Vegetarian food and / or gluten free in Florence / Firenze, Italy

3 Comments

Best we have eaten out ever in all our travels so far has been in Florence. We believe this is owed to the quality of locally organically produced Tuscan ingredients and their total passion for good food inspired by being exposed to so much of it – the bar is high. Amazingly good and you are not missing out on a thing being a celiac or vegetarian if you choose the right places. All staff were really friendly and professional and the one waiter who got a bit stressed as he was in a lunchtime whirl apologised. Rome was not bad for food but Sorrento in the South was dire and unforgivably so, therefore if you want to eat well stick to the North of Italy and make Tuscany your prime choice.

Getting to, parking and eating at Bologna Fiera for tradeshow

We were actually visiting for business including going to a tradeshow at Bologna Fiera where this is what we mustered up for Andrew (the hungry gluten free vegetarian). It was expensive and not very tasty considering the standard of food generally but then it was a canteen at a big convention centre. Costs €16 for the day to park there in case that is helpful to anyone and the motorway drive on toll roads between Florence and Bologna to the trade fair is pretty hairy with lots of bends, tunnels, lorries and drivers going so fast they cannot stay between the white painted lines.

OUR GLUTEN FREE HOTEL CHOICE IN FLORENCE

We stayed at a budget hotel on outskirts of town up a steep hill which was good for cancelling out the extra calories you consumed with your dessert! There’s also local buses close by. We chose L’Argentiere BnB because it had easy car parking included in the particular room deal we got and they did gluten free options for breakfast. Reviews were mixed so I think it depends what room you get. We had a lovely time there and everything worked as it should. We paid under €300 for 4 night BnB with parking included. Paid €16 city tax on top.

Breakfast report from my TripAdvisor review: “They bought in tons of gluten free stuff just for us – cantucci, bread to toast on their slowest toasters in the world, chocolate cake and biscuits. The breakfast everyone moans about did not look so tragic and given the price you are paying there is nothing to complain about. If hard boiled eggs ran out which they did they made more which could take 10 mins so therefore they are fresh unlike someone said. Ketchup and mayo would have helped as our breakfast was a bit dry. The juice was weird. No ham or cheese available but if you love those why not buy your own as grocery shopping in Florence is a delight! Plus it is cheaper than paying hundred Euros more for your room.”

Tourist tips for Florence

Most museums had queues but the sun was shining when we were in tourist mode so we didn’t really bother with them and the streets in the historic centre are a delight as well as the open air sculpture around Piazza Del Signori. In the weekday evening you can walk into Palazzo Vecchio without battling through crowds having sized up the copy of David outside. The sightseeing bus route around outside of town was not worth doing but the one that went to Fiesole (gorgeous etruscan town 9km out of Florence on a hill) was great getting you into more of that stunning Tuscan countryside with beautiful villas and views. The buses also take you up to Piazza Michaelangelo which is a must, then after taking in the scenery walk up to San Miniato al Monte a lovely church even for me who is not normally that taken with them, and behind it is a lovely very old cemetery open until 6pm where I marvelled at the carvings and tombs taking dozens of photos. I often made an effort to walk through gardens I saw on the map but often these were closed sadly. I really enjoyed the perfume shops and there’s a good one called Flor Firenze at Borgo S Croce 6 near Basilica di Santa Croce where not only can you buy perfume but make an appointment to have one created just for you with you choosing the ingredients. If in your party someone can eat wheat they should visit Gilli on Piazza della Repubblica where eating at the bar is the cheapest option and I had a lovely time doing so with something chocolaty on layers of pastry. Heaven! If only they would flex their gluten free baking muscle here.

FOOD SHOPS

Although we did not visit it we had read that a good shop for gluten free food supplies was Starbene at Viale Spartaco Lavagnini, 2/R Firenze (North of the centre near Piazza della Libertà and not too far from the train station)

We always bought bananas and bottles of water (only 35c each) at the Conrad supermarket in Via del Melarancio 7/9 near the station between two Piazzas. This was a good cheap and deceptively large supermarket although not good for gluten free stuff.

All over Florence we saw lovely grocery shops and stalls.

