It is very easy to be a vegan in Budapest. Over the past years, a plant-eating revolution has taken place alongside the gastro revolution. As a result vegans no longer need to choose between a falafel-sandwich with no yoghurt or a pizza with no cheese. Now almost any meal can be found in a version that is free of ingredients that have animal origins. Here are those places in Budapest that serve truly delicious vegan dishes.
Why do vegans avoid milk, dairy products and eggs? Most vegans believe that the consumption of these products is completely unnatural, and they don't believe it's ethical to mistreat animals during mass production, and to deprive animals of their natural habitat. Restricting these foods - in addition to meat - set a vegan diet apart from a vegetarian's. But vegans often also refuse honey because they do not accept that bees are raised in captivity.These ideals can be debated, but instead, it is better to eat - so these are the places to get good vegan food in Budapest.
Napfényes – Bio & Vegetarian Restaurant:
If anyone's in doubt that every meal really does have a vegan version, then it's worth visiting the most well-known vegan restaurant in Budapest, Napfényes. You can find all the classic meals here, that typically make it hard for people to give up eating meat and cheese. On the menu there's pizza, spaghetti, and roasted plant-based cheese with a plant-based tartar sauce. Even meat-eaters can have a nice meal here, without noticing that they didn't eat any animal-products. It is best to finish a meal here with a great Hungarian dessert called Somlói Galuska, which is basically a decadent trifle.
Az Élet Étterme:
In Budapest, there is a chance to eat healthy chips, meat-free stuffed cabbage, or pasta prepared without cooking. All this can be found at Az Élet Étterm, which means 'The Restaurant of Life.' Here they prepare well-known meals without cooking, baking or even simmering.This raw restaurant also has a place in Buda.
The new generation of vegan restaurants
Peas & Love:
This non-violent peace-love-unity restaurants is a few minutes from Blaha Lujza Square. This is good because apart from McDonald's, not even meat-eaters have many options in this area. There's a wide range to choose from including soups, pasta, salads, sweets and sandwiches. It is strange to find salami-cream, and cheese and párizsi (a type of sausage) sandwiches but these are also completely vegan, made of wheat and other plant-based ingredients.
Peas & Love (closed)
Address: 1088 Budapest, 3 Vas Street
Being vegan, raw vegan, or paleo is no longer that special, now there's even food that is macrobiotic. While this word might make you think it's an eco-friendly type of fuel, it actually means eating plants that grow in the area and are in season. There are quite exciting things on the menu at Rizsa 17. There are many types of salads, with different dressings such as the mustard sauce with wasabi or umeboshi with vinegar. There are more serious meals, like the Mediterranean pasta and the many types of macrobiotic vegan plates. Of these there are combinations like the rice+vegetables+tofu+rice vinegar, or algae+seasonal vegetables, vegetables+tampeh+salad. Among the freshly fried meals you can find marinated tofu with roasted seitan and samosa. And you can ask for sauces: tahini sauce, spicy tomato sauce or tamari sauce with ginger.There are also sandwiches with seitan or roasted vegetables.
This restaurant opened in 2014 at Hunyadi Square. The menu has simple and popular meals, like the hamburger, cheeseburger, lasagne, gyros plate, vegetable tortilla, bean goulash, layered pancakes with chocolate and seitan stew. This menu probably makes every vegan beam with joy, as it is not easy to get a hamburger when you don't eat meat. The aim of Kozmosz is to fulfil vegan needs, while welcoming meat-eaters with alternatives that will not scare them. The selection is varied, so it's never boring.
Address: 1067 Budapest, Hunyadi Square 11.
Vega City: This restaurant is no shrinking violet: it advertises its 'home-made' canteen style meals with great big windows and bold signage. The menu is different every day, but could include miso soup with tofu, corn cream-soup, and mediterranean risotto with tahini sauce. They always have some kind of pottage which is not the ordinary mass of flour. You can also get plant-based fried cheese, which, while not healthy, is perfect for those cheese cravings.
Address: 1053 Budapest, Múzeum körút 23-25.
This shop a few steps away from Jászai Mari Square offers an amazing repertoire of sweets. At Édes élet you can have the classics of Budapest patisseries at a fair price. They have coconut balls, apple pie, cherry pie, caramel karob bon-bons, dried fruit balls, a trifle with coconut and raisins, nut cake and mille-feuilles. A special ingredient is carob, which is the ground seed of the carob tree, and is used to replace chocolate.
The best biscuits, cakes, ice creams and baked goods are made with milk and eggs, but vegans are humans too and they sometimes need an indulgence of the sweet kind as well. Most people cannot imagine that sweets can be just as good without milk and eggs, but if you need proof visit Napfényes Cukrászat, where everything is both vegan and delicious. Absolutely everything is plant based, even when it doesn't seem like it.