Ahh, Italy — the land of ingenious creations like pizza, pasta and the Coliseum — and a few choice veggie-friendly restaurants. Although the boot of Europe wasn’t the most hospitable place to find vegan grub, we nonetheless were able to discover a few gems along the cobblestoned alleys and well-trodden streets of this vibrant country.
Address/Hours/Phone: varies by location
One of the top restaurants on our list also happens to be part of a franchise; attesting to the growing interest and patronage of health-conscious Italians. Universo Vegano, unlike many normal Italian eateries, opens early in the day with substantial menu offerings*. Some of Universo Vegano’s standouts included a wide variety of vegan pizzas with vegan cheese and a special vegan tuna (which we tried for the very first time!), truffle burgers and creamy, smooth tiramisu.
Address: Via S. Zanobi, 126R, 50129 Florence
Hours: 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM, 7:00 PM – 11:45 PM
Phone: +39 328 240 3415
Astrology geeks and horoscope devotees will no doubt appreciate Le Fate, a quirky yet elegant restaurant that features menu items named after star signs and natural elements. Everything in the restaurant is tended to the minutest details — the hummus and amuse bouche complimentary bread is made in-house, and the wine/libations are all vegan-approved. Even the hand towels in the bathroom are reusable and environmentally friendly! The Virgo and Capricorn entrees were truly spectacular, while the degustazione di sformaggi (vegan cheese plate) is not to be missed!
Address: Via Tarsia 36 | Ci troviamo di fronte al Teatro Bracco, 80135, Naples, Italy
Hours: Sun 12:30 PM – 4:00 PM Tue – Sat 12:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Phone: +39 338 756 1749
Perhaps the most unique little vegan hole-in-the-wall we came across in Italy, Milkaway is the brainchild of vegan owner Erika + her sister, who is one of the nicest Italians we met on our trip! This cafe’s specialty is pastries and different flavors of “cream” (pistachio was a featured one) and homemade drinks, as well as savory rolls with fresh vegetables, zesty and creamy sauce and crunchy rice puffs. Banana cream pie in a cup was the standout treat, with layers of banana-infused whipped cream, sliced banana and cake bits, making kind of a portable vegan trifle!
Address: Via Acciaioli 13, 00186 Rome, Italy
Hours: Sun 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM Mon 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM Tue – Thu 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM Fri – Sat 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Phone: +39 06 6880 4282
Sophisticated and elegant, this cafe-staurant delivers outstanding raw dishes with super-fresh tasting ingredients. The chilled gazpacho soup clearly featured just-picked tomatoes and cucumbers. Although the sushi dish tasted a bit bland and the citrus juice lacked necessary sweetness to be enjoyable, we nonetheless felt rejuvenated by the natural power of the raw vegetables and fruits featured in their menu items.
Address: Vico S.Pietro A Maiella 6, 80138, Naples
Hours: 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM, 7 PM – 12 AM
Phone: +39 081 455026
This vegetarian/vegan friendly bistro serves up classic Italian with a multicultural twist. Though service was subpar (with an approximate 15-20 minute wait between requests and ordering and receiving food), the food tasted fresh, subtly seasoned and was reasonably priced. The crispy tofu, seitan steak and salumi board are highly recommended; but save room for their made-to-order chocolate mousse. It’s really more like a chocolate lava cake — one of the most memorable desserts during our visit.
Address: Via San Gallo 75/R, 50129, Florence, Italy
Hours: Mon – Sat 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Phone: +39 055 486222
Fresh, local ingredients and passion seem to be hallmarks of this small business, which serves up simple and delicious fare. The courgette soup was silky smooth and perfectly cooked, while the cornettos (croissants) were made the same morning and came in a medley of flavor fillings (lemon ginger, chocolate and apricot). The burger we had was lightly salted and healthy-tasting.
Address/Hours/Phone: Two locations, check website for more information
This open-air and chicly decorated restaurant will please nearly every diner, as it is omni, vegetarian AND vegan friendly. This flexibility does cause a bit of confusion, however, as we were served a dessert that was falsely labelled vegan, but actually had eggs and dairy (at the end they amended the bill and apologized). Still, we did enjoy the Asian-inspired dishes, which is tough to find in Italy. The tofu wok and quinoa burger were seasoned well and satisfied our gnawing tourist hunger.
Address: Via Duomo 238, 80138, Naples, Italy
Hours: Mon – Sat 8:00 AM – 11:45 PM (limited breakfast options)
Phone: +39 339 158 0144
Italians are not known for putting much interest in breakfast, and this was apparent at Sbuccia & Bevi, where requests for actual food for breakfast were met with “our permit does not allow us to cook before 12:30 PM.” Most likely a canned response for tourists, we were nonetheless hungry and still scarfed down their delicious cornettos and baked goods, which seemed to have been made that morning. They also had excellent coffee and juice!
Address: Piazza Museo Nazionale 15 | Museo Archeologico Nazionale, 80135, Naples, Italy
Hours: Sun – Mon 7:30 PM – 11:00 PM Wed – Thu 7:30 PM – 11:00 PM Wed – Mon 12:30 PM – 3:30 PM Fri – Sat 7:30 PM – 11:45 PM
Phone: +39 333 472 6933
Arguably one of the trendiest vegan-friendly restaurants in Naples, Vitto Pitagorico nonetheless was a bit of a letdown since they ran out of vegan cheese to put on our pizza on the day we stopped by for dinner. Still, we did enjoy the hemp courgette pasta with creamy hemp sauce, but without cheese the mushroom pie (which they honestly should have charged us less for since there was no cheese!) was basically a mushroom flatbread.
Address: Via Sedile di Porto 71 | Angolo Mezzocannone, 80134, Naples, Italy
Hours: Mon – Thu 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM Fri 10:00 AM – 1:00 AM Sat 7:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Phone: +39 320 953 7297
This vegan restaurant had pretty chill owners — so chill that they were both enjoying a cigarette outside for a few minutes, leaving the restaurant empty while we looked at the menu! They also did not have much of the menu items when we visited at 10 AM. Still, we were able to get two large kaiser roll sandwiches with homemade seitan and freshly roasted veggies after a bit of back and forth with the staff. Hey, at least they were open!