vegan Berlin and the insider guide on unique places to eat

Everyone knows how vegan Berlin is: very vegan and then some. But do you know where to get the best brunch on a budget or breakfast (sometimes) served by a gorgeous drag queen? Whatever time of day you are looking to dine, here are some of the best experiences vegan Berlin has to offer.

Berlin has a reputation for many things, some a little more pleasure-centric than others. But the thing we must talk about today is where in vegan Berlin you can you find a carrot that looks like salmon and is that something we are willing to entertain?

The German capital is regularly cited as one most vegan-friendly cities in the universe and whatever you may need, it surely awaits down a certain Straße. While many restaurants will be very accommodating in any part of the city, why not give some coins to the ones crafting an all vegan future where nothing on the menu is off limits?

Breakfast: Café Valentin, Sanderstraße 13, 12047 Berlin

Here is a place I discovered the old fashioned way: looking up to the sky and praying. No: While walking down the street looking at posters. It read ‘Vegan. Homosexual. Café.’ with a picture of a drag queen promoting a lunchtime giddy over Swedish buns and pastries. Not being one to stay out too late, daytime drag sounded very appealing.

carrot salmon at cafe valentin vegan berlin

The performance day had sadly passed when we got there but the food was patiently abundant in this café reminiscent of your aunt’s living room circa 1988 complete with a disco-rock soundtrack. The cakes were perched above the countertop in varying forms groups sat chatting at the sides as if awaiting the arrival of the resident drag superstar.

On the menu is a variety of Swedish-inspired breakfast and lunch options including tofu scrammble topped with carrot smoked salmon. As someone not familiar with salmon, I was reticent to try it and would have kindly opted for the bread pudding and coffee. However, my partner smartly ordered this dish which turned out to be a wise choice. Once I got around the smokey-dilly-flavour the taste is not something I would call salmony. The tofu scramble was silky and flavoursome (better than my own best effort) and the white toast with butter took me straight back to my childhood kitchen making what then qualified as lunch.

bread pudding at cafe valentin vegan berlin

The cakes generously filled the gold-rimmed plates and once I again I was reminded of days gone by with heartwarming deserts my gran once made. The chocolate was richer and much smoother than a 1980’s stockbroker trading in denationalised livelihoods. Deliciously nostaglic all round (baby right round).

Cafe Valentin is open Wednesday to Saturday 10 a.m – 6 p.m and Sunday 11 a.m– 6 p.m

Sunday Brunch: Café Vux, Wipperstraße 14, 12055 Berlin

Before moving to Berlin I thought I knew what brunch was: French toast before midday with a slightly nicer coffee than during the week. Wrong. I now realise it is something much more extravagant and perhaps even a linchpin of German society. On Sundays, the shops are mercifully closed and brunch is a competitive sport with a stocked buffet awaiting the winners (losers have a walk of shame failing to find a seat at a table).

The competitors at Vux are a gentile and gregarious group and as long you make it there for 11:45 AM before doors open at midday, you should bag yourself a table and be awaiting your turn to dish up shortly after.

The Vux brunch was recently increased to a still reasonable €12 after the demand for an insanely delicious and cheap €9 brunch seemed difficult to keep up with. The price, along with the decor and adorable staff keep, me coming back every couple of months. The food has a rich flavour with no whiff of pretention, making Vux a comfortable place to practice brunching.

sunday buffet brunch at cafe vux vegan berlin

The buffet table is a colourful affair and has an appetising welcome for the senses. The table is laden with homemade bowls of seitan in various forms, multiple breads, tempeh with carrot salad, mozzarella and roasted tofu canapés, colourful sauces of multiple guises, all topped off with cherry-filled brownies.

round one or two from the buffet  at cafe vux vegan berlin

After at least two rounds and something sweet from the buffet, if you can handle it, try jostling with someone for a piece of cheesecake afterwards and see how happy you feel.

Café Vux is open Wednesday to Saturday 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. serving bagels, soups, and cake and Sunday 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. for brunch and their usual offerings. Please note they will be closed for a well-deserved repose from 21 Feb. – 21 March.

Lunch (or late night): Vöner, Boxhagener Str. 56, 10245 Berlin

Much more likely to stuff myself at brunch or save the appetite for dinner, lunch is not a meal I frequently dine out on. But for the weekend days where your overworked body needs a little treat, that is when a late lunch at Vöner comes in. As the name suggests, they specialise in döner kebab-style concoctions as well as other indulgences such as currywurst, hotdogs, burgers and vish and chips.

The vöner itself comes in three varieties: a teller platter, a dürüm wrap and, having tried all three, my personal preference, in brot. The vöner is not too meat-like and has a texture and flavour to appeal to vegans and non-vegans alike. It can be a little salty (but what do you expect for a kebab shop) and this can be masked by the sweetness of their mayo and sprinkled spiciness. Also offer – and something you will need if you are going all the way on an off day – are the special fries; a crispy bowl of homemade pommes topped with onions and a very cheesy sauce. Very satisfying indeed.

I have yet to try a the vish here or anywhere else, my apprehension stemming from an erroneous fear it will contain a little fish. But, as the smoked carrot salmon showed, this is a risk worth taking and next time I will order that vish. And if it doesn’t work out, there are some chocolatey cookies available afterwards.

Vöner is open for your afternoon or late night delight Monday – Thursday 12 – 10 p.m and Friday – Sunday 12 – 11 p.m

Dinner: SOY, Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 30, 10178 Berlin

There is no shortage of Vietnamese restaurants in Berlin. Among them are several vegan takes on the southeast Asian cuisine, however, SOY remains a unique choice for several reasons: One, the adjoining building houses the independent cinema Babylon making it a perfect restaurant for a little date night or whatever; Two, you can find it in Mitte close to many central cafes and second-hand clothes shops; And three, it is the only place to get vegan Vietnamese hot pot.

vietnamese hotpot at soy vegan berlin
coconut milk pancake at soy vegan berlin

The brothy pot arrives along with your very own burner and platter of vegetables, tofu, seitan (obviously) and noodles to throw in yourself and play chef for an hour. The serving is more than enough to feed two although it is essential to leave yourself a small space to fill with their warm banana or mango sticky rice. And, before you do anything, whet your appetite with the flavour-packed Banh Xeo pancake made with coconut milk. Or, you know, just order three of these with a side Banh Trang Tron salad, skip the hot pot and throw back a mangoshake before you leave. It’s all amazing and, if you live in Berlin, you will be back, I’m sure of that.

SOY is open Monday – Friday 12 – 10 p.m and Friday – Saturday 1 – 10 p.m and you book a table very easily on the website.

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