Al Boustan (Paris, France)

 

The first time I visited Al Boustan, a fast-food place in the middle of Paris,  I tried their falafel wrap and some spinach fatayer (triangles of dough with filling) That wrap was one of the best falafel wraps I have ever had, so when I had the chance I went back to sample more of their menu!

Tabbouleh at Al Boustan
Tabbouleh salad on a table crammed full of dishes 🙂

Al Boustan does take-away as mentioned, but there are also a few tables. It is a fast-casual place, in the middle of a busy area, so service is fast. On the menu there are some full dishes, but mostly mezzes. There are several mezze menus (so a full meal consisting of small dishes) including a vegetarian version. There is also the possibility to create a custom mezze menu, where you can pick 4 cold and 2 warm mezzes, which happened to be the exact amount of vegan items available!

Cold mezzes at Al Boustan
An overview of the cold mezzes: hummus in the centre, to the left moussaka, to the right moutabal and the top-right the tabbouleh

For cold mezzes we had hummus, moussaka, moutabal (aubergine dip) and tabbouleh. The hummus was very nice and creamy. I also enjoyed the moussaka which consists of aubergine, chick peas and tomato sauce. This is all served with flatbread. The warm mezzes we had were the fatayer, which are filled with spinach and pine nuts, and falafel. Since it was cold outside we had some sweet mint tea with our food.

Most of their desserts are baklava, which is unfortunately not vegan due to butter and honey. However, they do have one vegan dessert: lokum, or Turkish delight, a rose-flavoured sweet.

Warm mezzes at Al Boustan
Warm mezzes: fatayer and falafel with salad and tahin sauce

 

Al Boustan is a casual place, the service is very fast and the staff are both knowledgeable about their dishes and helpful when it came to finding out which dishes are vegan. I had a great meal there and I would definitely go back!

 

Type of place: Take-out, Lebanese
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes

Website (French) : http://www.alboustan.fr/

Le Grenier de Notre-Dame (Paris, France)

Le Grenier de Notre-Dame is a macrobiotic vegetarian restaurant in the centre of Paris, near the Notre Dame. It has been around for quite a while, since 1978. They use a lot of local and organic ingredients. This green mind set is also perpetuated in the décor, with a lot of green plants. Downstairs there are a few tables, and a bar. Upstairs there is a larger room.

Mango-avocado tartar at la Grenier de Notre-Dame
Mango-avocado tartar

Le Grenier offers a selection of soups, salads, bowls, desserts and drinks. Every day there is a different daily menu and the standard menu offers a lot of choice! On the menu the vegan dishes are clearly marked. Small warning, I noticed there was one dish which was marked vegan but contained honey. It turned out that dish “could be made vegan”.

Vegetable soup at le Grenier de Notre-Dame
Vegetable soup

We had a vegetable soup and a mango-avocado “tartar”. The tartar was very interesting; sweet and creamy.

Protein special at le Grenier de Notre-Dame
Protein special: different grains, tofu, seitan, beans and vegetables

For our main course we had the protein special and the couscous. The protein special was like a tasting menu full of different high-protein vegan foods like seitan, tofu, grains and seasonal vegetables.

Couscous dish at Grenier de Notre-Dame
Couscous with seitan “steak”

The couscous was served with chickpeas, several vegetables and a seitan “steak”. Both courses were served with bread.

Tarte aux poires at le Grenier de Notre-Dame
Gigantic slice of pear tart 😀

There are also several vegan desserts! We chose the pear tart and a chocolate carrot/avocado/mango tart with a scoop of sorbet ice cream. The chocolate tart was good, but very heavy. The avocado taste is hidden, but adds to the creaminess of the dish. The pear tart is huge!

Chocolate tart with ice cream at le Grenier de Notre-Dame
Chocolate tart with ice cream

Overall le Grenier de Notre-Dame is a relaxed place, with a lot of choice for vegans. The price is slightly higher than most other places in Paris, but the portions are big and the food delicious.

