Is Berlin the best city for vegans?

I love Berlin. When a friend recently asked if I wanted to tag along with his group of friends, for what would be my 6th visit, I didn’t need to be asked twice. I love how laid back the city is, how pleasant it is to cycle around on a summer’s day, how fun the nightlife is, and I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to being fascinated by its recent history. How crazy that in my lifetime (just about) the city was a completely different place, divided in two.

Bearpit karaoke at Mauerpark in Berlin

East side gallery of the Berlin Wall

I’m always excited to go back there, and I knew this time would be different. Not least because it would be the first time in four years that I’d not been with my girlfriend (she’s off adventuring in Seoul – hi Samantha!), but also because it would be my first vegan Berlin visit! I’d already heard a lot, and seen lots of Instagram posts, to know that it was a great place for vegans. In fact I’d already visited a vegan place last time I was there – Daluma – for some healthy eating, and had a tasty miso-shiitake rice bowl.

Vegan miso shiitake rice bowl from Daluma in Berlin

This time, over the course of my five-day trip, I managed to visit 15 (fifteen!) different places either vegan or serving vegan-friendly food, spanning cafes, restaurants, small shops and even a vegan supermarket! I’d done some research before going to know the places I wanted to go, and also to always have an option nearby for me and my vegan friend if the rest of the group wanted to eat somewhere we couldn’t.

As it turns out, we didn’t have to do this too often. A lot of places in Berlin are vegan-friendly, and have vegan options where you might not expect them to. One example was a place called Schiller Burger – not a vegan burger place by any means – which offered two vegan burgers, one with vegan cheese. We were unfortunate at our time of visiting that some of their equipment wasn’t working, and were too impatient to wait the 45 minutes they said it would take to fix! I also recall spotting a couple of chalkboard menus outside restaurants whilst walking around mentioning that vegan options were available. All-in-all it seemed more noticeable than in London.

Without further ado, here are the places I visited on my vegan Berlin trip…

 

Momos – Prenzlauer Berg – vegetarian, mostly vegan

I’d arrived in Berlin the night before the rest of the guys, and whilst waiting for them to get into the city from the airport I decided to pop into Momos .I love dumplings, and this place specialises in them – heaven! I particularly love pan-fried crispy dumplings, which you can choose here, or have them steamed.

Outside of Momos - veggie/vegan dumplings in Berlin

Interior of Momos - veggie/vegan dumplings in Berlin

Of the six choices of dumplings available, four of them are vegan – potato, cabbage and carrot; mushroom and potato; broccoli, shiitake and tofu; pumpkin and chickpea. Two of the three dips are vegan too – spicy tomato, and sesame soy.

Momos vegan dumplings on a plate

I went for the broccoli and pumpkin options, pan-fried of course, with the spicy tomato dip. They were a little on the plain side, but did the job as a decent not-too—unhealthy snack and I’d go again if I were in the area.

Inside of a Momos vegan dumpling

Momos (Fehrbelliner Straße 5) is open ­­Monday – Saturday, 12pm – 9pm

 

Street Food Thursday – Kreuzberg – serves meat, but vegan/vegan-friendly stalls

In the evening we headed out to Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg for Street Food Thursday. One of three remaining market halls of an original 14, ‘Market Hall 9’ hosts various different food markets throughout the week. I’d been to the weekend market before, so was excited to try Street Food Thursday.

Tofu Tussis stand at Street Food Thursdays, Kreuzberg Berlin

We didn’t know what to expect, so me and my friend had our fingers crossed for some vegan options (and preferably good ones!). As it turns out, we found three vegan-friendly stalls – two fully vegan and one pancake stalls with two vegan options – a sweet and a savoury. Unfortunately for us only one of these stalls had any food left by the time we got there, but on the other hand it’s great to know that the vegan stalls/options are popular enough to sell out 🙂

Where we managed to eat was at Tofu Tussis, a deli-style counter serving a number of tofu-based dishes. We ended up buying from this place twice: for round 1 I had tofu currywurst and a tofu steak, and for round 2 a nutty tofu curry and some tofu ‘meatballs’ with courgetti.

Tofu Tussis food selection

Selection of tofu at Tofu Tussis

Vegan tofu currywurst and marinated tofu steak

Tofu peanut curry from Tofu Tussis at Street Food Thursdays, Kreuzberg Berlin

All of them were good, and I’d definitely recommend stopping by. If you manage to get a vegan burger or pancake whilst you’re there, let me know how they are!

