Before I traveled to Bucharest in late October to visit a dear friend, I did what all vegans do when traveling, I checked out HappyCow to see what vegan or vegan-friendly options could be found at my destination. I didn’t expect much, so I was filled with excitement when I saw not three vegetarian restaurants with vegan options but, rather, eight vegan places. Granted, this is not much compared with Western European or North American cities, but I’m in Athens, Greece, where we don’t even have one fully vegan restaurant.
Even though my friend is not vegan, she didn’t mind at all going to some of the vegan places with me. Even though I stayed at her place, we actually ate out pretty much all the time, rather than cooking at home.
The first evening, after I arrived, we went to Super Falafel. Super Falafel is apparently the first fully vegan eatery in Romania. There are two locations – one in the old town, and another on Balcescu boulevard to which we went. The place was very clean and the staff were very friendly. The falafel was decent, but not extraordinary. I ordered my falafel spicy, but, as is the case most of the time when I order spicy food, it really just had a hint of spice. What I liked most about Super Falafel were the friendliness of the staff and the quickness of the service. They were pretty surprised when my friend ordered a second falafel for me, but I was starving after the flight. Super Falafel is a good option for vegan fast food, and both locations are much more central than some of the other vegan options in Bucharest. We thought about going back another time, but I was just there for a few days and wanted to check out other places as well.
Boulevard Nicolae Balcescu 34, Bucharest. Open 24 hours. www.facebook.com/Super-Falafel-857668954292843/
The next day, my friend took me to Bohemia Tea House which offers a big selection of teas as well as some snacks. Unfortunately, the only vegan option was the tomato bruschetta which was actually toast instead of bruschetta. It was good, though, and we ordered a second plate. As the place specializes in tea, it’s probably more important to mention that the walnut tea I had was really nice. The place was super cozy with several rooms upstairs and downstairs. We sat on floor pillows and the atmosphere was very calm and relaxed. Since it’s not actually a place to go out to eat the lack of vegan options is not a real issue, but it would be nice if they added some vegan hot chocolate and cakes to the menu.
Strada Poiana Narciselor 1, Bucarest. Open Monday to Sunday 12-11pm. bohemiatea.ro/
At night, we met with a friend in the old town, and I ended up having one of the best vegan salads I’ve ever had, in a pub that, otherwise, served tons of meat dishes. The place was called Distrikt 42, and I also had some tomato bruschetta again, which was more traditional here. The food was surprisingly good for a pub. The salad contained tofu and vegetables and was quite different from what vegans are used to getting in places that have few vegan options. It’s possible that the bruschetta and the salad were the only vegan options at this place, but they were really good.
Sfantul Dumitru 3, Bucharest. www.facebook.com/distriktpub
The next day we went to a cat café fittingly named Miau. It was in an area that, as a tourist, I found a bit shady. It’s certainly not near anything of interest for the average tourist. However, once you arrive it brings a touch of freshness and color to an otherwise boring neighborhood. It had outdoor seating, but due to the cold weather we went to sit inside. There are two rooms, and the place was pretty full. Several times during our stay, people entered and had difficulties finding a seat because the place is so popular. It’s very cozy with nice colors and furniture, and we sat on comfortable floor pillows. There are details of cats in the décor, such as in the light switches as well as small cat-shaped mirrors.
The cats at Miau are all rescued and walk around happily or sleep in comfortable boxes. There was a bit of a smell in the air, so I think unless you’re really fond of cats that could be a bit off-putting. The cats are also free to jump on the tables, which, I guess, is the reason the place only offers drinks and no food. All the smoothies were vegan, even though they didn’t have everything available when we went.
The cats are really cute and seemed very happy and well-fed. What was a bit of an issue for me was the fact that some people there treated the cats as a form of entertainment trying to play with them while they were trying to sleep and grabbing and carrying them. I think it might be a good idea to explain to customers that the cats will seek company if they want to and that one should especially watch one’s children’s behavior with the cats.
Overall, I believe the place is only for people who truly love to be around cats. Since there is no food on the menu it’s not necessarily worth the trip for vegans. If the place was closer to the center it would be great, but I understand that rent in a more central location would be much higher.