Type of place: Restaurant, Vegetarian
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes
Website (French, English) : http://www.legrenierdenotredame.fr/

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/

VG Pâtisserie (Paris, France)

Think of Paris, think of croissants. Interestingly, the croissant actually originates from Austria*. Croissants are made of layers of thin dough with butter. It would seem that creating a vegan version would not be complex, seeing as there is a lot of vegan butter available nowadays. However, vegan croissants don’t seem to be very widely available. While Cloudcakes does occasionally have them, they were out of croissants when I visited!

Wall decoration at VG Pâtisserie
Wall decoration at VG Pâtisserie

Last time I was in Paris, I visited the VG Pâtisserie and found a lot vegan croissants!  Mission accomplished!

Macarons on display at VG Pâtisserie
Macarons!

 

This bakery is 100% vegan, and they have everything from croissants to macarons to gingerbread men ! During the week there is a breakfast menu, which is quite common in Parisian cafes. There are also several gluten-free options.

 

Cakes on display at VG Pâtisserie
Cakes!

VG Pâtisserie has a few tables to sit down for some breakfast or a coffee with a delicious pastry. When we were there most customers took their baked goods to go. (With the door not closing properly this had the annoying side-effect of having to stand up and close the door a lot…)

Breakfast at VG Pâtisserie
Breakfast for 2 🙂

 

Since coming across a place like this doesn’t happen that often we went a bit crazy with the sweets. Choosing is hard when all options look so great! We had a croissant, a pain au chocolat, a pain au chocolat with praline and a “cronut”.

Macarons at VG Pâtisserie
Hot chocolate with some tiny macarons

The croissants were a bit less fluffy and a bit drier than their buttery counter parts. However, they did not have the same unpleasant after taste some butter croissants have. We also tried a few macarons and a tarte aux citron. The macarons are great! I wonder how they are made. “Normal” macarons are made with egg-whites, and I have seen some recipes for a vegan version which uses aquafaba ( Chickpea brine  )

Tarte aux citron at VG Pâtisserie
Lemon pie

 

This bakery is a bit more expensive then most standard bakeries, but they have a lot of great pastries and cakes. So, money well-spent, in my opinion!

Type of place: Bakery
Completely vegan: yes
Vegan desserts: yes

Website (French) : https://www.vgpatisserie.fr/

* according to Wikipedia

Aux 3 elephants (Paris, France)

This Thai restaurant is located on a quiet street in the centre of Paris. The restaurant itself was bustling! I have had good experiences with Thai food, and a quick glance on the menu showed a complete “vegetarian” section, which is always promising. Thai cuisine tends to be milk-free, but eggs are used for example in noodles. So, I asked the staff whether any of the vegetarian dishes were vegan. After a short discussion I found that all the “vegetarian” dishes are actually vegan! Even better, but a bit confusing.  However, the word vegetarian used to denote what is vegan now, maybe that is why.

Coconut drink at aux 3 elephants
Coconut drink

After the initial confusion was cleared up, we ordered our drinks. I had the coconut water, which had actual pieces of coconut. Can recommend! Since we didn’t feel very hungry we skipped the starter. For the main course we had a curry with vegetables and tofu with cashew nuts, with normal and sticky rice as sides. The sticky rice was particularly nice, and it came in a small basket! The curry was a bit spicy but not overtly so.

Rice and tofu dish at aux 3 elephants
Tofu with vegetables and peanuts dish and the little basket with sticky rice

There were actual vegan desserts! This was not marked clearly on the menu, so it was a nice surprise. I had a dessert with mango, sticky rice and coconut milk.  This combination was simply heavenly! It was very sweet, but not overtly so. The taste of the mango and coconut milk go very well together, and in this simple dish they really shine!

Curry with rice at aux 3 elephants
Curry with rice

The only thing what bothered me was the confusion between the waiter and me about what was vegan and what not, which might be caused by the language barrier (my French is okay, but I am far from fluent). Also my question on whether the dessert was vegan was answered a bit snappily. On the one hand, it was a busy night. On the other hand, restaurants don’t put a full ingredient list on their menu. I rather ask and be sure, then not order to be on the safe side. Especially since Aux 3 Elephants serves desserts that do have egg and milk and this is not clearly marked on the menu card.