Vegan burger stand at Street Food Thursdays, Kreuzberg Berlin

Street Food Thursday (Eisenbahnstraße 42-43) runs on Thursdays only (obviously…) from 5pm – 10pm

 

Café Morgenrot – Prenzlauer Berg – vegetarian/vegan

Morgenrot was the only place I researched that specifically had vegan breakfast options. This is a leftie café in Prenzlauer Berg which does a great all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet (vegetarian but with many vegan options). It’s €9 and you can choose to pay between €6 – 12 if you either can’t afford the full price, or want to subsidise someone who can’t afford it. A nice touch.

Veggie-vegan breakfast buffet at Cafe Morgenrot Berlin

I piled my plate twice, and had a beetroot and apple juice on the side, and there were so many good flavours going on! Everything was really well-spiced, with particular highlights being the tofu scramble and the Mexican-style fried beans.

Vegan buffet selection from Cafe Morgenrot Berlin

I’d read that it’s best to get there bang on 11am when it opens, or risk it being too heaving to go, but we arrived a little after 11 and it was busy, but not too bad. Having said that we went on a Friday, so I’d expect this advice to be pretty useful at a weekend…

 Exterior of Cafe Morgenrot Berlin

The Café Morgenrot breakfast buffet (Kastanienallee 85) runs Friday – Sunday, 11am – 3pm

 

Vego Foodworld – Prenzlauer Berg – vegan

So after the unfortunate equipment malfunction at Schiller Burger, my friend and I headed up to Vego Foodworld, which I’d marked down as ‘vegan junk food’. If you recognise the ‘Vego’ name, yes, it is the same Vego who make the chocolate bars!

Vego Foodworld exterior - vegan fast food Berlin

When we first saw the menu, we were initially confused by there being ‘veggie burger’ and ‘bacon cheese burger’, along with some such as ‘tofu burger’. We had to double check that the place was actually vegan! It is, and get this – THEY HAVE 30 DIFFERENT BURGERS. Add that to the vegan nuggets, ‘calamari’, currywurst and pizzas, and you have a serious choice of vegan junk food to pick from. It actually felt like too much choice – I’ve really got used to having limited choice on a menu nowadays!

We both plumped for the bacon cheese burger, which was pretty decent. The ‘bacon’ they used was better than a lot I’ve had before, and the fries were satisfying.

Vegan 'bacon cheeseburger' from Vego Foodworld Berlin

After a Club Mate for an energy boost, we went to Prater beer garden for a few Weissbiers before heading to the impressive Olympic Stadium to watch Hertha Berlin play. Their performance was less impressive, and it preceded a failed attempt to get into Berghain. Two hours of queuing, but at least I can say I finally tried! 🙂

Vego Foodworld (Lychener Str. 63)  is open pretty much 24/7 – all day every day – aside from a 1hr close between 11pm and midnight – crazy!

 

Yellow Sunshine Burger – Kreuzberg – vegetarian, mostly vegan

Having decided that one burger wasn’t enough, we also checked out Yellow Sunshine Burger the following day. Similarly to Vego Foodworld there was a lot of choice, with 18 different vegan burgers (measly!), currywurst, nuggets, kebabs and so on.

Exterior of Yellow Sunshine Burger, Kreuzberg Berlin

Wanting a bit of variety (and keen for some currywurst) we decided to be greedy and both get a burger, with seitan-currywurst and fries on the side (with a beer to wash it all down of course).

Having had a soy-based burger at Vego the day before, I went for the seitan cheeseburger here. It was good, and there is a definite ‘meatiness’ advantage to seitan over soy, but I personally preferred the soy version. The seitan-based currywurst was good though, and gave a nice bit of variety.

Vegan seitan cheeseburger and seitan currywurst from Yellow Sunshine Burger

Yellow Sunshine Burger (Wiener Straße 19) is open 7 days a week, with slightly different close times at weekends and during winter. It always opens at midday, and the earliest it will close is 11pm.

 

Roamers – Neukölln – serves meat, vegan options on request

Next up was a trip out for breakfast, with one of our group suggesting a place they’d been on their last trip to Berlin – Roamers. This place was a really cute (if majorly cramped) café. Reassuringly popular, we waited around on their outside table for half an hour or so with a lemon tea.

Waiting outside at Roamers Cafe Berlin

Credit: Oli Dudley

Interior of Roamers cafe Berlin

Credit: Oli Dudley

The standard menu has no specifically-vegan options, but the avocado on toast can be made vegan on request, by switching out the cream cheese for hummus (why wouldn’t you want to do this anyway, hummus is amazing!).