Maximilian Popper 41, Bucharest. Open Tuesday to Sunday 12-10pm. www.facebook.com/cafemiau/
Afterwards, we went to RawCoco for dessert. RawCoco is one of several raw places in Bucharest and only offers desserts and drinks. The place is located in an upscale neighborhood in the northern part of the city, and this is reflected in the prices. It’s a very small place, and I suspect that customers mainly come here to purchase cakes and take them home. There is, however, enough space to seat about eight to ten people.
When I opened the menu I immediately knew I had to order the snickers cake. Before I went vegan, snickers were my favorite candy, as I love both chocolate as well as peanuts. My friend ordered the Mademoiselle Coco cake, and her boyfriend had a brownie. We were all a bit underwhelmed with the brownie, especially as it was very hard and difficult to eat. The Mademoiselle Coco cake had some rose and ginger in it which made for an interesting flavor. Definitely not your typical dessert. And then there was my snickers cake – and, wow, was it just amazing.
Just goes to show that you should always follow your instincts. It tasted pretty much exactly the way I remember snickers to taste – but in a much higher quality.
I would say that RawCoco was my favorite vegan spot in Bucharest because the snickers cake was really outstanding, the service was very good, and the place was so cozy.
Strada Constantin Aricescu 50, Bucharest. Open Monday to Sunday 11am to 7pm. www.rawcoco.ro/
After RawCoco we went to a mall and I noticed a small raw vegan dessert place there as well. I was super full and couldn’t handle another cake, but I was really impressed with the fact that there would be vegan desserts at a mall. It’s just not something that exists here in Greece. I later had a decent falafel at the food court, but nothing worth elaborating on.
The next day, my friend and I headed to a place called Rawyal for brunch, and, as you can tell from the name, this was another raw restaurant. The place is hidden away in a residential neighborhood but looks outstandingly cute. They really put a lot of effort into the decorations.
Everything is made fresh, which means that you have to wait quite a bit for your food to come, and, unfortunately, there was a problem with the heat in the place, which ended up being a bit of an issue for us as it took so long for the food to be ready and we had originally come here to be warm.
I had a nice green smoothie while my friend had a tea and we waited for our food. My friend had “spaghetti” and I had a guacamole with crackers as well as a vegetable and “rice” dish with broccoli and cauliflower. The food was really good, tasted very clean, and was definitely filling enough (then again, I did have an entree as well as a main dish). I had a small cinnamon roll for dessert, which was a bit misleading as the menu stated “cinnamon rolls” in the plural, whereas I ended up only getting one. I realized later that some desserts contain honey, so watch out for that.
The service was incredibly friendly, and the food was really tasty, but the highlight of Rawyal was definitely the wonderful décor. I presume that it would be even nicer there in the summer.
Strada Ardeleni 24, Bucharest. Open Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm, Friday 9am to 4pm. rawyal.ro/
Later that day when we were hungry I was really done with raw food, so we went to a regular restaurant that had some vegan options. The place was called Aubergine, and it seemed like the perfect restaurant, for someone whose favorite vegetable is eggplant. Aubergine is another super cozy place, this time in the old town of the city. We ordered hummus as a starter with some homemade bread, and the portion was actually huge enough to serve one person as a main dish.
It was some of the best hummus I ever had, and while researching this blog post, I found out that the chef is actually Israeli which explains the high quality of the hummus. I also had pasta with eggplant, which was okay but nothing compared to the hummus. The service was friendly, even though they seemed a bit in a rush to remove our plates.
Strada Smardan 33, Bucharest. Open Monday to Sunday 12pm to 3am. aubergine-restaurant.ro/
We spent the last evening at the beautiful bookstore Carturesti Carusel in the old town with a friend. They have a cafe on the top floor which advertises raw vegan cakes as well as vegan hot chocolate, but when we asked for a vegan hot chocolate they didn’t actually have any. This was a bit disappointing but maybe if you go you will be luckier.
While walking around downtown, a good option for vegans is to get the small pretzel-like foods called “covrig.” They don’t actually have much in common with the German “Brezel” other than the shape. In taste, they are much more similar to the Turkish “simit” and Greek “koulouri.” You can get them with sunflower seeds, sesame, or poppy seeds.
Overall, Bucharest was much more vegan-friendly than I expected, and raw vegans, in particular, have many options to choose from. There were a few raw places that we didn’t check out, because, honestly, after all this raw stuff I was beginning to get bored of it, but if you don’t have a problem with that, Bucharest has you covered.
Half Bulgarian Turk, half German living life as an expat in Greece.