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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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 🙂
After hearing many good stories I finally made the pilgrimage to the Vegan JunkFood Bar (VJFB). There are people that are vegan for health reasons, so this might not be for them. Though, I’d still wager this vegan junkfood might be more healthy than standard junk food. I’ll admit I am biased though!
So in the Netherlands there is this concept of the snackbar or cafetaria. This is a food counter where you can buy fries, ice cream and a variety of (mostly meat-based) snacks. The most interesting thing is that almost all snackbars have a very similar decor and setup, even among different franchises. Note that these cafetarias are very different from chains like KFC and McDonalds in the visitors, people working there and the food on offer. Anyway, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for vegans, but from a cultural anthropological view point I’d say visit one. Btw, the oil used is almost always plant-based, so if the fries and meat are not from the same fryer, try some raspatat. It’s good stuff. (I believe these types of snackbars are a specific Dutch thing, feel free to correct me if I am wrong!)
Now to say that the VJFB is “just” a vegan snackbar won’t do justice to the concept. I mean, sure they have typical snack bar foods like the “kapsalon” and “bitterballen”. And they have the typical plastic boxes in which those foods are served in standard snackbars. But the food is, apart from being completely vegan, fancier than what you would expect in a snackbar. Like a sprinkling of sesame seeds over the fries. The burgers are not plasticy but huge and fully loaded with goodness.
We had: the original VJFB burger, the Sumo burger, sweet potato fries, Pakistani bitterballen and fried onion rings. And yes, we ate that all, it was a lot of food, and all very delicious. Don’t come here with a small appetite!
Pakistani bitterballen and sauce in typical plastic box, sweet potato fries and burger in the background.
The burgers are loaded and took some dexterity to eat properly.. no sad patty on a flat bun here! I also really enjoyed their take on bitterballen. I have no memory of eating “actual” bitterballen, but I doubt they are as good as these. In the end I’d say all the dishes, while “junky” are not a substitute but rather an improvement of their original versions.
There is also vegan ice cream for dessert, several different flavours.
There are now two VJFB locations, fortunately, because the first one was getting so popular it was almost impossible to find a seat!
A short post today, I just found back this picture and realised I wanted to quickly mention this little gem!
I happened upon this bakery when visiting a dear friend in The Hague (aka Den Haag in Dutch). We were actually searching for a place to have lunch, but I saw this bakery which had several vegan cakes available, and I knew that after lunch I needed to get back for a pastry!
The bakery had a nice selection of cakes when we visited. There’s also coffee with several milk alternatives available.
Additionally More Pastry has a webshop, and they create cakes for special occasions.
I hope to get back there one day, to eat some more cake and make some more photos.
Situated in the Noorderplantsoen park, in a beautiful old building, you can find Anat. This cute little café offers breakfast, lunch, drinks, and cakes. And it is all vegan! Both of the times I visited I sat outside, but inside there is also space on the first floor, with a view on the park. Both times I was there the terrace was almost completely full! Fortunately Anat also does take-away.
The philosophy behind Anat is to respect humans, animals and the environment (something I think most of us can get behind) so the ingredients used are mostly biological and preferably local. In addition Anat also offers workshops and food consults. In the café there is also a small selection of vegan cookbooks for sale.
The ingredients used in the menu depend on the availability/season but in general the lunch menu is a variation on sandwich, salad and soup. There’s choice of two types of bread for the sandwich or it can be served as a wrap (one of the options is gluten-free). They also offered a combination plate which basically combined all the offerings (for 2 people).
Coffee is served with a selection of milk alternatives, and there’s hot chocolate milk on offer. There’s a variety of (slow) juices and tea. Now the cakes, let’s talk about those. When I last visited there were 4 type of cakes available: chocolate, banana, lavender and cupcakes. I couldn’t resist and tried a bit of each. They were all so delicious!
I have visited Anat only for lunch and coffee & cake. Based on that experience I am confident to say that the breakfast is probably great as well!
Type of place: Breakfast/Lunch/Coffee
Completely vegan: yes
Website (Dutch) : http://www.anat.nu/