Vegetarian Friendly Ghent

We didn’t expect Belgium to have many meat-free meal options so were surprised to discover that not only did the pretty city of Ghent have plenty of vegetarian restaurants to choose from, but it has even created a Thursday Veggie Day. It turned out to be one of the most vegetarian friendly cities in Europe.

Ghent is a university city with an active cultural scene, plenty of festivals and a youthful vibe, so it’s no wonder that it’s also so vegetarian friendly. The Thursday Veggie Day campaign was created by the Belgian vegetarian organisation EVA and in 2009 the City of Ghent began to officially support the campaign, making it the first city in the world with an official weekly vegetarian day.

Not everyone eats vegetarian food on Thursdays of course, but people are encouraged to do so by raising awareness of the health and environmental benefits of a lower meat consumption and the city has worked with restaurants, schools and the general public on different vegetarian events and cooking classes.

Ghent canal

We’ve been vegetarian for so long that we don’t actively think about the benefits of a vegetarian diet any more, so even we were surprised by some of the facts we learnt from the campaign. Apparently if all Europeans had one meatless day a week the amount of greenhouse gases saved would equal that of taking 35 million cars off European roads for an entire year!

For a vegetarian visitor to Ghent the best part of the campaign is the free map A Guide to Veggie Ghent that is distributed throughout the city. It lists restaurants, shops and even hotels that are vegetarian friendly, making it really easy to find a nearby meat-free meal. We loved that they even listed places to find frites that are fried in vegetable oil rather than lard. If only we had a map like this in every city we visited!

95 vegetarian friendly restaurants are listed on the map with 12 of then marked as 100% vegetarian. Not bad in a city of only 240,000 people. We only had time to try three of them.

De Warempel

De Warempel is a cosy restaurant that’s very popular so it’s best to get there early to get a table. The menu is small, offering soups, a couple of daily specials and desserts. When we visited the options were a vegetarian lasagna with a side salad and bread, and the day’s plate which involved a terrine type dish with lots of different vegetables and salads. Beer and wine were also served.

Warempel day plate

Day plate

Warempel lasagna

Lasagna

Warempel lasagna side salad

Lasagna’s side salad

Beer at Warempel

The food wasn’t particularly creative but it was good comfort food and the portions were huge.

De Warempel is located on Zandberg 8 and is open for lunch on Monday to Friday from 11.45am – 2pm.

Greenway

Greenway, Ghent

Greenway serves healthy, vegetarian fast food in a funky cafe style setting. The menu options were quite extensive with soup, sandwiches, burgers, salads, pasta and curries on offer. I had a big bowl of pea soup, served with a lovely wholemeal roll (€3.90) and Simon had the cheese and potato burger, packed full of salad (€5.50). There were a number of different veggie burgers to choose from including spinach and carrot. Ghent is the only place we’ve ever visited where we’ve had a choice of different kinds of veggie burgers (see Tasty below too).

Pea soup at Greenway

Pea soup


Cheese and potato burger at Greenway

Cheese and potato burger


 

Greenway was probably our favourite vegetarian restaurant in Ghent as it was healthy, tasty, good value and we liked the casual setting.

Greenway is located on Nederkouter 42 and is open Monday to Saturday 11am to 9pm.

Tasty

Like Greenway, Tasty is a healthy vegetarian fast food place with a focus on vegetarian burgers and smoothies. We loved the range of veggie burgers on offer in Ghent, and at €5.40 for a burger it made an affordable meal.

The choice of 15 burgers was really impressive including broccoli, soya, mushroom, and spinach. Simon went for the cheese burger again but found it a bit bland compared to the one at Greenway. I loved my flavourful spicy burger.

Spicy Burger at Tasty

Spicy burger


 

Tasty has two branches at Hoogpoort 1 and Walpoortstraat 38 and is open 11am to 8pm.

Chocolate

This isn’t a vegetarian only recommendation of course, but one of the things we loved most in Flanders was being able to pop into one of the many chocolate shops and pick up a few chocolates from the huge range of pralines on offer.

Although Ghent doesn’t have quite as many chocolate shops as Bruges there were enough to keep us happy. We sampled some at the upmarket Van Hoorebeke shop and at the Leonidas chain and loved them both.

Chocolates from Van Hoorebeke

Chocolates from Leonidas

Ghent may not have quite as many 100% vegetarian restaurants as Chiang Mai or as innovative meat-free meals as San Francisco or London, but it is definitely one of the easiest cities we have visited for vegetarians. We wish we had a map like the Guide to Veggie Ghent in every city we visited.