GUIDE TO EATING GLUTEN FREE AND / OR VEGETARIAN IN FLORENCE (Firenze senza glutine)

Tips

Note in Florence there are two street numbering systems in place to be totally confusing to all so buildings are bestowed with two numbers. An r in the address means red (rosso)/brown numbers.

Lots of places are closed Sun/Mon so watch out for that too. We ate at HOSTARIA IL DESCO Sunday evening and CIRO & SON’S Monday evening.

Eating out in Florence is expensive we found so bring lots of money! Most places have a cover charge where you get bread and a freebie appetiser plus maybe a small glass of prosecco.

Bonus finds

RISTORANTE IL SANTO GRAAL Via Romana 70R (near Palazzo Pitti), 50125 Firenze, Tel. 055 2286533

Marta: We walked down into town from the hotel the evening we arrived and none of the restaurants en route that Saturday night were willing to feed a hungry gluten free vegetarian until that is we walked into here. The guy was so friendly and so helpful. The kitchen so careful. They took our bit of paper explaining what could and could not be eaten in Italian and kept hold of it to make sure. 10 out of 10 for effort but they did bring us normal bread basket (a waitress we had not spoke to) and we failed to usher it away quickly enough so bit of a waste. I had a lovely bit of steak with crispy leeks for €15 although I failed to manage to successfully order potatoes to go with it which would have cost extra. The free first course they brought out was a yummy potato based soup which really hit the spot. The house wine from Antinori Andrew found the best of the whole trip and only €4.50 a glass. He ate poached eggs on a delcious cheese sauce so good for protein (€9). Had he got fries with this it would have been a perfect meal. Excellent service in a lovely restaurant with lots of brickwork arches and not forgetting delicious modern Italian food. Menu is much bigger than that on the website by the way. If you are not gluten free their veggie burger would probably be good.

IL VEGETARIANO (not tried unfortunately as they were closed Sunday and had no opening hours on front of shutters but they emailed back prior to our trip they can do gluten free. Not found on celiac society list. Website says Tues to Fri lunch (12.30-14.30) and dinner (19.30-22.30).  Sat and Sun lunch. Mon closed. Read more about this popular place for veggie food on TripAdvisor)
Via delle Ruote, 30r, 50129 Florence, Italy

Best places for gluten free as found on Trip Advisor (TA and number is their rank) and also Italian celiac society list:

HOSTARIA IL DESCO – TA*48
Via delle Terme 23 rosso – Firenze – Tel +39 055 294882
www.hostariaildesco.com
Closed on Monday evenings

Marta: best freshly baked gluten free bread ever found on this planet so far and double choc cake €5 very good too. Loved my bolognese pasta starter €9.50. Andrew had eggplant millefeuille layers €9. Mains were good but not off the chart in the same way – salad was so so. I had salmon at €14. Very very celiac friendly and huge menu with plenty of vegetarian dishes too.

IL DESCO BISTROT
Via Cavour 55 rosso – Firenze – Tel +39 055 288330
Open for lunch only

Marta: this place caters for everyone and the guy running it is a vegetarian so you will find seitan and proper protein rich veggie stuff here as well as meat. They can do gluten free and understand it well. We had a table in the street which was nice as street does not have that much traffic given it leads to the cathedral. Open 12-3 for lunch only. Loved my gluten free pasta starter with white meat ragout €9.50. Andrew had the vegetarian platter special of the day for €12 and I stole his gluten full bruschetta as I avoid wheat eating it occasionally. Staff can get a little stressed in lunchtime hurly burly but their heart in the right place obsessing about perfect food from their farm!

CIRO & SON’S – TA*52
Ristorante e pizzeria
Via del Giglio 26/28 rosso – 50123 Firenze – Tel +39 055 289694
www.ciroandsons.com
Closed Sundays, Mondays at lunchtime; Open for lunch and dinner

Marta: must give 24 hr notice for gluten free pizza €10.50 which can be by email to info [at sign] ciroandsons.com and truly worth it for as other reviewers have said on Trip Advisor this is the best pizza place in the world gluten free or not. Grilled mixed veg €6.50 was amazing too. Homemade hazelnut ice cream €6 was to die for too. Lovely swanky place but which is all heart – I loved their family photos as you climb stairs to the toilets. Don’t let them upsell you to 2 glass bottle of wine as it will cost you 15 Euros whereas a glass of house wine was usually 5 euros elsewhere. I think unlike most places that open at 7pm for dinner you can eat earlier here. Round the corner heading to the train station is a Conrad supermarket where we could buy small bottles of water for just 35c.

