Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants in Europe

During my research for my first Europe trip, one concern that had me worried was the fact that I am a vegetarian. I was not sure if I would find vegetarian friendly restaurants in Budapest, and if I did, I was not sure whether the food would be any good and how expensive they might turn out to be. Knowing that there will be other vegetarian travellers like me, I’ve taken the help of some fellow bloggers to compile a sample list of some vegetarian friendly restaurants (or vegan friendly restaurants) in Europe. This is by far not an exhaustive list, and I intend to keep adding to it as and when I get more suggestions.

 

City: Porto, Portugal

Vegetarian Friendly Restaurant: Brick Clérigos

Recommended by:  Maya and Sari of  Chasing Lenscapes

Whenever we travel, we find ourselves spending so many hours on our feet since walking is our favourite way of transportation abroad whenever possible. It is a great opportunity to discover cool local places and really get to know a new city. We stumbled upon Brick Clérigos while exploring the streets of the charming Porto in Portugal (it is located just next to the Clérigos Tower). We always like to have something light for lunch and this place was just perfect!  Various wraps, toasts, salads, vegetarian plates and soups, all looking so healthy and delicious we had a hard time choosing just two dishes (so we stopped there the next day too). They have great choices for vegetarians and some dishes suitable for vegans. The atmosphere is welcoming and friendly and the design is unique, with a big wooden communal table in the middle and hanging pots and pans and lots of plants all around. We tried the wonderful vegetarian salad, the quinoa salad and a couple of great wraps and also had a taste of the delicious roasted veggie soup. Don’t forget to taste their homemade desserts before you leave. You might need to wait a few minutes for a sit but you can also make a reservation in advance. We would definitely recommend it amongst the vegetarian friendly restaurants in Porto.

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Diners sitting at a table inside the Brick restaurant

 

City: Ghent, Belgium

Vegetarian Friendly Restaurant: Plus+

Recommended by:  Bernadette of A Packed Life

Ghent, a medieval gem of Flanders, Belgium, is a wonderful destination in its own right and has also been described as the vegetarian capital of Europe.  Thursday in the city is Veggie Dag, when the whole place goes semi-vegetarian, with most establishments offering way more than a token meat-free offering.  One of my favourite vegetarian friendly restaurants to catch a great veggie or vegan offering is Plus+ on Ajuinlei, just behind the River Leie that runs through the centre of Ghent.

Here you’ll find a daytime selection that lets you build your own meal from scratch.  Choose grains, leaves, and all manner of gorgeous ingredients to create a bowl, and add some warming broth to the mix on a chilly day.  You can see my February choices: a bowl of steaming sweet potato soup, quinoa with a falafel, leaves and other salads.  What you can’t see is the snow starting to fall outside on the river, making this a magical place to enjoy lunch.  You’ll find plenty more places to gladden the vegan or vegetarian soul in Ghent.

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Veggie meal at Plus + restaurant

 

City: Krakow, Poland

Vegetarian Friendly Restaurant: Hamsa

Recommended by: Gabrielle of Up and Gone

Located in the Kazimierz, or Kraków’s Jewish quarter, Hamsa is an Israeli restaurant that prides itself on hummus and happiness. It delivers both in spades—in the form of light and savoury dishes heaped with spices as well as history. The space, though housed in an older building in the Kazimierz, is light and airy, decorated in the whites and blues of the Israeli flag. On the menu, visitors unfamiliar with this cuisine can orient themselves on the different ingredients (chickpeas, hummus, tahini) and their role in Middle Eastern culture. As for the food: their mezze platter was a light and perfect breakfast: spicy hummus, crispy falafel, and labneh, a very soft cheese that was rolled into balls, soaked in olive oil, and served with pillowy pita. Almost everything is vegetarian, with plenty of vegan options as well. If you head over to Hamsa in the evening, they also have a lounge space with a bar and a beautiful patio that looks like it’d be a wonderful spot to enjoy a warm evening. It is one of the more popular vegetarian friendly restaurants in the area.

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Table setting at Hamsa restaurant in Krakow

 

City: Hamburg, Germany

Vegetarian Friendly Restaurant: Kartoffelkeller

Recommended by: Anna of Would Be Traveller

The Kartoffelkeller is a restaurant in Hamburg dedicated to the humble potato. Vegetarians rejoice!

Located on the Deichstraße, this restaurant is in the heart of the city’s action – just a few minutes’ walk from Speicherstadt and the tourist attractions in the area.

