How to be a vegan foodie while travelling Europe.
We were happily surprised at how many vegan and vegan-option places we found on our three-week road trip of Europe (nine counties in total, omg!) Since we were on a budget we only ate out at a restaurant maybe every other day or so. For breakfast and on slower days or while driving we stopped and made our own meals.
Thank goodness for the Happy Cow app! Total lifesaver. It just took the anxiety of explaining to non-English-speaking strangers what you want to eat out of the equation. It's just a reciepe for drama trying to figure out where to eat when you're hangry. We loved every meal we ate at these places. It could have been vacation vibes but I like to think it was the veganism!
And now... some gratuitous, European vegan food porn:
TerraZen Centre - Amsterdam, Netherlands
A really bohemian place that was a mash-up of Jamaican and Japanese cuisine. Pretty unique! Great staff. Super close to the action in Amsterdam! Huge portions, which was really pleasing after doing all that walking!
The Dutch Weed Burger Joint - Amsterdam, Netherlands
A little further out of the way but still within walking distance of touristy areas. Down beautiful streets lined with greenery - it was a nice walk and well worth it! All vegan food and drinks. Secret ingredient... weed! Seaweed, that is. All delicious!
Hotel Steiger - Schwangau, Germany
This was by far one of the top most beautiful places we sat to eat on our whole trip. Located in a small village in the shadow of the famous castle that inspired Disney (Neuschwanstein Castle;) it was about a 20 minute walk from our hotel. They had a salad bar with lots of options as well as many vegetarian dishes. They only had one actual vegan dish on the menu but it was off the hook!
As an aside: The hotel we stayed at was amazing. Almost walking distance from the castle with the most amazing couple running it. When we asked about vegan restaurants they called around and found us a reservation (squeezed us in) at Hotel Steiger. It's called Hotel Schwansee and you should definitely stay there if you plan on visiting the castle!
We didn't really expect to find this place and wandered by it a few times before 'finding' it on the Happy Cow app. We also didn't expect to enjoy all the traditional Italian dishes in vegan format - but we did!! This place was cheap, right on a main route and had free water, wifi and phone charging stations! Amazing.
VgOLoso - Mestre, Italy (just outside Venice)
This place was about a 15 minute drive from Parco San Guiliano, where we parked to take transit into Venice. The parking was a little tight, but the owner came out to help us find a spot where we wouldn't get towed away. They create and manufacture their own vegan pastas and sauces as well. Currently working on shipping to Canada. The food was so good here we forgot to take photos of it. Aside from the cool salad in the photos we also had beet ravioli and some delicious Linzer cookies for dessert.
Universo Vegano - Florence, Italy
We had been walking so much that day we were so grateful to find this place. Here we were able to enjoy a few other traditional Italian dishes - risotto and gnocchi. You really don't have to miss out on anything being vegan! Free water, wifi and charging stations at this place as well. Really great for a tourist stop even though it was a little out of the way.
This place was steps from a main metro station and across from one of the most unique statues in Rome; the Pyramid of Cestius. It is a by-the-weight style buffet, which is a little unusual for Canadians but a really great concept. They do it really efficiently. You weigh your plate (which is already tared) and a receipt prints out. They add up your receipts at the end for your bill. Here we also were able to enjoy some traditional Italian treats (pesto pasta & risotto) as well as a mix of other international dishes (stir fry & couscous.)
Kung Fu Burger - Bern, Switzerland
We basically stopped in Bern to fuel up the car and our bellies. It would have been a great place to stop for longer but we were able to wander the market a little and enjoy a burger in a Tarantio-esque hip joint. The burgers were a little fall-apart-y but really tasty. The servers at this place were a little in-attentive but we needed to eat!
Getting used to restaurant business hours in Europe took a little getting used to. We walked all the way to this place a little too early but made our way back during dinner hours. It was WELL worth the wait and the walking. The owner was an amazing lady who, while super busy running the place alone, took time to chat with us about Canada and veganism and all that jazz. Plus the food was amazing. Basically a whole menu of loaded baked potatoes!! (They call them jacket potatoes.)
Well, that concludes the vegan foodie tour of Europe. Never hold back doing what you want because you think you can't. We weren't sure how we'd eating vegan on this trip but we did it anyway and it turned out amazing!