FELLINI – TA*103
Via Ghibellina 164 rosso – Firenze – Tel +39 055 2478896
www.ristorantefellini.it
Open for dinner only

Marta: Quite expensive and very small. Food is good and so is service – Andrew had pasta with mixed veg ragout €11 and I had pasta with lobster and sun-dried tomatoes €18. Ambience suitable for older people which it seemed to attract. Quirky decor and you can imagine Mussolini eating here. Only one type of gluten free bread in basket. Uninspiring gluten free dessert selection.

IL PORTALE – TA*188
Ristorante e pizzeria
Via Alamanni 29 rosso – Firenze – Tel +39 055 212992
Open for lunch and dinner

Marta: not tried as further out to left of back of train station

More untried options from the list of gluten free restaurants in Florence recommended by the Coeliac Society of Italy (AIC):

AL TRANVAI
Piazza Tasso 14 rosso – Firenze – Tel  +39 055 225197
Closed Sundays and Monday lunch; Open for lunch and dinner

BACCA ROSSA
Via Ghibellina 46 rosso – Firenze – Tel +39 055 240620
Closed Sundays, lunch by reservation only

CAMMILLO
Borgo San Jacopo 57 rosso – Firenze – Tel +39 055 212427
Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays; Open for lunch and dinner

DA TITO I PECCATI DI GOLA
Ristorante e pizzeria
Via Baracca 149 rosso – Firenze – Tel +39 055 416726
Open for lunch and dinner

DA TITO I SETTE PECCATI
Ristorante e pizzeria
Via T. Alderotti 87/a – Firenze – Tel +39 055 4360470
Open for lunch and dinner

DA TITO IL SESTO GIRONE
Ristorante e pizzeria
Via di Villamagna 77/a – Firenze – Tel +39 055 6530695
Open for dinner only

I’TOSCANO
Via Guelfa 70 rosso – Firenze – Tel +39 055 215475
www.iltoscano.it
Closed: Tuesdays

I QUATTRO AMICI
Via Orti Oricellari 29 – Firenze – Tel +39 055 215413
Open for lunch and dinner

IL PALLAIO
Ristorante e pizzeria
Via Damiano Chiesa 3 – Firenze – Tel +39 055 679304
Open for lunch and dinner

IL POVERO PESCE
Via P.F. Calvi 8 – Firenze – Tel +39 055 671218
Open for lunch and dinner

LA GRATELLA
Via Guelfa 81 rosso – Firenze – Tel +39 055 211292
Closed Sundays (July and August); Open for lunch and dinner

LO STRETTOIO
Via di Serpiolle 7 – Firenze – Tel 055 4250044
www.ristorantelostrettoio.com
Closed: Sunday evening and Monday

PIAZZA DEL VINO
Ristorante enoteca
Via della Torretta 18 rosso – Firenze – Tel +39 055 671404
www.piazzadelvino.eu
Open for lunch and dinner

PIZZA MAN
Via del Sansovino 191 – Firenze – Tel +39 055 712738
Open daily for lunch and dinner, reservations required
Via Baracca 148 a/b – Firenze – Tel 055 4379931
Open for lunch Monday through Thursday, reservations required
www.pizzaman.it

THE CLUB HOUSE
Via de’ Ginori 6 rosso – Firenze – Tel +39 055 211427
www.theclubhouse.it
Open for lunch and dinner

HAPPY EATING!

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Vegetarian food and / or gluten free in Florence / Firenze, Italy

  1. Yes, many of these places are great. I recently discovered a place in Via Orti Oricellai called Bveg. It’s a bistrò, cosy environment, friendly people, good food and reasonable prices.

All comments monitored for spam. Please do not post inane comments here just to propagate links to websites as they will not be approved.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s