sense to ask her again. It was not as fluffy as it should be but it was rather dry. It didn’t have much taste but the veggies were cooked very well.

When I saw my burger I was surprised. I was expecting a patty in a bun – this is what we call a burger. Instead I got this patty with too much mayo and onions on it served on lots of iceberg lettuce, some radishes and tomatoes sprinkled with chia seeds. I couldn’t hide my disappointment. It also didn’t taste that good.

I think that the idea of this place is OK, but it is missing nice finishing touches that would make you smile. Overall it was too expensive for what you get. But it’s up to you if you try it or not.


As I mentioned before Italy is not that vegan friendly in general. But it is still one of the most beautiful countries in the world 😊

I hope that my guide will help you when you visit Florence. And please let me know if there would be any new vegan places opened in the meantime.

Thank you for reading!

Cheers,
Martina

*all prices mentioned in the article are from 2018 and might be changed.

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