By Lindsey Siferd, former VRG Summer Intern
As a vegetarian college student who spent my semester abroad in Florence, Italy, I often have people ask me the question, “How did you maintain your vegetarian diet in Italy?” The answer is, in fact, it was quite easy! While many people associate Florentine cuisine with one of its most famous meat dishes, bistecca fiorentina, they often forget that the Italian diet is heavy on seasonal vegetables, pastas, spices, soups, and bread. I was able to enjoy and cook several Italian vegetarian dishes during my time abroad, and in fact, happened to be lucky enough to live right across the street from one of Florence’s most famous vegetarian restaurants, Il Vegetariano.
Il Vegetariano, when translated, means simply "the vegetarian," but the food at this tiny and cozy restaurant was anything but simple. Any day of the week right before 7:30pm I could look out of my apartment window and see people lining up to get into to the popular restaurant right at opening time. The cozy interior was always filled with savvy tourists and local vegetarians, and there was a sense that many people came there again and again.
It was definitely worth a return trip, as the menu changes weekly and seasonally. Many of the items are vegan as well, and there is always a mouthwatering display of vegan desserts. The restaurant also offers a selection of their own organic wine and vegan juices. Topping out at 9 euro for a large dish, the prices are friendly as well.
I ate there for dinner a few times, and even my non-vegetarian friends thought it was one of the best places they had eaten in Italy. I would definitely recommend this restaurant for any vegan or vegetarian travelers passing through Florence!
- http://www.il-vegetariano.it/ (in Italian only)
- http://www.happycow.net/reviews.php?id=3383 (HappyCow.com review)
- http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d1088165-Reviews-Il_Vegetariano-Florence_Tuscany.html (Trip Advisor page)