Takinoa (Nyon, Switzerland)

takinoa_entrance

Takinoa is a Swiss chain of restaurants, founded in 2013.  They are located in the cantons of Geneva and Vaud.  The name ‘Takinoa’ is a combination of the Greek “taki”, meaning speed, combined with ‘no’, so ‘no speed’ or slow. It is also a play on the pronunciation of the word ‘quinoa’, a famed super food. Additionally, their slogan is “food for joy”. Takinoa focuses of food which is good for the consumer, but also the environment. They use local, preferably organic, seasonal and biological products. But they also limit the amount of sugar and salt added to the food. More than half of the dishes they serve are gluten-free, lactose-free and vegetarian. There is also some choice in vegan dishes.

Refrigerator at Takinoa
Available food in the fridge; vegan, vegetarian, lactose- and gluten-free labelled

There is a changing menu, with juices, smoothies, salads, wrap, desserts, and (hot) bowls. The food itself is pre-made, packaged and refrigerated. For each item it is clearly listed if it is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-or lactose-free. They do use recycled plastic, but still it seems a bit wasteful, especially with the environmental message. The food that gets reheated is packaged in glass.

Cookies at Takinoa
Vegan cookies and energy balls at the bar

So you pick the food from the refrigerator, then you pay at the counter. You can also order the daily soup and drinks there. On the counter is also an assortment of cookies and cakes. There were even a few vegan cookies! When applicable the food is heated by the staff, and brought to you together with any drinks you ordered. After eating, you put your tray and the boxes, cutlery and bowls in the correct place. The procedure, and even the bowls reminded me of N & Co by Quinte & Sens. Service was less traumatic here fortunately.

Interior at Takinoa
Water is available for free

That is how it works, now what did we eat! I planned to visit Takinoa for a while, since I had the idea there was a lot of vegan stuff since I had been told it was all vegetarian. When I arrived, I found out that was not really the case. Takinoa mentions on their site that 70% of their food is vegetarian and 20% vegan, and that seemed about right with what I saw. I was happy to see that there were some vegan desserts, and the vegan dishes available were not only salads 🙂

Food at Takinoa
Pumpkin soup with bread, mango lassi, quinoa bowl and soba noodle salad

 

We tried the pumpkin soup, a quinoa bowl, a soba noodle salad and two desserts. I also had a small mango lassi (vegan, made with almond milk and curcuma) but I have to report it was not that great, it didn’t really have the mango taste I expected. The pumpkin soup was nice and thick, served with a generous piece of rustic bread. I do think the soup needed some more seasoning, but I guess this falls in line with the idea of Takinoa using less salt.

Noodle salad at Takinoa
Soba noodle salad with prunes, veggies and nuts. To the left the dressing we picked with it

The quinoa bowl was served warm, or rather flaming hot. Eat carefully! The bowl contained, apart from the quinoa, apple, carrot, some other seasonal vegetables, and balsamic vinegar. It was nice, the apple gave a natural sweetness to the dish. The soba noodle salad was very tasty, it had edamame beans, prunes, broccoli, a few sweet potato pieces, some mushrooms, salad and several types of seeds. We could choose our own dressing for the salad, but there was already some in the dish itself.

Apple crumble at Takinoa
Apple crumble dessert!

We tried two desserts;  an apple crumble with cinnamon and pistachio and a pudding-y dessert with Matcha tea and steamed pear. The apple crumble was just apple sauce with some crumble on top…a bit disappointing. The pudding was nicer, it was topped with goji berries, and had a very interesting texture.

Pudding dessert at Takinoa
Matcha pudding with steamed pear and goji berries

Afterwards, I had a coffee with a vegan cookie. The cookie was a bit salty, it went quite well with coffee. They also have vegan ‘energy balls’.

Coffee at Takinoa
Coffee with plant-milk and a cookie

Overall the food was okay, but a bit on the expensive side. If you take-out, the food it is a bit cheaper.

Type of place: health food
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website (French): http://takinoa.com/

IndoGo (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

Indonesian cuisine is very diverse, due to the fact that the country consists of many islands (more than 17 000!), inhabited by different ethnic groups. Some well-known Indonesian foods are satay and nasi goreng, but there are also a lot of vegan and vegetarian dishes based on soy. Tempeh, a fermented soy product, is actually thought to be invented in Indonesia! I haven’t eaten at a lot of Indonesian restaurants, so I was very curious to try it out.

Interior at IndoGo
Take-out boxes, plants and Indonesian foodstuffs for decoration

IndoGo is a fast-casual Indonesian place in Amsterdam. They do mostly take-out/delivery, but there are a few seats available as well. The interior is nice, with Indonesian food stuffs displayed. There is also quite some plants, which are not that common in restaurants/take-out places!

 

IndoGo offers a “choose your own meal” option, using ready-made ingredients, a variety of side-dishes and snacks, sandwiches and desserts. There are several vegan options available, both for the ‘indo-meal’, and the sides like gado-gado and springrolls. These options are clearly marked. There’s also cold drinks available, including some more exotic options such as a lychee soft drink.

Food at IndoGo
Veggies, tofu and tempeh

The indo-meal is put together by choosing a base, a special and veggies. The specials are all meat, but the veggies include tofu (2 types) and tempeh. The only vegan base available is rice (several types), as the available noodles have eggs. After choosing the ingredients, they are put in a box and are heated in the microwave.

