How to choose the right location for your vegan or vegetarian restaurant (and a few other tips)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated July 27, 2019.

In August 2017, I published Survival Tips for Small Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants. I’d like to follow up today by giving you a few tips on how to choose the right location for your restaurant, and how to interpret the information provided in real estate listings. I am using a vegan restaurant as an example, which opened in Vienna, Austria, in July 2017, and closed two years later, in June or July 2019 (I’m not sure about the exact date). I won’t tell you the name of the restaurant, as it is not my intention to trash entrepreneurs who took a chance on starting a vegan business, and failed. I am telling you this restaurant’s story so you can learn from it, and avoid similar mistakes.

When the restaurant first opened in July 2017, I took notice, but didn’t immediately go and eat there. On its website and on Facebook, the restaurant presented itself as a high-class casual dining restaurant. The way it presented itself invoked images of tablecloths and cloth napkins in my mind, and I am a jeans-and-T-shirt kind of girl. I put off visiting this restaurant time and again.

In June 2018, the restaurant declared bankruptcy. Once a company declares bankruptcy in Austria, information is published in certain newspapers and magazines, and I read those listings carefully. As soon as I read the announcement about the bankruptcy filing, I dropped everything and drove across town, so I could eat at least one meal there. As I publish a vegan restaurant guide, I try to eat at each restaurant at least twice…even if it’s about to close.

Imagine my surprise, when I finally stood in front of this restaurant, and it was a small self-service burger joint. There was nothing fancy about it. During the previous year, I had walked past it several times, and hadn’t even noticed it was there. It was located at the corner of a passageway, had little signage to draw (potential) customers’ attention to it, and the take-out window was tiny, and usually closed.

These are my first two tips: make sure that your logos and signs draw attention to your restaurant, so people don’t walk past it without noticing it. And for heaven’s sake, don’t promote your restaurant as something it’s not. If it’s a self-service burger joint, promote it as such. You need to promote fancy restaurants and burger joints (or self-service restaurants and restaurants with table service) to two completely different target groups!

On its Facebook page and on its website, the restaurant promoted the freshness of its produce. I once witnessed one of its employees tearing open a plastic bag with pre-cut salad. That’s not how I define “freshness.” Again – don’t try to present your restaurant as something it’s not. Customers will take notice, if you are not 100% honest, and they will either tear into you on social media, or simply not frequent your business. In this case, people stayed away.

When the restaurant filed for bankruptcy for the first time, one of the general managers started a new company and continued to run it under the same name. The restaurant’s customers never noticed – you could only tell that a different company owned the restaurant by looking at the receipts. The business concept wasn’t changed, and the restaurant never closed after the first company filed for bankruptcy. The first company paid its debtors 3.12% of what they owed them, and the bankruptcy court finally closed this case in July 2019.

The second company filed for bankruptcy after another year, in June 2019. This time the restaurant closed for good, sometime in late June or early July 2019, I’m not sure about the exact date. The restaurant is now being offered to potential buyers, and this is where it gets really interesting.

If you want to take over this particular restaurant space, you need to pay 195.000 Euros (apparently to buy it, not just to lease the space). At this location, a restaurant failed twice within the course of two years. It has only a few tables, and provides seating for approximately 15 people. How long would it take you to recoup an investment of 195.000 Euros? How many burgers (vegan or otherwise) would you need to sell in order to recoup such a large sum of money? How many burgers (or other food items) could you possibly sell, if there’s only room for 15 customers to sit and eat their meals? I haven’t even mentioned all the other costs you would need to consider (operating costs, staff, insurance, costs for food and drink, etc.). Never, ever pay such a large sum of money for a small restaurant. You will never be able to make a profit. Hands off!

And by the way, make sure that the information contained in the real estate listing is true: this particular space is being described as a restaurant with seating for 35 customers, but it only had four tables with seating for approximately 15 people.

The restaurant is very hot in the summer (the windows can’t be opened – this is something you need to check) and hot and loud in the winter (due to the noise from the heating system – check that out, too, before you make a buying decision; turn on the heating, even in summer). There’s heavy traffic on the street outside, one of the major roads leading into the city center, opening windows or the restaurant’s door wouldn’t really be an option anyway (check that, too!). There’s no outdoor seating space.

If you consider opening a restaurant at a location where another restaurant closed down, do your research: find out who previously owned it; don’t just research the restaurant’s name, you need to find out the name of the company which owned this business. And then type the name of the restaurant, the owner’s name, and words “bankruptcy” or “insolvency” into your search engine – Google will usually get you first results. But don’t stop there: in most countries, bankruptcy information is published in an official government journal or on a website by the relevant authorities. You absolutely must find out why the previous owners closed their restaurant. Unless a very old restaurateur retired, chances are the business filed for bankruptcy. Consider this relevant information, and proceed very carefully!

So why did this particular business fail? On paper, the location sounds appealing. It’s located at one end of Naschmarkt, one of Vienna’s oldest farmer’s markets, which has been in existence since 1786, and since 1916 in its present form, designed by famed architect Otto Wagner. Naschmarkt is a major tourist attraction, and the Viennese shop there as well. The restaurant is located right across the street from this market. But of course, there are many restaurants located directly at this farmer’s market – dozens, in fact. And there are many more restaurants located in the vicinity.

There’s a very popular vegan fast food restaurant – selling burgers and fries, and very similar food at cheaper prices than the restaurant which failed – located on the very same block as the restaurant which went bankrupt; however, its entrance is from another street. That other, much larger restaurant (with an outdoor seating area in a street with less traffic), Swing Kitchen, is doing very well, by the way, at this location. Swing Kitchen opened its first restaurant in 2015, and today there are five Swing Kitchen restaurants all over Vienna.

Why would you open a vegan burger joint in the immediate vicinity of a very similar vegan restaurant, which is already established at this location, has an outdoor seating area (the failed restaurant doesn’t), which has bigger vegan burgers at cheaper prices? I’m scratching my head here, because I honestly don’t understand how anyone would completely ignore the already existing competition before opening a restaurant. Before you open a restaurant (or any other business), you need to research your competition.

The real estate ad praises the restaurant’s many loyal and repeat customers (now, why did it go bankrupt again…twice?). It also claims that it is highly rated on social media – the restaurant has already deleted its Facebook page, and it doesn’t have a website. (The website was deleted after the first company filed for bankruptcy.) The real estate listing also mentions that it is very well known and an established brand (established as a twice-bankrupt brand?). The ad claims that its take-away business and delivery business make up a high percentage of its revenue. If your revenue is low, that means nothing, sorry! The real estate listing makes this restaurant space sound like a great opportunity. Do you think it actually is a great opportunity?

One other thing that irritates me in this particular case is that the general manager, who was involved in two bankruptcies of this restaurant, also runs a property management firm. He’s the one offering this space to a potential new owner. In Austria, all real estate listings must provide information about a building’s energy efficiency. This particular ad mentions that information about energy efficiency cannot be provided for this restaurant, as the real estate company has advised the owner that this is a legal requirement, but the owner hasn’t provided them with this information. Funny, don’t you think, as the restaurant’s general manager is also the real estate agent?

Don’t ever believe anything that’s mention in a real estate ad or what a real estate agent tells you – verify everything!  You need to personally and independently check each and every claim that is made in a real estate ad, if you want to take over a space where another business closed down. Find out everything you can about the previous owner, the business previously established at the location, and the reason why a business closed down – or you’ll end up filing for bankruptcy yourself.

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Survival Tips for Small Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated August 13,2017. Inactive links were removed on November 29, 2021.

When I published The Vegan Tourist: Vienna and the book’s German-language version The Vegan Tourist: Wien, I decided to provide updates about restaurant closings and new openings on my website. I spent a couple of hours yesterday updating relevant information, which you can access here. Since I published the first edition of the guide book in November 2014, more than a dozen vegetarian restaurants have closed. Most of these restaurants were small businesses, and many of them stayed in business only for a brief time, usually between six months and two years. Over the course of the last three years I have become very good at predicting the success rate of new restaurants. If you think about opening a small vegetarian or vegan restaurant, here’s some advice:

DO THE MATH:

I often walked into a small, newly opened restaurant and knew immediately that it was doomed to fail. The restaurateurs simply didn’t do the math. Eight vegetarian restaurants which ceased to do business in Vienna during the last three years were very small; so tiny, in fact, that there was room for just a few tables and chairs. Only ten people (or less) would be able to eat at these restaurants at any given time. How many meals do you need to sell to cover your fixed and variable costs before you make any profit? And if you can only seat 10 people at a time, would it even be possible to ever cover your costs? The obvious answer is “no.”

Seven of those eight restaurants, which all closed after doing business for only a brief time, tried to operate as “traditional” restaurants. They focused on offering sit-down meals. They did offer take-out containers for their soups, salads, and entrees, but they didn’t have sandwiches or other similar food items on the menu, which you could eat on the go and without the need for cutlery.

Only one of those eight small businesses – a vegan sushi place – focused on take-out and even offered delivery for customers who lived in the neighborhood. If your restaurant is so small that you cannot possibly cover your costs from eat-in customers, you need to focus on take-out, run a catering business on the side, offer cooking classes, offer a delivering service for your meals, and sell non-perishable specialty food items through a website. In addition, you need to do a lot of marketing, so people will know that you offer all these services. If you do all that, and more, you might be able to avoid bankruptcy.

You also need to offer competitive prices. The small vegan sushi take-out restaurant, which closed after approximately two years, offered hand-made vegan sushi prepared with unusual and exotic ingredients; I liked the food, but only stopped by twice – it was simply too expensive. The sushi restaurant could not compete with a nearby vegetarian Asian restaurant, where I always ended up eating. When the vegan sushi take-away opened in January 2015, it sold 6 pieces of Maki and 6 pieces of Urumaki for 9.90 Euros – at the same time, the Asian vegetarian (mostly vegan) restaurant located in the same neighborhood offered its all-you-can-eat weekday lunchtime buffet for 8.90 Euros (which included 3 kinds of vegan Maki).

The vegan sushi take-away could not compete on price, because it was too small. It needed to charge higher prices per item to cover its costs; but customers don’t care about that – if they can get more (a bigger variety of dishes, bigger portions) at cheaper prices somewhere else, they will not eat at your restaurant. Bigger restaurants can offer cheaper prices because they are able to service more customers and divide their fixed costs between more meals. It’s called economies of scale. Do the math – research and calculate all costs before you open a restaurant, and allocate them. How much do you need to charge for a meal to make a profit? How many meals do you need to sell before you can lower your prices? And what are nearby larger restaurants charging for a comparable meal? Can you compete, if you only own a tiny restaurant? What makes your restaurant so special that customers would be willing to pay higher prices? Don’t overestimate yourself (or your food) – price matters.

When you calculate your costs, you don’t just have to consider fixed and variable costs, you also need to consider start-up costs – you need to recoup those as well. The girlfriend of an acquaintance of mine opened a (non-vegetarian) Thai restaurant in a location with plenty of foot traffic; but it was small. The restaurant could only seat about a dozen guests at any one time. She paid 80.000 Euros to buy the kitchen appliances and furniture from the previous owner. When I heard that number, I immediately knew she was doomed; the restaurant closed about six months later. How many meals do you have to sell to recoup 80.000 Euros (or dollars) in start-up costs?

With cost accounting, you tally up all your costs and then divide them between all the items you sell. It sounds simple, but you must consider all your costs. Variable costs are easily allocated, but it’s amazing how often fixed costs are either not allocated correctly or not allocated at all. Do you love math? Bookkeeping? Doing your taxes? If not, you probably shouldn’t go into business for yourself. Yes, you can hire bookkeepers and tax accountants – but you need to be able to understand what they are doing; you need to be able to check their work. You are responsible for everything when you run your own business. And you need to do cost accounting long before you open your business.

In addition to doing the math, you must also:

CHOOSE THE RIGHT LOCATION:

Quite a few of these small restaurants which closed after just a few months chose a bad location; rents are cheaper in bad locations, but location makes an enormous difference to your success. The restaurants were in streets with little (or at least not enough) foot traffic. One restaurant was located right next to a train station – but it was located at the side of the train station, where very few people passed on foot. Most people just cut across the small piazza in front of the train station, and there were shops and restaurants inside the station and right in front of it. Fifty meters or so made all the difference in the world. The restaurant also only had three or four small tables and a very short menu – it really had no chance; I knew right away that the owners – a mother and daughter team – would not be able to operate it successfully, and it closed after only a few months.

Two small vegetarian restaurants (very limited menu, seating only for a few customers), were located right off one of Vienna’s busiest shopping street; but there are so many restaurants on this shopping street, customers are spoilt for choice. Most people will not consider a detour; they’ll eat anywhere. Most people also aren’t vegetarians – why should they chose a vegetarian restaurant in the first place? Why should they take a few extra steps, only so they can eat at a very small vegetarian restaurant (so small that everyone can listen to everyone else’s conversation – which is a huge turn-off for me and the main reason why I don’t like tiny restaurants)? And why should they choose a restaurant which only offers a few dishes? Customers like choice, myself included. Vegans and vegetarians will occasionally frequent your tiny vegetarian restaurant, but you also need lots of foot traffic and many non-vegetarian customers to survive financially. Non-vegetarian customers have no reason to choose your restaurant (located in a side street) over another one which is located right on a major shopping street, has a large menu, plenty of tables and chairs for patrons and enough space between those tables so they can conduct their conversations in private.

TABLES AND CHAIRS:

Most of the restaurants which closed after just a few months did not have proper tables and chairs for their patrons. They offered counter seating and high tables with bar stools, or benches without back support paired with coffee tables (you had to bend forward to eat). These kind of seating options are often installed with purpose in restaurants – they are meant to prevent patrons from getting too comfortable and spending too much time in the restaurants. A higher turnover of customers means more business; but uncomfortable seating also means that customers are less likely to return for future visits. If you don’t have proper chairs and tables at your restaurant, older people will avoid it, as will people with physical disabilities. No one would ever dream of meeting up with friends for lunch or dinner at a restaurant which doesn’t have comfortable seating. Even vegans like myself, who want to support small vegan businesses, won’t enjoy themselves at your restaurant. Most people work hard, and they want to relax and recharge their batteries during their lunch break or after work. Bar stools are uncomfortable – when I go to a restaurant, I don’t want to perch on a bar stool; I want back support, and I don’t want to eat my food hunched over a coffee table. You’ll get me in and out of your restaurant quickly once – but I won’t come back a second time.

CONSIDER THE MENU:

Most of the small vegetarian restaurants which closed after just a few months offered lunch specials. They would usually prepare one kind of soup, one or two different entrees, and one dessert. Such lunch specials are actually very popular in Vienna – about a dozen organic grocery stores and health food stores successfully own and operate small in-house vegetarian bistros where they offer a very limited selection of dishes during lunch hours. But these businesses make most of their profit from their stores – not from their bistros. Most of the small vegetarian restaurants which went bust within a few months of their opening tried to replicate the bistros’ business model, and offered a limited selection of lunch specials. But the small stand-alone restaurants didn’t have any additional income to fall back on – and they weren’t able to survive financially. They chose a business model which didn’t work for their circumstances.

