VEGAN CITIES: THE BERLIN GUIDE
As a man who grew up in a small town in northern England, the vibe and opportunities in Glasgow are something that I will never take for granted and as a vegan, I’m blessed with choice. However, my heart belongs to Berlin. You can’t fail to have noticed that the wonderful capital of Germany has become the number one city for twenty-somethings. With its buildings dripped in history, its bars filled with the best beer around and a creative scene that dwarves the rest of Europe, it’s no surprise its pro-love vibe has a plethora of vegan treats. After visiting four times in 2016 alone, I consider myself a little bit of an expert on it. What’s that you say? You’re going to Berlin next week? Well, let me show you the best places…
Sfizy Veg Pizzeria
Treptower Str. 95, 12059 Berlin, Germany - sfizyveg.de
Everyone loves pizza. I’ve never met anybody who doesn’t love pizza. The constant search for the perfect vegan pizza can sometimes feel never ending though, can’t it? Well here is Sfizy, (pronounced Sffff-iz-ee I believe), the best vegan pizza in the world. Located in the Neukolln district of Berlin, they offer anything you can imagine on a pizza, and the cheese is just bloody perfect! It was officially the first vegan pizzeria in Europe too and boy do they get it right. Chicken tikka masala pizza, bacon double cheeseburger pizza, and good old margarita pizza are all available at your fingertips. The prices are more than affordable and you’re likely to pay more for a take away from your local. The staff can be a little moody and quiet, but you’ll not want to chat – you’ll more likely be praying to the God of pizza.
Am Friedrichshain 34, 10407 Berlin, Germany - www.lilyburger.com
The success of Lily means it just recently moved from its old school & charismatic premises to the more central area of Prenzauler Berg. Now much bigger in size, Lily is not solely vegan but is just as popular with the vegan Berliners, and with 20 vegan steaks and 22 vegan burgers, it’s easy to see why they flock here. My personal favourite is the John F. Kennedy burger, which I highly recommend. With a deep-fried, battered seitan burger inside of a bun of vegan bacon, vegan cheddar and BBQ sauce it’s not the healthiest, but as you’re washing it down with a lovely rum & coke, you’ll not be worrying about it! Simply the best burger bar for vegans in the whole of Germany in my opinion. It has so much choice. The staff are absolutely awesome and play some of the best hip-hop every time I go! You can write on the walls to commemorate your visit too. Who doesn’t want to write on the walls?
Goodies @ Veganz
Schivelbeiner Str. 34, 10439 Berlin, Germany - www.goodies-berlin.de
Anyone who has been to Berlin will most likely tell you about the fully vegan supermarket ‘Veganz’, but how many of them have visited the café located inside, Goodies, is a mystery. Located at the Warschauer Strasse U-Bahn station, it is always my first stop whenever I get into Kreuzberg/ Friedrichshain (which is where I ALWAYS book my hotel), as well as my first stop every morning for my morning soy latte and a schokoladencroissant. The staff are always happy to speak English, although I do demand they speak to me in German at all times so I can learn faster! Goodies was the first place I managed to have a full conversation in German! As well as serving the healthy, but filling, ali baba wrap you can grab some of the healthiest smoothies – the peanut warrior is always a good one to set off your day if you have some sightseeing on the agenda.
Boxhagener Str. 56, 10245 Berlin, Germany – www.voener.de
So you’re on holiday, you’ve had some amazing German beers and you’re with your best friends/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/new German friends & all you want is some quick, tasty takeaway food, like a kebab, but you’re vegan…well luckily for you, this isn’t a problem. Voner, der vegane doner is something I’ve searched for years on end. It doesn’t disappoint either. Known as ‘Turkish Street Food’, Voner has been serving its original kebabs for 10 years – and its popularity is not slowing down. The fries are awesome too, and unlike the kebabs of your childhood, these are cruelty-free and made fresh on the day with wheat protein, soy, and vegetables.
Let It Be
Treptower Str. 90, 12059 Berlin, Germany – www.letitbe.de
An accidental gem found by me and my wife on our second visit. Literally, 100 yards from Sfizy Veg, Let It Be is a wonderful little creperie in ever popular Neukolln district. With enormous crepes named after famous vegan celebs such as Pamela Anderson and Moby, Let It Be really is a hidden gem of Berlin’s vegan scene. It also makes some of the most fantastic mac and cheese, which it also classes as a side, so don’t feel bad when you order it with a hummus, veg, and lettuce ‘Morrissey’ sandwich. Or if guitarists are more your thing, ‘Johnny Marr’ is also available in caramelised tofu & homemade chutney form! Unlike its neighbours down the road, I think the staff make this the place it is and it’s always a pleasure to be served by them – or share shots together.
Maybachufer 8, 12047 Berlin, Germany - www.brammibalsdonuts.com
Much like vegan pizza, for years I have struggled to find a genuinely good vegan donut. At least until now! Brammibals has anything you want and absolutely lovely décor. Their coffee is also one of the best I’ve had in Berlin. Choose from the more mental flavours like maple coconut bacon to the more sought after cookies and cream flavours, or perhaps caramel hazelnut donuts! Incredibly well priced, as well as super filling without making you feel like you just ate pure sugar (you know, that kind “I’m gonna be sick”). Still relatively new to Berlin, Brammibals are completely free of animal and artificial ingredients!
Schliemannstrasse 15, 10437 Berlin, Germany - www.chaostheorie.berlin
There are many, many reasons I love Chaostheorie. It’s vegan as shit, the barman Holgar is an absolute gentle giant and they have a photo booth where you can stick said photos of yourself onto the wall. They have some amazing drinks on the menu. Everything from one of those super cold, awesome, thirst-quenching German beers all the way to a nice warm hot chocolate with (vegan) marshmallows. Not only that, though, but those of you who have an interest in Berlin’s vegan scene may have heard of the recently closed Ohlala, a bakery I dearly, dearly miss… but fear not! Chaostheorie still have in some of Ohlala’s famous vegan desserts, such as the tresor, to enjoy whilst you enjoy a drink!
Also worth a mention:
Zeus Pizza, No Milk Today, The Bowl, Kopps, Yellow Sunshine.
Some helpful phrases won’t go a miss either…
Berlin is sometimes so friendly, you can speak in fluent German and they’ll reply to you in English as they feel it’s being helpful. I’m by no means fluent yet, but I can hold my own. Want to know how to order vegan food or beers like a true Berliner? Learn these three and you’ll be fine…
Kann ich habe ein kaffee mit soja milch bitte?
Can I have one coffee with soya milk, please?
I would like…
Möchtest du tanzen?
Would you like to dance?
Enjoy your time if you’re going and truly soak in everything this wonderful city has to offer. Vegan or non-vegan, the community side of Berlin is second to none. The city truly has gone through it changes but I believe that where it stands now, nowhere in the world compares. Worst case scenario, the next time someone asks if it’s hard being vegan…give them a map of Berlin!