Green Gorilla (Geneva, Switzerland)

Green Gorilla logo

Okay story time! I tried to go to Green Gorilla several times actually. Green Gorilla posits themselves as a superfood place so I assumed they had at least some vegan food items. (Also because gorilla’s are mostly vegetarian!) They sells juices, smoothies, pastries, smart bars, vegan cookies, coffees and ‘bowls’. The latter are mostly pre-made and wrapped. So, the first time I wanted to visit, I was a bit late for lunch (13:30) and there was almost no food left in the shop. They are open the whole day, so that was a bit surprising. I noticed that they actually do not have so many vegan options; there is an açaí bowl and I believe a pre-made salad with veggies.

Interior at Green Gorilla
Vegan cookies!

The next time I went they were closed since they were moving to another location! But it turned out there is a second nearby location in Globus, a large department store. To find the Green Gorilla there is not straight forward, it is part of a gym/wellness place on the 4th floor, and if you don’t know it is there you won’t find it.

Interior at Green Gorilla

The place itself is very beautiful, there is a great roof terrace and it is very lounge-y (probably because it is in a fancy wellness centre 🙂 )

Smoothies at Green Gorilla
Blueberry love and Green gorilla smoothies! Raw vegan ball hiding in the back

So this time we were on time for lunch, but again most of the pre-made food was gone already. Fortunately, we could still try the açaí bowl, it was being made on the spot, it didn’t take long. I was with my favourite lunch partner, my husband (food blogging is easier with more people since you can try more things!) We both had a smoothie; the Green gorilla (banana, apple, avocado, mint, spinach, spirulina, ginger and dates) and the Blueberry love (blue berries, strawberries, vanilla, coconut, castor oil (?) and dates). The smoothies were seriously next level, they were delicious, huge, and decorated with fruit (great for pictures but made eating them a bit complex) I believe all smoothies are sweetened with dates, which I personally didn’t think was very necessary. We also tried two small vegan raw balls from ‘La smart truffe’ , while waiting for our açaí bowl.

Açaí bowl at Green Gorilla
Açaí bowl with banana, strawberries and coconut topping

The acai bowl was pretty but a bit disappointing at the same time. It is a basically a smoothie in a bowl with fruits on top. Size-wise it was much smaller than the smoothies we just had. It was tasty, and we did feel superhealthy afterwards, so there is that. I would go back for the smoothies for sure!

Type of place: health food/super food cafe
Completely vegan: no

Website : https://www.facebook.com/pg/greengorillacafe/

Vollpension (Vienna, Austria)

Interior at Vollpension
The inside of Vollpension is cozy and welcoming

Vollpension is a bakery, where you can get breakfast, lunch and dinner. But it is more than that. They call themselves a “generational coffee house”, a social enterprise to bring generations together. Their reasoning: in busy cities nowadays there is not a lot of room for  meaningful conversations between people, especially between generations. Quite some seniors in big cities in Austria (and other places) are lonely, and have a low income since it is harder for older people to find jobs. Vollpension is a social initiative to bring young and old together, to provide jobs and a social network to older people. About 60% of the employees at Vollpension are over 55. The idea of visiting Vollpension is like going to your grandparents, for a cup of tea and a piece of pie.

Cups at Vollpension
Mismatched coffee cups!

I love this initiative and I am not alone! For brunch Vollpension was super busy! If you plan to go, maybe reserve in advance to guarantee a spot. The idea of “grandmothers kitchen table” is also present in the interior. Mismatched cups, comfy chairs, cozy-kitchy furnitures and decorations…very welcoming! In the back pies are being baked by the seniors according to family recipes. They have actually published a book with recipes and stories from the bakers (only in German I believe)

Drinks at Vollpension
Coffee, orange juice and soy milk in the small can

We went for brunch on Sunday morning and as mentioned before, it was very busy. There was place on the terrace but it was a bit chilly. Fortunately there was still place at the ‘kitchen table’, a large table where several groups of people could sit. There is a vegan breakfast option; the ‘Kerndlfresser’, and a vegan bircher muesli. (These options are clearly marked on the menu ) Additionally there is soy milk for coffee and there are some vegan cakes! When I was there I believe there was no vegan option for the lunch or dinner, but the menu changes of course.

Vegan breakfast at Vollpension
Vegan breakfast: the kerndlfresser (if someone knows what that means, please leave a comment…I am curious!)

The Kerndlfresser consists of two slices of bread, from a Wiener bakery, oven-roasted veggies, carrot spread, a fruit salad and some raw veggies, all sprinkled with sunflower seeds. The veggies, aubergine, potato, zucchini, and cauli flower, are nice. I really liked the carrot spread, it also had pumpkin which gave an additional sweetness. The fruit salad consisted of melon and pine-apple, and was the least interesting part in my opinion. The bircher muesli is huge! The muesli itself is mixed with berries, then a grated apple layer, topped with some strawberries.

