It's never easy traveling when you're a vegetarian and even harder when you're vegan. Planning to go to any new destination can leave you fraught with worry about what food you're likely to find to eat there. It's perfectly understandable, and a good idea, that you're searching to see if there are vegetarian restaurants in Pisa. Thankfully, you’ll be pleased to discover, you don't need to worry too much.
The great thing about visiting Italy is that the country's Mediterranean diet, similar to the Greek one, is more veggie-oriented than it is meat-based. As much as you might love spaghetti al pesto, it can get a bit boring after you've had it a couple of times. You won't need to resort to it as your main standby in this Italian city though.
While there might not be so many specialist vegetarian restaurants in Pisa, there are plenty of places where you can gorge on dishes such as freshly-made spinach ravioli or gnocchi smothered in a vegetarian sauce and even a spicy veggie curry. If you're looking to eat on the go while sightseeing, there are specialist sandwich shops offering amazing vegan piadina, a type of traditional Italian wrap, that will have you going back for more.
It's impossible to take that amazing souvenir photo of yourself hugging the Leaning Tower of Pisa when you have your bags with you. When you can't leave your belongings in your hotel or hostel for whatever reason, don't miss out on the opportunity. Instead of wandering around with your case or backpack wondering what to do with it, store it in a Bounce luggage locker.
You can drop your bags off at a Bounce luggage storage facility in Pisa for a few hours or longer if need be. They'll be safe in a security-tagged locker which costs you next to nothing to hire and it'll leave you with both hands free to catch the shot of the tower you were hoping for without worrying someone will scarper with your stuff.
Where To Get The Best Vegetarian Food In Pisa
Vegan Come Koala
What's It Like
There's no disputing that this initially seems like a strange name for any type of food business, especially a restaurant, but translate Vegan Come Koala to English and you'll find it means vegan like a koala so maybe not so strange after all.
Vegan Come Koala is a rustic-looking vegan sandwich shop in the city center. It's a few minutes' walk from the Piazza del Cavalieri and the Royal Palace Museum which stands on the banks of the Arno River, so the ideal place to pop into when you're out sightseeing.
Everything they produce at Vegan Come Koala sandwich shop is one hundred percent meat-free and they also have a range of gluten-free too. Paninis, piadinas, sandwiches, filled rolls, and vegan pizza are all made to order so you get to choose not just what goes in yours, but the dressings as well.
Our Recommendation – A piadina bread stuffed with two seitan sausages, fresh organic salad, vegan cheese, and veganaise.
Location – Via l'Arancio, 21
What's It Like
The Ristoro Pecorino is a very traditional Italian trattoria that is perfect to drop into for a pasta lunch if you're near the Leaning Tower of Pisa as it's just two minutes walk from there.
It really doesn't get much more Italian than this place as it has those wonderful old-fashioned metal tables and folding chairs on the pavement. Inside is more up-to-date and decorated with chalk drawings on blackboards of the nearby famous landmark.
Ristoro Pecorino isn't a vegetarian restaurant as such as they have a lot of meat dishes on the menu too. They do have good vegetarian options though as they make fantastic fresh homemade pasta dishes they'll top with a vegetarian sauce if you ask. When all said and done, not so much vegetarian, but pretty typical Italian cuisine.
Our Recommendation – Bruschetta with black olive tapenade followed by spinach tagliatelle with lemon sauce.
Location – Via Santa Maria, 157
La Taverna di Pulcinella
What's It Like
You won't discover the magic of La Taverna di Pulcinella until you walk through the door of the restaurant as from the outside it doesn't appear to be anything special at all. It does in fact look dark and pretty unwelcoming but it's actually completely the opposite.
Inside it's light, bright, and white with stone-clad arches and modern furniture, so not your typical Italian restaurant at all. The kitchen is open so you can see the food preparation process from start to finish and see precisely when your pizza is coming out of the wood-fired oven.
La Taverna di Pulcinella are pizza specialists and as well as cooking to order also make all their own dough and sauce from family recipes. The choice is yours what you top your pizza with and fortunately, they have lots of vegan options as far as topping ingredients are concerned for you to choose from. Is theirs the best pizza in Pisa? You'll have to try it to find out.
Our Recommendation – The pizza topped with porcini mushrooms and truffle shavings is one of the best vegetarian dishes you can get here.
Location – Via Garofani, 10
What's It Like
The Al Madina restaurant specializes in Middle Eastern-style food that's based on Lebanese and Syrian cuisine. That's immediately apparent as soon as you enter and see the Arabic-themed décor. Geometric blue tiles add a note of color to the terracotta hue of the walls and the decorative lamps are an atmospheric feature that shed light on the otherwise dull interior.
At Al Madina they believe in using the best fresh produce they can find and as well as having a fixed menu also offer a separate menu that changes daily. Here you can indulge in your favorite dips like hummus and baba ganoush and follow it with falafel or a spiced vegetable casserole.
While the vegetarian menu at Al Madina isn't huge and the vegan options even more minimal, this is food you won't find in many restaurants in Pisa so if you have dietary restrictions you know where to head for.
