It’s no secret that Berlin is fast-becoming Europe’s vegan mecca, with an explosion in vegan supermarkets, food festivals, takeaways and high-end restaurants, which is no doubt a testament to the progressive, eco-conscious nature of the city and its inhabitants. However, there’s no shortage of vegan foodies and travellers which argue that the German capital is a long way from dislodging the current champion of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in terms of sheer scale and range – London.
Given that London has so much to do and is by far Europe’s largest city and home to every nationality, as well as the Western world’s highest number of vegan-friendly Indian restaurant options (owing to Britain’s historical relationship with its former colony) it’s not difficult to see why many think London holds the crown for cruelty-free food. Let’s take a closer look at the two cities to see how they match up.
While both London and Berlin boast seriously impressive numbers of vegan venues, it’s also important to consider the availability of non-vegan spots which have plenty of vegan options on the menu, which is always something we tend to keep in mind when going out to eat with friends and family. On this criteria it’s going to have to be London, given that it’s pretty much guaranteed that any restaurant you go to in the United Kingdom, especially if it’s a major chain, will have at least a couple of options on the menu for vegans and/or at least vegetarians. Anyone who doesn’t eat meat in Berlin will no doubt recall plenty of moments when they’re in a restaurant, cafe or imbiss and be faced with the awkward reality that there are literally no meat-free options on the menu. That’s why London wins this category.
This one is much tougher to call, given that both cities have such incredibly vibrant food cultures with new venues and increasingly experimental cuisines being rolled out to the public on a daily basis. London has a dizzying volume of world-renowned and vegan-friendly Indian restaurants, serving veggie-based dishes such as vegetable curries, tarka daal and dal makhani, as well as Chinatown hotspots and modern British fare. However, Berlin can compete tit-for-tat with Vietnamese, Turkish and local vegan venues. Both cities have uniquely energetic foodies driving the vegan scenes, and the pace of new places and proliferation of vegan cuisines seems pretty much neck and neck at this point. Given the range of cuisines, prices and venues in both cities, this category is a tie.
Best not to beat around the bush for this one; Berlin wins hands-down on pretty much every measure when it comes to value for money. While London has no shortage of surprisingly cheap food options, it remains one of the most expensive cities on earth, where prices for eating out or food delivery are a full 50 percent higher than in Berlin. Generally, groceries are actually a little more expensive in Berlin in terms of fruit and veggies, but vegan products in German supermarkets are almost always considerably cheaper than the alternatives in London. The late-night options for vegans in my experience always tend to be cheaper in Berlin, where a vegan doner kebab is about on-par price wise with the meat version, while in London the voner will always cost twice the price. And we all know kebab prices are the only metrics that really matter!
Which city do you think is better for vegans? Comments below to share your thoughts!