Bircher museli at Vollpension
Bircher museli

There are several cakes on the menu, but none are vegan. However, there were some more cakes available, among which a vegan lemon cake! It is very nice, so very fluffy and soft!

Vegan cake at Vollpension
Vegan lemon pie!

I really like this social initiative, and Vollpension is such a welcoming place! It is great to see that it is so successful. The food served at brunch was great! It would be nice if they could add some vegan options for the lunch, but after a brunch that size you won’t be hungry for a while anyway 🙂 Oh just one note, like several other places in Vienna, you can only pay with cash here!

 

Type of place:  Cafe/Bakery
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website (German) : https://www.vollpension.wien/

Granola (Geneva, Switzerland)

Granola is a health food cafe in Geneva, which uses a lot of local, ethically sourced and seasonal products. They offer breakfast and lunch items, such as soups and poké bowls. They have coffee, juices and cakes ( sometimes do have vegan cakes, but not when I visited unfortunately) Delivery is possible too, via smood.ch.

Granola interior

 

The place is pretty cute. Inside there are several tables and a bar, and outside is a nice terrace.   Somehow it seemed to me like a place that would offer a lot of vegan items, because of  the hipster-factor (avocado toast! poké bowls!) and focus on health, but that was a bit of a disappointment. Later I read on their site that they offer food that is “hearty and delicious—almost like vegetarian food for nonvegetarians ” and I have to say I have no clue what that is supposed to mean, since most of the food they offer is not vegetarian at all. They also mention their focus on environment and plant-based food, so, it is a bit of a conflicting message.

Chia pudding at Granola
Chia tella without tella but with heaping of coconut flakes

Anyway, on the food!  I actually went there for the avocado toast (something that is not that common in Geneva!) but they were out of avocado. They also have an açai bowl, which is vegan, and a “chia tella”;  a chia pudding with banana, coconut milk and Nutella,  which can be made vegan if the Nutella is left out. I wanted to try the chia pudding, which was okay but not very special. I spotted later on the menu that they also have a Buddha bowl which seems vegan.

Energy balls at Granola
Vegan energy balls!

They do have several milk alternatives, and interesting hot drinks such as rose lattes, and liquid gold latte. And also matcha lattes and coffee. I had a latte with oat milk, which was pretty good.  There were some nice looking cakes, but none were vegan. However, at the ordering station I noticed some “energy balls”, which are in fact vegan!  I tried two, the espresso and the chocolate and they were good! Maybe more healthy than the cake 🙂

Coffee at Granola
Oat latte and energy balls

The service was good, it’s a nice place to sit with a coffee (and maybe a slice of vegan cake?) I would still like to try the avocado toast, because they are not so common in Geneva.

 

Type of place: juice bar and café

Completely vegan: no

Website (English) : http://www.granola-geneva.com

Zio (Geneva, Switzerland)

Zio is a lunch-dinner-bakery-take-way-etc in several locations in Geneva. I was specifically interested in one Zio after I spotted a sign saying that there was a vegan ‘plat du jour’ (e.g. daily menu) available for lunch! Unfortunately at that time I wasn’t aware there were, like, 10 Zio in Geneva, so it took a while to find the right one again! All Zio establishments are slightly different, some are more like bakeries and others more like cafés. While I am sure some of the other Zio also have vegan options, but I really want to try this specific one. This specific Zio (Vieille-Ville location) is only open for lunch during the week by the way.

Zio interior
Inside Zio

Long story short, I went to Zio for lunch to test their vegan ‘plat du jour’ !  Zio Vieille-Ville serves fresh juices, drinks and coffee. All food is pre-made and packaged. You pick from a display, where the vegan and vegetarian options are clearly labelled. If you eat the food in the restaurant itself it is reheated (if applicable) and served.

 

zio_drinks
Fresh juices

The place itself is a bit minimalist, with lounge music and a chill atmosphere. I do have to say the actual vegan ‘plat du jour’ was a bit disappointing that day. It was a lasagne with spinach and aubergine.  The lasagne was served with a few slices of bread. Sounds good right? Well actually it didn’t have lasagne leaves, I think the idea was that the aubergine took the place of the pastas. But why? Lasagne leaves are usually vegan. So it was more of a warm salad. Additionally, while tasty, the dish was salty. Really salty.

 

Lasagne at Zio
“Lasagne”

Overall I was disappointed by the lack of choice and the actual dish. Unfortunately there were also no vegan desserts.  Zio serves something different everyday I suppose, so maybe it was bad luck, but overall it wasn’t great. I think this was partially caused by the fact I was trying to get lunch here for a long time (“they advertise a vegan lunch! I must supported these initiatives!”) and then it kinda fell flat for me.

Type of place: “Cafeteria, restaurant, take-away, catering and bakery”
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes

Website (French): https://www.zio-ge.ch/

Brunchroom (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

Brunchroom in Amsterdam has been on my “places to try” list for a while now. The ‘problem’ is that a> I don’t go to Amsterdam that often, and b> Amsterdam has quite some choices for vegans, so my “to visit” list has been growing for a while! A few weeks ago I visited Amsterdam again and I decided that this time, I really had to go get some vegan waffles (!!).

Table at Brunchroom
Reading table

Brunchroom is a bit away from the Amsterdam city centre, but definitively within walking distance from the Central Station. The place is a bit small, but very cosy and cute. It was also quite busy! Fortunately we could still nab a spot at the reading table.

Interior at Brunchroom
Waffles are huge but I still don’t wanna share!

As the name implies, here brunch is served in many shapes; eggs, yoghurt, sandwiches, soups, waffles and a variety of drinks, such as coffee (milk alternatives available: soy and almond), tea, chocolate, juices and smoothies. Their menu changes a bit with the seasons, I noticed they still have the winter menu on their website. There are several vegan options, for the sandwiches, soups, smoothies and of course the waffles! There is also a vegan speciality coffee, the lavender latte. Of course, me and my trusted better half took it upon us to try to taste as much as we could!

Drinks at Brunchroom
How pretty do these look!

We tried both vegan smoothies that were available: the lambada (peach, coconut, banana, orange, turmeric) and the twist (beets, dates, strawberry and banana) They were delicious and thick, and presented so beautifully! The Lavender latte is an espresso with frothed hot coconut milk and lavender. I liked the concept, but I find the taste of coconut milk in coffee often too overpowering.

Drinks at Brunchroom
Nice details

For the waffles you can choose your own toppings, which are divided into a few groups based on the price. There are a lot of vegan options, and even vegan whipped cream! Choosing toppings took a while because there were so many options.  In the end I tried a combination of peanut butter and banana, a classic, with some additional pumpkin seeds. My husband tried peanut butter, fig jam and maple syrup. The waffles were delicious and thick, and huge!

Waffles at Brunchroom
Peanut butter-banana-pumpkin seed and peanut butter-fig jam-maple syrup

Even with so much other stuff to try in Amsterdam, I cannot wait to go back to the Brunchroom!

Type of place: Brunch/Breakfast
Completely vegan: no
Website (Dutch, English) : http://brunchroom.nl/

Végé café (Lausanne, Switzerland)

More and more I see vegan restaurants, bakeries and cafés around me. A great development! While I don’t try to limit my eating to these places, sometimes it is nice to be able to order everything available without having to interrogate a poor waiter about whether or not this dish contains milk!

Drink at Vege cafe

Today a quick review about a fully vegan café in Lausanne: Végé café. It was on my “to visit” list for a while, so I am glad to finally be able to discuss it! The first time I wanted to go to the Végé café was in August, and unfortunately they were closed during the weekend at that time. My fault, I should’ve paid more attention to their site…I was just too excited ! And then somehow I didn’t go there again until a few weeks ago.

Menu at Vege cafe
Menu du jour

Végé café serves breakfast and lunch, and the menu changes daily. When you enter you face the bar, where a lot of tasty desserts are waiting. The café itself was busy, which is always nice. I visited with a friend on a Sunday, and actually not many cafés and restaurants are open on Sunday. So extra points for Végé café!

Soup at Vege cafe
Soup and hummus toast (more bread hiding out of view)

I saw on their menu that they had vegan croissants! Too bad it was too late for breakfast, so I opted for a soup with bread and a ginger lemonade. The soup was very good. My friend ordered the tajine, which was not that great. It was very water-y, the tofu was quite tasteless. Fortunately the desserts were better. I got a chocolate mousse with my soy latte, which was great!

Dessert and coffee at vege cafe
Coffee & chocolate mousse!
Type of place: vegan café
Completely vegan: yes
Vegan desserts: yes
Website (French): http://vege.cafe/

Bagels and Beans (Den Haag, the Netherlands)

Bagels & Beans is a Dutch chain of cosy cafés where you can get coffee and bagels as advertised, but also pies, juices, breakfast, etc. A lot of the food is made with organic, durable and fair-trade ingredients, and they have gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options…sounds good!

Coffee at Bagels and Beans
Soy latte

I have visited several Bagels and Beans, but the one where I actually took some pictures is in Den Haag (The Hague). The location of this café is very interesting, it is in a bookshop, which creates a nice atmosphere. All Bagels and Beans cafés I visited are very welcoming. In their FAQ they even mention being totally fine with people just coming in to shelter from the rain!

Pecan pie at Bagels and Beans
Naturally sweetened pecan pie

This time I didn’t try any of their bagels, but there are vegan options for bagels, most of the bagel breads are vegan, and they have some vegan toppings available. In general it is best to ask the staff, they will help you. For your sweet fix there is a vegan pecan pie! It is also gluten-free, and delicious!

Chai tea at Bagels and Beans
Look at the cute plate!

 

Bagels and Beans serve a lot of different drinks, like juices, coffee, and teas, and they have several milk alternatives available. I really like this chain! I have visited several locations and they are all very cosy, with great food!

 
 
Type of place: café
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts:  yes!

Website (English, Dutch, German): https://www.bagelsbeans.nl/nl