At the tiny restaurants, the entrees would often consist of vegetable stews, served with a side order of rice or some other grain, and maybe a small side salad. Vegetable stews are one-pot meals, they are easy to prepare. They also usually contain legumes – important sources of protein for vegans. Legumes are cheap ingredients, which is another reason why they are so popular at vegan restaurants. Vegetable stews can be prepared in advance, and be kept warm for several hours. Someone who owns a tiny restaurant – where owners often cook themselves – can prepare a vegetable stew in the morning, and serve it to customers all day. That’s why vegetable stews are always found on the menu at small vegetarian restaurants. As a vegan customer, I am sick and tired of them. I can easily prepare a vegetable stew at home, thank you very much. When I eat at a restaurant, I want dishes that I can’t or don’t want to prepare for myself. I want something special. If you own a tiny vegetarian restaurant, and you frequently offer variations of vegetable stews, you will lose even hard-core vegans like myself as customers. You need to make more of an effort; don’t put dishes on the menu just because you can prepare them quickly, cheaply and yourself (even though you are not a professional chef). That simply won’t cut it. If you want my money, you need to offer me something special.

A FEW FINAL WORDS:

Many restaurants go bust within the first year. Don’t sign a multi-year lease, or insist on a clause that lets you break the lease by paying a small fee. Make sure you have enough savings to support yourself for a couple of years. Think long and hard before you open your small vegetarian or vegan restaurant (or any restaurant, for that matter), so you won’t lose your life’s savings on a dream. Do the math, consider the competition, choose the right location, make sure your patrons feel comfortable at your restaurant, hire a professional chef, and pay attention to detail. Good luck!

Posted in Austria, Restaurants, Vegan - Various, Vegetarian Restaurants (AT - Vienna), Vegetarian Restaurants (Austria), Vienna, Writing & Publishing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chronic Illness and a Vegan Diet

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated April 28, 2017.

Ingrid Haunold
Photo credit: www.fotoschuster.at

In 2004, I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease, which affects the lungs and lymph nodes, and often other organs. From 2005 to 2013, I had to take glucocorticoids (cortisone medication/steroid hormones). That’s eight years of steroids, which are a nasty drug. Steroid medication has countless serious side effects, the least of which is a massive weight gain. Steroids draw calcium from the bones, they also can (and did) cause severe depression. The drugs impact the function of the adrenal glands, which leads to insomnia. I slept no more than three hours a night for eight years, and I was unable to work for several years as a result. The drugs weaken the immune system, making patients more susceptible to infections. (The actor Bernie Mac died from complications of Sarcoidosis, related to a weakened immune system; other famous people, who reportedly died of Sarc-related causes, are gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, football player Reggie White, or the actor Michael Clark Duncan).

I tried for years to get off those drugs, but whenever I reduced the dosage, the Sarcoidosis flared up again. In 2011, I decided to switch to a vegan diet, after living as a vegetarian for 29 years (since 1982). At around the same time I became a vegan, I decided once again to try and reduce the dosage of my steroid medication. You can’t just stop taking steroids from one day to the next, you need to reduce the dosage very slowly, which I did. And this time it worked – over the course of two years, I managed to taper off the drugs, and stopped taking them completely in 2013.  The Sarcoidosis did not flare up again, and I have not had to go back on steroids.

Only later did I make the connection between my health and my decision to go vegan. I’d tried to taper off the steroid medication twice before, and failed miserably both times. The Sarcoidosis always flared up again, and I had to increase the dosage of the medication as a result. Only when I switched to a vegan diet, did I managed to taper off the drugs successfully. I went vegan for ethical reasons, and it took me quite by surprise that a vegan diet – as opposed to a vegetarian diet – made such a huge difference to my health.

I was diagnosed with a second chronic illness a couple of years ago – Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – and I have not yet figured out how to make do without medication for this illness. Any tips and suggestions would be very welcome.

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A Vegan Vacation in Fažana, Croatia

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated July 27, 2019.

© Ingrid Haunold

Last September (2017), I vacationed in Fažana, Croatia, with a friend and my two dogs. It was my first vacation since I adopted Daisy in October 2013 (and a second dog, Teddy, a few months later). My friend had been to Fažana before, and she didn’t mind traveling with two dogs, one of which suffers from travel sickness and threw up in her car several times.

We rented a mobile home at Kamp Pineta, a large campground located at the Southwestern coast of the Istrian Peninsula, a few miles north of the ancient city of Pula.

© Ingrid Haunold

We rented a two-bedroom & two-bathroom premium mobile home with a wooden deck, situated in the Camp’s pine forest with direct views of the Mediterranean Sea.

As we vacationed in late September, during the last week of the season, the surrounding campground was mostly deserted, and I could let my dogs off their leashes. We took long walks along the beach and strolled through the huge campground.

© Ingrid Haunold

On the first day, Daisy immediately proceeded to steal a piece of meat from a couple of German tourists who were enjoying their dinners outside their tent, which was pitched close to our mobile home. She stole it right from their plates! Luckily, they were cool about it, but you do need to mind your dogs. On campgrounds, people cook and eat outside, and if your dogs are anything like mine, you need to watch them constantly.

We had travelled to Fažana by car from Vienna, Austria, and I brought organic (non-vegan) dog food with me from home, as well as organic rice milk, organic smoked tofu, and organic canned beans in tomato sauce. It’s a good think I did, as the town’s small supermarket doesn’t stock a lot of groceries for vegans. You can buy fresh fruit and vegetables (mostly non-organic), but you’ll find it considerably more difficult to find any products with vegan protein. There’s a small grocery store at Kamp Pineta, and you can buy non-organic canned beans there, but not much else in terms of vegan protein (organic or otherwise). You also won’t find vegan dog food or organic dog food (with meat) at any store in Fažana, so bring it with you, if you can. Veganism is still very much an alien concept in Croatia, as is organic farming. They’ve got some catching up to do!

© Ingrid Haunold

We cooked dinner several times in the small kitchen of our mobile home, and ate pasta with beans and smoked tofu on the deck, watching the sun set over the Mediterranean Sea. It was lovely.

We did venture into Fažana several times to eat dinner. A path runs straight through the campground along the water into town, it’s a leisurely 15-minute walk. Fažana is tiny, most restaurants are situated right by the sea at the harbor.

© Ingrid Haunold

We ate dinner twice at “Korta,” which – like all restaurants in Fažana –  specializes in seafood dishes; but they also serve pizza and were happy to prepare mine without cheese. So that’s what I ate, twice:  a mixed salad, and a cheese-less pizza topped with various vegetables.

Another time we ate dinner at “Batana,” another seafood restaurant at the Fažana harbor. The vegan options at this restaurant were limited to Ajvar (a paste made from red bell peppers, garlic, aubergine, and chili peppers), pickles, marinated olives, grilled vegetables, French Fries, and various salads (e. g. cucumber, tomato, mixed). I ordered Ajvar, grilled vegetables, and French Fries. I liked the food, but it was an odd assortment of dishes for dinner.

For vegans, the choices are limited; your dinners will consist of carbs & vitamins, but you won’t get much protein. Keep that in mind when you travel to Croatia.

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And Teddy Makes Three…

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated August 28, 2014.

A year ago, I adopted a puppy from Paws Paleohora in Crete, who’s now one year old and still wants nothing more than to play all day.

© Ingrid Haunold

Daisy gets to play with other dogs in the dog park every day, but clearly that’s not enough! So I decided to adopt another puppy from Paws Paleohora. This organisation does great work rescuing abandoned and stray dogs on the Greek island of Crete.

Daisy needed a friend to play with at home!

© Ingrid Haunold

On August 25, 2014, Daisy and I waited patiently for the arrival of our new puppy.

© Ingrid Haunold

6:30 PM: Phoebe – who I’ve renamed Teddy, because she reminds me of a Teddy Bear – arrives in Vienna, thirsty and hungry after a long flight.

According to the vet, she’s a “mixed breed.” Not sure which kinds, but I don’t care. She’s lovely and very shy in the beginning.

Getting to know each other…

© Ingrid Haunold

Bedtime…still keeping the distance.

© Ingrid Haunold

3:30 AM: Let’s Play!

© Ingrid Haunold
© Ingrid Haunold

6:00 AM: First walk on a leash. Daisy leads the way, and Teddy faithfully follows her.

They do like to eat, and pee and poop ( a lot), and they also sleep quite a bit. But mostly they just play…

© Ingrid Haunold

…and play…

© Ingrid Haunold

…and play…

© Ingrid Haunold

…and play…

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Stop and Smell the Flowers

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 15, 2013.

Flowers! I love flowers! So pretty, and they smell so nice!

© Ingrid Haunold

Let’s take a closer look…

© Ingrid Haunold

What do you mean, I’m not supposed to play in the flowerbed?

© Ingrid Haunold

Oh… —

© Ingrid Haunold

But this is so much fun!

I want to play with the flowers !

© Ingrid Haunold

Game over.

© Ingrid Haunold

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Beware of Anonymous Vegan Bloggers: VegKitchen

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated September 2, 2018.

A few days ago, I updated my blogroll, and mentioned that I don’t like it when bloggers keep their identity secret. I joked that Rika & Doni of Vegan Miam might not be be real people, and that their blog might be “run by a corporation (trying to influence consumers with fake personalities).”

Today, I’d like to elaborate on that point. I spent some more time surfing the net for vegan blogs, and came across the following website: VegKitchen. The blog’s subtitle reads “Leading a Vegan Life.”

Whenever I check out a new blog (vegan or otherwise), I read the “About” page. I want to know who publishes a blog or website. We live in an age where corporations and politicians constantly try to influence our opinions and our consumer behavior and monetize our data, so I always make sure I know who I am dealing with.

On VegKitchen, there’s no “About”-page. This immediately makes me suspicious. So I scroll down to the bottom of the page, where I find the following information: “Vegetarian Recipes from “Oh My Veggies.” I click on the Oh My Veggies website, and my suspicions are immediately confirmed; because on this website, they’re not “leading a vegan life.” On this website, vegan and vegetarian recipes are published.

So who are the people behind these two websites?

On Oh My Veggies, there’s a small box in the right-hand top corner, where a photo of a beautiful young couple is published. It is oh-so-perfect, and it is immediately clear that these people are models, and not the site’s bloggers. Yet the text below this photo identifies them as the blog’s owners. I don’t believe it, and no names are given, which ads to my suspicion.

I return to the VegKitchen website and click on the link to their Privacy Policy at the bottom of the page, where they explain how they use my data – “they” being a corporation: 301Brands, LLC. I google the company’s name, and find their official website, where they explain what they do. They publish a number of lifestyle blogs.

I click on one of their brands: Wably. And all of a sudden, I am on a lifestyle website where recipes are published which contain meat and fish.

I click on another one of their brands, Beauty Hacked, a website which focuses on women’s cosmetics. I decide to google the following term “cosmetics firms animal testing,” and find a blog entry on PETA’s website, “These Beauty Brands Are Still Tested on Animals.” I can’t tell when this blog entry was published, so some of it might be old information; but I decide to pick one brand at random, which is mentioned in this article, Clinique. I then search for Clinique on the Beauty Hacked website, and immediately find a blog entry, where Clinique products are mentioned and recommended.

I then check the Privacy Policy on the Oh My Veggies blog (scroll to the bottom of the page), and find that the blog is published by another company, Spork Brands, LLC. This company only has one static page with little information, so I return to 301 Brands, LLC. While I find information about 301 Brand’s team members, I don’t find any information about who actually owns the two websites.

So I google “who is Spork Brands, LLC.” I find an article about this company on Digital Journal, “Spork Brand Closes on First Round of Digital Acquisitions.” And here I finally find the first useful information, as it establishes a clear link between Spork Brands, LLC and 301 Brands, LLC. I also find a name, “Matt Arceneaux, co-founder and CEO of 301 Brands.” Spork Brands, founded in 2017, has purchased the websites Oh My Veggies and Veg Kitchen from 301 Brands. “Spork Brands is backed by a consortium of private investors with experience across a variety of industries.” It is a company which targets women by publishing “niche lifestyle sites.”

I google Matt Arceneaux’s name, and find an article on Marketing Dive, “Report: Major brands scammed in extensive fraud scheme linked to US ad firms.” I read the full report on BuzzFeed News, “Ad Industry Insiders Profited From An Ad Fraud Scheme That Researchers Say Stole Millions of Dollars.” This article ties the ad scam to 301network, to 301 Media and Arceneaux – and to VegKitchen. To summarize, ads from major brands were misused through a “special code that triggered an avalanche of fraudulent views of video ads” by approximately 40 websites, 12 of which were connected to Arceneaux, according to BuzzFeed News. Read the article, it will blow your mind.

So there you have it. I went from “leading a vegan life” on VegKitchen to a vegetarian blog on Oh My Veggies to an omnivore blog on Wably, to a cosmetics website and on to a PETA website about cosmetics & animal testing, and finally to allegations of fraudulent activities.

How’s that for a vegan blog?

Do I really want to use such a site? VegKitchen tries to cash in on the vegan trend, as so many companies do these days. As vegans, we must not let ourselves be exploited by corporations who want to monetize our data and our passions. As a vegan, do you really want to purchase something from a “consortium of private investors,” most of whom probably aren’t vegan themselves and invest the money they make from you on who-knows-what (but probably not on vegan causes)?

Your consumer choices matter. Be vigilant, and always make sure who you’re dealing with when you click on a blog or website.

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Blog Roll Updates

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated August 28, 2018.

Every few years, I update my blogroll, and I’m always sad when I see that a blogger has given up and not longer updates his site, or has let his domain registration expire. Once again, I had to cut half a dozen sites from my blogroll, and only a few of the original blogs remain. Time to add a few new ones to my list. I spent all day yesterday surfing the net, checking out vegan blogs, and found a few great ones.  Here they are:

Kristin Lajeunesse has won several awards for her blog, Will Travel for Vegan Food, and rightfully so. She has also written a few books about her experiences as a blogger.

Justin P. Moore blogs on The Lotus and the Artichoke, and he, too, is a published writer. He successfully managed to fund the publication of his first cookbook on Kickstarter, and has since published several cookbooks.

Another vegan travel & food blog I came across and like is Vegan Miam, written by Rika & Doni, who strangely don’t reveal their last names anywhere on their blog. I find that somewhat unsettling, I do like to know who I am dealing with; I would like to know if I am dealing with real people, or if this blog is run by a corporation (trying to influence consumers with fake personalities); it could be run by Russian bots, for all I know. In this day and age, someone somewhere is always trying to influence our votes, our consumer behavior, and our opinions – anonymous blogging just won’t do anymore. So I am little wary about this blog – but they do publish gorgeous photos and yummy recipes.

I quite like A Southern Gypsy, written by freelance writer Ashley Hubbard, as she does not only write about vegan food & travels, but also publishes stories about sustainability issues and vegan activism.

Veggie Visa is a vegan travel & lifestyle blog, written by Randi (no last name). I’m not sure why so many bloggers keep their identities a secret, especially since they are trying to monetize their blogs, but at least Randi does seem to be a real person (not sure about Rika & Doni).

Mindful Wanderlust is written by Giselle & Cody (no last names, I sense a pattern here), and they have won several awards for their blog.

Isa Chandra is written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, who previously blogged on Post Punk Kitchen. She is a freelance cookbook author.

I quite like The Road Not Taken, a vegan lifestyle, food & travel blog written by Nadia Holmes, who also has her own cooking show on YouTube.

Carolyn Scott-Hamilton’s website, The Healthy Voyager, is a vegan lifestyle & wellness blog. She has published a cookbook, and hosts online travel and cooking shows.

I’ll add more blogs to my blogroll in the future, if I like them. There are many more vegan bloggers, but I can’t recommend all of them. Some bloggers are bad writers, others confuse their blogs with their Instagram accounts and publish mostly photos, and some vegan bloggers have such badly designed blogs that it’s difficult to navigate them. I only recommend blogs I personally like.

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The Vegan Consumer: Making Better Choices

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist on March 12, 2017 and last updated May 25, 2019.

