• Food
  • Happy Veganuary! 10 restaurants to visit for a cruelty-free start to the new year


Happy Veganuary! 10 restaurants to visit for a cruelty-free start to the new year

Think this January might be time to convert to a cruelty-free, plant-based diet? Check out Berlin's top 10 finest vegan spots.

Image for Happy Veganuary! Our 10 top tips

Photo: HAPPA

By now, ‘vegan January’ – or ‘Veganuary’ if you’re into clunky portmanteaus – is a solid fixture in the Berlin gastro calendar. If we’re honest, it feels pretty good to forgo meat and animal products for a while after the greasy excess of Christmas.

Berlin makes it so darn easy. The selection of vegan restaurants, cafés and shops offering plant-based treats make it less of a sacrifice and more of a month-long culinary adventure. And who knows, you might even… stick to it?

From fast food to fine dining, Spain to China, here are some of our favourites (including takeaway and delivery info).

Lucky Leek: Michelin-rated gourmet 

Image for Happy Veganuary! Our 10 top tips
Fine dining at Lucky Leek, vegan of course. Photo: Sebastian Happe-Hartanto

Before there was Oukan and its flashy vegan fine dining menu, there was this Bib Gourmand-winning pioneer in Prenzlauer Berg. Instead of merely imitating meat products, chef Josita Hartano chose to invent her own cuisine – think red cabbage risotto, celery sashimi and chickpea wontons. These dishes and more are served in a three- to five-course set menu (€39-63), optionally paired with wine. The restaurant’s lockdown delivery special is no longer available, but its website reassures us it’s installed a state-of-the-art air filter.

  • Lucky Leek Kollwitzstraße 54, Prenzlauer Berg, details.

Café Pilz: A Levantine feast

Image for Happy Veganuary! Our 10 top tips
A vegan interpretation of Middle Eastern cuisine. Photo: Aida Baghernejad

In summer 2020, Café Pilz took over the premises of former brunch temple No. 58 Speiserei. Named after a historic café in Tel Aviv, the charmingly small space presents Israeli-rooted cuisine in miniature. What does that mean? Small plates for a reasonable €3 to €4 each, suitable for sharing but also very tasty on their own, served with house-baked pita bread. Of course there’s great silky hummus, a point of honour, but also roasted aubergine, the most amazing jacket potatoes in town, and much more.

You don’t even notice that all the dishes are vegan unless someone points it out. There’s no delivery and takeaway customers won’t get the full experience, so the corona-squeamish should bookmark this one for spring.

  • Café Pilz  Weinstraße 58, Neukölln, details.

HAPPA: Simple pleasure

Image for Happy Veganuary! Our 10 top tips

Photo: HAPPA

Anyone who thinks ecological values and indulgence can’t go hand in hand needs to head to HAPPA. On weekday afternoons they serve up tasty dishes from a regularly-changing menu. You can always expect a hearty soup or stew, a side salad, homemade focaccia, cake for dessert, along with coffee or a homemade lemonade.

If you like the sound of that, you should grab tickets for one of HAPPA’s elegant dinner nights. An opulent five-course vegan menu (featuring delights like radicchio pink pasta and sticky apple pudding with labneh) is served to guests on just six evenings every month.

  • HAPPA, Schlesische Str. 35A, Kreuzberg, details

Al Catzone: Italian Indulgence

The beloved Helmut pizza from the Al Catzone menu. Photo: alcatz_one

Vegan Neapolitan-style pizza is the star of the show at Al Catzone. With bold (but always scrumptious) flavour combos like sour cream, peas, cashew “mozzarella” and caramelised onions, this low-key Kreuzberg gem is a clear favourite.

Just make sure you leave room for dessert. Their vegan nougat cream-filled calzones and rich tiramisu make Al Catzone a must-try.

  • Ataya Caffe Zelter Straße 6, Prenzlauer Berg, details.

