Here it is. The Big Smokey burger from Universo Vegano, an Italian vegan chain.
Universo Vegano Firenze
Via Pietrapiana 47, Florence
Universo Vegano Firenze’s website
The burger looks in the photo a bit small and dry but it was neither (what a compliment for my photography skills). Actually my favourite qualities were the big size and delicious smokey mayo, as the name suggests. The mayo was so good, I had to order fries with the same sauce (actually my boyfriend did the order but he didn’t have to read my thoughts since I was praising the smokey flavour for quite some time). The menu was really long, I am glad I was after the burger, otherwise it would have been even harder to choose.
This one was eaten in Florence, but we did try to eat burgers elsewhere too. No luck, since we happened to travel during the Italian summer holiday week and that meant that also many burger places had their doors closed. In Bologna the Universo Vegano was closed. So was the other vegan burger place next to it (what a dream street!). We found in Happy Cow another place nearby but it was closed too. We gave up and had a baquette instead. A good one but it was no burger.
Not all of the places were on holidays, but sometimes our timing was so bad that we just missed all the possibilities to bite a burger. Like in Pisa, when we were so close to get a burger from Vegan come Koala but ended up driving narrow one way streets around until the place was already closed. Tough luck. That trip ended to Carrefour supermarket’s vegan shelves but we did have great food also in restaurants on other days and in other cities.
La Tecia Vegana
Calle dei Secchi Dorsoduro 2104, Venice
La Tecia Vegana’s website
We were actually five people waiting in front of the restaurant before it opened! We all got seats, but the place filled up quickly. I had first some rucola gnocchi and it was really tasty. Then I ordered seitan. In Italian style it was just the seitan, side dishes should have been ordered separately. Oops! I got the rucola from my boyfriend’s plate and turned the tasty but heavy dish a bit more fresh. The seitan tasted almost disturbingly meaty and was full of flavour.
The restaurant is located outside the central Venice in a quiet neighbourhood, which was a relief. Venice is beautiful but I do regret we went, since the place is suffering so much from the amounts of people. There are daily nearly 60,000 tourists visiting and 55,000 inhabitants live in Venice. Not hard to do the math, how this affects the life quality, prices, amounts of trash, everyday life and pretty much everything. The center felt almost like some kind of Disneyland to me.
Via dei Vagellai 18, Florence
We were in Florence actually already once before we had the burger. No time to rush to Universo Vegano so we chose to have lunch at Brac, a bookstore / vegetarian restaurant. I had a nice salad with beans but food envy lifted its ugly head, since after all my dish was quite simple compared to the other side of the table: the avocado carpaccio looked so yummy! Very fresh food, perfect to battle the heat outside. I especially enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and of course the walls filled with books.
For other tips for Italy including the gas station croissants and the food fiesta in Tuscany, check out this post.
Burger count: 7 countries, 14 burgers