Interior of Roamers cafe Berlin

Preparing to be disappointed by this one uninspired vegan option, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The flavours were amazing, and the sesame/poppy seed and coriander garnish made the whole thing just that bit more exciting. I loved this breakfast so much I recreated it pretty soon after getting back to London.

I also had a banana, oat and camomile smoothie on the side, which was good but completely unforgettable compared to the food! My only complaint is that there just wasn’t enough of it.

Friends at Roamer's Berlin

Roamers (Pannierstrasse 64) is open Tuesday – Sunday, 9.30am – 7pm on weekdays, and 10am – 7pm at weekends.

 

Vöner – Friedrichshain – vegan

Lunch the following day was at Vöner, which does exactly what it seems – vegan doner kebab! If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know that I’ve tried a vegan kebab at Vegan Cross before, but was a little disappointed about the doner-to-veg ratio, meaning I couldn’t really taste the flavours of the ‘meat’.

Exterior of Voner - vegan doner kebab in Berlin

At Vöner this was much better, and the doner ‘meat’ was tasty. What’s exciting about this place as well, is that the doner is cooked on one of the classic rotisserie kebab grills. The kebab either comes in pitta, on a plate or in a durum wrap (as I had it) and there are three different sauces to choose from including a tahini-garlic one.

Voner vegan doner kebab

Vegan doner kebab grill at Voner

Alongside that they offer burgers and currywurst. Their fries also looked amazing, but I wasn’t hungry enough for a portion of those. They were also (reassuringly?) expensive, starting at €3.50…

Voner (Boxhagenerstr. 56) is open 11.30am – 11pm weekdays, and 1.30pm – 11pm at weekends.

Soy – Mitte – vegan

My trip to Soy was an interesting one. I was staying on in Berlin an extra day, partly because the flights were a lot cheaper than getting the same flight as the other guys, but partly because I wanted to do some solo exploring and had a place I could stay. Unfortunately that evening, just before the other guys were leaving, our hostel was giving out free pitchers of beer on the roof terrace! After sinking five or so between us in the space of an hour, the others left for their flight and I headed off to Soy…completely smashed.

Guys drinking at Wombats Hostel Berlin

Credit: Oli Dudley

That it was the best food I’d eaten in Berlin so far is I think a testament to how good the food was, rather than my drunken state. I tried to order a soup, a main and a side, only to be told by the waitress that it would be too much food for one person. I trusted her and went for the soup and the main, only to order the side from her later on. She laughed.

Soy vegan asian restaurant in Berlin

Soy is a great mix of classy restaurant with affordable food, with my 3 courses coming in at just over €17. I started with ‘Canh Chua’, described on the menu as ‘sweet-sour soup, traditional with tofu, tomatoes, mushrooms, tamarind and fresh herbs’, followed by ‘Cari’ as a main (homemade curry with spicy red curry-coconut sauce, in a claypot with silken tofu, seitan and fresh vegetables). Both tasted great, and there was so much more on the menu that I wanted to try. I then ordered the ‘Banh Bao’, a ‘steamed veggie bun filled with vegetables, various beans and mushrooms’. This was a little disappointing in comparison, as the spicy and sour flavours of the other dishes were a lot stronger.

Spicy vegan soup from Soy Berlin

Vegan curry from Soy Berlin

Vegan asian bun from Soy berlin

Soy would definitely be on my ‘go again’ list for next time.

Soy (Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 30) is open 12pm – 11pm weekdays, and 1pm – 11pm at weekends.

 

The Barn Roastery – Prenzlauer Berg – vegan cake available

The Barn is a coffee shop with a couple of spots in Berlin. The one on Schönhauser Allee is the where the roastery is, and is where we headed a few times on our trip. It’s a good coffee experience, albeit an expensive one (think €5 a glass), and they also have some cakes and sandwiches available (though no vegan sandwiches, as far as I remember).

I couldn’t resist the vegan carrot cake they had available, so bought one and took it with me to Teufelsberg the next day. This is a hilly spot in Grunewald, West Berlin which has an old listening post atop it, which was built by the Americans to listen in on Soviet airwaves. The friend I was staying with told me that the hill is totally man-made, using debris from around Berlin post-WW2.

Vegan carrot cake from the barn roastery berlin

History aside, I was expecting something good from this small €3 carrot cake, and I wasn’t disappointed. There’s not much else to say – it was a carrot cake, and it was a tasty carrot cake 🙂

The Barn Roastery (Schönhauser Allee 8)  is open 8.30am – 6pm weekdays, and 10am – 6pm at weekends.

