La Vegana di Positano: Vegan in Italy

Our first morning, we started our day with some strong coffee and immediately got our walking shoes on to go exploring. On our way down the hill towards the town, we ran into my dad and his girlfriend who mentioned they had seen a restaurant that said “organic smoothies” in the window. I knew that would be a great place to start my culinary adventures in this gorgeous seaside paradise and kept an eye for it as we winded our way down the switchbacks.

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The outside of Casa e Bottega is very bright and inviting, surrounded with flowers and signs advertising their organic produce and fresh fare. In need of more coffee and something to nibble on, we wandered in and found a seat at the bar on the far side of the cafe.

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A quick glance at the menu revealed two vegan selections aptly named “Vegano” and “Vegana,” the first being a panini and the second was an insalate(salad). I ordered the Vegano which was loaded with marinated zucchinis, tomatoes, avocado and arugula which was simple and delicious. Seriously, people ask what I’m going to eat in Italy as a vegan and I can’t help but chuckle. I’m more than happy with some veggies on bread!

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I was so thrilled to have found a vegan meal at the very first restaurant we tried! Of course, many restaurants will have meals that are vegan, but this was specifically marked which I was not expecting to find anywhere that was not a vegetarian restaurant. After a wonderful meal, my fiance and I wandered back out into the street for some more exploring.
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Since we are staying in Positano for our wedding with close members of my family, I had researched local restaurants to find the perfect place to host a welcome dinner. A place that would have great food and would also be vegan friendly. I knew we would be tired from traveling on Saturday evening and would probably have dinner at the villa so I scheduled the welcome dinner for Sunday.

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The restaurant I decided on was C’Era Una Volta and it turned out to be located just around the bend from our villa, which is about 20 minutes walking from the beach if you take the stairs. When we returned to the villa that afternoon my mother-in-law mentioned she had seen it which confused me since I had not told anyone where we were having dinner. She told me that she had happened to stop in a restaurant and got to chatting with the owner who asked if by chance she was part of the group coming to dinner – the group with the vegana! Apparently, my reputation precedes me! And that is how I became known as La Vegana di Positana.

At dinner that night, the owner of the restaurant was very friendly and playful, cracking jokes and telling riddles all evening which was very entertaining. At first, I was nervous when we he gestured to me each time he mentioned a cheese dish. He knew that I do not eat meat, but he could not fathom the idea of not eating cheese! We explained to him what exactly “vegana” meant and he brought me a beautiful green salad while everyone else had their appetizers.

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I knew that while some fresh pastas are made with egg, any dried pasta would not. So I asked our waiter which dishes would use dried pasta and ended up ordering penne with eggplant and cherry tomatoes. This is the meal that would begin my love affair with cherry tomatoes in Italy, which are the most delicious I have ever tasted!
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Overall, everyone thoroughly enjoyed our welcome dinner meal together and I was more than satisfied with the vegan options I was able to find on the menu. I definitely would recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting Positano!

My first day in Positano as a vegan was a great success and I had eaten some of the best food I had tried in a while. I could not wait to see what this magical little town had in store for me the rest of the week.