In November 2016, I cancelled my membership of the Vegan Society Austria after a rather unpleasant experience at their Vegan Planet fair. One of the vendors had put out a sign which informed customers that all profits from their sales at this fair would be donated to medical research. I was furious, as this means only one thing: animal research. When I complained, the company’s general manager and staff told me they didn’t care about animal research, and the (vegan!) fair’s organizers didn’t resolve the issue to my satisfaction. I was furious, and penned a couple of angry German-language blog entries, which I have now deleted, as I decided to revert this blog to a strictly English-language blog. (I think it confuses readers, if I blog in two languages.) I swore that I would resign my membership of the Vegan Society Austria – which I did – and that I would donate the money to an NGO instead, which supports research without animal testing, Doctors Against Animal Experiments. I vowed never to buy that particular company’s food products (hummus) again. I also decided to make better buying choices in the future, because I realized that I wasn’t living up to my own personal ethical standards.

While I always buy vegan products, I don’t always buy organic products. In the past, I  shopped frequently at supermarkets, and not at smaller, family-owned stores or at farmer’s markets. I didn’t know anything about the companies which produced the products I was buying, or their business ethics; and I frequently ordered take-out from non-vegetarian restaurants through an online delivery service. I wasn’t just furious at the company which made the (non-organic) hummus. I was angry at myself for buying non-organic foodstuffs in the first place, and for not being a more ethical consumer.

In the years that followed (I am updating this blog entry on May 25, 2019) I did make significant changes to my buying behavior. I now buy very few non-organic food items. Unfortunately, many non-food items are not available in organic quality, e.g. vacuum cleaner bags. There’s also no organic (vegan? non-animal-tested?) substitute for printer toner, and I continue to buy magazines, books, and DVDs. But I have made improvements in regard to my buying behavior.

I did not manage to keep up my boycott of major supermarkets, as intended. While I do shop more often at organic and/or vegan supermarkets, it’s not always possible to do so. I shop more often at Maran Vegan, a small vegan, family-owned supermarket, where all the employees are either vegan or vegetarian. Unfortunately, it’s located far away from where I live, and each shopping trip takes about 2 1/2 hours. I also shop at Denn’s Biomarkt, which is an organic supermarket chain. There’s a branch closer to where I live (15 minutes on foot), so I do most of my shopping there. I’m sorry to say that I still order take-out food over the Internet from non-vegetarian restaurants. When I am too exhausted or too tired to cook, I order out; and there aren’t many vegetarian restaurants which deliver food in Vienna.

© Ingrid Haunold

As I was making such huge changes to my buying behavior, I decided to record all my shopping expenses for one year – but was unable to stick to that decision. I kept records for a few months, but then fell behind, and abandoned the record-keeping. However, I kept records long enough to realize that I buy a lot of  convenience foods and junk food. I also noticed that while I buy plenty of healthy food items, they usually just end up sitting on a shelf for months (and years) on end, until they’re well past their due-date. 2 1/2 years later, not much has changed in this respect.

I am cooking more, and I am slowly using up expired food items in my kitchen. (The photo shows about half of the expired items I found on my shelves in late 2016). Amazingly, they were all still good and usable. But it’s now May 2019, and I still have a few of the items shown in the photo.

All in all, this experience was and continues to be an eye-opener. There’s still much room for improvement, but I’m happy that I have initiated several changes since I first wrote this blog entry in early 2017.

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Hummus Place (USA – NY, NY)

Please note: I wrote a draft of this article on March 22, 2012 for The Vegan Tourist, and then forgot to publish it… so here it is. It might be terribly outdated…

It’s time to review Hummus Place, a small NCY restaurant chain, which serves Mediterranean vegetarian food. I had lunch at one of their restaurants way back in May 2011, but never got around to writing the review, which is a shame because I quite enjoyed my visit. There are four Hummus Place restaurants in Manhattan, I ate at one of their two locations on the Upper West Side, at 305 Amsterdam Avenue (at 74th street).

At Hummus Place it’s all about the hummus. A staple of vegan diets, hummus is made of water, chick peas, tahini, olive oil, and lemon. At Hummus Place it’s made fresh (as you’d expect) and tastes delicious.

I ordered one of their lunch specials for $ 7.95, and got a free appetizer with my entrée. I chose Tahini, a sesame seed paste, and the hummus mushrooms (hummus topped with sautéed mushrooms, onions, spices and olive oil). It was served with freshly baked, warm pita bread. I ordered homemade lemonade ($2.50) as a drink. The total bill came to $ 11.38 with tax.

I liked Hummus Place not just for the food, but I also enjoyed the ambiance. There’s lots of wood and brick walls, the restaurants are light and airy and clean – not a given in New York City. The staff also didn’t pressure me to eat up and get out (to make room for the next patron), which happens frequently in Manhattan (and is something that all Europeans hate). Good, cheap food in a clean environment, where you’re allowed to linger – that’s an unbeatable combination.

My one (admittedly minor) complaint about Hummus Place is that vegan dishes aren’t marked as such on the menu. Most of the ingredients are listed, with helps, but “spices” can mean anything. I didn’t order any dessert, as it was unclear if any of them were suitable for vegans. I didn’t order any wine either, as the wine list lacked information about suitability for vegans (most wines are clarified with the help of animal products). I was also unsure about the pita bread. Many kinds of breads are made with animal ingredients, and I’m no baker. I looked up recipes for pita bread online afterwards and was happy to see that pita bread is usually made without milk or eggs; but it would have helped me immensely if all the vegan dishes on the menu had been labeled properly.

When it comes to vegan food, details matter. I could have (and would have) spent considerably more money at Hummus Place, if the menu had been clearer about which dishes and drinks were suitable for vegans. So there’s a missed business opportunity for Hummus Place, due to lack of proper information. It’s a shame really, as this is a vegetarian restaurant chain and there aren’t many of those around. Nevertheless, I whole-heartedly recommend this restaurant. Go visit, you’ll enjoy it.

Address: There are currently four locations in Manhattan, I had lunch at 305 Amsterdam Avenue at 74th Street

Opening hours: opening hours are different for each branch. Check the website. The restaurant on Amsterdam Avenue is open daily 10:30 AM until midnight.

Phone: check the website for each branch’s number

Website: http://www.hummusplace.com

Posted in New York City, Restaurants, Vegan - Various, Vegetarian Restaurants (USA - NY, NY) | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ikea Goes Vegan: Grönsaksbullar

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated November 27, 2015.

A few months ago, the Swedish furniture store chain Ikea introduced a new dish at its in-store restaurants in Austria: Grönsaksbullar. These are vegan “meatballs,” which are made with chick peas, green peas, corn, carrots, onions, red bell peppers, kale, and herbs. They are served with a side-dish of quinoa and mushrooms, and some tomato sauce.

© Ingrid Haunold

There’s a lot of online chatter amongst vegans about the fact that a huge company like Ikea decided to introduce a vegan version of its popular meatballs at its in-store restaurants, so I decided to try them myself. I spent an hour on buses and trams, travelling from the North of Vienna to the Shopping City Süd, one of Europe’s largest shopping malls, which is located right outside Vienna (in the south, hence the “Süd”). Yes, I know that there’s an Ikea branch not far from where I live, but I grew up in a fairly small community in the South of Vienna, close to this shopping mall. Once every couple of years or so, I enjoy wandering the halls of this huge mall, reminiscing, then return back home after several hours completely exhausted (and vow never to return again). Anyway…

I spent an hour or so ambling through Ikea, and then checked out the store’s self-service restaurant. I ordered the Grönsaksbullar, and also chose some potato salad from the salad buffet. I loved the potato salad, I liked the Grönsaksbullar, but I hated the quionoa-mushrooms with the tomato sauce.

© Ingrid Haunold

The Grönsaksbullar didn’t live up to all the hype, but they were okay. I would order them again. It’s the only vegan dish on offer at Ikea, so vegans have little choice, whether they like it or not. Nevertheless, I am hugely appreciative of Ikea’s efforts to introduce at least one plant-based dish on its menu. I want to support that, so I’ll order them again. But I didn’t buy a bag of frozen Grönsaksbullar, which are available at their store. I simply wasn’t that crazy about them.

The quinoa-mushroom side dish was a disaster. The quinoa was cooked in way too much water, the quinoa seeds were mushy and soggy. Quinoa is not a grain, it is the seed of the Chenopodium plant. So don’t cook it like you would cook a grain like rice. Use less water! Perfectly cooked quinoa should be fluffy and not mushy. Even worse, the quinoa-mushroom dish was prepared with little or no salt, no other spices seemed to have been used for seasoning, and it didn’t taste much like anything. It really wasn’t very good, I simply couldn’t eat it. Half of it went in the trash.

The worst thing you could do, of course, is add any sort of fluids to the cooked quinoa, so tomato sauce is a big no-no for any dish that is served with quinoa. Grönsaksbullar with mushy quinoa-mushrooms and tomato sauce is not an inspired dish. Nutritionally balanced, yes. Did I like it? No.

Here’s hoping that Ikea will tweak the recipe, that the store’s kitchen staff will learn how to prepare quinoa properly, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that in the future Ikea will give customers the option to order just the Grönsaksbullar (without a side-dish). Paired with some potato-salad from the salad buffet, this would have been a very good meal indeed.

I hope that Ikea will introduce vegan desserts in the future – all those tortes and cakes, and I couldn’t eat one of them! Vegan sandwiches would be lovely. Soy or rice milk for coffee would be very welcome, too. Consider this my wish list for Santa Clause.

After I had lunch at Ikea, I spent another hour or so shopping at their store. I spent roughly 50 Euros on various items from their home decor section, and bought several Christmas presents there. I deliberately spent money at Ikea, because the store makes an effort to accommodate vegan customers. There’s a lesson here for other furniture chain stores and various other stores with in-house restaurants: Vegans get tired and hungry, too, and we’re very loyal customers! If there’s nothing for us to eat at your restaurants and cafes, then we will spend our money elsewhere.

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Veggie Bräu (Stockerau, Austria)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated Jul 11, 2016. Inactive links were removed on November 28, 2021.

Now that I finally published The Vegan Tourist: Vienna and The Vegan Tourist: Wien, I thought I’d get back to reviewing restaurants outside of Vienna. After all, this site is called The Vegan Tourist.

Veggie Bräu is a vegetarian pub in Stockerau, a city in the state of Lower Austria, which is one of the nine states that make up the country of Austria. Stockerau is located north of Vienna, the country’s capital, you can reach it in about half an hour from Vienna by car (or train, or bus).

© Ingrid Haunold

Thomas and Christa Böhm, who own Veggie Bräu, also own a small organic farm, and most of the grains and vegetables, which are used to prepare the dishes at the pub, come from this farm.

The pub is located next to a small city park. In the summer, you can sit in the wonderful, fairly large Schanigarten.

You can order many kinds of vegan, mostly organic drinks (non-alcoholic unfiltered juices, beer, wine, etc.). I ordered “Radler,” which is beer mixed with lemon juice.

The food menu is fairly large for a pub, and there are several vegan choices. We ordered “Knofibrot,” toasted bread rubbed with fresh garlic (4.50 Euros). Unfortunately, it wasn’t very garlic-y, that bread could have used a lot more garlic.

© Ingrid Haunold

We also shared a Burger with vegan cheese (7.30 Euros) and a “Veggie Snack” (4.50 Euros). On the photo, you can see half a Burger and half a Veggie Snack. The Burger is served hot, with a carrot-lentil patty and sliced onions, the Veggie Snack is served with a cold slice of vegan lunch meat. They are both prepared with salad and a vegan French Dressing. Both the Burger and Veggie Snack could have used more veggies and more dressing – I mostly remember eating bread. The food wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t a revelation, either.

The pub accepts only cash, no debit or credit cards.

Address Veggie Bräu: Schulgasse 8, 2000 Stockerau
Opening Hours: Mondays – Thursdays 6:00 PM – 12:00 midnight, Fridays – Saturdays 6:00 PM – 02:00 AM.
Phone: +43-(0)2266-72604
Email: veggie-braeu(at)aon.at
Website (watch the “ä”): http://www.veggie-bräu.at/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/114674648555316

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Kochkiste (Mödling, Austria)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated July 18, 2016.

Kochkiste is a small vegetarian bistro in the city of Mödling, which is located in the state of Lower Austria. It’s a five minute walk from the city’s train station to the bistro, and it takes about 20 minutes by train to get there from Vienna, Austria’s capital.

Kochkiste offers a so-called Mittagstisch: one kind of soup and one entrée are prepared each day (Monday – Friday) as daily specials. Most days, both the soup (3.60 Euros) and entrée (small: 6.50 Euros, large: 8.20 Euros)  are either vegan or can be veganized. You can also order small (5.10 Euros) or large (8.20 Euros) mixed salads from a salad buffet.

© Ingrid Haunold

The daily specials typically consist of grains (couscous, bulgur, polenta, etc.), rice or potatoes, and veggies. I ordered a slice of “Polenta Pizza,” which was one of the daily specials that day. Polenta was used instead of pizza dough, and a creamy soy-based sauce was used as a topping instead of cheese. The vegetables were either stewed or boiled and seasoned with oregano, which was a disappointment. I do like mildly seasoned food, but the Polenta Pizza was a bit too bland even for my taste. Roasted or grilled vegetables would have made a huge difference, and more herbs and spices would have improved the dish as well.

In addition to the daily specials, you can order three or four other dishes from a standard menu, which are always available. Kochkiste offers organic – but not necessarily vegan – beer and wine, you can also order unfiltered (and therefore vegan) organic fruit juices.

The food wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t impressed either. My friend, who ordered veggie patties from the standard menu, did enjoy her food. I have to go back some time, and give Kochkiste another try.

© Ingrid Haunold

Inside the bistro, there are only a couple of high tables and bar stools for seating. But Kochkiste has a Schanigarten, an outdoor seating area, during the summer, where you can sit and eat your food. Please note that there are no customer bathrooms, and you can only pay with cash.

Address Kochkiste: Hauptstraße 30, 2340 Mödling
Opening Hours: Mondays – Fridays 11:00 AM – 6:30 PM (closed Saturdays, Sundays, and on public holidays).
Phone: +43-(0)699-1842 1020
Email: office@kochkiste.at
Website: http://www.kochkiste.at/
Facebook: http://de-de.facebook.com/pages/Kochkiste/371021602577

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Legumium (Wiener Neudorf, Austria)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated August 9, 2016.

Legumium is a small vegetarian – mostly vegan – bistro in Wiener Neustadt, in the state of Lower Austria. Wiener Neudorf is located about thirty minutes (by car or train) south of Vienna, Austria’s capital.

© Ingrid Haunold

The bistro only has two tables for customers inside the restaurant, but it has a lovely Schanigarten, an outdoor seating area, where you can enjoy your lunch in the summertime. Legumium has a small menu, it offers three or four different soups (4.80 Euros) and entrees (7.50 Euros)  as weekly specials. You can also order wraps, a gluten-free burger, sandwiches, a mixed salad, a couple of desserts, and a few other snacks. All the dishes are available for take-away, and Legumium offers a delivery and catering service.

© Ingrid Haunold

Many of the bistro’s dishes are prepared with homemade vegetable spreads – called Legummus – which you can purchase. The restaurant uses many organic and regional ingredients, take-away dishes are sold in reusable glass containers, and the electricity for the restaurant is produced through solar panels installed on the restaurant’s roof.

During my visit, I ordered a cold melon soup, which was very refreshing, and a sweet potato-coconut-risotto, which was also very good.

© Ingrid Haunold

Legumium
Address: Bahnstraße 6A, 2351 Wiener Neudorf
Phone: +43-(0)-2236-22 23 22
Email: office@legumium.com
Opening Hours: Mondays – Fridays 12:00 noon – 5:00 PM, closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and on public holidays. Shorter opening hours apply during the summer months, and the bistro is closed for a few weeks during the wintertime.

Posted in Austria, Restaurants, Vegan - Various, Vegetarian Restaurants (AT - Lower Austria), Vegetarian Restaurants (Austria) | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Menu Review: Jamie’s Italian Vienna Downtown – Stuck in the 20th Century

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated May 3, 2018. Inactive links were removed on November 28, 2021. The restaurant is no longer in business.

I don’t review many non-vegetarian restaurants on this site. I do make an exception whenever I can’t find any veggie restaurants during my travels, like in Fažana, Croatia, or on the Spanish island of Menorca. But as a general rule, I try to promote vegan and vegetarian businesses on this website.

However, I got curious when I heard that Jamie Oliver was opening one of his Jamie’s Italian” restaurants in Vienna. He’s a likeable guy, and I frequently watch reruns of his cooking shows on the telly, even though he rarely prepares vegan dishes; but I like his no-nonsense approach to cooking, I support his fight against childhood obesity, and his efforts to cut down on food waste. I also love Italian food, so I was all set to go and check out his new restaurant.

Then I read the menu (posted on the restaurant’s website, accessed on May 2, 2018) and changed my mind. For vegans, there’s simply no reason to eat there. There are a few “Quick Nibble” items on the menu, which appear to be vegan – like giant green olives -, but not much else.

There isn’t a single vegan “Antipasti” dish, the restaurant’s “Seasonal Vegetables” – offered as one of their “Famous Planks” –  is served with two kinds of cheeses. I also couldn’t identify a single vegan pasta dish. Most fresh pasta is made with eggs, but even a pasta dish which looks like it might be prepared with dried durum wheat (no-egg) pasta, like the “Penne Arrabbiata” dish, is served with breadcrumbs, which always raises flags for vegans. Breadcrumbs might or might not be vegan, it’s hard to tell without talking to the chef. The restaurant has a pizza menu, but again, there are no vegan choices. The “Secondi Menu” is all about meat and fish, a single vegetarian item – the “Super Green Veggie Burger” – comes with cottage cheese and is served on a brioche bun. (Brioche dough is usually made with eggs). Then there are the salads, all four options contain cheese in addition to other non-vegan ingredients (yoghurt dressing, honey, salmon). On the dessert menu, you’ll find “Sorbet”, but this raises flags for vegans as well, as sorbets might not just contain water, fruit and sugar but also thickening agents, which are often not of vegan origin.

The restaurant does offer to accommodate customers with special dietary needs. “We are happy to help with any dietary requirements and will find a solution in our restaurants for most requests. Please feel free to call us before your visit to discuss or speak to your server when you arrive.” Pardon me, but that’s just not good enough. Call ahead? Find a solution for my request? As a vegan customer, I don’t want to call ahead or ask the restaurant’s staff, if they can prepare a dish for me without cheese, yoghurt, eggs, meat or fish. If there are no vegan dishes on a restaurant’s menu, I don’t want to eat there. If a restaurateur can’t be bothered to put even a few vegan dishes on the menu, I am spending my money elsewhere.

When I think about the menu at “Jamie’s Italian Vienna Downtown,” I can’t help but think that the concept for this restaurant is oh-so-20th century. Jamie Oliver and his mentor and business partner Gennaro Contaldo both learned their craft in the 20th century, at a time when no-one had ever heard of climate change. But in the 21st century, when it is well known that greenhouse gas emissions from livestock are a huge contributor to climate change, everyone needs to adapt and change their habits and behaviour. This includes restaurants, which need to serve smaller portions of meat and fish, use fewer eggs and less cheese and yoghurt, and serve more vegan dishes. I do wonder whether all these famous TV chefs, who learned their craft in the 20th century when most meals focused on meat and fish, even know how to prepare dishes without animal products.

Again, I do like Jamie Oliver, and I hope that he will eventually make changes to the restaurant’s menu. To quote once again from the restaurant’s website: “Jamie and our team are constantly working on developing the menu and concept with creativity, simplicity and quality at the heart of everything we do – and of course, the desire to give all our customers an experience that reflects our love and passion for the Italian way of life.” The Italian way of life is simple, and there are many Italian vegan recipes to choose from. Let’s hope that Jamie Oliver will update his restaurants’ menus to reflect the problems and challenges of the 21st century.

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A Vegan Success Story: Veganista

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated August 17, 2019. Inactive links were removed on November 28, 2021.

Updated on August 17, 2019:

When Rebecca & Ethan of Traveling with Sunscreen asked me to name my favorite vegetarian food in Austria, there could only be one answer: ice cream! You can read their blog post here: Best Vegetarian Food in the WORLD: The Ultimate Bucket List.

Original blog post:

I publish a vegan restaurant guide about vegetarian restaurants in Vienna, The Vegan Tourist: Vienna, and have seen many restaurants open and close since I published the first edition in 2014. I shared my insights about some of the reasons why restaurants fail in two blog posts, Survival Tips for Small Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants, and How to choose the right location for your vegan or vegetarian restaurant (and a few other tips).

Today, I would like to tell you another story about a vegan business venture, Veganista. I am happy to tell you that this business is thriving.

© Veganista

Veganista is owned by two sisters, Cecilia Havmöller und Susanna Paller, who make vegan ice cream without artificial ingredients. They use many organic and locally sourced ingredients, and soy, oat, rice, and coconut milk to produce their ice cream flavors, which are sold in nine different stores. They started out with one ice cream parlor in 2014, and five years later they own nine ice cream parlors and a vegan restaurant.

Not all flavors are available each day, and not all flavors are available at all nine parlors on the same day. Those Veganista sisters keep their customers guessing, which is true marketing genius. On Veganista’s Facebook page, information is posted about each day’s ice cream flavors at all the different ice cream parlors, and there are 18 different flavors available at each location. If you are in the mood for orange-saffron-olive oil ice cream, or flavors like almond-coconut, blueberry-lavender, peanut butter, basil, lemongrass, matcha, or my personal favorite, the adults-only Döblinger Kirsche (cherries, pieces of vegan brownies and chocolate, and an alcoholic cherry-rum sauce all mixed into one heavenly flavor of ice cream), Veganista is the place for you. There are many more traditional ice cream flavors available, like poppyseed, hazelnut, strawberry-agave, raspberry-lemon, peach, mango, lychee, chocolate, or maracuja, to name but a few.

© Veganista

Veganista sells a special treat, the Inbetweener, which is basically a huge ice cream cookie, and of which different kinds are sold at different parlors: Peach Cobbler, Cookie Cookie Cookie, Coconut Toto, and Nuts About You are popular Inbetweener.

The quality of their ice cream and their inventive ice cream flavors are undoubtedly a major reason for Cecilia’s and Susanna’s success. But many of the small vegetarian restaurants in Vienna, which opened and closed after doing business for just a short period of time, also served good food. Why are the Veganista sisters successful, when others fail?

The Veganista ice cream parlors are tiny, and they don’t have in-door seating, which means the sisters can rent small retail spaces at affordable prices. The Veganista stores open at around 12:00 noon, as few people buy ice cream in the morning. By setting smart opening hours, which change throughout the year, Veganista can keep personnel costs down. The sisters also choose their locations very carefully, often next door to or in the vicinity of other vegetarian businesses. After all, there’s always room for ice cream after lunch or dinner.

In May 2019, Cecilia Havmöller und Susanna Paller opened their first restaurant, The LaLa, where they serve vegan food inspired by one of their favorite cities, Los Angeles. They serve rice and quinoa bowls and salads with avocado, fresh seeds, nuts, and other healthy plant-based ingredients. The location of this restaurant? Right next door to their Veganista flagship store in Vienna’s 7th district.

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“Vegan Planet”-Fair 2015: Review

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 21,2015.

“Vegan Planet” is the “largest vegan fair in Austria,” according to its organizers, the Vegan Society Austria. In 2015, it took place from November 27-29 at the Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna, and was organized in conjunction with the “Yoga Planet” fair, just like last year. In the past, I never managed to attend the “Vegan Planet” fair, so my expectations were high for this year’s event. Sadly, I was thoroughly disappointed.

© Ingrid Haunold

The food was great! There were numerous vegan vendors, many of which I was already familiar with.

I love Veggie Burgers sold its amazing French Fries, Makam Naturkost made delicious vegan Kebabs, and the Popsicles sold by Freiraum Coffeeshop Deli – which is not a vegetarian café, but offers many vegetarian and vegan dishes – were to-die-for.  Soooo good, best popsicles ever!

In addition to various food and drink vendors, there were many other market stalls at this fair. One could buy nutritional supplements, teas, vegan cosmetics,  T-shirts, yoga pants, yoga mats, stones with – allegedly – healing powers (sorry, I don’t believe in that crap), and various NGOs offered brochures and other information materials about their animal welfare work.

© Ingrid Haunold

During this three-day event, one could also attend various workshops and learn about the many advantages of a vegan lifestyle (and the practice of yoga). So far, so good.

So why was I disappointed?

I am in desperate need of a pair of winter boots, and a new winter coat. I bought my woolen coat approximately 30 years ago, long before I learned the true meaning of the word vegan. It’s coming apart at the seams, and the sleeves’ cuffs are already frayed. I look like a homeless person in this coat. My last – and currently only – pair of warm vegan winter shoes are a pair of old hiking boots, not really suited for rain and snow, which quickly turns to sludge in the city, and not suited at all for business meetings and other work-related events.

© Ingrid Haunold

I had hoped that there would be some vendors, who would offer vegan clothing appropriate for winter time. But no, nothing! I could’ve bought a thousand T-shirts, but no shoes, and no coat.

The only vegan boutique in Vienna, Muso Koroni, didn’t even exhibit at this fair. (It wouldn’t have mattered anyway; I went to the Muso Koroni store in early November, and they were all sold out of winter boots in my size; they didn’t plan on reordering any more winter shoes. In early November! How weird is that?).

So this is where we’re at right now in Vienna: lots of great vegan food, but little else in terms of vegan living. If you don’t want to walk around dressed in yoga pants and T-shirts in all weather, you’ll still have trouble finding proper vegan clothing in Vienna. I guess I’ll have to order shoes over the Internet, from Vegetarian Shoes in Brighton, United Kingdom, and I am seriously thinking of designing my own winter coat, buying the fabric, and then hiring a seamstress to sew it for me. How sad is that? I would’ve thought that we had made more progress by now.

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Appaloosa Ranch (Dobruša, Slovenia)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated November 28, 2021.

© Appaloosa Ranch

Updated May 30, 2019:

I cannot confirm that Appaloosa Ranch operates as a vegan business anymore. The website is currently offline. I received a somewhat cryptic message from Dominique after I contacted her on Facebook. She told me that they were booked until May 2020 “because of a longtime therapy”, but she did not answer my question in regard to whether the Appaloosa Ranch is still a strictly vegan business. I will try to find out more, and will update this blog post as soon as I know more.

Updated November 29, 2021: The website is up and running again, and they are still offering vegan food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – although I don’t know if they’re a strictly vegan business anymore. I did not check whether all the information in this article is still accurate.

Original Blog Post:

I was recently contacted by a reader from Slovenia, Dominique Artel, who asked if I could help promote her business, the Appaloosa Ranch. Dominique and her partner Andrej Zimic live at the ranch with their two children, two dogs, four cats, and seven horses. The parents and children are all vegans, and the Appaloosa Ranch is a vegan bed & breakfast.

I was a little hesitant at first, as I’ve never been to the Appaloosa Ranch myself, but there’s a lot of useful information on their website, there are many photos, and Dominique emailed me a lot of additional information – enough to convince me that their business should be supported. I am happy to help.

So here it is:

© Appaloosa Ranch

The Appaloosa Ranch is located in the small village of Dobruša, which belongs to the municipality of Vodice, about 15 km north of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

They have two rooms, for two people each. „The double-room is furnished with a double bed, a cupboard, a table with two chairs in an authentic ambience.“ If necessary, they can offer a baby crib. The second room is smaller and simply furnished, better suited for children or tourists who don’t mind more basic accommodation.

© Appaloosa Ranch

There’s a bunk bed in the room. The window offers a beautiful view of the horse pasture and the edge of the woods.“

There’s one bathroom for both rooms, accessible from the hall and next door to the guestrooms (shower, toilet and sink). „You will have access to a homelike saloon with a big cockle stove and a cosy couch. There is the possibility to play tabletop football too.“

Dominique and Andrej prepare a vegan breakfast for their guests. Among other things they offer „daily home-made fresh fullgrain spelt bread, green smoothies, fresh home-made spreads and jams, home-made sprouts and fresh organic vegetables from our garden.“

© Appaloosa Ranch

They make their own ice cream, and you can also order vegan lunches or dinner. Most guests prefer to eat at a big table together with the family, but you can also enjoy your meals in a private atmosphere.

Dominique says that there are two vegan restaurants in Ljubljana (Loving Hut and Ajdova zrna), plus several vegetarian restaurants (Govinda’s, Falafel, Bistro Piknik).

The farmhouse is situated within six acreas of meadows and pastures (the hay is used to feed their horses), and they also own six acres of woods. The farmhouse is at least 200 years old. There’s WIFI, you can rent bikes, and your (well-behaved) dog is welcome at the farm, too, if you let them know in advance that you’re travelling with a dog.

© Appaloosa Ranch

Of their seven horses, six belong to the Appaloosa breed. „The horses are living together in a group in a clean and adequate open stable and are very interested to get in contact with humans. With their interesting appearance they are a feast for the eyes. Any interest in the horses or some support from your side is very welcome. Possibilities for horseback riding are available.“

Check out their website (the “bed & breakfast” tab offers information in English) , and also their Facebook page.

© Appaloosa Ranch

If you decide to vacation at the Appaloosa Ranch, I would appreciate you feedback for my readers – just leave a comment.

Good luck to Dominique, Andrej, and their family!

Contact information:
Dominique Artel & Andrej Zimic
Dobruša 3
1217 Vodice
Slovenia

© Appaloosa Ranch

E-Mail: info(at)appaloosa-ranch.si
Phone: +386 59 93 19 52
Mobile: +386 41 91 55 57
or: +41 76 441 68 02

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Updates to the Second Edition of “The Vegan Tourist: Vienna”

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated June 6, 2016. Inactive links were removed on November 29, 2021.

© Ingrid Haunold

Updated on December 3, 2019: I have unpublished this book, as the information about vegetarian restaurants in Vienna is now outdated. I am not planning a 3rd edition – instead, I will post information about vegetarian restaurants in Vienna on this website.

Original blog post:

On May 2nd, 2016, I published the 2nd, updated edition of my book, The Vegan Tourist: Vienna. (The 1st German-language edition, The Vegan Tourist: Wien was published in April 2016.)

As the vegan restaurant scene in Vienna is thriving, changes to the information provided in these books are inevitable. For this express purpose, I have included “Updates”-links in the books. Readers, who purchased the books, will always be able to access up-to-date information about vegetarian restaurants in Vienna on my Website.

Here are the links for the updates of the 2nd, updated English edition and for the 1st German edition.

So what’s new?

© Ingrid Haunold

At the end of April 2016, Veganista, a chain of all-vegan ice cream parlors, opened its 3rd shop in  Vienna’s 9th district. I already included basic information about this third location in the book (address, website, contact information, payment options), now I can provide you with additional information. Currently (June 2016), daily opening hours are 12:00 noon – 10:00 PM. These hours are likely to change in the summer time, and the parlor might even be closed altogether for a few weeks in the winter. I’ll provide more updates when they become available. There’s no indoor seating, and no Schanigarten (outdoor seating area). There are also no customer bathrooms. (Updated June 6, 2016).

Lafafi is a small bistro in Vienna’s 12th district, which should have been included in the book (it opened in 2015), but it isn’t because I wasn’t aware of its existence. Address: Wurmbgasse 37, 1120 Vienna. Opening Hours: Mondays – Fridays 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM (closed on public holidays). Phone: +43-(0)1-97 15 600. Email: office(at)lafafi.at. Facebook. Bathroom Facilities: Yes. Non-Smoking: Yes. Seating Available: Yes. Schanigarten (outdoor seating area): Yes.
Lafafi offers a so-called Mittagstisch: one kind of soup, and one entrée, one of which is always vegan. (Occasionally they are both vegan, you pay 9.90 Euros for both.) There’s also a “salad of the day” (small: 4.90 Euros; large: 6.90 Euros), and you can usually get one vegan dessert. All the food’s organic, and Lafafi uses primarily whole grains, rice, potatoes/yams, and pasta for its main dishes.
I still need to check a few more details, e.g. payment options, and will provide further updates. (Updated June 6, 2016).

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Where Have All the Vegan Bloggers Gone?

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated Novmber 13, 2015.

In an effort to keep my website current, I decided to check if all the links which I listed under “Vegan Resources” were still current. Imagine my surprise when I found out that many vegan bloggers had abandoned their websites. Some published a “last blog post,” like maple spice, and listed the reasons why they no longer could or would tend to their websites, but most vegan bloggers simply stopped updating their sites.

I often feel guilty for not blogging more frequently on The Vegan Tourist; but no matter how busy my life gets, I always return to this site – when and if I have something important to say, or some bit of information or good news that I want to share with others. I think that’s the secret to keeping a blog alive: not to consider it an obligation, but as an opportunity to connect with others.

If you take a closer look at some of the abandoned websites of vegan bloggers, you’ll notice a pattern: many start out enthusiastically, publishing numerous blog posts during the few first few years. Then they start to publish fewer and fewer posts, and eventually the websites are abandoned. Some bloggers, like Maple Spice, take drastic measures: “So, no more social media for me and I’ll be spending much more time out in the garden…”.

If you’re just starting your own vegan blog, or if your established blog has become an obligation to you, my advice would be to simply relax. There are no rules to blogging. You don’t have to keep to a schedule. You don’t have to blog about your life or post new vegan recipes every single week (or several times a week). Do whatever you like, and don’t succumb to (imagined) pressure. You’ll just feel miserable.

Personally, I have a very limited online presence. I do have a website called Viaduct Dreams, where I post updates about my professional achievements. I freelance as a writer, and this site gives potential clients an idea of what to expect, if they hire me for a project. Why is it called Viaduct Dreams? I love all things Roman, especially Roman architecture.  I blog on this site, and I have a Facebook page called The Vegan Tourist, linked to my personal Facebook account. That’s it. I don’t have a Twitter or an Instagram account, or any other additional social media account. I don’t even get Emails on my mobile phone, and I can’t access the Internet from my mobile phone either. I’ve purposely disabled both functions. I check my Emails on my laptop twice a day, and that’s it. I infrequently log onto my Facebook account. I don’t live my life online, and that’s why I still enjoy blogging after several years.

These are some of the websites, which I no longer list under “Vegan Resources,” as they are no longer being updated. The websites are currently (November 13, 2015) still online, and you can access their archives here:

But…where do you get your protein? (last post:  February 12, 2014)

Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk! (last post: September 7, 2014)

Eats Well With Others (last post: June 18, 2013)

maple spice (last post: August 4, 2015)

Post Punk Kitchen (last post: June 6, 2014)

The Laziest Vegans in the World (last post: December 27, 2014)

What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyway? (last post: June 6, 2014)

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The Vegan Tourist: Vienna – 2nd, updated edition

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 3, 2019. Inactive links were removed on November 28, 2021.

© Ingrid Haunold

Updated on December 3, 2019: I no longer sell this book, as the information about vegetarian restaurants in Vienna in this edition is now outdated. I am not planning a 3rd edition – instead, I will post information about vegetarian restaurants in Vienna on this website.

Original blog post:

The 2nd, updated edition of The Vegan Tourist: Vienna is now available. It was published on May 2, 2016.

The English-language version of of this book is available on Amazon (amazon.com, amazon.caamazon.co.uk, amazon.de, amazon.fr, amazon.es, amazon.it). Books ordered through the site in the UK will be printed in the UK. An updated Kindle version is also available.

The book is available worldwide through various resellers and bookstores.

(Books ordered through the German site will be printed in Germany – and mailed without additional costs for postage. I have also published a German-language edition, The Vegan Tourist: Wien. The German edition is only available as a printed book, not as an eBook.)

You can also order The Vegan Tourist: Vienna through my eStore. Books ordered through this eStore are printed in the US and shipped from the US.

Amazon has enabled the “Look Inside”-feature. This means that you are able to take a look inside the book, and see if you like it, before you decide to order it. 20% of the book’s pages will be made available, and chosen randomly by Amazon.

Product Details
Paperback: 134 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform;
2nd, updated edition edition (published May 2, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1530625106
ISBN-13: 978-1530625109
Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.8 inches

The Vegan Tourist: Vienna is a guide book for vegan and vegetarian tourists. It is also a valuable resource for vegans who live in Vienna, Austria’s capital. The book provides information about vegetarian restaurants, vegan festivals and other events, and tells tourists how to connect with local vegans in Vienna. The author also provides tips for tourists traveling with their dogs. Information about vegan drinks, sugar, bread, ice cream, mock meat, and other products will assist vegans with their restaurant choices and purchasing decisions. This book will help vegetarians and vegans from all over the world plan their visit to Vienna, and allow them to enjoy everything the city has to offer.

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The Vegan Tourist: Wien

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 3, 2019. Inactive links were removed on November 28, 2021.

Aktualisiert am 3. Dezember 2019: Die Vegan Tourist: Vienna – Bücher werden nicht länger verkauft, da die Informationen über die vegetarischen Restaurants in Wien mittlerweile veraltet sind. Es wird keine aktualisierten Ausgaben dieser Bücher geben, statt dessen werde ich Informationen über vegetarische Restaurants in Wien auf dieser Webseite veröffentlichen.

Original-Blog-Post:

Unglaublich, aber wahr! Ich habe es endlich geschafft, die deutsche Version meines Buches The Vegan Tourist: Vienna fertigzustellen und zu veröffentlichen.

© Ingrid Haunold

Hier sind alle wichtigen Infos dazu:

The Vegan Tourist: Wien.
Vegetarische Restaurants in Wien.
Taschenbuch: 136 Seiten
Verlag: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Auflage: 1 (17. April 2016)
Sprache: Deutsch
ISBN-10: 1505309700
ISBN-13: 978-1505309706
Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,9 x 0,8 x 19,8 cm

Die vegane Restaurantszene in Wien ist lebendig und wächst ständig. In diesem Buch werden die vegetarischen Restaurants, Supermärkte und Geschäfte in dieser Stadt beschrieben. Die Autorin hat bei ihren Recherchen großen Wert darauf gelegt, Informationen anzuführen, die für Touristen von besonderem Interesse sind, wie etwa Zahlungsmodalitäten oder Sitzgelegenheiten in den einzelnen Restaurants. Für Reisende, die ihre Hunde mit nach Wien bringen möchten, gibt es wertvolle Informationen in diesem Buch. In einem eigenen Kapitel erfahren Leser Wissenswertes über die Produktionsprozesse von Fleischersatzprodukten, Brot, Getränken und pflanzlichen Fetten. Ingrid Haunold ist freie Journalistin und Autorin, auf ihrer Webseite “The Vegan Tourist” blogt sie über vegan Themen.

Posted in Austria, Books and Magazines, Book Stores, Restaurants, Vegan - Various, Vegetarian Restaurants (AT - Vienna), Vegetarian Restaurants (Austria), Vienna, Writing & Publishing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finally…..

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated April 19, 2016. Inactive links were removed on November 28, 2021.

I finally published the German-language edition of my book The Vegan Tourist: Vienna. It took me considerably longer to finish writing The Vegan Tourist: Wien than I anticipated. The first English edition of this book was published in November 2014, and since then 22 new vegetarian restaurants have opened in Vienna. Not only did I have to translate the book from English to German, I had to write 22 new restaurant reviews and completely re-write the Good to Know chapter of this book to make room for all the new reviews. About one third of the book’s text has been re-written.

I will publish an updated English-language edition of the book in May 2016.

Posted in Austria, Restaurants, Vegan - Various, Vegetarian Restaurants (AT - Vienna), Vegetarian Restaurants (Austria), Vienna, Writing & Publishing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vienna: Vegan Capital of the Western World

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated October 2, 2015. Inactive links were removed on November 28, 2021.

Vienna is fast becoming the vegan capital of the Western world!

Last Sunday I went to the Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art, which is located in Vienna. I was very pleasantly surprised when I noticed that the museum’s café is operated by Deli Bluem,  a vegan restaurant in Vienna. Many people, who visit the museum, will spend some time at this café, called Bluem im Museum. If they’re hungry, they’ll have to eat vegan food. For many people, this will be the first time eating at a vegan restaurant. The food’s delicious, and the word “vegan” will seem a little less exotic and strange to them after eating at this café. How wonderful!

Yesterday, I spent some time entering new information into the section on this website where I post updates to The Vegan Tourist: Vienna. I published the first English-language edition of this restaurant guide back in November 2014, and in the book I promised to provide updates on my website. I made the last updates back in January, and I was quite stunned when I realized how much had changed within the course of just a few months.

Ten new vegetarian restaurants opened their doors in Vienna in the last 11 months, and I found an additional five small cafes and cake shops, which I wasn’t aware of when I first published my book. I now count 69 vegetarian restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and supermarkets in Vienna, some of which are 100% vegan. In addition, there are three health food stores with in-house vegetarian bistros, which sell a small selection of meat and fish in their stores. Two more vegetarian restaurants are already scheduled to open in the coming months. That’s amazing, considering that only 1.8 million people live in Vienna. The city is fast becoming the vegan capital of the Western world!

Sadly, since I published the book, three restaurants have closed. They were all located in streets with little foot traffic, and two of those businesses were small cafes with a very limited selection of food. I can’t say I was surprised when these businesses closed. Only one of them was a proper vegan restaurant with a large menu, and I was surprised to learn of its demise. But the location for the restaurant wasn’t ideal either, so there’s a lesson to be learned here. A fourth business (a vegetarian take-away) was closed, but only because the owner sold his shop so he could re-open it at a different, much better location. Also, a small vegan shoe-shop, which opened in December 2014 shortly after I published my book, closed after a only few months. This store was also in a location with very little foot traffic, in a residential area, located in an apartment rather than in a proper store, and the opening hours were very limited. Also, the store had only a small selection of shoes. All in all, I was not surprised when this store closed after a few months, but I was nonetheless saddened by its demise.

If you think of opening a (vegetarian or vegan) store or restaurant yourself, you should consider all these issues carefully. Choose the right location (with a lot of foot traffic), make sure that you have convenient opening hours, and you definitely must offer a wide variety of food & drinks, if you open a restaurant, or vegan wares, if you open a shop.

As there are so many changes and updates to my book, I have now decided to publish a second, updated edition of the English-language version of The Vegan Tourist: Vienna when I publish the first German-language edition. I have pushed back the publishing date of this German-language edition several times, but am now back at my desk, hard at work, so it shouldn’t be too long now. It only makes sense to publish an updated English edition at the same time. I’m thinking November would be a good date to publish them both, but let’s wait and see…

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German Edition: “The Vegan Tourist: Wien” coming soon

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated January 2, 2015. Inactive links were removed on November 28, 2021.

This post was last updated on August 1, 2015

It’s a lot more work to translate “The Vegan Tourist: Vienna” into German than I thought it would be. I had hoped to publish the German version sometime at the end of November 2014,  then pushed back the publishing date several times, finally aimed for July 31, 2015,…and failed. It will be published when it’s ready. I am making no more promises about publishing dates!

Amazingly, in the short period of time since the English edition was published (early November 2014), a new vegan shoe store opened its doors, and there are also several new vegan restaurants in Vienna, which will be included in the German edition. There are a few other changes as well (opening hours, etc.), so the guide book will be very much up-to-date.

You’ll find updates to the 1st edition of the English version of the book here. (Note: Link was removed on 28 November 2021.)

Posted in Austria, Books and Magazines, Book Stores, Restaurants, Vegan - Various, Vegetarian Restaurants (AT - Vienna), Vegetarian Restaurants (Austria), Vienna, Writing & Publishing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Updates to the First Edition of “The Vegan Tourist: Vienna” (English version)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated January 2, 2015. Inactive links were removed on November 28, 2021.

I just posted the first updates to the 1st edition of The Vegan Tourist: Vienna in the Updates section on this website (English edition, printed version and Kindle eBook).

A few restaurants changed opening hours, but there are also two new restaurants and a new vegan shoes store in Vienna. Sadly, one restaurant closed its doors at the end of October 2014.

The updates will be included in the book’s 2nd edition.

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The Vegan Tourist: Vienna – Kindle edition

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 3, 2019. Inactive links were removed on November 28, 2021.

© Ingrid Haunold

Updated on December 3, 2019: I no longer sell this book, as the information about vegetarian restaurants in Vienna in this edition is now outdated. I am not planning a 3rd edition – instead, I will post information about vegetarian restaurants in Vienna on this website.

Original blog post:

The English-language Kindle-eBook edition of The Vegan Tourist: Vienna is now available (November 20, 2014).

I’ve updated my original blog post about the publication of this book. Instead of adding additional lengthy blog entries about each new development, I’ll only write very short posts, and refer you to the original blog entry, which contains all relevant information about the book. I’ll update this entry frequently, so it’ll be always up-to-date.

Posted in Austria, Books and Magazines, Book Stores, Restaurants, Vegan - Various, Vegetarian Restaurants (AT - Vienna), Vegetarian Restaurants (Austria), Vienna, Writing & Publishing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Vegan Tourist: Vienna

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 3, 2019. Inactive links were removed on November 28, 2021.

Updated on December 3, 2019: I no longer sell this book, as the information about vegetarian restaurants in Vienna in this edition is now outdated. I am not planning a 3rd edition – instead, I will post information about vegetarian restaurants in Vienna on this website.

Original blog post:

It’s taken me a while, but I finally managed to publish my first book, a vegan restaurant guide to the city of Vienna, Austria. The English-language version of The Vegan Tourist: Vienna is now available on Amazon (amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.de, amazon.fr, amazon.es, amazon.it). Books ordered through the site in the UK will be printed in the UK. Books ordered through the German site will be printed in Germany – and mailed without additional costs for postage.

The book is also available worldwide through other resellers and bookstores.

If you like this book and want to buy it, please consider ordering it through my eStore, which is made available to all authors who have self-published a book through “Create Space.” Books ordered through this eStore are printed in the US and shipped from the US. 

Amazon has enabled the “Look Inside”-feature. This means that you are able to take a look inside the book, and see if you like it, before you decide to order it. 20% of the book’s pages will be made available, and chosen randomly by Amazon.

The Kindle version (also in English) is now available (November 20, 2014), and I am working on the German edition of the book.

Product Details
Paperback: 150 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (November 5, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1502900092
ISBN-13: 978-1502900098
Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces

The Vegan Tourist: Vienna is a guide book for vegan and vegetarian tourists to the city of Vienna, Austria. It is also a valuable resource for local vegans. The book provides information about vegetarian restaurants, vegan festivals and other events, and tells tourists how to connect with local vegans in Vienna. I also provide tips for tourists traveling with their dogs. Information about vegan drinks, sugar, bread, ice cream, mock meat/fish, and other products will assist vegans with their restaurant choices and shopping decisions. This book will help vegetarians and vegans from all over the world plan their visit to Vienna, and allow them to enjoy everything the city has to offer.

Updated August 1, 2015

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Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurants in Vienna, Austria

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 3, 2019.

After much consideration, I have decided not to publish updated editions of my restaurant guide books, The Vegan Tourist: Vienna and The Vegan Tourist: Wien.

Since I published the 2nd edition of The Vegan Tourist: Vienna and the 1st German-language edition of this restaurant guide in 2016, many vegetarian restaurants have closed, while others have opened. The books are now outdated, and I have unpublished them. I no longer sell them on Amazon.

I have been working hard on updating the information in these books for a possible 3rd  (and 2nd German-language) edition, but have had to push back possible publication dates time and again. I freelance as a ghostwriter, which leaves me little time to work on this book. Frequent restaurant closings and new openings made the planned 3rd edition outdated before I had a chance to publish it…

I therefore no longer plan on publishing updated editions of this book, but will instead focus on publishing blog posts on this website about vegetarian & vegan restaurants and other vegetarian businesses. I hope to publish many restaurant reviews in the upcoming weeks, and will provide links to the restaurants’ websites and Facebook pages.

Posted in Austria, Restaurants, Vegan - Various, Vegetarian Restaurants (AT - Vienna), Vegetarian Restaurants (Austria), Vienna, Writing & Publishing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kardamom (Austria – Vienna)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 4, 2019.

Address: Schwedenplatz 3-4, 1010 Vienna
Opening Hours: Mondays – Fridays 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM (2019 opening hours, which might change in the future).
Company Holidays: No information available
Phone: +43-(0)699-1192 9658
Website: No
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KardamomRestaurant
Email: vegetaria1@gmail.com
Free WiFi: Yes, and there are also computers – this is an Internet café
Austrian Debit Cards: No
Credit Cards: No
Bathroom Facilities: Yes
Dogs Welcome: Yes
Seating Available: Yes
Outdor Seating Area: Yes, in a pedestrian zone, very small

Kardamom is an Internet café which offers printing and scanning services in addition to Internet access. This restaurant, which opened in April 2013, used to be strictly vegetarian, unfortunately they are now giving customers the option of ordering meat dishes during their special events, oriental dinners with live music performed by musicians from Iran.

I did consider not listing this restaurant as a “vegetarian” Viennese restaurant, but decided to grandfather it in – it was included in the printed book (and Kindle) editions of “The Vegan Tourist: Vienna,” published in 2014 and 2016. Also, a vegan Swing Kitchen restaurant opened right next door to Kardamom, and I fear that this restaurant’s revenue might be affected by the competition – I hope they manage to stay open. Kardamom’s lunch options are still exclusively vegetarian.

Kardamom offers vegetarian Persian lunch specials during the week (but not on the weekends or on public holidays). Entrees cost 8.50 Euros, soups are also available (small: 3.00 Euros, large: 4.00 Euros) (2019 prices, which are due to change in the future). On my first visit, the lunch special wasn’t vegan, so I ordered à la carte and chose tofu in a lemon-tomato sauce, vegan raita, saffron rice, rice with Berberis berries, tomato salad, and a salad of mint leaves. Occasionally, the daily entrée will be vegan. That was true on my second visit, when it consisted of textured, seasoned soy meat, vegan raita, rice with dill, Berberis berries, pilaf, fava beans, mâche salad, and pickled vegetables. You can’t get vegan dishes like these anywhere else in Vienna.

I can recommend the home-made ginger lemonade (2.70 Euros) and the muskmelon juice with rose water (3.70 Euros). There’s a small outdoor seating area, which consists of only a couple of tables. But it’s in a pedestrian zone, set back from the busy traffic of nearby Franz-Josefs-Kai.

Original blog post: December 4, 2019 by Ingrid Haunold
Updates to this blog entry will be posted at a future date.

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Köstlich (Austria – Vienna)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 5, 2019.

Address: Färbergasse 8, 1010 Vienna
Opening Hours: Mondays – Fridays 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM. Closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and on public holidays (2019 opening hours, which might change in the future).
Company Holidays: Dec 24, 2018 – Jan 6, 2019, Aug 3 – 18, 2019.
Phone: +43-(0)1-533 56 22
Website: http://www.koestlich.biz
Facebook: No
Email: office@koestlich.biz
Free WiFi: No
Austrian Debit Cards: No
Credit Cards: No
Bathroom Facilities: Yes
Dogs Welcome: Yes, with a muzzle in addition to a leash
Seating Available: Yes
Outside Seating Area: No

Köstlich is a vegetarian restaurant which offers lunch specials: two different soups and entrees, which are available in two sizes (soup: 3.50 or 4.80 Euros, entrée 4.80 or 7.20 Euros). One soup and one entrée are always vegan or can be veganized (listed as “vegan möglich” on the menu). The desserts are almost never vegan, which is a shame. Some salads (small: 4.50 Euros, large: 6.50 Euros) are vegan, most can be veganized. (2019 prices, which are due to change in the future).

Köstlich is a self-service restaurant. Many people who work in the nearby offices order take-out, and people start to line up soon after the restaurant opens at 11:30 AM. So come early, because they only prepare a certain amount of food and serve it until they run out.

These are some of the dishes served at Köstlich: Asian vegetable soup with peanuts, Mediterranean vegetable soup with basil and rosemary, tomato soup with toasted fennel seeds, Mexican enchiladas with tomato chili salsa, chickpea korma with coconut, almonds and basmati rice, and a mushroom risotto with tomatoes and arugula salad.

Original blog post: December 5, 2019 by Ingrid Haunold
Updates to this blog entry will be posted at a future date

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Makro 1 (Austria – Vienna)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist on December 6, 2019, and last updated November 28, 2021. This restaurant closed at the end of November 2019.

Address: Fleischmarkt 16 (at the back of the Mandala courtyard), 1010 Vienna
Website: this restaurant is no longer in business
Facebook: this restaurant is no longer in business

Makro 1 offers vegan lunch specials: one kind of soup (small: 4.50 Euros, large: 6.00 Euros) and one kind of entrée (small: 11.00, large: 13.50 Euros). If you order both (small soup, small entrée), you pay 13.50 Euros. (2019 prices, which are due to change in the future.)

Lunch is served from 11:30 AM until 3:00 PM. The restaurant is part of a small organic, vegetarian grocery store, and all the dishes are prepared with organic ingredients. Makro 1 has been offering vegan lunches for more than 20 years, the organic grocery store – orginally named Makrokosmos – was founded in 1982.

Entrees usually consist of one kind of grain crop (rice, Khorasan wheat, quinoa, etc.), two or three different vegetables, and some salad. A typical entrée would be Einkorn wheat, Savoy cabbage with olives and caper, and broccoli-leek gravy. Makro 1 sells wonderful vegan desserts, like pumpkin pie with chocolate sauce, strawberry muffins, or poppy seed cake. Tap water is available for free, and you can order various other drinks, like unfiltered juices.

There’s only one communal table at Makro 1, which seats eight people, but somehow I’ve always found a seat. So don’t let that deter you. In the summer, you can sit in the Schanigarten in the courtyard, far away from city traffic.

Original blog post: December 6, 2019 by Ingrid Haunold
Updates to this blog entry will be posted at a future date.

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Reformhaus Staudigl (Austria – Vienna)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 23, 2019.

Address: Wollzeile 25, 1010 Vienna
Opening Hours: Mondays – Fridays 9:00 AM – 6:30 PM, Saturdays 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (1:30 PM during August) (store hours). Closed on Sundays and on public holidays. (2019 opening hours, which might change in the future.)
Company Holidays: No information available
Phone: +43-(0)1-512 42 971
Website: http://www.staudigl.at/kueche.html
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/staudiglwien
Email: office@staudigl.at
Free WiFi: No
Austrian Debit Cards: Yes
Credit Cards: Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa
Bathroom Facilities: Yes
Dogs Welcome: No
Seating Available: No
Outside Seating Area: No

Reformhaus Staudigl is a vegetarian health food store, which offers soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts for lunch (Mondays – Fridays). There’s no seating: just a few high tables, you have to stand while you eat. Reformhaus Staudigl is nevertheless very popular among the locals.

Soups (3.70 Euros, not always vegan) are served with a piece of bread. Small sandwiches cost 2.00 Euros. Other vegan options are salads (small: 4.10 Euros, large: 5.20 Euros), and quinoa or vegetable bowls (5.50 – 6.90 Euros). (2019 prices, which are due to change in the future.)

Freshly pressed juices are also available, and tap water is offered for free. At Reformhaus Staudigl, you can choose between a number of high-quality organic oils and vinegar for your salad dressing, like Omega 3 or macadamia nut oil, and balsamic vinegar.

This health food store has a very clean customer bathroom (you need a key), and you can buy organic, vegan, and various health food items as well as vegan cosmetics in the store. Lavera is my favorite cosmetics brand, many of their products are vegan, certified by The Vegan Society – try one of Lavera’s shower gels (orange, lime, rose, and coconut are all vegan).

Original blog post: December 7, 2019 by Ingrid Haunold
Updates to this blog entry will be posted at a future date

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Natürlich Wrenkh (Austria – Vienna)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 8, 2019.

Address: Rauhensteingasse 12, 1010 Vienna
Opening Hours: Mondays – Fridays 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and on public holidays. (2019 opening hours, which might change in the future.)
Company Holidays: Dec 24, 2018 – Jan 6, 2019
Phone: No
Website: No
Facebook: No
Email: No
Free WiFi: No
Austrian Debit Cards: No
Credit Cards: No
Bathroom Facilities: No
Dogs Welcome: Yes
Seating Available: Bar stools
Outdoor Seating Area: No

Natürlich Wrenkh is a tiny vegetarian organic self-service restaurant, which gets very crowded during lunch hours. You pay for your food at the counter, and there are a few bar stools with high tables for seating.

The restaurant offers lunch specials: one kind of soup (4.20 Euros) and one kind of entrée (small: 6.00 Euros, large: 8.30 Euros, 9.50 Euros for both). You can order the entrée with a salad instead of soup (9.90 Euros). Unfortunately, quite often neither the soup nor the entrée is vegan, so you are stuck with the salad buffet (small: 6.00 Euros, large: 8.50 Euros) or can order rice-vegetable patties (2.50 Euros). (2019 prices, which are due to change in the future.)

These are some of the salads prepared at Natürlich Wrenkh: broccoli and nutmeg, green beans and black beans and avocados, quinoa and vegetables, cucumber and arugula. During one of my visits I ordered a vegan beet soup, which was available on that day.

I liked the food, but didn’t really enjoy myself at Natürlich Wrenkh. The tiny restaurant gets too crowded at lunchtime, and the bar stool seating is uncomfortable. As there are no customer bathrooms at Natürlich Wrenkh, there are better choices for vegans in the area.

Original blog post: December 7, 2019 by Ingrid Haunold
Updates to this blog entry will be posted at a future date

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Simply Raw Bakery (Austria – Vienna)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 18, 2019.

Address: Drahtgasse 2, 1010 Vienna
Opening Hours: Mondays – Saturdays 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Closed on Sundays and on public holidays. (2019 opening hours, which might change in the future.)
Company Holidays: Dec 23 – 27, 2018, May 1 – 2, 2019.
Phone: +43-(0)676-3008 763
Website: https://www.simplyrawbakery.at/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simplyrawbakery
Email: seeyou@simplyrawbakery.at
Free WiFi: Yes
Debit Cards: Yes
Credit Cards: JCB, MasterCard, Visa
Bathroom Facilities: No
Dogs Welcome: Yes
Seating Available: Yes
Outdoor seating area: Yes, in a pedestrian zone

Simply Raw Bakery, which opened in 2014, is owned by Gabriele Danek, who bakes vegan and organic no-sugar-added sweets. They are gluten-free and contain no soy products either. None of her sweets are heated above 42°C.

Breakfast is available all day (several kinds to choose from, 6.90 – 8.90 Euros). Smoothies (5.90 Euros), plant-based milkshakes (5.90 Euros), and fresh pressed juices (5.90 Euros) are also available throughout the day. At lunchtime, you could order the Buddha bowl (14.90 Euros), stuffed Avocado (9.90 Euros), salads (9.90 – 10.90 Euros), or sandwiches (5.90 – 11.90 Euros). Leave some room for dessert, Simply Raw Bakery has delicious waffles (5.90 Euros), Tiramisu (6,90), chocolate mousse (5.90 Euros), and raw vegan cakes (6.50 Euros per piece). They also have wonderful homemade lemonade. (2019 prices, which are due to change in the future.)

Original blog post: December 16, 2019 by Ingrid Haunold
Updates to this blog entry will be posted at a future date.

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Fett + Zucker (Austria – Vienna)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 18, 2019.

Address: Hollandstraße 16, 1020 Vienna
Opening Hours: Mondays – Fridays 2:00 PM – 9:00 PM (until 10:00 PM in the summer), Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM (until 10:00 PM in the summer). (2019 opening hours, which might change in the future.)
Company Holidays: Dec 19 – 27, 2018, Dec 31, 2018 – Jan 4, 2019, reduced opening hours Dec 28 – 30, 2018
Phone: +43-(0)699-1166 0092
Website: http://www.fettundzucker.at
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fettundzucker
Email: office@fettundzucker.at
Free WiFi: Yes
Debit Cards: No
Credit Cards: No
Bathroom Facilities: Yes
Dogs Welcome: Yes
Seating Available: Yes
Outdoor seating area: Yes

Fett + Zucker, which opened in 2011, is a small vegetarian café. Vegan apple crumble cake (3.60 Euros) and banana bread (3.00 Euros) are always available. Bohnenstrudel (strudel with beans and a vegan yoghurt dip with chives, 4.50 Euros) is a seasonal dish, and a typical regional dish in Burgenland, one of Austria’s nine states, where owner Eva-Maria Trimmel was born and raised. Try the vegan tofu scramble, one of my favorite dishes at this café. My only complaint is that the serving size is very small, but it only costs 2.00 Euros. Order some toast and vegan spreads (4.20 Euros) with your scramble. I also like the vegan blueberry cheesecake (3.60 Euros). (2019 prices, which are due to change in the future.)

At Fett + Zucker, you order and pay at the counter, but your food is served at the table. There’s free WiFi, the café is wheelchair accessible, and dogs are welcome.

Original blog post: December 18, 2019 by Ingrid Haunold
Updates to this blog entry will be posted at a future date.

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Omas Backstube (Austria – Vienna)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 23, 2019.

Address: Obere Augartenstraße 70/L7, 1020 Vienna
Opening Hours: Mondays 12:00 noon – 7:00 PM, Tuesdays – Fridays: 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM; Saturdays: opening hours depend on the weather. Closed on Sundays and on public holidays. Shorter opening hours during the winter months. (2019 opening hours, which might change in the future.)
Company Holidays: Jan 1-6, 2019
Phone: +43-(0)699-8196 4095
Website: No
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lowveganextra/
Email: lowveganextra@gmail.com
Free WiFi: No
Debit Cards: No
Credit Cards: No
Bathroom Facilities: No
Dogs Welcome: Yes
Seating Available: No
Schanigarten: No

Omas Backstube (translation: grandma’s bakery) is a tiny bakery which sells vegan bread and various vegan baked goods. The bakery has been in existence for several years, but started offering only vegan baked goods in September 2018. (Cow’s milk is available for teas and coffees, and some non-vegan industrial ice cream in individual portions is also sold.)

All the baked goods are made with spelt flour (bread, buns, cakes, etc.), and sugar substitutes are often used for baking. Individual slices of cake cost between 3.20 and 3.90 Euros. (2019 prices, which are due to change in the future.) I love the mango cheesecake, fruit tartelettes, cinnamon rolls, and apricot crumble. It is not uncommon for Omas Backstube to close early, when everything’s sold out. I love that Saturday’s opening hours depend on the weather – check their Facebook page for updates.

Original blog post: December 20, 2019 by Ingrid Haunold
Updates to this blog entry will be posted at a future date.

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Die Kochdame (Austria – Vienna)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 23, 2019.

Address: Wiedner Hauptstraße 37, 1040 Vienna
Opening Hours: Mondays – Fridays 11:30 AM – 4:00 PM. Closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and on public holidays. (2019 opening hours, which might change in the future.)
Company Holidays: Dec 21, 2018 – Jan 6, 2019, Aug 1 – Sept 8, 2019.
Phone: +43-(0)660- 862 90 01
Website: No
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/diekochdame
Email: kochdame.judith@gmail.com
Free WiFi: Yes
Debit Cards: No
Credit Cards: No
Bathroom Facilities: No
Dogs Welcome: Yes
Seating Available: Counter seating with bar stools and one table with regular chairs
Outdoor seating area: Yes

Die Kochdame is a small vegetarian restaurant which opened in 2018. It only has one table with chairs and counter seating on bar stools for a few additional people. Many customers order take-away. Die Kochdame (translation: lady, who cooks) prepares one or two daily soups (small: 2.90 Euros, large: 4.50 Euros), one entrée with a side salad (9.50 Euros), one pasta dish (8.90 Euros), and one dessert (3.20 Euros). Most of those dishes are vegan, non-vegan cheese toppings or ingredients are offered for vegetarians. Many organic, regional, and seasonal ingredients are use to prepare the food. Wine and beer is also available at this small restaurant. (2019 prices, which are due to change in the future.)

Original blog post: December 22, 2019 by Ingrid Haunold
Updates to this blog entry will be posted at a future date.

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Maran Vegan (Austria – Vienna)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 23, 2019.

Address: Stumpergasse 57, 1060 Vienna
Opening Hours: Mondays – Fridays 8:00 AM – 7:30 PM, Saturdays 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Closed on Sundays and on public holidays. (2019 opening hours, which might change in the future.)
Company Holidays: On December 24, they usually close early, at appr. 1:00 PM
Phone: +43-(0)1-595 49 00
Website: https://maranvegan.at/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maranvegan
Email: maran@maranvegan.at
Free WiFi: Yes
Debit Cards: Yes
Credit Cards: MasterCard, Visa
Bathroom Facilities: Yes
Dogs Welcome: No
Seating Available: Counter seating with bar stools and regular tables and chairs
Outdoor Seating Area: No

Maran Vegan is a vegan supermarket with an in-store vegan bistro. Many years ago, Stefan and Josefine Maran opened one of the first organic grocery stores in Vienna, subsequently opened several additional branches, and thereby helped establish organic products as “mainstream” in Vienna. They eventually sold their stores, and after a two-year hiatus opened Maran Vegan in 2013, the first vegan supermarket in Vienna. Approximately 95 % of all items sold at their store are organic as well as vegan.

I love, love, love their store. It’s such a pleasure being able to choose whatever I like – and not having to read the labels. Everything’s vegan at this store. The owners and staff are all vegetarians or vegans, and are very helpful.

Fruits and vegetables are provided by an organic farm outside of Vienna. Maran Vegan sells hard-to-come-by products like vegan tooth paste with added Vitamin B12.

The vegan bistro has the same opening hours as the store, so you can eat breakfast there (7.90 – 10.80 Euros). The bistro has lunch specials: soup (3.80 Euros) and one entrée (7.90 Euros), dhal with rice (4.70 Euros), various snacks, and a selection of salads (small: 4.90 Euros, large: 6.90 Euros). (2019 prices, which are due to change in the future.) Bread and pastries from various bakeries are sold at this bistro, and during the Viennese Carnival season, you can buy Krapfen, one of my favorite pastries.

Original blog post: December 23, 2019 by Ingrid Haunold
Updates to this blog entry will be posted at a future date.

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Swing Kitchen (Shopping City Süd, Austria)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated October 27, 2016.

Update (October 2018): This restaurant closed in May 2018.

Swing Kitchen is an Austrian vegan fast food chain, there are currently two restaurants in Vienna, Austria’s capital. Both of them are included in my restaurant guide, The Vegan Tourist: Vienna. A third branch – owned and operated by a franchisee – opened in September 2016 in the shopping mall Shopping City Süd, which is located just outside of Vienna in Vösendorf, in the state of Lower Austria. (Süd means “South,” and the word indicates that the shopping mall is located South of Vienna.) I believe Shopping City Süd is the largest shopping mall in all of Europe, so it’s a perfect choice for another Swing Kitchen restaurant.

© Ingrid Haunold

Swing Kitchen’s owners, Charlie and Irene Schillinger, also own the very popular vegan restaurant Gasthaus Schillinger in Großmugl, in the state of Lower Austria. At Swing Kitchen, you get high-quality vegan fast food: you can choose between various burgers (5.20 – 5.90 Euros) and wraps (6.80 Euros), French Fries (2.90 Euros), Onion Rings (3.50 Euros), and Vegan Nuggets (4.50 Euros). Salads und excellent desserts – Tiramisu, Cheesecake, a raspberry-yoghurt-poppy seed cake, or an almond-nougat-dessert  – are also available.

© Ingrid Haunold

At Shopping City Süd, Swing Kitchen is located on the mall’s upper level, in the food court, shop number 269. Opening hours are Mondays – Wednesdays, Fridays 9:30 AM – 7:30 PM, Thursdays 9:30 AM –  9:00 PM, Saturdays 9:00 AM – 6:30 PM. The restaurant and shopping mall are closed on Sundays and on public holidays.

Website: http://www.swingkitchen.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SwingKitchen
Email: office@swingkitchen.com
Free WiFi: Yes
Debit Cards: Yes
Credit Cards: No
Bathroom Facilities: Yes, in the shopping mall
Dogs Welcome: Yes, leashed dogs are allowed in the shopping mall and in the restaurant
Non-Smoking: Yes
Seating Available: Yes

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Gasthaus Schillinger (Großmugl, Austria)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist on July 8, 2014, and updated in October 2018.

Update (October 2018): This restaurant closed in May 2017. The owners, Charlie and Irene Schillinger, concentrate on their wildly successful new venture, Swing Kitchen, a vegan fast food chain. The have opened five locations in Austria so far (a sixth is scheduled to open soon in Vienna’s 1st district). Two restaurants will open within the next few months in Berlin, and one in Bern, Switzerland.

I finally made it to the vegan restaurant Schillinger last Sunday. The restaurant has a stellar reputation amongst vegans in Austria. I don’t think there’s a single vegan in the country who’s never heard of it. It is that famous.

So it was high time that I made the trek there myself. And it is quite a trek. Schillinger is located about an hour north of Vienna, in the county Lower Austria, in a tiny village called Großmugl. It is only accessible by car (there’s no train station in the village). As I don’t own a car, I never quite managed to make it all the way to Großmugl. But last Sunday I finally got my chance: a car, three people, and a motion-sick dog (who threw up thrice in the car during this trip) arrived at Schillinger at 4:30 PM in the afternoon – quite famished – and sampled the menu.

All the food at Schillinger is vegan, and there are many dishes to choose from. I am happy to report that the restaurant’s excellent reputation is justified.

Between the three of us, we shared two appetizers, a double-sized entree, and two desserts. I didn’t get to taste one of the appetizers, Frittatensuppe, but apparently it was very good (2.80 Euros including tax). Frittaten are crepes cut into small pieces, and Frittatensuppe is an Austrian specialty.

I ordered the fried (mock meat) “duck,” which was served hot. It was marinated in a soy & chilli sauce, and served with sweet peppers on a bed of salad. Very good! (4.90 Euros).

© Ingrid Haunold

As an entree, the three of us shared the so-called “house plate,” meant for two people (24.00 Euros), which is basically a sampler of various mock meats with French fries, coleslaw, salad, and herb butter (all vegan, of course). The platter was so big, and there was so much food, even the three of us couldn’t quite finish it. It was delicious.

For dessert, we ordered panna cotta (with mango pulp, pistachios, and whipped cream (3.50 Euros), and tiramisu dumplings with strawberry pulp and a compote of peaches (4.50 Euros). I liked the tiramisu dumplings, but I loved the panna cotta.

© Ingrid Haunold

All in all – food, plus three soft drinks, three glasses of wine, one double espresso -, we spent 55.10 Euros (including taxes), plus tips. The restaurant is so popular that guests kept showing up all through the afternoon to eat, and it started to really fill up when we left at about 6:30 PM. If you want to visit Schillinger – and you should – you absolutely have to send them an Email and make a reservation at least a week in advance.

The restaurant is currently owned by Karl “Charlie” Schillinger and his wife Irene. The restaurant first opened its doors in 1793 – that’s not a typo. Eight generations of “Schillinger” have continuously owned and managed the restaurant. The current owners decided to turn it into a vegan restaurant – due to huge demand. According to the information on their website, they first started cooking vegetarian dishes for friends, who told their friends about it, who spread the word even further, and so on. That’s why one of the best vegan restaurants in the country is located in a tiny village in Lower Austria. It’s a huge success story, and proof that there’s great demand for vegan restaurants everywhere.

© Ingrid Haunold

Address:
Hauptstraße 46, 2002 Großmugl, Austria

Opening hours: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays: 9:00 AM – 1:00 AM; Thursdays 4:00 PM – 1:00 AM; Sundays 11:00 AM – 1:00 AM;

Reduced opening hours for the kitchen: Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Fridays: 12:00 noon – 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM; Thursdays 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM; Saturdays & Sundays: 12:00 noon – 11:00 PM

Phone: +43-(0)2268-6672
Email: info@schillinger.co
Website: http://www.charlys.at/

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Librería Utopía (Austria – Vienna)

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist on 20 January 2014, and last updated May 25, 2019.

Update May 25, 2019: While the bookstore is still in business, it no longer functions as a vegan café.

Original blog post:

It takes a brave soul (or two) to open a bookstore in this day and age, when most people seem to buy their books on Amazon (guilty!) or download them from the Internet onto their E-Readers.

My friend Stefanie Klamuth and her boyfriend Pablo Hörtner recently both quit well-paying corporate jobs to open a “radically left” book store and vegan café in Vienna.

Libreria Utopia, © Stefanie Klamuth & Pablo Hörtner

At Librería Utopía you won’t find the latest mainstream bestsellers, but books – old and new – on far-left politics, history and philosophy, which are usually hard to come by. You’ll also find books on their shelves which question/criticise the status quo of our society, which inform readers about feminism and gay/lesbian issues, and books about religion or vegetarian cooking.

You’ll also find alternative children’s books, and specialty travel guides like Jewish Vienna (available both in German and English, by publishing house mandelbaum). By the way, this book costs 15.80 Euros (English version) at Librería Utopía, but 19.90 Euros on “Amazon.de”. It’s worth every cent, so stop by their store and buy it, before you start your sightseeing tour of Vienna.

Libreria Utopia, © Stefanie Klamuth & Pablo Hörtner

Author’s readings and other events are organized frequently at the store, which is made available as a meeting space for NGOs. Check their website for updates.

Librería Utopía is not just a bookstore, but also a vegan café, which looks and feels like Stefanie’s and Pablo’s own personal living room. Drinks are prized very moderately (1.60 Euros for mineral water, 2.20 Euros for a café latte). There are no fixed prices for the vegan snacks they offer. You pay what you think is fair. There’s free WiFi, and dogs are welcome. Even puppies, which are not yet housebroken (thank you for that!).

Address: Preysinggasse 26­28, 1150 Vienna

Opening hours: Tuesdays – Fridays, 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Saturdays 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

Phone: +43 – 660­ – 3913 865

Website: http://www.radicalbookstore.com

https://www.facebook.com/radicalbookstore

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Veganmania 2015: A mini-vacation

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated June 11, 2015.

© Ingrid Haunold

Veganmania just keeps getting bigger and better. Each year, the Veganmania summer festival tour stops in a number of cities in Austria and her neighboring countries. This year, Veganmania has tour dates in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Croatia.

In 2015, the Viennese and visiting tourists got to enjoy the Veganmania festival for four whole days, from June 3 – 6, and I managed to make it to the festival site on three separate days. It’s always fun to catch up with friends and family, but even more enjoyable, if I’m surrounded by food stalls that sell vegan food. All the drinks are vegan, too.

© Ingrid Haunold

At Veganmania, I can eat and drink anything I like, and don’t have to worry about (hidden) ingredients, additives, the food preparation process, or cross-contamination. I only have to decide which of the many delicious foods on offer I would like to taste first.

Veganmania is like a mini-vacation, and every year I look forward to this summer festival.

Of course, Veganmania isn’t all about food. Live bands and DJs perform on a stage, you can buy vegan shoes and clothing, purses and cosmetics, books, specialty food items, and more at the vendors’ market stalls. Several animal welfare organizations also have stalls at the festival, where you can collect information materials about their work, and educate yourself about animal welfare issues.

© Ingrid Haunold

By the way, the 2015 Veganmania festival tour has just started. Throughout the summer, until early September, there are nine additional Veganmania festivals scheduled this year. All the tour dates are listed on the website, so check it out. Veganmania is organised by The Vegan Society Austria.

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Book Review: Vegan Recipes

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated June 12, 2015.

It’s been a while since I last wrote my last book review, so I thought I’d pull one of my favorite cookbooks off the shelf and let you know why I like this book so much.

Vegan Recipies is barely a book – the 96 pages are stapled together. The book is out of print, but (some) new and used copies are still available through Amazon.

Here’s why I like it so much:

1) All quantities are given in both imperial and metric measures. Measures are also given in standard cups and spoons, and there’s information about the difference between Australian and American tablespoon measurements.

2) The book contains information about vegan ethics, there’s a glossary of common animal by-products, and there are tips on how to avoid animal products. (Did you know that poppadums are often coated with shellac or that dried banana chips are often glazed with honey? Me neither.) There’s also a chapter on vegan nutrition, vegan sources of nutrients, and information about how to replace dairy products and eggs in recipes. The book contains a shopping list for vegan staples, which you’ll need for a variety of recipes, and there’s a chapter on vegan nutrition for pregnant women and children. Tips for eating out and entertaining at home are also given.

3) The book contains 56 recipes, for soups and starters, main meals, salads and side dishes, desserts, and breads and baking. There are numerous photographs that’ll make your mouth water and show you how to prepare the dishes.

4) Best of all – and that’s why I really love this cookbook – for each recipe nutrition notes are listed. Many cookbooks give information about protein, fat, carbs, etc. That’s standard. But Vegan Recipes gives information about the iron and calcium content of each recipe. For vegans, that is very useful information indeed. I don’t know any other vegan cookbook that lists this kind of information.

As a vegan, I pay special attention to nutrition. I never worry about lack of protein – but I do worry about getting enough of all the essential amino acids. Cookbooks – even vegan cookbooks – never supply this kind of information. I also need to prepare dishes which contain Omega 3 fat, something that’s also never mentioned in the nutritional notes for recipes in cookbooks. And of course I watch out for iron and calcium. A slice of Caramelized Red Onion and Thyme Tart contains 1.8 mg iron and a whopping 170 mg of calcium. A portion of Byesar – an Arab dish similar to hummus, but made with broad beans – contains 2.7 mg of iron and 44 mg of calcium. Recipes like the ones included in Vegan Recipes help me plan my diet and ensure that I get all the nutrients I need. Unfortunately, information about nutrients like iron, calcium, essential amino acids and Omega 3 fat is not standard in vegan cookbooks, and that’s a shame. Vegans do have special nutritional needs, and vegan cookbooks should acknowledge that.