 

Veganz – Friedrichshain (and various others) – vegan

I was super excited to go here. Why? Because Veganz is a specialist vegan supermarket in Berlin! As far as I know there aren’t any in London, aside from the smaller grocery sections at Vegan Cross and Black Cat Café, so was really keen to see what Veganz had to offer.

Veganz - vegan supermarket in Berlin

The experience was akin to a trip to Whole Foods, but with everything vegan. Wandering around I was most excited by the fridge and freezer sections, with masses of variety in vegan meats and cheeses. Think of it as a regular supermarket trip, with a vegan equivalent for everything. It was a shame that most of the stuff I was excited about trying was freezer-based, so unfortunately couldn’t bring much home! There were loads of frozen vegan pizzas (can you get these anywhere in London?) and even products from Beyond Meat, which I thought was only available in the US.

Beyond beef at Veganz supermarket berlin

Tofurky frozen vegan pizzas from veganz berlin

I ended up with a small tub of mushroom pate, vegan gummy bears, some breaded ‘chicken’ fillets (which made for an excellent katsu curry), vegan pepper steaks, and vegan bratwurst.

Vegan food haul from veganz berlin

After a little research I’ve found that there are 3 branches of the supermarket in Berlin, a number across Germany and some elsewhere in Europe such as in Prague and Vienna. I’ve heard rumours that there should be a branch opening in London, but these reports are quite old so I’ve reached out to Veganz on Twitter to find out if this is happening. No word yet.

Veganz (Warschauer Str. 33)  is open Monday – Saturday 9am – 10pm.

 

The Bowl – Friedrichshain – vegan

The Bowl is a ‘clean eating’ café/restaurant, 100% plant-based, GF and sugar free, found in the same building as the Veganz supermarket at Warschauer Str. I found it similar in vibe to Daluma, where I had my healthy miso-shiitake rice bowl, but with a much wider choice. They serve breakfast bowls as well as a number of savoury bowls, smoothies and desserts. This place rivalled Soy for the prize of best food I’d eaten on my trip.

Interior of The Bowl vegan restaurant Berlin

Another interior shot of The Bowl vegan restaurant Berlin

Similarly to Soy, I had trouble deciding what I wanted! There were so many good options on the menu, but I eventually plumped for the ‘Macrobiotic Bowl’, with some pretty exciting (read: wanky?) ingredients – lemon quinoa, fried brussels sprouts with cashew cheese cream, tamari tempeh, miso bean hummus, pink kimchi, wakame cucumber salad, and mixed greens with a ‘superfood dressing’. I’m not a fan of cucumber but the rest of it sounded too good to pass up, particularly the brussels sprouts. I wasn’t disappointed – each set of flavours were really good and complemented each other well.

Vegan macrobiotic bowl from the bowl Berlin

The only potential negative was the price, at a shade under €13, but considering how tasty it was, and how expensive/difficult it would be to put together those ingredients at home, it was definitely worth it.

The Bowl (Warschauer Str. 33) is open Monday 12pm – 11.30pm, and Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 11.30pm.

 

Dr Pogo – Neukölln – vegan

Dr Pogo is a small vegan grocery store in Neukölln, selling a variety of things from books, pet food, to groceries, with a small café area too. I only popped in here quickly, but bought some vegan mac and cheese from Terra Vegane. I used half of that next to some vegan buffalo cauliflower wings I made (recipe).

It’s a similar place to Vegan Cross here in London, but a bit bigger and with more stock.

Exterior of Dr Pogo vegan shop Berlin

Another exterior shot of Dr Pogo vegan shop Berlin

Vegan books at Dr Pogo vegan shop Berlin

Groceries at Dr Pogo vegan shop Berlin

Dr Pogo (Karl-Marx-Platz 24) is open Monday – Tuesday & Thursday – Friday 9am – 8pm, Wednesday 12pm – 8pm, and Saturday 9am – 4pm.

 

Sfizy Veg – Neukölln – vegan

After I’d popped into Dr Pogo, I walked across to Sfizy Veg to start my incredibly greedy two-dinner evening. This is a vegan pizzeria in Neukölln, with an interesting/odd décor. It felt a bit like a dark, cluttered lounge, with various bookcases and pictures hung on a dark back wall.

Sfizy veg interior

Sfizy veg Berlin exterior

Focusing on the food here though; the pizza I had was good. After having disappointing fake-meat on a pizza at Fed by Water in Dalston before, I’d said to myself that I’d try to order more ‘natural’ veggie pizzas in future. That went out the window here, after I was swayed to have my old pre-vegan favourite, Diavola, complete with vegan salami.

