In the spirit of a rapid passage through varied ambiances, we went to Florence for Christmas. And because Pisa is next to Florence, we went there too, in search of ... well ... Manny (?).
As we arrived on Christmas Eve eve, I wrote to all the vegan restaurants I could easily identify a few days before - about ten or 15 maybe. I received three replies. Two were closed. One was open. That one was - aptly named - Nirvana.
Nirvana is an awesome place (quote me on that). Nirvana is a mix of a traditional family-owned restaurant, India, and vegan activism ... and really awesome food and really friendly people. So, our choice - out of the one option - couldn't have been better. If you ever go to Florence, and you should, check out Nirvana.
Starter: sausage and rocket (arugula)
More starters, papadam, and whatnot
I don't remember who ordered capuccino (?)
As we were hungry, a lot of bread was eaten. Bread wasn't very salty - which I like. This is Tuscany.
Mains that involved mushrooms and were scrumptous - Lucullan even.
This dish brought it to light what a second main is. With a fine Chianti (sauce). Seitan in Dante's home town.
This is what the waiter recommended: pear tart.
I insisted on the tiramisu though. Choose wisely.
Apart from that, we had arrived with a backpack full of food, thinking that maybe Florence would be like a ghost town for three days (24, 25, and 26 December) ... But no. Even quite late at night on Christmas Eve it was easy to find a normally priced city centre (small) supermarket that had everything you could want to buy, including vegan milks, vegan cheese, vegan yoghurts, vegan meat alternatives, vegan ice cream, bread (fresh and packaged), even vegan egg and all kinds of other stuff. And of course all the basics like chocolate, beer, etc. Not that I bought beer.
At some point I googled "vegan pizza", and three places nearby showed up on Google maps. And this is why you should check HappyCow (or something similar) rather than Google maps, because Google maps will mislead you.
This place was one of the places that Google maps showed me. The next day I asked if they have vegan pizza, and the waiter said "ah, no".
This place, however ... thanks Google maps ... did have vegan pizza (see below). Lorenzo di' Medici.
Just across the little street, I saw this. But they were closed. I would have fallen for this sign.
This was another place - La Cranceria - that Google maps showed. And according to HappyCow they do have vegan pizza slices. But I wanted a pizza, not slices.
This place, late at night - when it was closed of course - LATE AT NIGHT ON CHRISTMAS DAY - is rumoured to be the oldest gelateria in Florence. But - in their closed state - I couldn't detect any trace of vegan options (I tried).
This was somewhere. Maybe at La Cranceria?
Then we went to the Synagogue / Jewish museum - all other museum were closed too, as it was Christmas Day. And there was a "vegetarian" restaurant there (Ruth's), and I was ready to go step inside the restaurant when on the menu I saw the words "vegetarian food" but also the word "pesce" ... fish on the menu. And the doors of Eden were shut to me, so to speak. Call it the most goyim thing to do. Maybe next time
Back to the vegan pizza: Lorenzo di' Medici. Check the small print (bottom left and right): "Suppl. Mozzarella vegana 2.5 €". Translation: they have vegan mozzarella and it costs 2.50 Euros extra. So we bought the "Vegetariana" (right) with mozzarella vegana.
Apart from a bit of confusion that involved a guy in a normal winter jacket outside talking to me in Italian (only) - who ended being the owner (maybe) - and the waiter taking our order again ... everything worked out well and we ended up with two pizzas instead of one and the waiter banging the plate of pizza down on our table, which was quite "filmic" rather than unpleasant. It added to the beautiful bizarreness of being in Florence on Christmas day. And a second later the (probably) overworked waiter was laughing again with his colleagues.
Anyway, the pizza was - for the lack of a better word- dope.
Pizza 1 (Vegetariana senza mozzarella con mozzarella vegana)
And this was a intercultural exchange thing. And quite good. Real spaghetti (vegan, of course).
Edoardo ice cream
Edoardo had vegan ice cream options
of which we chose
(don't ask) ... vegan cones too!
And the place right next to it also had vegan options. Check the small print (bottom).
And this one had vegan ice cream too.
And this one too
This young girl was staring at the pig in the window.
This was "Il Vegano" (closed for Christmas).
This was "Il Vegetariano" (closed for Christmas).
This was a kind of bar (Alibi), with vegan food
This was a vegetarian place (Il Vegetariano e Vegano, Marcella Bianchi) in the indoor market (open on Christmas day!)
This was a closed (for Christmas) vegetarian restaurant: cinque
This was a raw food vegan patisserie. We said we would come back. But we didn't.
PisaThis was close to the main station, opposite the Keith Haring mural. "Art Burger" with vegan options.
We stayed across the train tracks at some "hotel" named like "BnB". And the owner was very friendly. And brought us tea and vegan biscuits! (accidentally vegan; the sweets in the corner left weren't vegan).
documentation (train, supermarket in Florence on Christmas Eve, Edoardo)
Subway in Italy has vegan options too.
We looked for Pisa's only (I think) vegan restaurant: "Vegan come koala", which is just a few houses up the street from this. We couldn't find the restaurant - because it was closed (and there was no restaurant sign, it seems). But they do still exist. So check them out unless it's Christmas. To a Spanish speaker their name is confusing. Or maybe just to me. This place (picture) had some vegan options too.
For dinner we ended up in "Namaste", which we did enjoy. It's a non-veg place, but the vegan options are good.
Cucina Vegana (second column, top)
Forgot what this was called but it was vegan.
Picture of Gandhiji
This was somewhere else (Lastra a Signa, ~7 am, somewhere near Firenze).
And somewhere in Switzerland