Home to the bratwurst, currywurst and schnitzel, Germany may not necessarily be a country you associate with vegetarianism. But Berlin is out to turn this idea around, and vegan and vegetarian restaurants, cafés, bakeries and even supermarkets are popping up all over the place.
When a friend and I recently visited Berlin, we ate predominantly vegan and dined in some amazing places. Making our way around the city eating everywhere from fast food cafés to white tablecloth restaurants, we enjoyed every bite.
Here’s a quick run down of our tastiest meals:
“Delicious as Fuck”, reads the slogan on the window. A big claim, perhaps, but one that Fast Rabbit does not struggle to live up to.
This vegan “fast food” café in the Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood serves a range of wraps, salads, soups and baked goods. Not so much “fast food” in the McDonald’s or Subway sense but in the freshly-made-to-order-but-pretty-speedy sense.
Their speciality is their “Dirty Wrap”: a freshly made tortilla filled with either Oriental or Mexican ingredients (or a mix of both if you’re feeling indecisive). I went for Oriental with mixed vegetables, red lentils and home-made lemon hummus. Divine.
There are different combo options and at just €7.50 for the “Fast Rabbit” combo, which includes a wrap, fresh salad and a drink, the meals are great value.
The café’s décor and design is awesome with hand-written menus, eco wall gardens, a broken skateboard coat rack, and rabbity artwork dotted around the walls (I bought an awesome framed rabbit print by the tattoo artist wife of one of the servers).
Oh, and there’s a lovely, big dog under one of the tables. Just quietly hanging out.
The entire menu is vegan, though (somewhat oddly) they do offer dairy milk for coffee. I suppose they don’t serve vegan food for the sake of serving vegan food; rather, they serve great food that just happens to be vegan.
Highly, highly recommend if you’re ever in Berlin.
The Lucky Leek features a small, 100% vegan menu that changes daily to make use of fresh market produce.
With starters priced around €7-€8 and mains between €14-€18, it is one of the pricier veggie options; though not exactly breaking the bank it was a little more than we anticipated spending on our traveller’s budget. However, we decided to go ahead and spoil ourselves and it was well worth it!
You know a place is fancy when there’s words like ‘cassoulet’ ‘piccata’ and ‘jus’ on their menu… In the one dish. Feeling like plebs, we didn’t know what half of the menu items were so we though we’d just wing it and hope for the best. We were not disappointed.
Unfortunately, being a classy joint with low-lighting, it wasn’t the most opportune of places for taking photos. Here’s one sneaky (if slightly grainy) shot of my zucchini rolls with cauliflower crème brulee and black lentils and watercress.
The presentation of dishes was impeccable but unfortunately, you’ll just have to imagine my ravioli with Riesling ‘cheese’ sauce main, and my friend’s Shiitake Mushrooms and Thai Wonton Soup starter and Red Onion Seitan Steak main. (Or you could check out their Happy Cow profile for a bit of food porn.)
We were also given complimentary canapés; I’m not sure what they were (a lentil something on a spoon and a bread something in tiny cubes) but they were delightfully presented and delicious.
The service was polite and attentive without being overbearing and the free starter was a nice touch. I’d definitely recommend this restaurant as a special occasion or date venue but make sure you book in advance as it’s incredibly popular.
To say this place had a lot of different burgers on their menu would be an understatement. There were about 30 burgers on the menu, all vegan. Yep, thirty. Yep, all vegan. Plus, they serve a range of vegan wraps, pizzas and snacks all for ridiculously good prices. An entire meal – burger, fries, salad and drink – for under €10? That’s more like it!
With so many options, I struggled a little to narrow down my choice to just one, so in the end I played it safe and went for the burger named after the joint – the vego Burger. It had a tofu patty with lettuce, aubergine, carrot, courgette, red pepper and grilled ‘cheese’.
Although I couldn’t finish it (with my massive plate of fries and salad!), I can honestly say it’s one of the best burgers I’ve ever eaten.
My friend went for the Schicken Schnitzel Hawaii Burger with a ‘chicken’ schnitzel patty, veggie ‘bacon’, tomato, pineapple, lettuce, and some fancy sauce. It was crispy and beachy and although I’m not big on fake meats but it wasn’t at all ‘meaty’.
With super-friendly service, a relaxed vibe and amazing food at wallet-friendly prices, it would have been plain silly not to return! On our final day, we ducked back for ‘linner’ (lunch/dinner, obviously) before heading to the airport.
This time I wanted something slightly lighter so I went for the Huton Wrap with Peking-style tofu, salad and ‘cheese’ sauce and my friend got the Hot Chilli Cheese Burger.
Again, we were both really pleased with our choices, though I don’t think they could possibly outdo the first night.
If you’re in Berlin, go here. (Not a recommendation, a demand!)
Summer Rolls aside, I’ve never really liked Vietnamese food. Purely because I’ve never found much vegetarian food on the menu. However, I’ve always wanted to like it, so upon finding a purely vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse!
Surprisingly bigger on the inside, Chay Viet is a welcoming restaurant with friendly staff and a casual vibe. The interior is casually decorated with pot plants and Vietnamese art and statuettes.
Although I wanted to order everything on the large menu, I can never go past summer rolls. Especially ones filled with tofu. After marvelling at the size of dishes as they made their way to everyone else’s tables, my summer rolls didn’t disappoint. They were huge.
Luckily, they were quite a light dish so I still had room for (most of) my main of curry with mixed vegetables and two types of tofu.
My friend started with the spring rolls and went for vegetable and tofu rice noodles as his main. Unlike most spring rolls that come in pastry, these were more like fried batter casings. Perhaps it’s deep fried rice paper? Either way, they were pretty darn good.
The photos really don’t do this place justice. It. Was. Amazing.
We paid around €26 for two huge courses and a drink each and almost rolled out of the place. Insanely good value!
So, I’m just going to throw this out there… Berlin is now up there as one of my favourite cities I’ve been to. And it’s definitely one of my favourite cities I’ve eaten my way through.