The vegan salami here was far better than that I’d had before, and the pizza was good. Something I’ve noticed with vegan cheeses on pizza is that they feel quite ‘heavy’, and you definitely feel full from them by the end of the pizza. This was the case with Sfizy Veg too, and the only place I’ve had a vegan pizza so far where the cheese felt ‘normal’ is at Wedge Issue in Farringdon, which I’d highly recommend. Regardless, this was a good vegan pizza.

Diavola vegan pizza from Sfizy Veg Berlin

The Sfizy Veg menu is big, with almost 40 pizzas available, with odd choices such as a ‘Tikka Masala pizza’. What’s more there are ‘pizza burgers’ and ‘pizza wraps’, as well as pasta and other dishes. It feels like the menu might be far too big for it all to be good, but I’d be interested to hear if anyone’s tried any of these weirder options.

Sfizy Veg (Treptower Straße 95) is open Monday 5pm – 11pm, and Thursday – Sunday 5pm – 11pm.

Neta – Prenzlauer Berg – serves meat, vegan option available

Part two of dinner for my last evening in Berlin was a trip to Neta. I’d been trying to cram in as much vegan food as possible on this final day, and didn’t leave much time to have the pizza at Sfizy Veg before heading straight to Neta to eat with my friend! Somehow I had enough room in my stomach to manage it though.

Neta serves meat, but as I quickly found out after turning vegan, Mexican food is great for vegans. Unfortunately though, the vegan option here was pretty disappointing. They offer sweet potato as the vegan filling, which I just didn’t find as tasty or as satisfying as the usual bean option you’d find in most other Mexican restaurants.

Vegan tacos from Neta in Berlin

The tacos I got looked really cool, coming in three separate blue, red and plain taco wraps, but these were quite spongy in texture and not very satisfying. I also couldn’t really taste the mango-habanero sauce, so all in all it was quite a poor experience food-wise, which was a shame as I’d done pretty darn well for most of the trip. Their margaritas were very good however!

Neta (Weinbergsweg 5) is open Sunday – Thursday 12pm – 10pm, and Friday – Saturday 12pm – 12am.

 

Congratulations if you made it this far!

Phew! That’s it, pretty much! I must however give a shout out to the Luxa kebab shop (Torstraße 56), around the corner from the hostel we stayed in, which did the most amazing falafel wrap. We each had about three of these in the four days we were all there together, and their chili sauce was probably the best I’ve ever tasted!

I can’t wait to go back to Berlin next time and try out some of the other places I had listed. I just didn’t physically have the time, money, or stomach space to go to! These included:

Prenzlauer Berg

  • Fast Rabbit (Prenzlauer Berg) – wraps – Eberswalder Strasse 1
  • Chaos Theorie – café and cocktail bar – Lychener Strasse 4
  • The Jivamukti Canteen – vegan café – Brunnenstr. 29
  • Cat Tuong – vietnamese – Kastanienallee 89

Mitte

  • Kopps – for their weekend buffet – Linienstrasse 94
  • Samadhi – veggie Indian “98% vegan” – Wilhelmstraße 77

Neukölln

  • Let it Be – mixture of things inc. burgers – Treptowerstr. 90
  • Vux – mixture (seitan sausage with smoky-habanero-mango-sauce…enough said) – Wipperstrasse 14

Kreuzberg

  • Rootz – various inc. bagels, burgers and sandwiches – Skalitzer Strasse 75
  • Viasko – mixture – Erkelenzdamm 49
  • Chaparro – Mexican – Wiener Straße 14a
  • Eissalon Tanne B – ice cream – Eisenbahnstraße 48
  • Café V – Lausitzer Platz 12

Friedrichshain

  • Gourka Pakora – South Indian – Krossener Strasse 16
  • Laauma – café that does a ‘meatball’ sandwich! – Sonntagstraße 26
  • OhLaLa – desserts – Mainzer Straße 18
  • Zeus Pizza – Boxhagener Straße 29-30
  • Chay Village – Asian – Niederbarnimstraße 10

Charlottenburg

  • Vaust – traditional German – Pestalozzistraße 8

 

And now also ‘The Dandy Diner’, a burger place in Neukölln (Karl-Marx-Straße 9), which opened shortly after we left Berlin. It seems like it’s going to be hugely popular, what with it causing the police to show up to disperse crowds on its opening night!

Finally, I’d love to hear if you guys have any Berlin vegan favourites that you’d like to share. Please comment 🙂

Group in front of the Brandenburg Gate

Credit: Oli Dudley

'Prost!' - Cheersing with beers in Tiergarten

Credit: Oli Dudley

Guys watching Hertha Berlin

Credit: Tom Miller