For those on a gluten-free diet, Florence may seem like a stretch too far. Pizzas, pastas and delicious dishes are everywhere. But are they gluten-free? Happily, eating gluten-free in Florence is surprisingly easy. The Italian Celiacs Association keeps tabs on restaurants and any gluten-free credentials they’re touting. And, there are a growing number of dedicated gluten-free outlets. Add in the restaurants with separate cooking stations that prepare your gluten-free food and things are shaping up to be a gluten-free pasta and filled jaunt that’s never too far from the Piazza del Duomo.
Gluten free restaurants in Florence
Florence’s first 100% gluten-free restaurant is pleasingly close to the Piazza del Duomo. Yes, Quinoa’s a little on the wholesome and hearty side, but the menu still boasts some Italian treats. Hello zucchini parmigiana. It’s also harbouring some Oriental tastebud teasers which, while unexpected, isn’t entirely unwelcome in an otherwise mozzarella laden environment. By far the best bit about dining here are the restaurant’s credentials. A stamp of approval from the National Celiac Association, alongside a completely gluten-free menu, gives you that much-needed reassurance that there’s no chance of any cross contamination in the kitchen. We’re also loving their lush, green, plant-laden decor vibe.
L’OV - Osteria Vegetariana
Looking for a reservation without compromise? There’s something decidedly calming about a menu that caters for all diets. Celiacs, veggie, vegan – when all are welcome, it takes the stress out of mealtimes for mixed groups of diners. Book a table at L’OV and all your dining dilemmas are sorted, bar one. The tricky task of picking just one dish from the menu. Colourful plates of beautifully presented vegetables are the order of the day. Experimental, with a hint of the familiar, L’OV’s lasagna perhaps is the one meal that showcases this best. Sautéed pumpkin and vegetable nduja sits in layers spinach béchamel and colourful lasagna sheets. A feast for the eyes. Gluten-free restaurants in Florence aren’t in short supply, but one that fully caters to this range of diets – and does it in style, are.
Hostaria il Desco
If you’re looking for a Tuscan table full of regional tastes, trot along to Hostaria il Desco. Another central spot that’s within mooching distance of all the Florence high points, this romantic little gem’s a gluten-free hotspot. The main menu isn’t 100% Celiac-friendly, though they do have the much coveted AIC seal of approval. There’s a gluten-free menu and the folk here have been in the Italian recipe biz for almost 70 years. Their bread basket comes as standard to every table, though there’s nothing basic about it. Homemade, gluten-free – whether you request it or not – and delicious. Though, as always, don’t fill up on this when there are tastier morsels coming your way.
Yes, it’s an Italian cliche, but when in Italy, you really do want to indulge in a pizza. And, thanks to Mister Pizza, you can now order gluten-free pizzas in the heart of the city. The two restaurants offer eat-in or takeaway options. And this is very much a no-frills kind of place. Think clean and crisp, modern decor – rather than a traditional Italian taverna. Now, fair warning, the menu isn’t 100% gluten-free. But all the pizzas on the menu can be prepared in a dedicated kitchen area, with gluten-free ingredients. The pizzas here really do rank as some of the best in Florence – so, if you’re going to try the pizza, try it here.
Orbzii tip: Mister Pizza will pop your pizza on a coloured plate. If your pizza arrives on the same coloured plate as everyone else, ask the staff to double check your order.
Gluten free bakery
Should you find yourself straying from the city centre, drop in on Bottega Artigiana del Gusto. It’s a gluten-free haven in Florence. Part shop, part bakery, part restaurant – it’s very much a triple threat. You’ll be drawn to the baked goods – but do take the opportunity to stock up on some gluten-free essentials in the shop, before sitting down to a meal. Even if you do just drop in for some freshly baked bread, make sure this one’s on your radar. They’ve created dishes here that, for the most part, are indistinguishable from their gluten-laden counterparts.
Ok, so baked goods aren’t the first thing that come to mind when you’re in the market for a gelato. But, Grom is a dedicated gluten-free gelateria where EVERYTHING on the menu is yours for the taking. Cookies and gluten-free cones are the obvious winners, but don’t miss out on their spreads, marmalades and jams. Spoiler alert: They have also been known to whip up a waffle on occasion too. We think the best way to take advantage of this spot’s gluten-free ethos, is by piling a cone or cup full of their special recipe. The Crema & Amaretti flavour is hiding little chunks of Amaretti biscuit and really delivers on those Italian flavours.
Orbzii tip: Gluten-free nomads, Grom is a name to keep in your travel backpack. There are over 20 stores in Italy, with outlets in London, Paris and Prague with more dotted across the globe to snuffle out too.
Gluten-free foodie experiences
Can you really say you’ve ticked all the Italian holiday boxes if you haven’t taken a pasta class in Florence? Unlikely. Happily, eating gluten-free in Florence now comes with all the trappings of any typical foodie trip, thanks to the gastro-minded folks at Gluten Free Florence. They’ve put together a collection of foodie experiences for you to sample. Try cooking some gluten-free pasta from scratch in their traditional cooking class, take a gluten-free food tour of Florence or invite their gluten-free chef to your place to whip up a delicious menu. For our money, the Cooking Class with Lunch (or Dinner) probably hits all the right notes for a weekend break activity. It’s worth noting, they can tailor the experience for vegetarians and vegans too.
Orbzii tip: Florence wine tours come highly recommended – but do check their gluten-free credentials with your tour guide. Almost all wines are naturally gluten-free, but some producers do like to stray from the conventional path every now and then.