I think this might be a general thing that vegans (or those with allergies) can come across.

Mango, coconut milk, sticky rice at aux 3 elephants
Mango, coconut milk, sticky rice ❤

Overall, my experience was a pleasant one!  The service was extremely fast, the prices good and the food delicious. I would definitively go back!

 

Type of place: Thai restaurant
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website (French) : http://www.aux3elephants.com/

Bagelstein (Paris, France)

Bagelstein is a chain of bagel eateries all over France. They started to expand abroad, with a few locations in Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Germany. The bagel itself has an interesting history, they are thought to have been brought by Polish Jews to the US (Specifically New York) where they became a staple*.

The first time I visited Bagelstein was a long time ago, in Grenoble, after a hike for which I was totally ill-prepared. It was one of the first times I had a bagel, which was not that common in France around that time. I really liked the bagel and I remember the fun and unusual decor.

Bagels on display at Bagelstein Paris
Bagels! Almost all are vegan!

Fast-forward to last month. I kind of forgot about Bagelstein until I visted Paris a few weeks ago, and I noticed several Bagelsteins. Somehow I had lived in Paris for years without noticing this!  Time to correct this oversight and test some bagels.

As mentioned, Bagelstein has a quirky kind of decor, with a fake family tree on the wall and signs that say “Men who enter here are never seen again” or something along those lines.  For those familiar with Subway, ordering is a bit similar. You pick the type of bagel you want, (all but one are vegan) and the staff will prepare your bagel directly at the counter. There are standard bagels ‘recipes’, of which none is vegan. But you can also construct your own bagel with the ingredients available: there’s veggies like onions and tomatoes and several sauces. After that you bagel is wrapped and ready to eat.  There’s also soups, but I don’t think those are vegan. For drinks there’s coffee, teas, soda’s and milk shakes.

Bagels at Bagelstein Paris
Salty bagel with veggies and sweet bagel with speculoos !

Nice surprise, they have a “dessert”. While there are a lot of non-vegan pastries, there’s also a “dessert bagel” which is a bagel with a sweet spread, such as peanut butter, nutella and speculoos spread . I am not sure about the peanut butter, but it might be vegan. The speculoos spread is surely vegan 🙂

Type of place: bagel/take-out
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes
Website (French): http://www.bagelstein.com/

* Sources:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/bagels-israel

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagel

Cloudcakes (Paris, France)

Sign outside with menu options at Cloudcakes
Sign outside with the breakfast menu

This small bakery is fully vegan! It is open during the week for the whole day, and on Sunday for brunch. We went on a Saturday morning, lured by the promise of vegan croissants! And our hotel was nearby, which may or may not have been a coincidence. We actually arrived a bit before it opened, because I misread the opening times. That turned out to be a good thing since the place filled up quickly. By the time we left there was a queue and no more spots to sit.

Muffins at Cloudcakes
Cute little muffins!

Unfortunately Cloudcakes was out of vegan croissants the day we visited. No biggie, there were enough great breakfast dishes left. We got pancakes and chocolate- banana toast. The food was very good, and filling. The perfect start to day full of museum visits and walking!

Pancakes with vegan whipped cream, fruits and caramel at Cloudcakes
Pancakes with vegan whipped cream, fruits, almond shavings and caramel
Peanutbutter-banana toast at Cloudcakes
Chocolate-banana toast

We both had a big coffee as well, they use soy milk by default for milky coffees & teas but I believe there’s other milk alternatives available as well.

Delicious soy cappuccino at Cloudcakes
Delicious soy cappuccino

They also do take-away for both the food and the coffee. We got some muffins for later. They unfortunately got damaged in transport, so no photos (we had a red velvet and a tiramisu cupcake, which can be seen below) The taste was still sublime!

We returned on Sunday for lunch, but there was actually no lunch, just brunch. Since we were a bit late there was not much food left. Also there was also no space to sit so we got some muffins for takeaway. Unfortunate but understandable, the place is very popular.

Cakes and muffins at Cloudcakes
Cakes and muffins

Type of place: bakery, take-out
Completely vegan: yes
Vegan desserts: yes
Website (French) : https://www.cloudcakes.fr/