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ROME - VEGAN & VEGETARIAN SUGGESTIONS?

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I know, it seems like sacrilege in the land of offal, but I'm traveling with two friends who are devout vegan. No animal products - no meat or dairy. Alas, no gelati. They are also real foodies with very sophisticated palates. Obviously, any restaurant will prepare a pasta pomodoro or primavera. And there's always pizza bianco and fried artichokes. But does anyone know of a truly great vegan restaurant in the city?

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  1. No, and this isn't the land of offal. Traditional Roman food is based on poor-folks' food, which, almost everywhere uses every edible part of the animal. Bad guidebooks have perpetuated the idea that Rome has some kind of monopoly on it, whereas it only has a cute story, which I'm not going to go into in a thread on vegans.

    There are some vegetarian restaurants, not very good, but I've certainly never heard of a vegan one, much less a great vegan restaurant. It should be easy, however, to avoid meat and dairy in mainstream places, and the options will be more than just tomato sauce.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mbfant

      mbfant, I just have to ask:

      Are many people you know vegans and do they discuss with you where they are happy eating in Rome?

      1. re: barberinibee

        I don't know any vegans and very few vegetarians. Maybe just one. She likes Biblio Thè, near Piazza del Gesù, but it's a sort of cultural center where she studies Sanskrit. I did have lunch there once and it was very good, but you can't really put a finger on what the cuisine is -- neither Indian nor Italian but not a fusion of the two either. In general, my vegetarian friend, who is a really good cook, has no trouble eating anywhere she goes.

        1. re: mbfant

          In my experience vegans and even vegetarians find travel a challenge when it comes to eating well. It's one thing to dine out with friends every so often at a meat-focused restaurant and be happy cobbling together a non-meat meal. It's another to be eating out twice a day in meat-focused restaurants.

          It seems to me that most other European countries have a sizeable chunk of young people who are vegetarians and vegans, and the restaurant culture increasingly caters to them. The only place in Italy I feel like I can find a vegetarian restaurant without much effort is Milan.

          I'm actually not a vegetarian (or vegan). But I like vegetarian cooking because to me it has so much more variety. I think most vegetarian restaurants don't try to be classically Italian or Indian or whatever. They're trying to develop something, by necessity.

    2. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/456919

      1. REWILD cruelty-free club offers a variety of sandwiches with organic
        seitan, organic tofu/seitan burgers and hotdogs, dishes, salads,
        sweets and so on, and of course beverages, both alcoholic (e.g.
        hi-quality italian beers, menabrea and forst; liquors and cocktails)
        and for tee-totallers. it often hosts live concerts and shows in a
        nice and cozy atmosphere. prices are not expensive, staff speaks
        english. check out the website http://www.rewild.it

        1. It has been a few years, and they have since changed locations, but we had a very good veg meal at Arancia Blu. Dairy heavy, but with enough vegan options. Expensive
          http://www.aranciabluroma.com/default...

          1. I've enjoyed the buffet lunches at the comfortable and spacious vegetarian Margutta on via Margutta --in no small part because I often don't want a large lunch, so I choose my own from the buffet (on the other hand, if you're hungry, it's a very generous deal at under 20e).

            I have been less happy at dinner, precisely because the buffet table disappears and the menu offerings are usually elaborate multi-course extravaganzas.

            I honestly can't remember how many of the offerings are vegan, but if you go at lunch, it's all very attractively presented for you to look and see.

            http://www.ilmarguttavegetariano.it/i...

            I'll give you this link too, but please note that the address given is incorrect. The restaurant is on via Margutta.

            http://vegans.frommars.org/rome/detai...

            2 Replies
            1. re: barberinibee

              PS: I just looked at the menu on their website, and while it's out of date, a previous menu offered a solely vegan dinner at 32e -- again multicourse.

              http://www.ilmarguttavegetariano.it/f...

              1. re: barberinibee

                And you might like to read this, even though the Beehive is closed:

                http://eatavegan.wordpress.com/2009/0...

            2. If you are going in summer time there will be plenty of vegetable-oriented dishes, say, made with roasted or grilled peppers, zucchini or eggplant, in addition to tomatoes, beans, fennel,greens, etc. In addition to pasta, risotto or similar made with the above, its often possible to put together a fine meal from an antipasto spread (which give a vegan a chance to look at the offerings ahead of time.).

              After several international trips with my teen/college age vegan daughter, where we tried hard to accomodate her (and went to several very miserable places) we finally concluded that it was her issue, not ours - I was not going to fuss for her, or go anyplace we thought was less than decent ever again.. fortunately, she later started eating eggs and milk products, which cured her issues, and travel became enjoyable again.

              I forgot to mention that fruits are a wonderful option in Italy, great fruit is available, including fruit desserts, and nut dishes as well

              Did you see this? http://www.sleepingrome.com/blog/2008...

              1. i see your trip was two years ago, but i hope you figured out that not all gelato in rome has dairy in it. in fact, most of the fruit flavors you encounter at the high quality gelaterie like fata morgana, fior di luna, and gelateria dei teatro only use fresh fruit, sugar, water and natural stabilizers. no milk, cream, honey, egg, etc.

                1 Reply
                1. re: katieparla

                  And I increasingly see soy gelati in Italy.

                  Most places I know that don't use milk in their fruit gelati advertise it, which makes me think the others do, so you need to know which gelaterie to patronize.