You know a place has good food when the staff all sit down together in the restaurant to eat their lunch! That was certainly the case at the modern but charming BVeg vegetarian restaurant in Florence when we visited in late March.
Located on a sparse side street behind the Santa Maria Novella train station, this seems like a word-of-mouth type place, rather than one you just stumble upon. We had found this beforehand using the Happy Cow website, a lifesaver for travelling vegos!
The entrance to BVeg is small and flanked by pot plants and wall hangings with fresh herbs that the chef was trimming as we entered. The interior is bright and welcoming with wooden floors, mis-matched furniture, interesting artworks and books, books, and more books! It was march larger than I expected given the tiny entranceway; the open kitchen and bar (known for serving artisan beers) is at the front, then the restaurant stretches far back, over a split level floor.
Spoilt for choice in an otherwise empty restaurant (we were there for a rather late lunch!), we chose a seat towards the back, by a lightstand made out of a pile of books.
The menu was hand-written and entirely in Italian, which made it feel much more authentic than many of the places we had been so far. The waiter translated and explained each dish to us individually then left us to decide. The downside of this, is that as the most indecisive person in the world, I struggle choosing from a menu I can actually read! But given one I couldn’t read (and not being brave enough to just point and hope for the best), I had to ask the patient waiter about some dishes several times. In the end, I opted for the safe but tasty option of a burger.
I went for the spinach burger with salad, rosemary roast potatoes and egg-free mayonnaise. It came beautifully presented, though I probably should have ordered it without the burger bun as I didn’t eat more than a quarter of it! We’d had delicious Italian bread from the basket on the table so I just ate my burger patty with the salad. So good!
I don’t like mayonnaise and the vegan version tasted pretty much the same so I didn’t eat mine but I’m sure mayo fans would have enjoyed it! The rosemary potatoes were a nice change from a burger’s usual fries or chips partner and they were so delicious and well-cooked. In fact, Matt described them as the best potatoes he’s ever eaten. Ever.
Matt ordered the penne with artichokes and olive oil – it was a simple but tasty dish and a nice change from the usual veggie pasta options of tomato or cheese sauce. However, after sampling my potatoes, I think he suffered from a severe case of food envy!
It was such a casual, relaxed vibe that once our meal was on the table, the staff all sat down to eat their lunch at the other end of the restaurant. We had to awkwardly interrupt to ask for our bill but the staff were so friendly and accommodating that they didn’t seem to mind!
I’d definitely recommend this place and if I’m ever in Florence again, would love to go and check out their dinner menu and perhaps sample an artisan beer or two.
Address: Via degli Orti Oricellari, 6, 50123 Florence, Italy