 

I choose the tempeh and the spicey eggplant. It was a great combination, the liquid from the eggplant gave the rice a nice flavour and made it stick together a bit. (Unfortunately it looked not so great on the picture) My husband choose white rice, tofu and veggies with coconut sauce (lodeh coconut), which was also nice, though the ingredients didn’t really combine so at the bottom there was just plain white rice.

Indomeal at IndoGo
Lodeh coconut, rice and tofu box

We also tried a vegan spring roll, but it wasn’t too great. It was quite floppy and not very crunchy, due to being reheated in the microwave. We also ordered the gado-gado but we never got it.

 

The service was very friendly, but not very good. I think the person putting the boxes together had just started, and communication was not great. The food was all-right, obviously not haute cuisine, but that is not expected. I think it is great they have several vegan options, and I would eat there again! If only to try the gado-gado salad !

Type of place: Indonesian, take-out
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: no

Website (English) : http://indo-go.nl/

Sources: wikipedia

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/

Veganopolis (Lausanne, Switzerland)

Veganopolis is a small vegan eatery near Lausanne main station. During the week a daily menu is available, which can be found on their site as well, if you don’t like surprises (I won’t judge, I don’t like surprises either!).

In addition there are paninis, salads and sweets such as cakes, muffins, and cookies to enjoy. On Saturday several kinds of vegan burgers are served. Apart from the restaurant, there is also a small shop section, where you can buy vegan cheeses, chocolates and bars.

Burger menu at Veganopolis
Burgers!

Veganopolis is very geared towards take-out, there are few seats available (Also, strangely enough there are no toilets) It was quite busy when we visited, fortunately we managed to get a seat at the bar next to the window.

Drinks at Veganopolis
Kombucha & bio-cola

We went on Saturday to try the burgers (of course), and we chose the “Dune”(chick peas) and the “V-Cheez” with seitan and fake cheese. The burgers were made with nice buns, fast-food style, and they were very good. We ordered fries as a side with both vegan mayonnaise and ketchup. The fries were nicely spiced but not very crunchy. Also they were served a bit of an inconvenient bowl.

Burger with fries, ketchup and vegan mayonnaise at Veganopolis
Yum! Burger, fries & dips

Since there were so many deliciously looking pastries we of course had to try some freshly made cake. It was nice and fluffy.

Vegan cake at Veganopolis
Freshly baked vegan cake!

To finish it off I choose from the many available hot beverages a chai tea with soy milk. It was more soy than chai, but I find that that is often the case. It was a nice finish to a great meal!

Soy chai tea at Veganopolis
Soy chai tea

Type of place: Take-out
Completely vegan: yes
Vegan desserts: yes
Website (French) : http://veganopolis.org/

Camoma Veggie Take Away & Pizzeria L’Angelo (Venice, Italy)

For a while I doubted if I should make this post since I want to have a positive tone on this blog. But I also want to write about less than ideal experiences. Honesty is important. And sometimes things are just disappointing, and that is okay.

Still I want to leave a positive note in there, so today a double review. Let’s get the bad out of the way before we get to the good.

Boat, channel and houses in Venice
Sunny day in Venice

Like many vegetarians&vegans I use the site Happycow.net to get an idea about the vegan options when visiting a new city/country. I never plan to -only- visit vegan places. But if I visit a new city that I might not visit again soon, and there is a great vegan place, I don’t want to miss out on it!
Also, it is good to have a bit of a feel how “present” veganism in a city. Say there are 2 bistro’s with vegan options, and nothing else. Then I know I might need to prepare a bit harder. In my opinion there are vegan options almost everywhere, but preparation is key to having a good time.

Image of vegan sandwiches and drinks at Camoma Veggie Take Away
Vegan sandwiches and drinks at Camoma Veggie Take Away

Camoma was listed as a vegan place, though the reviews already stated it was in fact not purely vegan. Still, the reports of vegan lasagna and vegan tiramisu made me curious! So I went there and it was just, not good. The person working there directly told us that only the sandwiches were vegan. And they were just very disappointing. It was standard white bread, no crust, with filling. Sure it was ~okay~ but not exciting. There were four variations of this breads and they all tasted kind of similar. At first I thought we were at the wrong place, but no. This was really it.
There was no lasagna, no tiramisu or any other pastry. No coffee. The woman working there seemed upset with us visiting. (We could sit there, by the way, it it is not just a take-out) I hope someone can chime in, maybe they had a bad day and there was no stock? It is just not a place I’d recommend as there are so many more great places. Vegan and non-vegan.

Type of place: Vegetarian take-out
Completely vegan: no
Website (Italian): https://www.facebook.com/camomaveggievenezia/

Image of display with vegan sandwich with "rice cheese" at pizzaria l'Angelo
Vegan sandwich with “rice cheese” at pizzeria l’Angelo

Anyway, let’s turn the bad into a good. When walking around a bit dissatisfied by those sad sandwiches, we bumped into a small take-out place which had a whole row of vegan sandwiches! They were labelled vegan, and they had “fake cheese” and “fake meat’. It was very nice, and quite a surprise! While many vegans are aware of the existence of vegan cheese, I almost never saw it used in products outside of vegan-only places.

Menu board at pizzeria l'Angelo showing several vegan pizzas
Menu with several vegan pizza options!

Choosing was hard, there was actually more available than I initially noticed. Apart from the sandwiches there are also several types of vegan pizza available. And all for a good price!

Vegan and non-vegan sandwiches in the display at pizzeria l'Angelo
Vegan and non-vegan sandwiches on display

Type of place: Pizza & Panini takeout
Completely vegan: no
Website (Italian): https://www.facebook.com/Pizzeria-LAngelo-158009690894595/