American Dream Diner (Geneva, Switzerland)

Bar at American Dream Diner
Step into a time machine

Stepping into the American Dream Diner in Geneva is like being transported to the USA in the 50ties. The chrome, the benches, the jukeboxes! Personally, it reminds me of the game Fallout. The American Dream Diner is inspired by old American Diners, and provides, as they call it, an escape from today’s complex world. While I don’t think life was more easy at that time, stepping into the Dream Diner is like stepping in a time capsule. But with vegan options! The interior is the real deal, imported from the US.

Interior at American Dream Diner

American Dream Diner can be found in Geneva, and soon they will open a second location in Geneva, and open in Nyon and Lausanne as well! There is also a small shop attached which sells American foodstuffs like Pop-tarts, non-food like magazines, but there is also a selection of for example Canadian items (also online: http://www.americanmarket.ch/)

Table at American Dream Diner
Paper straws in the background

The Diner serves ‘typical’ American food, like burgers, fries and hot dogs and they have vegan options for all the burgers! They can substitute both the patty and the cheese with a plant-based alternative. The patties are made in-house and are composed of among others wheat and soy. Also the hot dogs and Mexican Chili can be made vegan.  Interestingly they also serve salads, and those are not vegan. (Though I am sure you can ask for them to be made vegan)

Snacks at American Dream Diner
Fries, Onion rings with vegan dip, and chili fries with vegan cheese

So yes, there was a lot to try! We started with the onion rings, served with a vegan sauce and two types of fries, the American and chili “cheese” fries. The fries are nice and thick, the portions reasonable. We tried both the BBQ burger and the classic cheese burger in vegan form. The burgers are pretty big, and taste good, a bit mushroom-y I would say.

Vegan Cheese burger at American Dream Diner
‘Cheese’ burger

To be honest, while the burgers tasted slightly different from each other (because different sauces were used) it was not really outspoken. I think this is because the vegan patties are the same and the difference between these two burgers is rather due to the type of cheese and the addition of bacon in the BBQ burger. Maybe the non-vegan counterparts also taste similar, I cannot really judge that 🙂

Food at American Dream Diner

There are also special drinks served like floats and milkshakes. Unfortunately these are not vegan.  There are also no vegan desserts.

The service was very good, the staff was very kind and helpful when it came to explaining the available vegan options. Also, they actually mentioned that they had no vegan desserts, which was quite thoughtful. Usually when I go somewhere, even if it is clear that I am vegan, I will be offered the dessert card even if there is nothing vegan on there. So extra points from me for this.

Interior at American Dream Diner
Even the bill is brought in style! Dunno if the candy is vegan though…

I really want to go back to the Diner ! The food was good, the atmosphere great, and I want to test out the vegan hot dogs as well!

Type of place:  American diner
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: no

Website (French, English) : http://www.americandreamdiner.com/

Swing Kitchen (Vienna, Austria)

Exterior of Swing kitchen
Real Vegan Burger…yes please !

For some people burgers are the ultimate junk food, and I have mentioned some  great vegan burgers on this blog before. In Vienna I visited the Swing Kitchen,  where the specialty is … vegan burgers! The couple that came up with the concept of Swing Kitchen, Irene and Charly Schillinger, used to run a successful completely vegan pub near Vienna, where they translated traditional Austrian recipes into vegan versions. After they turned their attention to Swing Kitchen, a vegan burger restaurant with several locations in Vienna and one in Graz. (Fun fact, one of these locations used to be a McDonald’s!) Swing Kitchen focuses on 100% vegan and environmentally conscious fast food.

Inside of Swing Kitchen
Inside Swing Kitchen

The atmosphere of the location we were at was great. The name is derived from the fact that they play swing music! The interior itself is clean and modern. There is a long bar table along the windows, several tables and seats, and a terrace. The crowd is, as maybe expected, mostly younger people. Being a more fast-food type place, they do take-out and delivery as well. We managed to snag a table, and there was quite a crowd later so that is something to keep in mind!

Desserts display at Swing Kitchen
Desserts on display

Swing Kitchen serves burgers and fries, but also salads like coleslaw, and wraps. You choose the food at the counter, and wait for the order to be made. At the counter the desserts are also displayed, because yes there are vegan desserts! In line with the eco-conscious mission, all straws and cutlery are bio degradable. The napkins are from recycled paper.

Cutlery and such at Swing Kitchen
Recycled paper napkins, bio-degradable cutlery and straws

There is a menu-deal consisting of a burger with fries and a drink. We took two deals, one with the Vienna Burger and normal fries, and the ‘cheese’ burger with sweet potato fries. Additionally we got the onion rings and vegan nuggets to try, with a garlic dip and mayonnaise.

Burgers at Swing Kitchen
The burgers! Cheese burger to the left, Vienna burger to the right!

I have to say that the portions are more reasonable than at the  Vegan Junkfood Bar (the gold standard of junk food at this blog) The mayonnaise is a bit thick, but it was good. I like the garlic dip too, the little pots were just a bit inconvenient for dipping the slightly larger fries in. I liked the nuggets, they were not very special though. The onion rings were a bit strange, I expected a single onion slice to be in there but it was more of a mash.

Sides at the Swing Kitchen
Nuggets, onion rings, two types of fries and two dips for sides!

