A recommended place in Florence: for vegetarians, vegans, celiacs and more. The OV is rich in taste, flavor and originality!
I have been a vegetarian for many years and although I have never had a problem finding dishes to my liking when I went to the restaurant, I am very happy with the growth of places for vegetarians, vegans and celiacs, testimony of a growing sensitivity towards particular needs, with new experimentations of taste, if not of recipes.
In Florence in the heart of the district of San Frediano - which as you all know has been defined by Lonely Planet as the coolest on the planet! - opened about a year ago L'OV Osteria Vegetariana a restaurant entirely dedicated to green cuisine.
For non-Florentines: we are on the left bank of the Arno, in a completely renovated piazza del Carmine where the church of Carmine is still located, with the famous frescoes by Masaccio, right here
L'OV: style and care
I have been there a few times and I must first say that it is not a low cost place; when it comes to restaurants it is always difficult to specify what you are going to fall into in terms of price for the variables wine, number of dishes, etc.
What matters is the care of the dishes and the quality of the raw materials.
I already like L'OV a lot for the furniture element: the counter is completely covered in green, color reigns among cushions and chairs, there are large plants scattered around and jars on the tables, all of which 'different, they are "populated" by puppets - animals, those with which children play, those who will not be served!
The uneven stone floor reveals that there was a garage in this place before L'OV. Their website says: We didn't want 'just' a vegetarian restaurant, we wanted the Osteria to be a place for everyone. Is that vegetarians, vegans and celiacs could sit at the same table.
The dishes of L'OV
And this is the strength of L'OV, which is run by a chef, Simone, who also takes care of the Quinoa gluten free restaurant. Simone is very attached to the Florentine tradition, but ranges between different cuisines, Italian and foreign; the dishes vary, of course, depending on the season being the predominantly vegetable base. It is never about boring or tasteless dishes, but about "explosions" of creativity, played on combinations of taste and color. By now everyone knows that vegetarian is not the same as tasteless.
So from L'OV we move from sushi, which is all vegetable but prepared as it should, to zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta which are typical of the Tuscan tradition, to egg tripe au gratin, which is prepared in winter and which recalls a truly local dish… but without meat! Also in winter the roast celeriac, covered with dried fruit. Always in the tradition, but Italian, the orecchiette with broccoli, spaghetti alla chitarra.
In the summer version of the menu, the one you find online now, crispy panzanella, asparagus, courgettes and flowers, eggplant meatballs. Last summer I literally devoured, first with my eyes, then with my mouth, a watermelon tartare. The menu does not have appetizers, first courses, main courses, but a list of dishes called BEFORE and another called AFTER which can also be reversed.
As for the customers, since we are in full swing Oltrarno, you will be equally divided between tourists and locals, without a specific age group.
L'OV attracts not only vegetarians, vegans and celiacs, but a curious clientele in search of new flavors. The OV Osteria Vegetariana is open for lunch, with a quick and easier formula, and for dinner, for a more complex menu. In Piazza del Carmine 4R in Florence.
Photo credits: Jürgen Assfalg, L'OV