Germany used to be considered a country of carnivores thanks to its love of schnitzel and sausage, but it also has one of the fastest growing vegetarian populations in the world (10% of Germans are now vegetarian!). Because of that, it’s quite easy to find good vegetarian food in Germany now, and a large number of vegetarian friendly restaurants.

There’s plenty of choice on Kartoffelkeller’s menu for vegetarians. I chose a delicious potato, spinach and cheese gratin, but I had a hard time choosing between that and the traditional potato pancakes that came in a huge variety of different flavours and toppings.

Sadly for vegans, the potatoes are often covered in cheesy or creamy sauces, but a couple of the potato salads may be suitable.

It goes without saying that you’ll need to like potatoes if you go here!

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An exterior shot of Kartoffelkeller restaurant from across the street

 

City: Manchester, UK

Vegetarian Friendly Restaurant: Little Aladdin

Recommended by: Chris Behrsin of Being A Nomad

Manchester isn’t quite what it used to be when I was growing up there. Every time I visit home, I’m amazed to see how expensive things are. Nowadays, it’s difficult to eat out there for under £10 ($13) a person.

Which is why we were pleasantly surprised to find the Little Aladdin vegan restaurant, on High Street, just a stone’s throw away from Market Street and right on the edge of the hip-and-happening Northern Quarter. Its location makes it ideal for those returning home after either work or early after a night out, and looking for vegetarian friendly restaurants.

Best of all, it’s cheap and 100% vegan. Every day, they cook up a selection of different vegan curries, and you can get a plate of them with rice for £5 (approx. $6.50). When we tried this, the dishes were basic but tasty, and we certainly got our money’s worth.

A favourite amongst the locals for cheap vegan lunches, this is also an excellent option for budget travellers to Manchester, a city that’s famous for its curries.

You can follow Chris on Facebook

 

City: Ios Island, Cyclades, Greece

Vegetarian Friendly Restaurant: The Octopus Tree

Recommended by:  Cristina of LooknWalkGreece

I’ve been vegetarian since 1999. I visited Ios Island, Greece, as I was “transitioning” to vegan, in May 2017. I’ve always been a fan of the Greek cuisine and knew how many vegetarian and vegan options it included. Luckily, my Greek friend also knew this and promptly asked me to the official season opening of the Octopus Tree. The taverna serves fusion Greek and Spanish dishes. What does it mean for you? A lot of vegetarian options. The Classic Greek Salad (Horiatiki) is a must try – and make sure to ask for the local cheese, not only feta. They also make an amazing potato salad. Pair it with beetroot salad. And don’t forget to try the spicy feta dip and tzatziki. Indeed, we tried the mezedes every time we went and, each time tried something else. For 2 adults you can order 3-4 mezedes and you are set for the night.

Their menu lists the ingredients in each dish so don’t be afraid to check them or ask the friendly staff if you have any doubts.

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Greek Salad with cheese

 

City: Helsinki, Finland

Vegetarian Friendly Restaurant: Fafa’s

Recommended by: Anna of Hammock Stories

Fafa’s is a super cool, laid back chain restaurant based in Finland, concentrating on Middle Eastern street food, and it’s a popular vegetarian friendly restaurant option. It has become quite popular and has started spreading from Helsinki to other cities in Finland and even Tallin, Estonia. There have even been talks about Fafa’s trying to expand into the UK! I recently visited their Helsinki location, Siltasaarenkatu 12.

They make awesome pitas, salads, a few side-dishes and yummy sweet potato fries. The prices are moderate, around 9-11 Euros if you are a vegetarian/vegan. My favourite portion is the falafel, hummus and eggplant pita. I just love everything with eggplant. Sometimes I want to give myself a treat and order a dish with cheese in it. You can have the eggplant one with feta. Or you could go for either a falafel & halloumi or goat cheese & pesto pita. The pitas usually have lettuce, tomato, parsley, tabouleh, matbucha, cucumber and tzatziki, just to name a few. It really is quite filling, but luckily not too heavy.

In selected restaurants they have beer, but mostly its lemonade, ginger beer, juice and so forth. If you are on a budget, you can choose tap water and may I say, in Finland, we have the best tap water. No use ordering expensive bottled water here!

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Veggie in pita bread

 

City: Budapest, Hungary

Vegetarian Friendly Restaurant: Trattoria Mamma

Recommended by: Me!

