Florence’s Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurants

A dish at La Raccolta

The environmental, religious, ethical, and health reasons for becoming vegetarian are being progressively recognized and satisfied by Florentine restaurants. Traditional Italian recipes are being modified to create delicious and unique vegetarian dishes. In this article, Magenta Florence explores the vegetarian restaurants that the city has to offer.


LA RACCOLTA is a vegan haven situated a short 10-minute walk from both Campo di Marte and Santa Croce. Part restaurant, part café, and part market, this is a spot for a vegan’s every food need. The market carries a selection of cereals, sauces, wines, grains, and all kinds of fresh produce. The café has relaxing teas, such as the Kombucha, which comes with slices of fresh ginger.

The restaurant is tucked away in a separate part of the establishment, where the walls are white and lavender and lined with paintings. Artwork varies by the month, and is always created by local Florentines. There is significant flexibility with the menu, as customers can pick and choose what they would like to try: a plate with four different samplings costs €12.

The orzo salad is light and fresh, with red cabbage, tomato, carrot, and a tangy beet sauce. It pairs nicely with the seitan lasagna and apple and vegetable gratin, which have a rich, savory taste. Vincenza, who used to be a chef at La Raccolta, is now in charge of planning the menu. Many of the restaurant’s dishes draw influence from the macrobiotic diet, which is based upon the idea of balanced and natural meals.

La Raccolta proves that a vegan diet can be inventive and delicious. Offerings change daily, but include specials such as veggie balls, made with vegetables and potatoes, lasagna, and hummus. Their classically trained pastry chef experiments with his baking style, sometimes opting to exclude sugar in addition to milk and eggs—the treccine chocolate cookies are wonderfully delicious.

La Raccolta’s restaurant is open Monday only for lunch, Tuesday to Saturday from 12:30 to 2:30 pm, 7:30 to 10 pm. Located at Via Giacomo Leopardi 2/r, the café is accessible from 8 am onwards.


Ruth’s is homey, reminiscent of a diner with exotic food, and is a place where people of all backgrounds come to eat in Florence. Vegetarian and kosher, the restaurant also features one or two fish (never shellfish) choices daily.

The restaurant is run by Tomas Jelinek, a Prague native who moved to Italy in 1981 when he was forced to leave his home during the Czech Communist opposition movement, “Charta ’77.” He began by working as a puppeteer in Florence, which he still likes to do in his free time, and took over the restaurant in 2001 after the former owners left.

The innovative and creative dishes blend flavors from Eastern Europe, Italy, and North Africa, seen in the homemade pasta, vegetable soups, Tunisian couscous, borekas, fish moussaka, and blintzes for dessert. The more popular items include the plates for two, which include several small portions of falafel, hummus, Greek salad, tabbouleh (a finely chopped salad made with tomatoes, parsley, onion, and mint), and several other options.

Ruth’s has created a welcoming environment where people seem connected, even if they don’t all speak the same language. Found at via Farini 2/A, the restaurant is open daily from 12:30 to 2 pm and 7:30 to 10:30 pm. To check out the menu and for information on catering, visit www.kosherruth.com.


As its name implies, one of the city’s newest eateries, which opened in 2016, specializes in food that is uncooked and vegan. #Raw’s creations are atypical, simple yet sophisticated, healthy, and delicious. With premises on via Sant’Agostino 11, just off of Piazza Santo Spirito, owners, Caroline Lundgren from Sweden and Austrian/Italian Manfredi Magris provide a warm and inviting welcome.

The proprietors only use the best quality ingredients, and the taste proves it. Every item, which comes with its own special sauce to enhance the flavors, looks like a painting. No white sugar, white flour, animal products, chemicals, and especially no palm oil are used.

The menu is raw, bio, vegan, gluten, and chemical free, and often sprouted and dehydrated, never reaching a temperature of more than 42 degrees Celsius. As a result, the vegetables maintain their vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.  Main dishes are all priced at €7.50.

