Il Vegano – Via S. Gallo, 75R, 50129 Firenze FI, Italy

Il Vegano on Facebook

Il Vegano is a half hour walk from our recommended B&B in Florence, Velonas Jungle.

I ate at Il Vegano the night before my EcoTrail Florence 80km mountain race. I knew I’d need to fuel well for the event, and this restaurant seemed like a good choice. I’d planned to stay on the salad and perhaps a little pasta. Like most of my best plans, however, it came undone when I looked at the menu and chose the risotto over the salad, and then had double dessert. It all just sounded so good, I lost my mind. Still, no harm done, I finished the race well and enjoyed the day thoroughly so the fueling strategy didn’t go entirely wrong!

Il Vegano was started in 2014 by longtime vegan friends Stefano – who used to work in the music business – and Erico, a fashion designer.

Stefano and Erico make their own ingredients such as tofu, seitan and pasta, and everything else they use is bought from an organic farm just outside Florence. The menu is great value, is written in English and changes according to what’s in season and can be bought from the farm truck.

Books with a vegan or activism theme are launched monthly here.

“The aim here is to serve great food, also to show meat eaters how great vegan food can be, and to educate on animal rights issues,” said Stefano, who speaks great English (a great help for those who don’t speak Italian and want to learn more about the food and what goes on here!).

It was the first all vegan restaurant in Florence and Stefano described what they serve as “home-food” style. It’s comforting, it’s filling and it’s made with great care and compassion. It’s also, as you can see from the photos of the menu, very good value. E6 for a homemade burder and fries, and not much more for some classic Italian pasta dishes.

All portions shown in my photos are half portions. I was racing the next day and was trying to keep my weight down, which is difficult when there is so much good food around and you want to try it all!

My first dish was the Strozzapreti pasta. I really enjoyed the firmness of the pasta, it was the best I’ve ever had. There is real texture there, and I don’t mean it was just cooked al dente. This handmade pasta has depth, real substance, it was a new food experience for me. The ragu tomato sauce that tops it is enjoyable but it’s definitely the second component of the dish, rather than the first as is usual with the normal pasta meals we get in the UK or North America.

My second dish was the mushroom risotto. It had a subtle range of texture, the mushrooms were there, but not overpowering. Perfect.

The dessert was a dual plate with a dark chocolate and pear torte with agave sweetener, and an apple, orange marmalade, cinnamon and ginger cake…wow. There were 4 layers on the torte, each of a contrasting texture, incredible.

Check Il Vegano out if you’re in Florence. You can also follow them on Facebook to enjoy their day to day events and mouth watering food photos.