I was travelling with a friend and I am a vegetarian while she isn’t, so I didn’t wish to go to a place that served only vegetarian or vegan food. We found this Italian place near the St Stephan Basilica, and liked the outdoor seating. The menu had enough options to make it qualify as a vegetarian friendly restaurant so we decided to give it a shot. We tried the bruschetta and different kinds of pasta, and of course wine. I guess the wine must have been really good because I don’t really remember what I had for dessert lol! If you are okay with eating cheese, and enjoy Italian food, then this is a good place , specially for dinner. Their lovely outdoor seating overlooks the Basilica area, and afterwards, you can walk over to the famous ice cream place Gelarto Rosa to get yourself an ice cream shaped like a rose!

 

So there you are, just some ideas for vegetarian friendly restaurants (or vegan friendly restaurants) in Europe. I will add to this list as and when I receive more inputs from bloggers. If you are travelling and looking for vegetarian food in Europe, there are some great resources online that you could refer to such as Happy Cow. Using this and websites like Tripadvisor, you will easily be able to find suitable vegetarian or vegan food options for yourself or your companions, wherever you are.

Pin it for later:

Suggestions for #eating-out in various #destinations in #Europe when you are #vegetarian or #vegan. #Veggie-friendly #restaurants and #resources

 

 

Soup in London

Foodie Friday: Of London, jet-lag and soup!

In today’s Foodie Friday post I want to tell you about the time I went to a Gordon Ramsay restaurant without knowing, and had the best soup I have probably ever tasted yet.

It was the first day of a work trip to London with my boss (we were attending a Trade Expo) and I was badly jet-lagged. We decided to get a bite to eat someplace nearby, as we didn’t have the energy to explore much.

So we basically just walked into the first nice-looking restaurant that we found close to our hotel. This happened to be The Narrow, a really cool riverside eatery that is part of the Gordon Ramsay group. I found out this bit later – at that point I just knew that it was a nice warm place where we could eat dinner and I could finally get to sleep! How’s that for serendipity?

We were seated quickly in the centre of the dining area. I remember seeing a glassed-in part of the restaurant which looked lovely. They call it the conservatory. I could see around me cheerful groups of people visibly having a great time.

Now I am not much of a soup person but since it was cold and there were not too many vegetarian options, I selected the roast butternut squash soup. Even in my jet-lagged hazy state I remember being blown away by the dish. It remains to this day one of the best soups I have ever tasted. Don’t ask me why, it was just right in every way. After the soup I declined a main and opted for dessert instead (naturally!). It was an apple crumble of some sort, and I enjoyed it immensely.

I wish I hadn’t been so exhausted and zoned out that day, because the place seemed really nice. Someday, whenever I am in London again, I must go to The Narrow again to experience it properly. If you are ever in London and anywhere close to the Docklands area, do give it a try!

 

 

Meeting locals

Travel Tip Tuesday: How to meet locals while travelling

To me, one of the most interesting facets of travel – apart from seeing a new place – is that you get to meet people. If you really want to take back a correct picture of the place you are visiting, you want to be sure that you also interact with actual locals and not just tourists like yourself. How do you get to meet locals while travelling by yourself and have no friends in the area? Today’s Travel Tip is from a fellow blogger Maria, who blogs at this very interesting site.

How to find a friendly local where you don’t know anyone

We live in such a globalized world that it’s super easy to find a friendly local to show you around or have a beer and a casual chat wherever you are in the world. All you need is to know where and how to look for them.

I am not a great fan of tour guides because they often tend to follow schedules, lack flexibility and all in all are just doing their job. What I love is having a local (a friend or a friend of a friend) everywhere I go to rely on for insights and tips, but I don’t have friends all over the world (yet). So what I do is use platforms like Global Greeter Network and MeetUp to meet locals who are more than happy to welcome and show around visitors to their cities.

Global Greeter is all about filling a short form pointing your interests like architecture, history or local cuisine, and then the website matches you to a local volunteer who wants to show you around. Unlike many other platforms, this one is completely free, which means you are not expected to leave a tip at the end. After having met tens of amazing people around the world, I became a Global Greeter local guide in my own city.

MeetUp is another hub for cool, open-minded people that meets locals and visitors who share the same passion. Everyone can organize an event (a meetup) and invite all people at this location to join. It could be anything from a yoga class, slacklining in the park, language exchange or a book club. If you don’t find an event you like, you can simply create your own.

Meeting locals instead of hiring tourist guides is one of my favorite ways to travel for free and how I can afford to travel almost every week.

Do you do something similar when you travel? Share your tips and thoughts with me in the comments below!

About the author of this post: Guest blogger Maria Angelova is a 20-something “traveling disaster” roaming the world. She’s crazy about mirto from Sardinia, speaking in foreign languages (mostly if she can’t) and studying fortune-telling. 

Foodie Friday – Breakfastgrams!