The menu is raw, bio, vegan, gluten, and chemical free, and often sprouted and dehydrated, never reaching a temperature of more than 42 degrees Celsius. As a result, the vegetables maintain their vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.  Main dishes are all priced at €7.50.


Nestled inside a small piazza a short five-minute walk away from Santo Spirito, CINQUE E 5 offers an array of vegetarian and vegan specialties for lunch and dinner that are popular with Florentines and tourists alike. Cinque e 5 has been open since 2009 and has evolved from a café to a warm, inviting restaurant.

Co-owners, husband and wife Silvio Varando and Mariolina Garau, dreamed of owning a vegetarian restaurant even back when Mariolina worked as a photographer and Silvio as an antique dealer. The food the pair serve is what they would, and do, eat in their own home. In fact, many of the herbs and fruits come straight from their own garden.

The vegan chickpea meatballs are topped with ginger, sesame seeds, two kinds of cabbage, and other vegetables. The various types of ravioli are also very popular, from pear and cheese to ricotta cheese, pine nuts, margarine, and a walnut sauce. When the vegetables are in season, the cappellacci pasta is stuffed with broccoli and pumpkin.

Everything on the menu is made with organic ingredients, and 30% of menu items are vegan: one delicious example is the almond milk flan drizzled with dark chocolate.

Reservations are suggested for lunch, and especially dinner. Located at Piazza della Passera 1, Cinque e 5 is open from noon to 3 pm and 7:30 to 10 pm, closed on Mondays, tel. 055/274 1583.


Behind an inconspicuous doorway without a sign, finding BRAC takes a bit of sleuthing, but the determined diner will be rewarded with a welcoming spot containing funky antique furniture, art pieces, and comfortable chairs.

The menu is vegetarian-vegan, featuring organic seasonal food. The insalata siciliana, made with fennel bulb, olives, oranges, almonds, and raisins is a fresh combination of sweet and savory. Carpaccio di avocado consists of generous slices of ripe avocado and curly lettuce dressed with a creamy side of puréed tomatoes, celery, almonds, sesame, and olive oil.

A house specialty, the flatbread from Sardinia called pane carasau, comes sandwiched with tomatoes, buffalo milk mozzarella, and eggplant, or melted pecorino cheese.

To sample several dishes, order the piatto unico for €14, which includes a salad or carpaccio (raw vegetables), one of the carasau sandwiches, and a risotto or pasta dish.

Due to BRAC’s popularity, reservations are recommended for lunch and essential for dinner. The address is via dei Vagellai 18r; open Monday-Saturday from noon to midnight, and Sunday from 6 to 8 pm.


Brenda Cruz describes the opening of her and her husband Sergio Giuliani’s part-owned restaurant, IL VEGETARIANO, as an endeavor that was not planned extensively, but done on a passionate and adventurous whim. It was founded with a group who was vegetarian and loved the idea that they could serve others meat-free meals.

The restaurant is known for rustic home cooking and an abundant buffet from which to order à la carte. A credenza has all the silverware and glasses to enjoy your meal at leisure.

People often visit Il Vegetariano to eat the couscous. Many dishes also incorporate seitan and tofu in some way, and the restaurant offers a variety of unusual sauces. They are, for instance, famous for their gluten-free and vegan “tofunaise” salad dressing, prepared with tofu, olive oil, and spices.

The polenta is a hearty and succulent dish loaded with vegetables like cauliflowers, carrots, eggplant, and zucchini.

With a crumbly graham cracker crust that is a perfect match for the fruity, soft filling, the apricot and pear cake is made fresh daily, as are all the pies and other desserts by Brenda herself. About half the cakes are vegan, and Brenda has collected and experimented with recipes over the years, beginning from when she still lived in Ireland. A customer favorite is the cheesecake.

Il Vegetariano is situated on Via delle Ruote, just off Via Zanobi, and is open 12:30 to 2:30 pm for lunch and 7:30 to 10:30 pm for dinner. The restaurant closes for lunch Saturday & Sunday.  (hasmik djoulakian/additional reporting by michele jordan & rita kungel)