When I first moved here in the early 2000s, there were only a handful of vegetarian restaurants in Paris, all of which served up rather depressing, bland macrobiotic-ish dishes. While I’m very pleased with the improvements to the city’s vegetarian scene over the past couple of years (there’s even an area in the 9th district with such a high density of vegetarian restaurants and shops it’s been nicknamed Veggietown), that doesn’t mean all of these newbies offer up “good” food. I am all for healthy eating… but that doesn’t mean it can’t be creative and delicious! That’s what I except from a dining experience and my tastebuds have been tantalized by amazing vegetarian food in scores of restaurants in North America and other destinations around the globe, couldn’t the gastronomic capital of the world do better than simple assiettes végétariennes??
Over the past year or so I’ve been sharing my favorite “normal” restaurants that have a few vegetarian dishes (see links to those below). NOW I’m conquering 100% vegetarian places… And am being much pickier about the selection. Of course this is subjective list of what I feel are the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Paris, however one made by a true vegetarian veteran of more than 20 years. I’ve left a few new places off the list that were rather disappointing (over-cooked white rice!!). The other catch is I’ve only chosen places open for dinner, because, delicious or not, unless you live or work by a daytime only veggie place, it’s admitted hard to be able to try them out. Wishing you what I hope is a very Bon appétit!
Potager de Charlotte
This cool place located a stone’s throw from “Veggietown” is my coup de coeur of the new wave of vegetarian restaurants in Paris. They do their slogan “cuisine végétale et gourmande” proud with the inventive and delicious dishes concocted by talented chef David Valentin (with that last name, passion must run in his genes!). The seasonally changing vegan menu features the likes of layered polenta with cashew and herb cream cheese, radishes, grilled shitaki mushrooms and Camargue rice with seared asparagus, crunchy peas, roasted shallots topped with raisins, sesame and sunflower seeds. The decor is fresh and modern and they even have wallet friendly prices and menus. If you would like to recreate some of their healthy and tasty vegan at home, sign up for one of their cooking classes.
Established in 2009, Gentle Gourmet is deemed one of the founders of vegan gastronomy, not just in Paris, but around the globe. The only vegan haute cuisine restaurants in the city, their creations are truly divine combining original flavors and seasonal ingredients, however, as such, these come at a somewhat high price. Dinner is a slight splurge and could set you back 50-60 euros a head for a three-course meal, though this is the price you would pay at any avant garde restaurant in Paris. They do have a reasonable set menu at lunch that starts at 23 euros for two courses or 30 euros for thre. This could feature the likes of carrot ginger purée topped with baby carrots and baby onions with a saffron vinaigrette, sweet potato parmentier with coconut cream infused pineapple and seitan and delightful sesame pana cotta, trio of mango, coconut crumble draped in a exotic fruit coulis.
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Out of all of the restaurants listed, this restaurant is the most “old school” (i.e. assiettes with piles of brown grains, tofu and steamed vegetables), however, it also pre-dates the trendy new ones and although it has some simple old fashioned recipes, its extensive menu has something to please all tastes as well as a few more unique dishes. Just because we don’t eat meat, it doesn’t mean vegetarians don’t crave the occasional guilty burger and fries or cheesy not-counting-calories lasagna. Try to win over your meat-loving dinner companion with their “shrimp” kebab with pineapple & lemon grass or their mushroom loaf with a blackberry-ginger sauce. Their prices are very reasonable and if you can come for lunch, their set menu is even a bigger steal. The decor was freshened up a few years ago and provides a nice, verdant setting for a casual and yummy date in the central Les Halles area.
Bonus: Vegga Bio Delivery
Don’t feel like going out but want a tasty and affordable vegan meal? Then click your way over to the site of Vegga Bio and convert your dining room into your own private vegetarian restaurant. Since 2011 talent chef Sébastien Briant has been tantalizing palates with his delicious organic and gastronomic dishes delivered to your home. I recently had the pleasure of sampling a menu with Gail of Perfectly Paris apartment rentals. It included a large raw spring roll, a seasonal vegetable lasagna, a mouthwatering fruit crumble and a fresh pressed carrot-apple-ginger juice that exuded healthiness in every sip. This copious menu goes for 30 euros which includes delivery, however, if you’d like something smaller, his menus start at 18 euros for dinner and there’s a bargain sandwich + juice or dessert for 12 euros (again with delivery included in the price) Note: 48 hours is usually required for orders, so some advanced planning required. While his menu changes, you may find other dishes like seaweed “caviar”, couscous with roasted vegetables, creamy risotto or my favorite guilty pleasure… veggie burgers. He also does cooking classes and both small and large event catering. Highly recommended!
Contact: +33 188.8.131.52.55 / email@example.com / website
Honorable Mentions & Other Veggie-Friendly Options
I almost included the relatively new Jah Jah by Le Tricycle on the list above. It’s good but more on the casual side (and the time I ate there, I thought there could be a little more creativity and less white rice!), so perhaps a better option for lunch or a laid back dinner.
I was really trying to stick to places which are open in the evening, though I wish I could add Lula Cantine Bio & Veggie into the mix… they do a healthy and tasty lunch which I highly recommend for daytime dining and Sunday brunch. I’ll try work on a great list vegetarian lunch and brunch spots! Stay tuned!
In the meantime, you may like to check out these other articles in my vegetarian friendly restaurant series: