We found Cookoomela via Happy Cow; most vegans know about this great website, and if you don’t go check it! It is very useful to find vegan eateries in many different cities all over the world. For my blog, I prefer to write about places that are not ‘known’ to be vegan-friendly or listed on HappyCow … everyone likes to be the first to discover and report on a cool place! Honestly, it is difficult to find really “uncharted” new places since HappyCow is pretty extensive…. #firstworldveganproblems 😀 So I don’t mind to give a longer review on a “known” vegan place once in a while **
Cookoomela Grill is a completely vegan street food-style eatery. They make gyros, a traditional Greek meat dish, from mushrooms and they serve kebab made of lentils. The place itself is very small. There are a few places outside to sit, and it was very busy. I believe they do mostly take-away. Fortunately, this type of food is made to be eaten on the go!
Cookoomela Grill offers a few variants of stuffed pita, fries and a salad. We tried two of the pita, the “Cookoomela Kebab”; the lentil kebab with potato, homemade tomato sauce, salad and almond cream cheese, served wrapped in a pita, and the “Cookoomela Red”, a pita with mushroom gyros, avocado, home made tomato sauce, vegan mayonnaise, salad and potatoes (I only got a blurry picture of this one, it was already pretty dark!)
I really like the street-food style and the vegan interpretation of classic dishes of the Cookoomela Grill. It was great to see this small place so busy as well. The only downside is that there’s not so much space to sit, but the food can be eaten while walking pretty easily.
Short review today! It might be a bit cold for ice cream in Switzerland (first snow of this winter has fallen!). However, if you happen to be in Athens (now, or when it is actual ice cream weather) I can recommend Ice Queen Gelato!
This ice cream shop has several vegan gelato flavours, even beyond the standard sorbets. And, while they do not have vegan cones, but they do have both vegan (bubble) waffles and vegan crêpes. They also serve drinks, like smoothies and coffee (according to HappyCow they serve soy milk). I believe they also sell some other snacks.
Since Ice Queen Gelato was conveniently located near where I was staying in Athens, of course I tried both these versions. Like most gelato places, there is a small terrace where you can sit and eat, which was specifically useful in the case of the crêpes 🙂 But the waffles and ice creams are of course more portable.
The first time we visited I tried a crêpe with banana, vegan chocolate sauce and the vegan coconut ice cream. The crêpes are made with an actual crêpe maker, and they were thin like the non-vegan crêpes I remember. The ice cream itself was very good and creamy. I haven’t seen crêpes being offered as ice cream ‘vehicles’ often, but it works great.
Ice Queen Gelato has both standard and bubble waffles, and since I never tried the latter, I made plans to return to try these special waffles!
I tried a bubble waffle with vegan hazelnut praliné, again banana (gotta get your 2 pieces of fruit per day in!) and a scoop of vegan ice cream. I have read that in some bubble waffle versions the bubbles contain sauce, that was not the case here. The waffles are a bit more tricky to eat than from a standard cone, but so, so good!
The staff was friendly, and the service good. The first time we visited they were almost closing, but they were still willing to fire up the crêpe maker (which was already turned off for the day) to provide us with vegan crêpes. Can recommend!
Avocado is a vegetarian restaurant in Athens that has been around for several years. The founders actually started with having a yoga studio, and the food served at Avocado has a focus on health as well. A lot of the food is labelled organic, and they serve some specific macrobiotic dishes. Avocado uses local, organic and seasonal products for as far as possible. Apart from the macrobiotic food, they serve pastas, pizza, soup, noodles, wraps, burgers and more. For drinks there are smoothies, juices, wines, tea, coffee etc.
There is some confusion on the internet whether or not Avocado is vegan or vegetarian. It is vegetarian, but they serve several vegan dishes and items that can be served vegan. On the menu card it is listed which items are vegan, gluten-free or wheat-free. I did notice some discrepancies between the online menu and the menu card in Avocado itself, so maybe there had been a recent update of dishes. For example, we tried the falafel plate which was listed as ‘can be made vegan’ in the restaurant, and as ‘vegan’ online.
I tried a coconut milk shake, made with coconut and almond milk. This smoothie was specifically mentioned as vegan. Some of the other drinks can be made vegan upon request (at a surcharge). I really enjoyed it, the taste was just purely coconut, which I happen to enjoy.
For starters we tried the ‘Mother Earth’, a spinach tart, and the falafel plate (made vegan). The spinach tart is based on traditional Greek food. The spinach part and the dough were tasty, though the dough, which is made with oat, amaranth and flax seed, was quite hard and a bit chewy. The tart itself was topped with almond and some were burned. Unfortunately, the tart was clearly re-heated in the microwave since some parts were cold and others were very hot.
We were warned that the falafel plate was big, and that was no lie! We were told we could bag up what we couldn’t finish, but as we spend the whole day walking around, a doggy bag was not needed. The falafel plate in its vegan form is served with guacamole which I found a bit strange. It is served with nice thick pita and tabbouleh with capers. The falafel themselves were very good!
What was a bit surprising was that we got the starters one at the time. The mains we got both at the same time. We tried a Black Bean Caponata wrap and a Koula panini. Both are served with guacamole and nachos. (I read later on the menu for the Koula panini we could’ve chosen sweet potato flakes. Well, next time :)) The Black Bean wrap is Mexican-inspired, with grains, black beans, avocado and veggies. The Koula panini has a potato-mushroom patty, tomatoes and home-made Ceasar dressing.
There are two vegan desserts, and we tried the ‘hug a tree’: a slice of apple pie topped with hazelnuts and almonds. Interestingly with a similar crust as the spinach pie. Very nice, but again reheated in such a way that parts of it were cold. We had the dessert with a nice coffee. Avocado offers soy and almond milk, but again for a small surcharge (it is organic though).
The atmosphere at Avocado is quite relaxed, with music from the 50s-60s. Interestingly there were quite a lot of older people for lunch. The food is a bit more expensive than the norm in Athens, but overall the quality is good (except for where they failed to properly heat the food). I also liked the portion sizes; many “health”-oriented places serve smaller amounts of food in my experience.
The service was also good, which I found common in Athens. The servers came by several times to ask if we liked the food. Which is nice, except sometimes I just had one bite so I couldn’t really judge yet 😀 The food also came out quite fast. Minor nitpick was that the service was a bit too fast with taking the plates, which gave a bit of a rushed feeling. But overall eating at Avocado was a positive experience!