Now the burgers, they are great ! The Vienna burger has a vegan schnitzel and garlic sauce, and the Cheese burger has a more standard patty, but with a slice of vegan cheese. The buns are big but not excessive. I liked that the patties and fillings were noticeably different, the Vienna Burger was more light and fresh, and the Cheese burger was just good old-fashioned (but cruelty-free) burger joy. The normal fries are nice and thick, but not very crunchy. The sweet potato fries have the shape of a grid, which makes dipping hard in the tiny dipping pots! Also not very crunchy, but good either way.  Swing Kitchen also serves some interesting cold drinks, I had an elder flower soda. They also serve juices, ice tea and coffee.

Desserts at the Swing Kitchen
Cherry cheese cake and the almond nougat dream ❤

Now the desserts! When we visited there was a choice of 5 and I have to say that choosing was quite hard.  We tried the cheese cake and almond nougat dream. The cheese cake had a great structure, and it was fresh and not too sweet likely due to the sour cherries.  The latter is an almond cake with a nougat outside and layers of chocolate mouse and sponge-y cake inside.  It was not as heavy as chocolate cakes tend to be. A dream indeed!

 

Overall I have to say that the price was very reasonable and the food is good. It is great to see a vegan place being so popular that there are several different locations opening up!

 

Type of place: Vegan burger place, fast food
Completely vegan: yes
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website (German, English) : https://www.swingkitchen.com/

 

Meneer Smakers (Utrecht, the Netherlands)

Burgers burgers burgers! Meneer Smakers is all about them! This small eatery in Utrecht is too hip to call it fast-food, but they are definitively inspired by it. The ordering process is fast: choose, order, pay (by card, no cash) and wait until your name gets called to fetch your food.

Inside mr Smakers at the Oudegracht
Nice decorations, badly made photo

Meneer Smakers can be found in 3 different spots in Utrecht, I have only visited the Oudegracht location, but I have been there many times. Utrecht is a city filled with students, so many patrons are young. It can be very busy! This interior has a bit of a rough edge; wooden tables with high seats. On every table there are napkins, ketchup and mayonnaise. To the back is the open kitchen, where you can see your food being prepared.

The burgers served at Meneer Smakers come in several forms, including two vegetarian and one vegan version. They also serve fries,  sandwiches (none are vegan) and salads, based on the burgers. Drink-wise there’s soda, coffee and tea. Nothing too out of the ordinary. The fries are great, they are handmade, from non-peeled potatoes. I personally enjoy sturdy, big crunchy fries, so I like it!

Burgers and fries at mr Smakers
Burger, fries and vegan mayonnaise!

The vegan burger is made of beans, and has mango chutney and cashews nuts on top. They are of good quality, and the portion of fries is generous. Additionally they have vegan mayonnaise!

Vegan burger at mr Smakers
Burger close-up .. yum!

Meneer Smakers reminded me a bit of  Hank Vegan Burger, however there are fewer vegan options. I do think that the burgers at meneer Smakers are superior.  In fact, the burgers at meneer Smakers might in fact be my all time favourites. I guess I have to do some  more research, just in case 🙂

Type of place: Burger
Completely vegan: no

Website  (Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish) : https://meneersmakers.nl/

Hank Vegan Burger (Paris, France)

Hank Restaurant consists of two completely vegan eateries: Hank Vegan Burger and Hank Vegan Pizza, which are very close together. Hank stands for “Have A Nice Karma”, apart from being completely vegan the greater part of the food, such as the sauces and the “veganaise”, are also home-made.

Burgers, potato wedges and dessert at Hanks Vegan Burger
Potato wedges with vegan cheese, wrapped burgers, and desserts hiding behind them!

We visited Hank Vegan Burger, which is a small but very busy place. There are a few tables downstairs, and a larger room upstairs. Ordering is done at the counter, and your name is called out when the order is ready. The menu is very simple, there are burgers, sides, drinks and desserts. There are 2 formulas: burger+side+drink, or all that and a dessert. They serve alcoholic drinks, but at a slight surcharge.

Burger at Hank Vegan Burger
Burger!

The burgers all have the same base but different toppings and sauces. We tried both the “Rockeuse”, with fig sauce,  and the “Allume”. The latter has a delicious BBQ sauce, and is superior in my opinion!

For sides we had potatoes wedges, which could be served with ketchup, mayo or melted vegan cheese for a small extra cost. Other available sides are coleslaw or side of the day. The portion sizes were good, but the potatoes lacked salt.

Potato wedges with melted vegan cheese at Hank Vegan Burger
Potato wedges with melted vegan cheese

Also for the desserts there are 2 standard choices (cookie and carrot cake) and a daily variation, which was an apple crumble.  I saw the cookies being prepared to bake, so they are also made in-house. The desserts are pre-made and packaged. We tried the carrot cake and the crumble, both were nice.

Desserts at Hank Vegan Burger
Carrot cake and apple crumble (in awful lightning)

I really liked the concept of this place! It focusses only on burgers, and the turn-over is fast. Next time I’m in Paris I want to try out Hanks Pizza, I am sure it will be great as well!

Type of place: Take-out,  burgers
Completely vegan: yes
Vegan desserts: yes
Website (French, English) : http://www.hankrestaurant.com/