It’s a charming vegetarian restaurant in one of my favorite piazzas in the city.
5 e Cinque wasn’t the easiest restaurant in the world to find, but it’s worth the search. The chaotic Ponte Vecchio was lined with tourists, snapping photographs of the view or frequenting one of the many jewelry stores. We were those tourists, taking pictures of each other and our surroundings on the bridge. The view is very beautiful.
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Once Justin and I crossed it to the other side of the Arno River, we saw a different side of Florence. The crowds dissipated. We saw an older couple taking a morning stroll. We embraced the silence.
Navigating around the narrow streets, we managed to find Piazza della Passera. It’s a small, yet captivating central square. We wanted to dine at 5 e Cinque for lunch, but it was a little too early. The restaurant opened at noon – on Italian time, naturally, which meant a little after twelve. As we were early, we decided to stop at a tiny cafe across the piazza called Caffè degli Artigiani.
This local cafe had standing room only inside at the bar. Traditionally, when Italians order an espresso, they stand at the bar to drink it. There were a few little tables outside and around the corner of the cafe. We sipped some coffee and we watched the scenes unfold around us.
People slowly sauntered by on their daily walks. A worker made a delivery to a nearby restaurant. A couple rode their bicycles down the narrow, cobblestone streets. A garage door was painted with graffiti. Pigeons calmly cooed. Just steps across the Ponte Vecchio, it was easy to find fresh glimpses of Florence. It was a city without peddlers waving selfie sticks, and there wasn’t any poster art strewn haphazardly along the sidewalks.
At last, it was time to dine at the restaurant. Our original plan was in motion. With that said, I really don’t mind being derailed from time to time if it means slowing down and breathing in your surroundings.
5 E CINQUE VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT
5 e Cinque vegetarian restaurant isn’t a strictly vegan restaurant, but don’t let that stop you from dining there. There were lots of vegan options on the menu. Our server spoke perfect English and she was very knowledgeable about veganism. She went through the menu with us and described every dish that could be prepared without dairy or eggs. There were quite a few items. Some meals stay on the menu regularly, and other dishes rotate depending on what’s in season. 5 e Cinque vegetarian restaurant emphasizes fresh, Italian flavors. You’ll find vegetarian and vegan takes on traditional Italian dishes.
The restaurant itself was decorated wonderfully with old photographs of the owner’s family and the region. Vases of fresh flowers lined the window ledges. We chatted with an older gentleman, who was most likely the owner of the restaurant. We talked about our travel plans around Italy, and he was delighted that we were visiting his city and his country.
We didn’t wait too long for our food to arrive. I ordered the asparagus risotto (without the cheese), and Justin ordered a spelt pasta with tomato sauce, olives, and capers (without the cheese). We also split the cecina, a chickpea pancake.
The food was fantastic. My risotto was perfectly seasoned and it was so fresh. It tasted like the asparagus was freshly picked that morning. Even though Justin’s pasta sounded simple, it was complex with flavor. We both adored dining here. The next time we travel to Florence, we’re returning for dinner. The meals didn’t have to be outlandish or have wild ingredients. They were classic, Italian dishes, and they were delicious.
Definitely check out 5 e Cinque vegetarian restaurant when you’re in Florence. Also, do yourself a favor and relax at Piazza della Passera. It’s a great way to escape the crowds and slow down in a busy city.
5 e Cinque
See Facebook page for opening hours and rotating menu
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