After diving into a new culture, traveling to many magical cities, and tasting undeniably scrumptious cuisine, I can confidently say I had the time of my life abroad in Florence, Italy.
The food in Florence is known for its beautiful burrata, creamy gelato, and perfectly prepared, mouthwatering carbohydrates. Though it is crucial to enjoy All’Antico Vinaio’s caprese paninis, La Giostra’s pear ravioli, and scoops on scoops of La Carraia Stracciatella gelato, it is possible to make healthy choices while in the heart of Italy.
Here are a few of my favorite healthy spots perfect for any health-conscious student in Florence:
Shake is what my friends and I consider the “Sweetgreen” of Italy. With three locations in the center of Florence, the cute cafés are ideal for a quick sit-down bite between classes or for grabbing a smoothie to go. The menu is extremely extensive–ranging from acai bowls to create-your-own salads to fresh juices to grain and veggie bowls.
Le Vespe Cafe
Le Vespe is a casual breakfast and lunch spot with many healthy breakfast options, including egg scrambles, vegetable dishes, chicken and fish salads, brown rice bowls, and smoothies. The San Lorenzo salad with smoked salmon avocado makes clean eating a breeze.
La Ménagère looks like it comes straight out of West Hollywood–with a tasteful Italian twist. The décor is delightful, and the café doubles as a flower shop. The food is consistently delicious, and the restaurant is host to my favorite Niçoise salad in all of Florence.
Yellow Bar is a cozy, casual dinner spot. On an extensive menu filled with salads and vegetable options sit pastas that are “homemade with organic flour from stoneground ancient grains.” This wheat pasta serves as an equally tasty, healthy alternative to the normal noodle. However, the seared ahi tuna solidified its place as my favorite Yellow Bar dish.
Rooster Café classifies itself as “A chill brunch spot with blue-plate specials and health-conscious bites you’d find in the States, located in the center of Florence.”
My friends and I spent countless hours in the rustic-chic spot. While we did devour our fair share of “Jack Johnson Style” banana pancakes, Rooster Café serves plenty of healthy options, such as avocado toast, veggie burgers, protein power bowls, herbed goat cheese vegetable omelettes, and a hummus trio platter (it’s a must!).
A Crudo (translating to “The Raw” in English) was actually assigned to me to review by my Italian Vegetarian Cooking course professor. The mediterranean, raw bistro is ideal for a light dinner. The menu offers many raw-vegetable- and fish-tartare options.
The food is fresh and delicious. If you make your way to A Crudo, definitely enjoy my favorite–Melado: Apple Tartare with Dark Chocolate and Cinnamon–a healthy alternative to the typical Italian dessert.
Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio
The numerous fresh food markets in Florence offer the ideal opportunity to create your own healthy dishes. Sant’Ambrogio Market is a wonderful outdoor farmers market with fresh produce–perfect for healthy preparation.
Shira Levin, Staff Writer
Shira Levin is a junior majoring in advertising. Born and raised in the City of Angeles, Shira is your typical West Coast native attempting to make it through another East Coast winter. Spot her around campus in oversized sunglasses, exercise leggings, and blacked-out Nikes.