Our Recommendation -The braised vegetables with chickpeas with a side of spicy roast potatoes.
Location – Via San Martino, 41-45
What's It Like
Il Mercante is quite possibly one of the best restaurants in Pisa for vegetarians and it has vegan options too. It's an Italian restaurant that understands dietary restrictions perfectly and is more than happy to cater for them.
Il Mercante is a beautiful restaurant with a warm feel to it created by the bare stone walls, tiled floors, and superb ambient lighting. A place like this one is always a pleasure to eat in especially when they're as precise with the food as they are with the décor.
While Il Mercante does serve meat dishes, they have separate vegan and gluten-free menus so you'll have no trouble discovering just what is what or waste time wondering if it's suitable for you. If you're a gourmet vegan, you'll love this restaurant.
Our Recommendation – The savoy cabbage roll stuffed with lentils on a creamy vegetable sauce flavored with tarragon or truffle tagliolini followed by vegan chantilly with caramel - and everything else on the menu. It's all totally delicious.
Location – Via Mercante, 14-16
Kabuto Ramen and Bistrot
What's It Like
Sometimes simple is best and, while Kabuto Ramen and Bistrot doesn't have any fancy décor, they make great Japanese and Asian food there.
Kabuto Ramen and Bistrot isn't posh, but it's a very clean and comfortable restaurant done out in basic black, brown, and white which, if you like unfussy places, you'll find it eye-pleasing and definitely to your taste.
All the food, including the vegan options, are presented Japanese style and once you see the menu, you'll probably want to devour that too. They have a great selection of mouthwatering desserts too so don't go overboard on the noodles.
Our Recommendation – The ramen bowl with tofu, veggies, egg and sesame.
Location – Via Cammeo Carlo Salomone, 32
Namaste India San Bernardo
What's It Like
Walk into Namaste India to take a table and you could be anywhere in the world as it looks like just about every other Indian restaurant you've probably ever been in. It's a sure fact that the Indian restaurants in Pisa, Italy, are no different to any other so don't be waiting for any surprises. It's a sure bet for great vegetarian options though.
The walls of Namaste India are painted in toned-down colors of the Indian flag and adorned with the typical tapestries of multi-armed deities, plus there's the odd chandelier or two to compliment the fabric-covered ceiling. It is what it is.
Decor apart, this is a family-run restaurant that has a special vegetarian menu consisting of recipes garnered from all the different regions of India. The choice of vegetarian dishes is phenomenal so as long as you enjoy your food on the spicy side, and you'll probably find yourself returning time and time again during your visit to Pisa. Namaste India also has a vegan menu with unique dishes that were created by the owner especially for those on a vegan diet.
Our Recommendation- Palak pakora or chana chat for starters then navratan korma with a side of malai kofta to follow for vegetarians. For vegans, the alu palak or tarka with a vegan roti on the side.
Location – Via San Bernardo, 34
What's It Like
It doesn't get better for al fresco vegetarian and vegan dining than the terrace of La Dantesca. This unassuming Italian restaurant is only a few minutes stroll from many of Pisa's famous landmarks in the Piazza dei Miracoli, which makes it an ideal lunch spot.
While La Dantesca may be surrounded by ancient architecture, it doesn't follow that trend. Inside it's bright and fresh, certainly not falling down, with a more or less overall white décor apart from the huge mural on one wall.
La Dantesca is a restaurant, cafe, winery, bar, pizzeria, and a tarteria that is one of the few Italian restaurants in Pisa that's proud to boast about their vegan options for pizza and cakes. Most of the food, even when it's vegan or vegetarian, is based on traditional Tuscany recipes so you know it's going to be good. If you like to eat in the same relaxed way people do in Mediterranean locations, this is where you should go for lunch or dinner.
Our Recommendation – Tomatoes stuffed with pistachio as a starter followed by beetroot gnocchi or the vegetarian lasagna with organic olives and ricotta from the Pisan Hills. There's much more besides these so don't doubt about giving it a try.
Location – Piazza Dante Alighieri, 8
When you follow a certain type of diet, it's always tempting to seek out the places that only serve the food you want to eat or are accustomed to finding in your own country. In reality, most of the Italian restaurants in Pisa have vegetarian dishes on the menu because vegetable-only dishes are part and parcel of Mediterranean cuisine.
Italy is, along with Spain, one of the top countries for service within the hospitality industry. Great service is in the blood. You might not speak Italian or know only a few words, but ask the serving staff about vegetarian food and they'll always be happy to advise you on what is and isn't if they don't have the menu in English.
Learn to say – sono vegetariano, sono vegano or niente carne – and smile while you're saying it. You'll discover dishes in any Italian restaurant in Pisa for vegetarians and vegans that you never knew existed. It could be hummus, it could be the best pizza you've ever eaten, or salads that aren't on the menu. You just have to be brave. If it helps, have a stiff aperitif like Aperol while reading the menu. You'll speak fluent Italian in no time.