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ROME - VEGAN & VEGETARIAN SUGGESTIONS?

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.

      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...