Vegan In Florence: Central Market

Do you love pizza? Of course you do, who doesn’t?  Just admit it, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, paleo, pescatarian or whatever else you could possibly identify as, you most definitely love pizza in all of its forms. Aside from pizza, you probably also love burgers (more or less), in all of its shapes and sizes. For all of you vegans and non vegans alike, I have found the perfect location in Florence to indulge in these mouth watering treats. Also, if you’re looking for something a bit healthier, this place also offers several fresh pressed juice stands, salad stands, and more.

Welcome to Mercato Centrale Firenze, a.k.a. Florence’s famous Central Market. By day the downstairs portion of the completely indoor market is home to local food vendors as well as vendors from several places around the globe, each offering their delectable delights. Local vendors produce fresh pasta right in front of your eyes, while fruit and vegetable vendors offer only the freshest foods of the season. Vendors from different parts of Italy sell their fresh olive oils, spices, balsamic vinegars and truffles. It is the perfect place to do your grocery shopping, however the downstairs portion of the market closes by 2pm each day.

If you happen to find yourself stumbling upon the market near 2pm and begin to see the vendors packing up downstairs, have no fear because the mini restaurants upstairs are open all day and night. They each offer contrasting cuisine ranging from pizza to sushi and everything in between.

By night this location portrays an atmosphere that is suitable for those on the hunt for a nice glass of wine and a classy meal, as well as those searching for a casual Peroni and pizza. Mercato Centrale is one of my favorite places, and in my opinion should be at the top of anyones to-do list in Florence.

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(Picture via: Insidecom SRL)

My Favorites:

Veg & Veg:

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About: Vegan and vegetarian burger vendor. Also sells soups and create your own salad bowls. Soup of the day always changes, and ingredients are all clearly written out in english. They offer a variety of fresh pressed juices and smoothies.

Pros: Affordable, speak english, healthy, vegan, vegetarian, great food, menu is easy to read, great place for non-vegans and vegetarians as well, can modify to suit dietary needs.

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Soup is served in a bread bowl (yay), salad is served in a tortilla crust. Ingredients are clearly stated. Clear images of food so you know what to expect.

Image left: soup and salad

Image below: each burger

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Cons: Short menu, small stand so there is a long wait when it’s busy, don’t serve water. Other than that it’s great.

Images of food:

Below are images of the Popeye burger. It was very good. The sauce was a bit on the sweet side so if you prefer all savory, do no get this one. Otherwise, it was good.

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La Pizzeria:

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(Picture via: ioamofirenze.it)

About: Best marinara pizza (pizza without cheese) and margherita pizza in Florence. Each pie ranges from 8-10 Euros depending on what you get. They have an upstairs seating area if you don’t want to sit amongst a crowd of others also eating in the market.

Pros: Offer vegan pizza (a.k.a. pizza without cheese), friendly staff, affordable, customizable pizza, english speaking staff, english menu, seating area, suitable for vegans and non vegans.

Cons: Slightly on the pricey side for pizza. You can get pizza elsewhere in Italy for about 5 euros. Other than that, it was good.

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Picture above: Marinara pizza. It is served with olives, oregano and fresh garlic.

Visit Mercato Centrale, find your own favorites, and comment about them below. For now try the ones I’ve mentioned above, it will only be the veganing.

 

 

Shake Cafe Florence Italy

For all of you vegans out there planning on visiting the lovely city of Florence, Italy, have no fear, veganism is here! When I initially made the decision to study abroad here, I was extremely nervous about how I would survive as a vegan in a place that essentially revolves around meat filled pasta dishes and cheesy pizzas. I am pleased to inform you that being a vegan in Italy is nearly as easy as being a vegan at home in the states. While there are several vegan eateries I have discovered, one of the first ones I stumbled upon is a place called Shake Café.

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In picture: Apple, carrot, ginger cake and cappuccino.

About:

Envision a modern, sleek, hole-in-the-wall-cafe, filled with plants, pastries, sandwiches and customers eating salads, and sipping on fresh squeezed juices; this is the ambiance of  Shake Café. Being that it is fairly quaint (can seat about 12-15 people), I wouldn’t necessarily recommend going with a large group of friends, however it is a perfect place to grab a vegan cappuccino, a fresh squeezed juice or a quick bite to eat. They offer a large variety of juices and smoothies, however they use dairy in all their smoothies except for the tropical one, so if you’re vegan I suggest sticking to the juices. Shake Café offers a variety of wraps and salads, however not all of their food is strictly vegan, so if you ever find yourself hanging with your non vegan friends, and are in the mood for something delicious, this is absolutely a place for them too. Everything that is vegan is clearly labeled so you will never feel like you don’t know what to expect. (This has been a struggle for me in a lot of foreign countries).

Best Food:

-Acai bowl: You can create your own. I suggest adding peanut butter, granola, fruit and vegan protein powder.

-Quinoa Salad: Quinoa, spinach, walnuts, lettuce, pears. Dressing: Dijon mustard, balsamic, olive oil, salt, pepper.

-Vegan Bagel: Made fresh every morning. Perfect for a grab and go: Hummus, tomato and spinach on multigrain bagel.

-Vegan “Ruben” Wrap: Not a traditional Ruben at all. This comes as a wrap with tofu, sour kraut, kale, avocado spinach and hummus. Only get this if you like sour kraut.

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In picture: Vegan Ruben wrap

Best Drinks:

-Boost Juice: carrot, lemon, ginger, orange

-Digestion Juice: Pineapple, grapefruit, lemon, carrot

-Iron man Juice: strawberries, kiwi, apple

-Tropical Juice: strawberries, orange, pineapple, apple

-Vegan cappuccino: (Rice/Almond/Soy) (best with soy milk)

-Tropical smoothie: same as juice with protein powder (100% vegan)

Best Desserts:

-Carrot, apple, ginger cake

-Vegan tiramisu

-Vegan croissant

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In picture: Vegan croissant

Prices:

-Juices: small: 4 euro, Large: 5 euro

-Cappuccino: Small: 1.50 euro, Medium: 2.50 euro, Large: 3.50 euro

-Vegan croissant: 1.50 euro, cakes/other desserts: range in price, around 2-3 euro a slice.

-Wraps: 6 euro

-Salads: 7.50 euro

Perks:

-Cozy

-Friendly staff

-Staff speak english

-Free wifi

-Vegan protein powder

-Affordable

-Fresh food

-One of the only places in Italy that has organic peanut butter

-Coffee/food to go

Drawbacks:

-Very small

Tips:

-How to say “to go” in Italian: ” da portare via”.

-Get the cappuccino with soy milk; it foams the most.

-Get there early for a fresh vegan croissant.