Ghent is not a very touristy city so none of the restaurants we visited had menus in English. We found the people in Flanders to speak very good English though and they were always happy to explain the menus to us.

For more vegetarian restaurants in Ghent see these suggestions on the Vegan Backpacker website and pick up the veggie map when you are in Ghent or download it here before you go.

For the non food side of things you can read about our time in Flanders visiting indie and jazz festivals and exploring the picture perfect cities of Bruges and Ghent.

A big thank you to Tourism Flanders-Brussels for arranging our trip. See Visit Flanders for much more information about what is on offer in the region.

Trail Wallet

24 thoughts on Vegetarian Friendly Ghent

  1. Pingback: Discovering Flanders: Picture Perfect Bruges and Ghent

  2. That’s pretty cool that the city has a whole environmentally friendly veggie initiative. I am firmly in the omnivorous camp, but I do try to eat meatless meals more often for that reason.

    • It was a real surprise to find such a veggie friendly city in Belgium and we love the fact that the initiative encourages everyone to eat more veg, even if you aren’t vegetarian.

  3. The food at De Warempel looks good, I went to go and eat at there last week but they were on holiday, I’ll try another visit in the next few days maybe. ‘Avalon’ is another great place for veggie meals.

  4. i’m also from ghent , i’m not a vegetarian , but i do try to eat some healty non meat dishes , Cuisine ouVerte is one of my favourites, you can choose between 2 dishes of the week and it’s not expensive :) , it’s indeed a nice city for vegetarians tnx to the students :)

  5. Ghent is a lovely city in many aspects! I live approx. 30 km east from the city and visit it regularly.
    Two of my favourite vegetarian restaurants are the Komkommertijd (offers a warm and cold buffet, incl. dessert at a reasonable price) and the Tuin van Eten, which unfortunately is closed on Sundays now. Like the Warempel the Tuin van Eten serves menu of the day incl. a most delicious homemade soup, a dish comparable at the one at the Warempel and a dessert. All so tasteful.
    Did you visit one of the lovely secondhandshops too?
    Best regards from Belgium!

    • Thanks for the tips Ellen – we were really impressed by how many veggie restaurants there were in Ghent. Unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to check out the second hand shops.

  6. Shame you didn’t get to the Komkommertijd – all vegan, mostly organic, and an “all-you-can-eat”-buffet (soup, hot & cold dishes, dessert) for 16 euro (dinner) or 13,50 euro (lunch). Next time? :)

  7. I join the people recommending Komkommertijd, it’s my favourite one as well. It’s all vegan and all-you-can-eat buffet style. Definetely worth the visit next time you are in Ghent!

  8. I also live in Ghent and if you’re staying for a longer period (and have the ability to cook), I would recommend Bio Planet, which is just outside of the city center: it’s a combination of a supermarket, offering exclusively eco-friendly stuff (so a wide variety of vegetarian products), and a restaurant aside where you can get vegetarian meals (and meat as well). I tend to go there a couple of times a week: it’s cheap (+-€9 for dish of the day), good and healthy. http://www.bioplanet.be

  9. Mmm… I’m not vegetarian but that food looks simply delicious! I’ll be visiting Flanders for the Festival later mid September and can’t wait. For sure will keep in mind your tips :-)

  10. Those meals all look delicious, I’m not a vegetarian but most of the time my choice is for the veggie menu, it’s so tasty and I prefer it to the meaty one.. Starving now! :)

  11. nice to read your reviews from a tourist perspective. We live close to Ghent and know it well.
    Shame you didn’t have time to go to Komkommertijd (buffet) and Avalon (near medieval castle Gravensteen). Both vegan and delicious!
    yes, you should definitely come back! So much to see and do in Ghent :)

  12. Pingback: Back to life | GeoPosted

  13. One of the biggest reasons why people eat meat and give families meat is because meat is so much easier to cook! How simple is to serve us sausages and beans or a steak and potatoes. This is my dilemna. As a mother with children i am trying desperately to be vegetarian but cooking YUMMY vegetarina/ vegan meals is time consuming, not to mention shopping for all the ingredients. To make vegetarian living easier we need SIMPLE YUMMY recipes complete with shopping lists, adapted for each country, saying where to find the ingredients. Add to that problem living in a flat with a tiny kitchen where there is no room for a food processor, i wonder if you understand my problem. My children are ready to give up meat but often when i am in a rush i buy steak because it is fast. But i dont want to. Things like QUORN are not available in France so that is not a solution. i look forward to going to Ghent and congratulate the city and the mayor. You deserve for GHent to become world famous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> <p>