Aahaar is an Indian restaurant hidden within the streets of Antwerp’s Diamond Quarter and frequented mainly by locals. It boasts a complete menu of vegetarian dishes and a buffet that doesn’t leave you wanting for choice. The food here is authentically Indian and very spicy, and the menu includes dosas and vegetable dishes as well as a mango lassi drink to tone down the food’s fire; worth ordering if you’re not used to spicy food.
Aahaar, 23 Lange Herentalsestraat, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 0322 60052
Any vegetarian knows that the local pizzeria can be a lifesaver when you just want a casual meal out. The pizza at Bar Italia, situated across the road from the Royal Museum for Fine Arts, offers a variety of at least five different vegetarian toppings, besides its daily suggestions, that go beyond the usual funghi (mushrooms) or quattro formaggi.
Bar Italia, 59 Graaf Van Egmontstraat, Antwerpen, Belgium, +32 0321 61748
Set in Antwerp’s Jewish district, Beni Falafel has been serving up some of the freshest and tastiest falafel in the city since 1973. The small establishment offers an array of Jewish dishes and snacks, such as latke (grated potato pancake) and burekas (filo pastry filled with cheese, spinach and potatoes). A vegetarian’s snack heaven, Beni Falafel is of course best known for its falafel, served in pita bread slightly toasted with a hot iron and filled with hummus. It is open every day of the week except Saturday, respecting the Jewish day of rest.
Beni Falafel, 188 Lange Leemstraat, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 0321 88211
Bites and Wines
Among the vegetarian-vegan restaurants in the city, Bites and Wines stands out as the go-to for a delicious and filling vegan meal. It lives up to its motto, ‘onschuldig genieten’, which roughly translates to ‘guilt-free pleasure’, serving not only healthy but also animal-friendly dishes that will wow you with their beautiful presentation and tastiness. Only one or two main dishes are served each day and the menu is constantly changing and constantly interesting, thanks to the creativity of the chef.
Bites and Wines, 60 Oude Beurs, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 0323 35145
De Broers van Julienne
De Broers van Julienne has a rustic, inviting look, and everything on its wide-ranging menu is made with thought and care. Although there are a few fish dishes, De Broers van Julienne mainly serves international fusion vegetarian food made from organic ingredients and prepared in a homey style. Sweet and savory tarts are featured on their menu as well as great salads.
With the European gourmet burger craze well underway, burger diners have been trying their best to serve up something for vegetarians too. De Burgerij does this with ease, offering vegetarians a selection of yummy, meatless burgers served with a side of fries. The restaurant is so popular that there are two in Antwerp; one in Berchem and the other at the port with a view over the MAS museum.
De Burgerij, 8 Sint-Laureiskaai, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 0333 66663
Eten vol Leven
Belgium’s first raw food restaurant, Eten vol Leven (‘food full of life’) is a health-conscious spot that serves vegetarian food only. Eten vol Leven’s menu is broad, from breakfast to salads, soups, pizza, zucchini-spaghetti, wraps and delicious desserts. Drinks include fresh juices, smoothies, and nutmilk-shakes. This small restaurant is great for curious vegetarians who want to try out a raw food diet.
Eten vol Leven, 52 Minderbroedersrui, Antwerp, Belgium, +32 0323 33464
Run by a former Nepalese mountain guide, Kioku is a restaurant spreading the joys of Asian cuisine through the Japanese, Thai and Nepalese dishes on its menu. There are a number of vegetarian options, including vegetarian maki and temaki that somehow retain the wonderful flavors of sushi, minus the fish. Vegetarian dimsum, loempia, curry and tempura add to Kioku’s range of options for vegetarians, each created with the same care as the meaty ones.
Kioku, 47 Oude Vaartplaats, Antwerp, Belgium +32 0321 33500
Dining at an Ethiopian restaurant not only satisfies the taste buds, it’s also a fun social activity to sit around a table and dig into a common plate using only your hands and a piece of injera flatbread. Little Ethiopia offers just that experience, and is the only Ethiopian restaurant in Antwerp, making the vegetarian dishes on its menu unique to the city. The restaurant has the main staples of Ethiopian cuisine and its vegetarian versions include ye-misir wat (red-lentil stew).
Little Ethiopia, 8 Zirkstraat, Antwerpen, Belgium, +32 0333 62293
Umami is a savory taste among our five basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter and salty, and also the name of the Japanese restaurant specialising in contemporary Asian cuisine in Antwerp. Umami’s interior and overall style is sleek and modern. The vegetarian options on the menu are elaborate and the dishes are visually attractive. Dishes include vegetarian sushi rolls, a potato and pea samosa with mint sauce and tomato salsa, and a wakame seaweed salad with organic soba noodles and green tea dash.
Umami, 6 Luikstraat, Antwerpen, Belgium, +32 0323 73978