Connect with us

Africa

Legit tasty vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Leuven

A list of actually tasty vegetarian restaurants in Leuven (and vegetarian-friendly restaurants), because nobody wants to eat vegetarian lasagna every time they go out to eat. Head to the end for a map of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Leuven.

 

When I went vegetarian in Belgium half a year ago, I didn’t expect it to be so… disappointing.

Don’t get me wrong—I enjoy being a vegetarian and don’t find it particularly difficult. That is, until I go out into the wide world of Vlaamse Brabantse restaurants. I’ve found vegetarian options in Flemish restaurants to typically include a variety of tantalizing options such as:

  1. Vegetarian pasta
  2. Vegetarian lasagna
  3. Vegetarian salad
  4. Fries

(In case English isn’t your first language: this is sarcasm.)

Meat and potatoes are staples of most Flemish food… which means vegetarians are stuck with just potatoes. Which, last time I checked, aren’t the most balanced meal.

Luckily, Leuven has more to offer than straight up Flemish foodstuffs. Though most restaurants disappoint when it comes to vegetarian food, not all is lost. Here are some of the best vegetarian restaurants and restaurants for vegetarians in Leuven, based on my personal experience.

Are you a vegan or vegetarian looking for actually tasty vegetarian restaurants in Leuven, Belgium? I got you! Here's a list of interesting and unique vegetarian-friendly restaurants in and around Leuven for people of all budgets and food preferences. Includes opening hours, cuisines, recommendations, and more.

My favorite vegetarian restaurants in Leuven for actually tasty food

Samosa chaat at Nirvana Kitchen vegetarian-friendly restaurant in Leuven, Belgium

Samosa chaat is one of my absolute favorite dishes from South Asia, but can be hard to find elsewhere—Nirvana Kitchen, y’all are my heroes.

Nirvana Kitchen (€€) – Indian

  • Opening hours: Wed-Sun 17:00 – 21:00
  • Vegetarian only: No
  • Reservations: No
  • Good for: Actual Indian food

Leuven has a variety of Indian restaurants with a common problem: all of their dishes taste the same. (No, I’m not generalizing—I freaking love Indian food, but after spending a year feeding traveling all over India most Indian restaurants overseas are disappointing AF.)

Nirvana Kitchen, a Bengali-run restaurant in the Hal 5 warehouse, isn’t afraid to make food with flavor. They serve up their own takes on standard dishes people expect from Indian restaurants—tikka masala, aloo gobi, channa masala—as well as harder-to-find items such as samosa chaat (crushed samosas with toppings), gajjar ka halwa (sweet carrot desert), and paneer jalfrezi (Bengali dish with green chilies).

Nirvana Kitchen website | Nirvana Kitchen on Facebook | 0471 88 66 32

Hal 5 warehouse on the outskirts of Leuven

The Hal 5 warehouse area on the outskirts of Leuven

Palmyra (€) – Syrian

  • Opening hours: Mon-Sat 12:00 – 14:30 | Mon-Sun 17:30 – 22:00
  • Vegetarian only: No
  • Reservations: Recommended
  • Good for: A rich escape from bland Belgian food

Just because it isn’t strictly vegetarian doesn’t mean you should give it a pass! Palmyra is one of my favorite restaurants in Leuven, period.

Run by a welcoming Syrian man happy to explain anything and everything, their extensive menu of hot and cold mezze plates (small tapas-like plates that are good for sharing) is almost entirely vegetarian- and vegan-friendly. Expect rich foods like foul (beans), hummus, and a personal favorite of mine: zahra (fried cauliflower). Their main dishes mostly feature grilled meats, but you can easily fill up for a reasonable price on mezze alone.

If you’re tired of basic Belgian/vegetarian food, this is the place to go.

Palmyra on Facebook | 016 90 38 84

Lukemieke (€€) – Seasonal Belgian

  • Opening hours: Mon-Fri 12:00 – 14:00, 18:00 – 20:30
  • Vegetarian only: Yes
  • Reservations: No
  • Good for: A fresh take on seasonal produce in a cozy setting

This cramped-but-cozy café feels more like eating in someone’s living room or garden than a restaurant… and it made me eat my words about boring Flemish food. Mostly.

Every week the team of women running the restaurant design a new, seasonal menu with two options: a dagschotel, plate of the day, and an ovenschotel, a dish baked in the oven. Though they are usually not vegan-friendly, both options are always hearty and paired with other vegetables or sides made from vegetables sourced from a local farm.

Make sure to save some room—they always have several (delicious) homemade desserts on offer.

