Is Florence one of the most veg-friendly cities in Italy?
Florence might be renown for its "bistecca alla fiorentina", or Florentine steak, but is also without a doubt a city with an open mind toward other cultures, ideas and lifestyles. It is Tuscany's largest city and among the top three most visited Italian cities by visitors from across the world, so there are relatively many people in the city that have chosen a vegetarian or vegan diet or that simply wish to add variety to their diet as omnivores.
Thus it doesn't surprise us to find as many good restaurants where you can taste delicious vegan or vegetarian dishes. While it is relatively easier for vegetarians to find some choices more or less everywhere on the menu of traditional restaurants, these are also evolving to add quality and nutritious vegan dishes to their offerings. We're talking more than a simple salad and grilled vegetables.
This without taking into account all of the pizzerias where it is always easier to find vegetarian options but some (such as Pizzaman) are also offering pizzas without mozzarella cheese or with vegan mozzarella. Pizza is always the fallback "good" choice to eat vegetarian when you can't find other options, particularly in smaller towns in Tuscany.
Since part of our team has also become vegetarian/almost vegan, we have visited - happily and repeatedly - a large part of the restaurants where it is possible to eat vegan or vegetarian dishes in Florence, hoping to share our favorites with our readers.
This is a short list of the places where we often eat out at (we are working our way down to write reviews on all of them):
Brac! - a great vegetarian restaurant that is also an art bookshop
Giumella - a vegan deli serving a wide variety of ready made dishes
GreenGo! - both a bistro (perfect for lunch) and a organic shop with foodstuffs and items that can be bought by weight.
Crepapelle - a vegan bistrot specializing in crepes, both savory as well as sweet
Quinoa - a gluten-free restaurant that offers many vegan and vegetarian options (as well as meat-based dishes, the veg dishes are clearly labeled on the menu)
L’OV (l'Osteria Vegetariana) - everything here is a vegetarian twist on more traditional Tuscan dishes
Il Vegetariano - the oldest vegetarian place in Florence, with quick and abundant portions with a daily menu
Al Noor - an Indian restaurant with an extensive vegetarian menu
Here's a map that shows these and other options in Florence: