During our travels in Argentina at the end of 2013, we met a young couple from Switzerland that insisted we check out Germany and its quickly expanding vegan and vegetarian scene. We did a little research, and sure enough, we discovered that there is a concentration of vegan restaurants and health food stores in Germany’s major cities.
I’ll be honest, prior to exploring the vegan food scene in Germany, I was under the impression that German food consisted exclusively of the following: bratwurst (sausage), schnitzel (breaded and fried pork) and pretzels. I was unequivocally wrong!
While all of these foods are consumed and enjoyed throughout Germany, there is a growing market for plant-based, vegan, and vegetarian food products and restaurants. Most grocery stores, from the basic supermarket chains to the specialized organic markets, sell a wide variety of low-processed, organic vegan products. A quick search on Happy Cow yields a plethora of entirely vegan and vegetarian restaurants. Additionally, most non-vegetarian restaurants offer at least one or two vegan menu items. Restaurants are well-aware of what the vegan diet entails and are usually more than happy to modify a dish to meet your needs. Don’t hesitate to ask!
In no particular order, here is a brief overview of the top meals we enjoyed in Berlin. Keep an eye out for an upcoming post on our top picks in Munich.
The Lucky Leek offers a classy, vegan fine-dining experience on a quiet, cobblestoned street in northeast Berlin. Even though the offerings are somewhat limited (two appetizers, one soup, two main courses and one dessert), the menu changes on a regular basis to ensure that the dishes are prepared with the highest quality, in-season ingredients. These eggplant rolls and cauliflower dumplings were not only delicious but also beautifully presented.
Like many vegan restaurants in Berlin, Kopps, offers a weekend vegan brunch buffet; however, Kopp’s weekend brunch gets started on Friday at 9:30am! We ventured to Kopps on a Friday afternoon and enjoyed these fluffy mini pancakes topped with a berry compote. This was just one of about 25 vegan dishes from which to choose.
In addition to brunch, we also had the chance to enjoy Kopp’s regular dinner menu. This “egg salad” appetizer was served on fresh wholegrain bread. The “egg salad,” made from a combination of chopped pasta, a plant-based mayo and sulfuric herbs, is spot on when it comes to taste, texture, and consistency.
Ohlàlà, a 100% vegan French bakery and café, offers a reasonably priced weekend vegan brunch buffet that includes a number of savory dishes as well as an array of small bites (pictured below). During the week, Ohlàlà’s regular menu includes quiches, crepes, soups and a large selection of beautifully decorated French-inspired vegan cakes, tarts and cookies.
Momos set up shop in Berlin in April 2013. They have a straight-forward entirely vegetarian (in fact 90% vegan) menu of Nepalese-insipred dumplings with a selection of dipping sauces. We went for the vegan steamed dumpling tasting plate for two.
Goodies is a small vegan café connected to the entirely vegan German grocery chain, Veganz. Goodies, with four locations in Berlin, is perfect for a quick, healthy vegan meal on the go. The café offers prepared salads, sandwiches, soups and breakfast items along with a display case of gorgeous raw, vegan cakes, tarts, and bars. They even have six different plant-based milks for your coffee beverages!
This organic, hearty sandwich on a seeded bun consisted of roasted sweet potato, mashed BBQ tempeh and fresh greens.
We couldn’t resist this vegan strawberry, rhubarb, and coconut cake. I’m usually not a big cake person, but this one was light and fruity without being overly sweet.
Also, if you’re looking to partake in a vegan brunch marathon while in Berlin, head back to Veganz for their weekend brunch buffet. It’s quite popular, so be sure to make reservations in advance.
Yarok offers the full range of traditional Syrian food including dishes like kofta and dips such as tatziki, but this family-run restaurant in the Mitte district has plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. This falafel plate for two was top-notch. I will even go so far as to say it is the best falafel plate I have had so far in our travels in the states and abroad.
While I tend to overdo it when researching restaurants prior to our arrival in a new city, this was one of those restaurants that we literally stumbled upon while walking back to our hotel one afternoon. We saw a woman enjoying a delicious-looking falafel plate with roasted veggies, numerous dips and spreads and a variety of fresh salads. My husband and I both looked at each other and simultaneously agreed that we had to come back here ASAP. Sure enough, the next night, we were sitting outside at Yarok enjoying our own falafel plate for two.
It’s important to note that Berlin and the surrounding area have over 70 vegan and vegetarian restaurants. We only scratched the surface and can’t wait to return someday soon to continue our vegan dining explorations in one of the most vegan-friendly cities we have encountered thus far.