Lukemieke website | Lukemieke on Facebook | 016  22 97 05

Day plate at Lukemieke, a vegetarian restaurant in Leuven, Belgium

A dagschotel at Lukemieke

House of Lalibela (€€) – Ethiopian

  • Opening hours: Tue-Fri 19:00 – 22:00 | Sat-Sun 18:00– 23:00
  • Vegetarian only: No
  • Reservations: Recommended (Opening hours can be approximate)
  • Good for: Cozy vibes and foreign flavors from a friendly host

Be patient in this House: not only is the restaurant a one-woman show, she also cooks almost all her food fresh daily! What the owner lacks in speedy service, she makes up for with warm hospitality.

Though you can order individual dishes, if you’re eating with two or more people, it’s best to order a beyayenetu, a massive platter of mixed dishes served on an injera, a kind of spongy Ethiopian pancake. They’re a bit expensive—€40 for two people—but they’re not lacking in quantity. Prepare to be stuffed.

Meat options are available, but she also has a vegan/vegetarian version. Wash your hands first—you’ll be eating with your hands. (If that sounds stressful to you, no worries. The owner can get you a fork.)

House of Lalibela on Facebook | 016 23 38 80

Pepper burgers at Greenway Vegan restaurant in Leuven, Belgium

Greenway’s red pepper vegan burgers

Greenway (€) – Vegan burgers and wraps

  • Opening hours: Mon-Sun 11:00 – 21:00
  • Vegetarian only: Yes, vegan
  • Reservations: No
  • Good for: Vegetarian for meat lovers

This small Belgian chain dishes up burgers and wraps that will satisfy both you and your whiny friends who don’t like plant-based food.

Burgers are their main draw—fair, as they’re hearty and bursting with flavor—but they also offer a variety of salads, wraps, and bowls, too. Their staff are also friendly; I had to peel my jaw off the floor when one of the waitresses apologized for switching to English when I ordered in Dutch. (Something I never once experienced despite 3 years of garbling Dutch in the Netherlands.)

Greenway website | +32 (0)16 30 97 35

Loving Hut (€€) – Vegan fast food

  • Opening hours: Mon-Fri 12:00 – 14:30, 17:00 – 20:00 | Sat 12:00 – 20:00
  • Vegetarian only: Yes (Vegan)
  • Reservations: No
  • Good for: Vegan fast food/takeaway in Leuven’s city center

Loving Hut is one of the few vegan restaurants in Leuven. This international chain café is right in the city center near the Rector De Somerplein bus stop. Beware, it’s small and easy to miss—look for the sign board outside the door.

If you’re looking for a quick vegan bite, you can’t go wrong here. They offer several Asian-inspired dishes—think Thai-ish coconut curries, Singaporean noodles, etc.—as well as Western options like wraps and burgers, all of which might even satisfy your non-vegetarian friends. There’s also a small shop where you can buy vegan cheeses, meat substitutes, and more.

Loving Hut website | Loving Hut on Facebook | 016 84 47 02

Life Bar (€€) – Health food

  • Opening hours: Wed-Sat 9:00 – 17:00 | Sun 10:00 – 16:00
  • Vegetarian only: Yes, vegan
  • Reservations: No
  • Good for: Hipster plant-based breakfast and lunch

I admit I’m not particularly moved by healthy hipster cafes—I’m too broke for expensive Instagrammable breakfasts—but I know not everyone is as cynical as me.

If you’re in the mood for spelt pancakes, hummus toasts, buddha bowls, raw chocolates, or other hip and healthy vegan staples, Life Bar is an airy café in the city center that has everything you might be craving to get your day started.

Lifebar website | Lifebar on Facebook

ViaVia in Heverlee (€) – International

  • Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11:30 – 1:00 | Sat-Sun 15:00 – 00:00
  • Vegetarian only: No
  • Reservations: Recommended
  • Good for: Wide variety of options that’s open late

Normally I’m a bit skeptical of restaurants with a really wide variety of cuisines and dishes, but ViaVia out in nearby Heverlee does a decent job of serving up dishes from all over the world. As they should, considering they’re an international chain.

The restaurant isn’t strictly vegetarian, but their menu has more than enough vegetarian tapas and main dish options. My biggest concern with the spot is that it often gets quite busy with people out for a cheap meal with their kids (look for endless tables of people eating spaghetti, of all things), which sometimes leads to slow service and a lot of noise. On the bright side, they have a backyard eating area you can escape to when the weather is nice.

If you’re looking for an affordable lunch or dinner spot with non-standard vegetarian options, ViaVia shouldn’t disappoint.

ViaVia website

Have any more recommendations for tasty vegetarian restaurants in Leuven? Leave them in the comments! I’m always happy to eat more try new things.

Legit tasty vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Leuven

#Legit #tasty #vegetarian #vegan #restaurants #Leuven