Anyone who’s been to Italy knows that breakfast isn’t really a thing. You pound your cappuccino, grab a croissant, and get on with your day. Studying in Florence for a month really made me miss going to my local diners or cafes at home and indulging in a full on breakfast feast. A few friends recommended Le Vespe, so I decided to give it a try… And boy am I glad that I did. Let me walk you through Le Vespe as if you were a ravenous, hungover, study abroad student (such as myself) who stumbled upon this gem walking through the streets of Firenze.
The small cafe consists of a bar, booths, and tables, with high ceilings and cool yet, random decor. Loud music (usually oldies) is playing from the speakers and every waiter and worker jams out just as hard as their customers. With a small outdoor seating section, it’s the perfect place for Sunday brunch on a warm day. You get the feel of being in a cute, American-style local breakfast place, while getting subtle reminders that you’re still in a foreign country… like the accents, slow service, and delicious Italian coffee, to name a few.
Once seated, you search for the drink section. Come to realize, there is an entire drink menu on the back of the regular menu. Needless to say, it took me longer to figure out what I wanted to drink than what I wanted to eat. Between fresh fruit/veggie juices, smoothies, hot and frozen coffees with or without alcohol, as well as a separate cocktail list, you have tons of options to choose from depending on what you’re feeling that day. I have to say, the iced chai and the banana breakfast smoothie were both fantastic.
Something I love about the food menu is that there are just enough options without overwhelming you. There is both an all day breakfast/brunch menu and a lunch menu (effective at 12pm), with vegetarian and vegan options, too. As far as breakfast goes, the eggs are flavorful, the vegetables are fresh, and the pancakes were some of the fluffiest I have ever had. I still dream about them sometimes. But as for my favorite item on the breakfast menu, I would definitely say it has to be the Coxwell. AKA, a classic bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel… but so much more than that. It was by far one of the better breakfast sandwiches I’ve had, and I have had my fair share of breakfast sandwiches. The egg/cheese/bacon combo was more of a scrambled mixture of the ingredients that fit perfectly together on the toasted plain bagel. It was magical. While I unfortunately never made it in time for lunch, I have to say that eye balling other peoples’ lunches as I left the restaurant made me want to turn right back around and go for round 2.
Something about this little Italian eatery that is so convenient is its use of split checks and acceptance of credit cards, two things you see rarely in Italy. By taking your bill to the bar and naming off each item you purchased, you can easily go to Le Vespe with 6 of your new and closest friends, without having to get someone back for paying for your Coxwell. Just another reason why this restaurant was too good to be true. I hope your virtual experience at Le Vespe makes you want to visit Florence and go there on your first morning. I promise, you won’t regret it.