Here’s hoping that in the future more and more vegan cookbooks will provide additional nutritional information about their recipes. It’ll make it easier for vegans to stay fit and healthy.

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Vegan Survival Tips for Ferreries, Menorca: Hotel Loar, Bar-Cafeteria

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated November 4, 2013.

This is the last one of my articles about restaurants & (vegan) food shopping on the island of Menorca, Spain. I hesitated for a long time before I decided to publish this one last review. We didn’t spend much time in Ferreries, the fifth-largest town on the island, and our dining experience was quite disappointing. I keep thinking there must be better restaurant choices for vegans, and don’t want to portray the town unfairly. However, vegans really don’t seem to have many options in Ferreries; best to make plans to eat elsewhere.

Ferreries is located at the centre of the island, and it has the distinction of being the highest town on the island above sea level (142 metres). The only tourist attractions in town are the Museo de la Natura, and the church of Sant Bartomeu (located on Plaça de L’Eglésia), neither of which we visited.

© Ingrid Haunold

We strolled through Plaça Espanya, which is basically the town centre, and while there were a couple of bars and cafes, the only restaurant in the vicinity was Restaurante Cala Galdana inside the Hotel Loar Ferreries.

The hotel is located at the corner of Carrer Reverend Pare Huguet & Avinguda Verge del Toro, at one of the corners of Plaça Espanya. Unfortunately, the restaurant’s menu – displayed outside – did not list a single vegan dish. Instead, we ended up at the hotel’s bar & cafeteria, where I was able to order the usual fare: a mixed salad and pa amb tomàquet, a version of pa amb oli (with crushed tomatoes).

© Ingrid Haunold

The salad and toasted garlic & tomato bread were no better or worse than the many other salads and pa amb olis (or pa amb tomàquets) I had eaten before at various Menorcan restaurants. But I found it quite depressing that the only dining option available to a vegan tourist in Ferreries during the off-season at mid-day was a hotel cafeteria.

However, there was truly no other option. We walked around the town centre for about half an hour, and the bar & cafeteria at Hotel Loar Ferreries is where we finally ended up.

© Ingrid Haunold

The hotel has a website with several photos, click on the “bar” tab, so you’ll know what to expect.

Address: Verge del Toro Avenue, 2, 07750 Ferreries, Menorca

Opening hours: “daily from the peak of dawn right through to the evening“ – that’s from their website

Phone: +34 – 971 – 37 30 30 (for the bar & restaurant)

Website: https://loarferreries.com/en/

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Vegan Survival Tips for Alaior, Menorca: The Cobblers Restaurant

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated November 4, 2013.

Wow, I didn’t expect that – The Cobblers Restaurant has closed.

I just recently had lunch there – a bare six months ago, on April 28, 2013 – and as I am sitting down to write the review, I’m shocked to learn that The Cobblers Restaurant closed down for business at the end of September.

That’ll teach me to put off writing reviews for too long..

Luckily, the owners are opening a new restaurant at a different address in Alaior, The Brasserie & Bar Dos Pablos. They’re set to open in March 2014 (according to a cached Google page), but on their new Website they’re already providing information about a Christmas Day (2013) Luncheon, so check their Facebook site for updates.

This is the link to their new venture’s Facebook page.

Even though The Cobblers restaurant has now closed, I still want to tell you about my visit there, as you can expect similar hospitality from the owners at their new restaurant.

We vacationed on Menorca during the off-season in late April 2013, and stopped by for a “Sunday roast.” For Sunday lunch, they offered a three-course set meal (some options) for 21.95 Euros, but you couldn’t order a la carte during Sunday lunch. Not ideal for a vegan. Nevertheless, we decided to stay for lunch.

I was lucky, as one of the starters was vegan, a delicious tomato soup with basil. There weren’t any vegan entrée options on the “Sunday roast” menu, but one of the owners – whose name I don’t recall – who waited personally on all his guests, was happy to accommodate my vegan needs. The chef made me a pasta dish with broccoli, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and corn. There’s nothing special about a pasta dish, of course, but what was special was the owner’s willingness to go out of his way to accommodate a vegan: “If we have it in the kitchen, you can have it.”

And that’s why I recommend that you visit their new restaurant, even though I haven’t been there myself. Call ahead, if you can, let them know that you are a vegan, and I’m sure they’ll accommodate your dining needs. If you’ve read any of my other restaurant reviews of Menorca, you’ll know that this is special indeed. The owners are British, so there’s no language barrier, and they actually know what the word “vegan” means.

None of the desserts were vegan, but instead of opting for an off-the-menu fruit salad, we asked to take-away one of the non-vegan desserts, so my omnivore dining companion could enjoy it later. I was quite full after the soup & pasta dish, and simply couldn’t eat any dessert.

We had a great time at The Cobblers Restaurant, and I am sorry that it has now closed, but I wish the owners well with their new venture. I’m sure it’ll be a success.

Contact information for their new restaurant, The Brasserie & Bar Dos Pablos:

Address: Calan Porter, 07730 Alaior, Menorca

Opening hours: ??

Phone: +34 – 636 – 96 18 91

Website: https://www.facebook.com/brasseriebardospablos

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Welcome to Vienna, Daisy

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated October 6, 2013.

If someone tells you that there are three abandoned puppies that need a home, could you say “no?”

All three puppies will find good homes.

One of them already has.

© Ingrid Haunold

Welcome to Vienna, Daisy.

October 3, 2013: Day One, 3:00 AM – 8 hours after she first arrived at my home. Me, hard at work at my desk (so I can pay for the dog food & treats & toys & vet & dog taxes & pet insurance), wrapped in a sleeping bag for warmth.

Daisy helps.

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Vegan Survival Tips for es Mercadal, Menorca: Restaurante Molí d’es Racó

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated October 27, 2013. I deleted inactive links on 28 November 2021. I could not verify that the restaurant is still in business.

My spring vacation on the island of Menorca, Spain, is but a distant memory. Nevertheless, I still have three more articles about Menorca that I want to post on this website. Somehow I never quite got around to writing them, but today’s finally the day. Sunday, October 27, 2013, 4:00 AM.

© Ingrid Haunold

First, I’d like to tell you about my visit to Restaurante Molí d’es Racó in es Mercadal. The town of es Mercadal is situated at the centre of the island, along the main road (Me 1), and you can’t miss the restaurant. It’s located inside an old windmill, which towers over the town. This family restaurant is huge – three dining rooms seat 200 people – and I would imagine that quite a few tourist buses stop by during the high season. But don’t let that deter you. We had a late lunch/early dinner there at 3:45 PM on a Saturday afternoon during the off-season (April 27, 2013), and the restaurant was packed with Menorcans. We were lucky to get a table, and I didn’t notice any other (non-Spanish speaking) tourists at the restaurant during our visit. It’s clearly very popular with the locals, too.

© Ingrid Haunold

Our friendly waiter spoke a little German and I was able to explain to him what “vegan “meant. He assured me that one of the island’s specialties – oli i aigua (tomato soup with figs) was 100% vegan. I wasn’t – and still am – not sure about the broth. It’s difficult to explain to a non-vegan that even vegetable broths aren’t necessarily vegan, so I usually never order soups at restaurants. But there weren’t many vegan choices at Restaurante Molí d’es Racó, and as oli i aigua is one of the very few Menorcan dishes that are (supposedly) vegan (the other being pa amb oil and variations thereof), we went ahead and ordered it. It was delicious.

© Ingrid Haunold

My second choice – oven-baked aubergines stuffed with breadcrumbs – didn’t impress me. Again, the waiter assured me that this dish was vegan, but I couldn’t help wondering about the breadcrumbs. What can I say, the devil’s in the details – not all kinds of bread are vegan. Aside from that, I didn’t much care for this dish anyway. I’m not much for soggy breadcrumbs, vegan or not. I wouldn’t order it again.

I ordered fried potatoes as a side dish, and this was a big mistake. I love potatoes, but these were fried in the same oil as all the other dishes – the restaurant specializes in meat and fish – and the potatoes had a fishy flavour to them. Don’t order them; in fact, don’t order anything fried.

Unfortunately, this leaves you with very few choices at Restaurante Molí d’es Racó. In addition to what I ordered, there was also a mixed salad on offer, but that was about it in terms of vegan choices. The restaurant did serve a small bowl of olives as a free appetizer (very good, I ate them all), and we also ordered some bread, so there was plenty of food to eat – we didn’t leave hungry. Have a salad, order the soup, and enjoy the atmosphere of this unique Menorcan restaurant.

Prices are moderate at Restaurante Molí d’es Racó. The soup was 6.50 Euros per person, the stuffed aubergines with the fried potatoes cost 6.95 Euros, and an order of bread per person was 65 cents. Mineral water (1 litre) was 2.65 Euros.

Address: c/Major 53 , es Mercadal, Menorca

Opening hours: daily 12:30 PM to 4:00 PM, and 7:00 PM to 11:30 PM

Phone: +34 – 971 – 375 392

Website: inactive. This restaurant may no longer be in business.

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Vegan Food Shopping in Alaior, Menorca

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated October 29, 2013.

© Ingrid Haunold

Alaior is the third-largest town on the island of Menorca, after Maó and Ciutadella. My various guidebooks list the town’s population somewhere between 6.400 and 9.400 people, and I have trouble believing either number. Alaior is quite small, and half a day will give you plenty of time to explore the town centre.

Alaior is famous for two things: cheese-making and the production of abarcas, flat leather sandals – neither of which is of any interest to vegan tourists. But the town is lovely and we took the self-guided tour suggested in Robert Zsolnay’s (German-language) guide book Menorca.

There’s a small herbolario (herbalist’s store) right in the town centre, which also sells organic and vegan food. You can buy tofu, Seitan, soy and rice milk, vegan spreads, and cosmetics (e.g. Weleda) at Hort de Temps.

© Ingrid Haunold

I bought a jar of shitake pate there. They sell organic bread. No fruit or veggies, but right across the street is a greengrocer’s.

We also shopped at Hiper Centro, a supermarket in Coll del Palmer, across the street from Capella de Gràcia, which today houses the tourism office. Coll del Palmer leads towards Plaça de la Constitució.

We only bought some water and potato crisps at Hiper Centro, but they also sell fruit and vegetables, soy milk, an assortment of nuts and dried fruit, and pre-cooked beans in jars; but no soy yoghurt, hummus, tofu, or other staples of a vegan diet. It’s a medium-sized supermarket, despite the “Hiper” in its name.

© Ingrid Haunold

I popped into another supermarket to check it out, when we passed it on our stroll through the town centre. It’s called Supermercats San Crispin, located at Carrer des Ramal 39, vis a vis from the Plaça des Ramal. Supermercats San Crispin is a food co-operative, they aim to sell (many) fairly produced and local products. They have four stores on Menorca, as far as I could understand, as their website is only published in Spanish.

This store is smaller than the Hiper Centro store, and I noticed that all the soy milk on offer at this particular store had added Vitamin D. I usually avoid products with added vitamin D, as this often means Vitamin D3, which is derived from animals. They did sell rice milk, assorted nuts, dried fruit, and pre-cooked beans in jars; but no vegan yoghurts, hummus, tofu, Seitan, etc.

Hort de Temps
Address: c/es carreró 11, Alaior 07730, Menorca
Opening hours: Monday – Friday  10:00 AM to 1:30 PM, and 17:00 PM to 20:00 PM, Saturdays 10:00 AM – 1:30 PM
Phone: +34 – 971 – 378 886
Website: http://hortdestemps.blogspot.co.at/

Hiper Centro
Address: Coll del Palmer, across the street from Capella de Gràcia, 07730 Alaior, Menorca
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 8:30 AM – 2:00 PM, and 5:00 PM – ?? (sorry, I can’t read my notes). Closed on Sundays and Holidays
Phone: ??
Website: I couldn’t find one

Supermercats San Crispin
Address: Carrer des Ramal 39, Alaior 07730, Menorca
Opening hours: Mondays – Saturday  8:30 AM to 2:30 PM; afternoons: ???;  closed on Sundays
Phone: +34 – 971 – ??
Website: http://www.sancrispin.net/

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Vegan Survival Tips for es Mercadal, Menorca: Restaurante Las Vegas

Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated August 12, 2013. (I could not verify that this restaurant is still in business on 28 November 2021).

Restaurante Las Vegas is located at Carrer Nou, 3, down the street from Dietètica Margarita (at no. 29) in es Mercadal. From the outside, this restaurant doesn’t look very appealing. It’s a bar & restaurant, and the bar at the front of the restaurant looks just like that: a (rather darkly lit) bar. Not very inviting, if you are looking for a place to eat. But don’t let yourself be deterred, and walk past the bar towards the back of the restaurant. The dining room opens onto a small patio (still closed in April), and huge glass windows let in a lot of light.

Restaurante Las Vegas offers a set menu for lunch, unsuitable for vegans, and vegans will end up with the usual: toasted bread and a salad.

They do have a selection of pizze on the menu (posted outside the restaurant), but you cannot order them without cheese. Strange, I know. I wrote about this before in an earlier article – the only explanation I can come up with is that the pizze are prepared in advance, frozen, and then re-heated when ordered. Who knows what they do, but pizza wasn’t an option at Restaurante Las Vegas, and that’s a shame, because it was the reason we chose to eat there in the first place.

© Ingrid Haunold

My only choices were toasted bread a la “escalivada” – smoky grilled vegetables, with aubergines, tomatoes, and onions – and a “mixed salad.” I spoke at length with the waiter, to make sure that the “escalivada” toast was really vegan, and was assured that it was (true). Then I was served my mixed salad with an egg on top.

In my first blog entry about Menorca – Vegan Survival Tips for Menorca, Spain – I advise you to be very specific when you order your food. This is one of the reasons why I want you to be cautious (the other was my experience at Rock & Beer in Maó). It simply didn’t occur to me that a “mixed salad” would contain anything but “salad.” I have to say I was somewhat angry at the waiter, with whom I had discussed my diet requirements just moments earlier. But the Spanish really have no concept of veganism. You’ll frequently find “vegetarian” dishes listed on menus which include fish as an ingredient, and the Spanish also seem to think that eggs grow on trees. To (most of) them, not eating any animal-derived foods is unfathomable.

© Ingrid Haunold

So be very specific when you order any dishes, including salad. You simply cannot ask enough questions before ordering vegan food in Spain. I learned that the hard way.

Anyway, I was served toasted bread a la escalivada – a welcome variation of the ever-present pa amb oli, but quite expensive at 7.50 Euros. I also enjoyed the salad (5.95 Euros) – the photo was taken after I’d given the egg to my dining companion, who – luckily – is an omnivore who loves eggs.

However, the whole purpose of being a vegan is to reduce the consumption of meat, fish, and animal-derived foods. To pass them on to someone else isn’t really an option for vegans who try to live ethically.

So I didn’t go hungry at Restaurante Las Vegas, but the food that I was able to eat wasn’t all that exceptional. At this point in my vacation, I’d simply eaten too much toasted bread already, and I was sick and tired of salads. Restaurante Las Vegas is a survival tip for es Mercadal but not a recommendation. They were open during the off-season in April, they opened early for lunch, and they have a nice patio. That’s it from a vegan’s point of view.

Please note that the restaurant doesn’t have a website.

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