Bucharest is not vegan-friendly at first glance. I’ve seen more animals grilling on a rod in my short time there than I thought was possible in a lifetime. But whenever I wasn’t able to make my own way to some of the vegan restaurants scattered across town, for every something impaled on a stick, there was always an assortment of delicious dips (something that resembles baba ganoush, trust me when I say fill your boots with this stuff!) and pickles to eat alongside bread. That’ll do.
I didn’t find a whole lot of typical Romanian vegan food, mind me, but I’ve heard it exists. I did find a profusion of raw vegan restaurants that are riding the healthy living wave and that are as such a little overpriced, but still really delicious in some case. Below are my favorite finds. If you visit any of these, make sure to check the opening hours ahead as it seems vegan people in Romania eat only on weekdays!
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VEGAN RESTAURANTS IN BUCHAREST
The most varied fully vegan restaurant in Bucharest that isn’t only just raw. Barca is also the only restaurant I found to offer dishes that are typically Romanian, such as a vegan tripe soup. Barca has the most horrible decor and ambiance (talking to you, 80’s music radio and stained carpet…), but don’t let that deter you as the food is great. Watch out for the use of honey in several drinks and desserts (an unfortunate recurring theme in Bucharest). They have a great selection of juices and smoothies and a huge menu of cooked and uncooked food of all sorts. I went for the house platter to have a little sample of everything. It was a mix of sushi, pates, crackers, tabouli, etc. Super yummy!
2. CAFE VERONA
A lovely cafe that reminded me a bit of Ubud’s secret gardens, with several vegan options (a few more at lunch than at dinner), amazing lemonades and a bitching avocado club sandwich. Anywhere that serves straight up ginger juice is a winner in my book.
This is tourist central, so you will likely pass this place a gazillion times, or you might just straight up miss it walking through all the hustle of the old town. Although not Romanian whatsoever, it’s a lovely place filled with veggies and hummus and tahini. There’s a full vegan menu with things such as couscous salad with mango and pomegranate, falafels, or roasted eggplant with raw veggies on a bed of tahini. Delicious!
One of the very few fully vegan cooked restaurants in town, this one specializes in falafels, and by golly does it very well. There are a couple of delicious soups each day to pick from and a few falafel variations, so you really can’t go wrong here. Fast and delicious!
TIP: Once you’ve filled up on falafel, keep walking on Bulevardul Nicolae Bălcescu until you reach the National Theatre. Did you know this was the third iteration of its facade? Another disturbing manifestation of Ceauşescu’s megalomania.
Directions // Facebook
Rawdia is in a quiet neighborhood and there isn’t much around, so make sure you check the opening hours because you won’t have much else to do there. Rawdia is, as the name suggests, mostly raw vegan with a cooked soup on the daily menu. Look out for honey in desserts here again. They brew their own kombucha and are extremely friendly. Take away available.
For some reason, Bucharest has many many outlets for raw vegan cakes. This one was my favorite one because of the proximity to another vegan restaurant and the lovely sit down area. They also have a lunch menu and detox program, but I didn’t try any of that. I only sampledra a variety of deliciously heavy (read: they contain a lot of nuts and coconut oil!) raw vegan cake.
This was a bit confusing to visit because I was told it wasn’t a sit-down restaurant despite the fact that… well, it sure looked like one. It’s totally worth a visit to grab a takeaway because they have really delicious food – the supa de cocos was incredible! They also have a big selection of tiny little raw vegan cake bites which are super cute. This is on the pricier end of things for what it is, but it’s really good.
A little hidden gem in a quiet neighborhood, Rawmazing is literally hidden. It’s really hard to find! Once you find it though, it’s a quiet spot to munch on quality raw vegan dishes such as pizza, wraps, sushi and desserts. The raw vegan set lunch menu is the best option if you want to sample some of their great dishes.
TIP: This is right next to the Piata Victoriei underground station, so totally use public transport for this one. It’s an interesting perspective on the city (some platforms are just a few cm’s wide!)
Directions // Facebook
VegUp might seem far on the map, but it’s located minutes from the Aurel Vlaicu Metro Station so it’s easily accessible from the city center. They serve no-frill, healthy, vegan and vegetarian food at a very reasonable price. The vast majority is vegan and you’ll find a huge selection of salads, soups, mock meat, desserts and what have you.
Arome is one of the newer uber hip and cool restaurants in town. They offer a fully vegetarian menu with several vegan options. The sweet potato soup and the avocado sandwich are fab and the coffee is delicious. A beautiful space where you’ll to linger forever.
Many thanks to Experience Bucharest, Open Doors Travel, Romanian Friend, Hotel Mercure City Center, Roaring Romania, and all the wonderful partners and volunteers who made it possible for me to explore this exciting, vibrant and just amazingly cool city.