Yoyo Foodworld: Vegan comfort food

The popular Nordsjön Burger. Photo: yoyofoodworld

Eating vegan no longer means having to forego the delicious joy of fast food. At Yoyo Foodworld, everything from kofte wraps and currywurst to cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets can be enjoyed fully plant-based. 

Being kind to the planet needn’t require punishing yourself, so why not warm up with some classic favourites this Veganuary.

  • Yoyo Foodworld, Gärtnerstr. 27, Friedrichshain, details.

Sotto: Pizza happiness

Photo: Sotto

Italy meets Finland and opens a pizzeria in Berlin – that’s pretty much the story behind the half-vegetarian, half-vegan Sotto, a Wedding institution since the moment it opened three years ago. The crust, cold-fermented and crispier than the Neapolitan norm, is delicious even before adding toppings like smoked carrots, kale and potatoes, or pumpkin and almond cream. There’s no delivery, but you can pick up pizza to go and good Italian wine by the bottle.

  • Sotto Neue Hochstr. 25, Wedding, details.

Brammibal’s: The donuts that ate Berlin

Image for Happy Veganuary! Our 10 top tips
Photogenic donuts at Brammibal’s Donuts. Photo: Christin Ludwig

Donuts being vegan is almost unthinkable… or at least, it was before a certain millennial-pink franchise came along. Now vegans and omnivores alike queue up at Brammibals’ multiple locations to pick up a box of its creative and highly Instagrammable dough rings, made without eggs or butter and topped with everything from fruit to cookie dough to coconut “bacon”. Look out for the Monday cinnamon rolls and the monthly charity specials, €1 from the sales of which go towards Berlin’s animal rescue organisation.

  • Brammibal’s Donuts several branches across Berlin, details.

Vöner: Kebab delights

Image for Happy Veganuary! Our 10 top tips
Vegan kebab? Works especially well at Vöner. Photo: imago/Bernd Friedel

The owner’s place of residence, a former punky trailer park at Rummelsburger Bucht, gave this Friedrichshain burger shop its name. Originally, the burgers were sold directly from an old circus wagon at festivals. Now, the shop’s Vöner Kebab is even more popular. A Vöner plate with homemade fries, cheese substitute and fried onions is a particularly dirty treat. Veganuary in Berlin would be unthinkable without kebabs, after all. Bonus tip: Pi-Love in Neukölln also does a really decent vegan döner.

  • Vöner, Boxhagener Straße 56, Friedrichshain, details.

Alaska Bar: Vegan Spanish tapas

Image for Happy Veganuary! Our 10 top tips
Spanish tapas, vegan-style. In January 2021, the famous egg-free tortilla de patatas will be available to take away. Photo: Lena Ganssmann

Delicious after-work tapas and drinks, with nary a slice of ham or a hint of egg to be found. There is, however, lots of cheese – made with cashew, spread on sourdough toast with smoked carrot “salmon” or served with marinated aubergine, olives and crispy breadsticks. Classic Spanish bites like croquetas or patatas bravas with vegan mayo and Sichuan chilli oil are stellar as well.

They offer takeaway, but the food’s best enjoyed on-site, as part of a long, leisurely evening in which drinks turn into dinner and back again.

  • Alaska Bar Reuterstraße 85, Neukölln, details.

Tianfuzius: Top vegan Chinese cuisine

Image for Happy Veganuary! Our 10 top tips
Excellent vegan-vegetarian Chinese cuisine. Photo: Tianfuzius

Berlin’s first vegetarian Chinese restaurant offers a culinary range that stands out from the city’s standard Chinese fare. Think hot and sour soup with water chestnuts, a clear winter melon soup, or warm, spicy noodle salad with pickled vegetables to start, followed by potato and cauliflower hotpot or smoked tofu with celery. You can eat in, pre-order food for takeaway, or order delivery via Wolt or Lieferando. And of course, the city’s vegan Asian options don’t end there – check out this list for a full rundown.  

  • Tianfuzius Regensburger Straße 1, Wilmersdorf, details.