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Suggestions for dining in Florence and Rome (vegetarians)

My husband and I, both vegetarians are headed to Italy in a couple of weeks .. this is our first trip to Europe and to Italy and we are super excited. I'm researching places to dine for lunch/dinner in both Rome and Florence. I would love some suggestions and comments on places I have so far. We are looking for casual, cafe style places for the most part and one fancy dinner on our anniversary (Rome).

This is what I have gathered so far based on other posts from chowhound board and other travel forums..

Florence: (we are staying at Hotel Casci)
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1) Buca dell Orafo
2) Tratoria la Casalinga
3) Tratoria Sergio Gozzi (lunch)
4) OSteria Cipolla Rossa
5) La Bussola pizzeria and wine bar
6) Trattoria da Sergio Frezzolini

Rome: (we are staying at Hotel Adriano in the Novona area)
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1) Obika Mozzerella Bar
2) Da Bafetto or La Montecarlo for pizza
3) Caffe Mancini Ristorante
4) Osteria dell Ingego
5) Caffetteria Canova Tadolini
6) Otello alla Concordia
7) Maccheroni
8) Sicilianbocca (near Vatican)
9) Pizzarium

I've not narrowed down a place for our anniversary dinner. Any suggestions?

Also I'm finding most of the restaurant websites don't list prices on their menus. Is this common? We will mostly be eating pastas, pizzas, soups and cheese (no meat or seafood for us). How much can we expect a meal to cost at a trattoria?

Is it necessary to make reservations at most places?

Thank you!!

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Maccheroni
Piazza delle Coppelle, 44, Rome 00186, IT

La Montecarlo
Vicolo Savelli 12/13,, Rome, Lazio , IT

da Sergio
Piazza San Lorenzo 8r, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

Pizzarium
Via della Meloria, 43, Rome, Lazio 00136, IT

Cipolla Rossa
Via de' Conti,53, Florence, Toscana 50123, IT

Casalinga
Sdrucciolo de' Pitti,9r, Florence, Toscana 50125, IT

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  1. There are Roman residents who post on this board so they would be better for giving you up-to-date opinions on your list but if you are not aware of Il Margutta, but you might want to check out its website. It lists prices for lunch and dinner. It is one of the few restaurants in Rome devoted to serving vegetarians and vegans, and it is a tony place, although not expensive by Rome standards. It's lunch menu is particularly a bargain.

    http://www.ilmarguttavegetariano.it/eng/

    If you are planning to be in Rome outside of the Christmas/New Year's holidays, I don't think you need reservations, but others who post here who live in Rome can advise you better.

    Also Roman residents know better than I do when the Roman artichoke season is (where I live, it is fall/winter), but if are artichokes are in season while you are there, you might not want to miss out on eating artichokes in the several ways Romans cook them. Gnocchi is good in Rome and easy to find (especially on Thursdays). Also, if you eat eggs, you might be on the lookout for them in Rome because I've enjoyed eating them there in winter as a main course, sometimes with truffles.

    You might find this link interesting:

    http://www.venere.com/blog/vegetarian...

    1 Reply
    1. re: barberinibee

      oh wow, I was not aware of such a restaurant. That sounds really nice for our anniversary dinner. Thank you for that suggestion. I like how they have the set menus where we can actually eat everything they serve.. Thank you for the tip on Gnocchi.

    2. I am sure I will be in the minority here, I would skip Gozzi. I will admit, I used to like it, but I find the food greasy and not very vegetarian friendly. The cuisine is very "casalinga" and there is nothing wrong with that. But you've already got that represented anyway.

      1. My other question is would it be ok to order a few dishes like soups and pastas and share between my husband and I? At most places we won't be eating the secondi/meat course so sharing the pastas and other dishes seems like a good idea. I wonder if this is appropriate....

        5 Replies
        1. re: dscan99

          Glad Il Margutta might work out for you.

          I'm not sure I understand your second question. Are you saying that perhaps you will want to each order a pasta or a soup as a first course, but then since you are not eating a second course of meat, you would like to split a plate of pasta for your second course?

          It''s ok to ask to split any dish, including an appetizer or dessert, or a first or second course. Just know that if you order soup followed by pasta, or pasta followed by pasta, your waiter might caution you that this is not the normal way to eat an Italian meal. But if you say that's what you want, they will bring whatever you order. They will also probably ask you what dish you want to eat first, and which you want to eat second.

          If you order a side of vegetables in an Italian restaurant, it is always big enough to share.

          Also be aware that many Italians do not order the entire meal all at once. They wait until they are finished eating their appetizer and pasta, and if they are still hungry, they will order more food. So you can do that too. It's actually a much more enjoyable way to eat.

          You might also tell your waiters you are vegetarians and ask if there are any vegetarian dishes that the cook makes that aren't on the menu. Sometimes there are.

          1. re: barberinibee

            That really helps! Thanks! I meant that the husband and I would order maybe three dishes between pastas and soups/salads that we would share.. not necessarily one dish for each of us. Anyway from what you describe, it sounds like places are flexible. It's also good to know that we don't need to order everything up front.. rather wait and see how hungry we are after each course to order more.

            I'm defintiely learning a few Italian phrases and one of them is "I'd like some vegetarian options please".

              1. re: dscan99

                I think 2 dishes per person would be ok. Sharing by trading plates is what we do. I would not ask the restaurant to divide the dishes on to two plates.. Bear in mind that servings are relatively smaller in Italy than in the US, so that you may need to order more food than you are currently anticipating.

                1. re: dscan99

                  You can order course by course in trattorias or classic/traditional restaurants, but the more upmarket places can't usually handle that. Don't forget that whatever number of dishes and courses you order, you eat one at a time, with the exception of veg and meat/fish, or whatever you're eating instead of meat (a trattoria classic in Rome is grilled scamorza cheese). Don't order your salad to accompany your pasta. As long as you eat cheese and fish, you'll always find plenty of meatless meals, though you might want to ask if meat broth has been used in the soups or sauces.

            1. In Florence, I love both Casalinga and DaSergio, but I don't think of either as being particularly vegetarian-friendly. Soups in particular can be tricky because many have a meat- or poultry-based stock. Although I am not a vegetarian myself, I found it easier in Rome to find vegetarian secondi when I was looking for something lighter after a substantial primo.

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              Casalinga
              Sdrucciolo de' Pitti,9r, Florence, Toscana 50125, IT

              1. PS: I wanted to show you this menu for Armando al Pantheon, and I'm sorry it doesn't have prices, but they are mid-range by Roman standards. (60e per person for a 4 course meal with wine, and you don't have to eat 4 courses.)

                But you can see that at Armando, for a main dish, you can get cheese with truffles, or "meatballs" made of farro grain with a gorgonzola sauce. Armando's also has some purely vegetarian appetizers, and a whole lot of vegetarian pastas.

                It is considered one of the very tastiest restaurants in Rome, and you would definitely need a reservation. It is right down the street from the Pantheon (as you stand in front of the Pantheon facing it, just walk halfway down the street that is at a complete right angle from Pantheon steps, past the newspaper kiosk). You can ask to see a menu so you can see the prices, and if you like what you see, you can make a reservation.

                http://www.armandoalpantheon.it/menu.php

                You can also ask at other restaurants if they have these dishes.