Okay, I just invented that word. You’ve probably guessed that it refers to instagrammed images of the breakfast kinds. That’s what this new Foodie Friday breakfast post is all about.

When I travel, it’s as much about exploring the place as about trying out the food. Even though being vegetarian limits my ability to try out the entire universe of cuisines, I still manage to experiment as much as possible. Over the years, I have realised that I often skip lunch or dinner when I am out around town doing my thing. But I never start my day without a good breakfast. It’s a practice that has worked well for me.

This post is simply a recollection of some of the more interesting and memorable breakfasts I have had while travelling.

Banana Nutella pancakes from a street food stall in Phuket – Sweet and chocolaty!

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The finished product!

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Peanut butter French toast in Atlanta – Could not finish it off! That’s sweet potato pancakes on the left and eggs and toast on the right. Yes, everything was delicious. No, I didn’t order all of it for myself.

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Breakfast #Atlanta #yummyfood

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Pooris with tangy potato curry in Kolkata – Worth the early morning start

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#Kolkata #foodiemoment

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Masala dosa with sambhar and two types of chutney in Chennai – Probably one of the best dosas I have ever had

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#Chennai breakfast treat #foodiemoment

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Beignets and coffee in New Orleans – When in Rome…

Naga Chilli Cheese Toast in Shillong – Spicy as anything!

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This is by no means the entire list, and I sure I will be writing more on the subject sooner or later 🙂

If you are reading this, do share some of your favourite foodie memories!

Foodie Friday – Amritsar

This is the first post in the Foodie Friday series. I hope to make it a regular one. This post is about a foodie-delight city called Amritsar. Amritsar, apart from being the home of the revered Golden Temple, is also an absolute heaven when it comes to Punjabi cuisine. I recently had the good fortune of spending a day and a half here with my parents. While the primary aim of the trip was a visit to the Temple, the side attractions of various food outlets that we tried out were equally enticing!

So here’s a quick run-down of the places I tried out (too many on the list were left out due to paucity of time and inability of the system to handle so much food):

Gian Chand Lassi – Delicious lassi served in metal tumblers, topped off with butter and cream. People struggle to finish one serving, and once done, you are sorted hunger-wise for hours together. They also have something called “pede waali lassi” where they add bits of sweet pedas to the lassi! Located near the Temple in the narrow market lanes.

Bharawan da Dhaba – The place to have a vegetarian meal in Amritsar. While my parents raved over the dal and bharta and the crisp tandoori rotis, I went straight for the one thing I wanted here – the onion kulcha thali! The kulchas were hot, crisp, nicely stuffed and accompanied by some very delicious chholey. While most people head to the outlet near the Golden Temple, we went to the newer branch at Ranjit Avenue. Comfortable seating, good ambience, decent service. My dad still remembers this meal fondly!

Kanha Sweets – The Sunday brunch here is legendary – a fixed menu of pooris, potato curry and chholey. The potato curry is like nothing you would ever have tasted before – tangy and sweet-spicy. It’s a challenge to stop at two pooris, and you will definitely ask for refills of potato curry as well as chholey. Don’t go here for ambience, there’s none – just focus on the amazing food! The sweet shop outside also sells a variety of traditional mithai (sweets), of which the most famous seemed to be the pinnis. After having eaten one, I could see why.

Prasaad at the Temple – While the Gurudwara visit was not food-centric at all, I cannot help but mention the kara prasaad here. It’s one of the best suji halwas you will ever have, and even though we were not able to join the Langar, I am glad I could have this famous prasaad and be blessed.

Lubhaya Ram – Different from the Ram Lubhaya shop, this is a small kiosk under a tree near the Girls’ College on Lawrence Road. We tried out a range of delicious aam papad, choorans and interesting mouth fresheners before settling on a few to buy. Worth a visit if you’re there. Chef Vikas Khanna’s list of food recos for Amritsar includes this little cart.

I realise the list is way too short given the scores (hundreds?) of amazing food joints in Amritsar. Unfortunately we barely had 24 hours, and of course being vegetarian means that I did not try any of the fish and meat dishes that I’ve heard people rave about. A second visit (soon, I hope) would be needed in order to scratch the surface further.

What are your favourite places to eat in Amritsar?

Getting there: Most airlines now fly to Amritsar; there are also multiple convenient Shatabdi trains at different times of the day.

Stay:We stayed on Ranjit Avenue – good restaurants around, calm and quiet, and only a short Ola ride away from the bustle of the old town.

If you are planning a visit and looking for tips on places to visit in Amritsar, then Shivani at The Wandering Core has some helpful tips here, take a look.