The year 2021 in review: record amount of new vegan restaurants!

margo's amsterdam

We started the year with closed restaurants, we’re ending the year with closed restaurants. BUT despite corona this year a record amount of new vegan places opened!! Eleven new restaurants. On top of that, four existing restaurants decided to skip all animal products and go fully vegan, so that makes fifteen in total!

The Amsterdam Happy Cow page is currently listing 468 vegan and vegan-friendly adresses, 63 of them fully vegan. And Lonely Planet now included info on vegan restaurants in their latest Amsterdam guidebook, adding “Long at the forefront of vegetarian cuisine, Amsterdam led the way with vegan dining and has numerous restaurants citywide.” Read more

Vegan Vietnamese foodtruck ‘Chay’ at Albert Cuyp market!

chay vegan

In her experience, most vegan dishes at Vietnamese restaurants in the Netherlands are not actually vegan, as they’ll often contain chicken stock or fish sauce. Being vegan herself, that’s how she ended up having her own vegan Vietnamese food truck!

Ha Bui-Versteeg is originally from Vietnam herself. She has been cooking since she was 10, for family. The first time she tried eating vegan/vegetarian for a while was when her grandfather was sick. According to Vietnamese Buddhist superstition, if you eat vegetarian for a month it will bring good luck. Her grandfather became better and she also quite liked eating vegetarian. She knew one day she wanted to go vegan.

She moved to the Netherlands and eventually became vegan when she moved in with her vegan husband. Since she loves Vietnamese food but got disappointed in Vietnamese restaurants she developed the ambition to cook Vietnamese food, but truly vegan. That’s how Chay originated. ‘Chay’ means vegan/vegetarian in Vietnamese. Read more

New! All vegan Mexican restaurant Madre

A few years ago, Suzanne van Huuksloot decided to start her own restaurant. Inspired by the motto ‘world peace starts in the kitchen’ and vegan herself it had to be a vegan place. Still thinking about the concept, she went to the U.S. for some exploratory conversations with a plant-based chef/entrepreneur. It was there that she visited L.A. restaurant Gracias Madre, and immediately fell in love with the place. A very nice, big and bustling Mexican restaurant serving only vegan food. The fact that they don’t advertise it as vegan also appealed to Suzanne. “I thought this was very cool. It helps to normalise it, not too label it as a distinct vegan place.” She could picture a place like this in Amsterdam as well.

The owners of Gracias Madre were not interested in collaborating as in fact they were trying to sell the restaurant, so Suzanne decided to set up her own project, loosely based on what she appreciated about Gracias Madre. In fact she was not a complete stranger to Mexican food, as she used to work in a Mexican restaurant for some time.

Of course the corona pandemic added some additional challenges, but after she found a dream location eventually Madre opened October 2021. Read more

Saint-Jean: French vegan pastry in Jordaan

saint-jean amsterdam

When Yann Pierre-Jean started eating plant-based, he was disappointed in the vegan pastry that he found in Amsterdam. It was either too dense, too hard or lacking in flavour. He started baking himself, specialising in galettes. Eventually he was taking orders online and set up a little business from home, called Rustic Pastry.

By then he had already stopped working in fashion to pursue his plans of opening up a plant-based cafe. When Rustic Pastry became more and more succesful, he decided to make it happen and started looking for a location!

Renamed as Saint-Jean, they finally opened October 2021. Not a real cafe, but more a shop with some seating. Offering besides baked goods also specialty coffee, something which Yann is passionate about as well. The name Saint-Jean is an ode to his grandmother, as this was the name of her shop in Guadeloupe. Read more

Authentic Syrian vegetarian and vegan dishes at Mama’s Keuken

mama's keuken amsterdam

Owner Eyad Khamis arrived in 2016 in the Netherlands, after the war in Syria started. In Syria and Dubai he was working in the tourist industry, and later organising conferences. But in Amsterdam he had to start all over again. An internship in an icecream factory led to a chance to sell Syrian food at a canteen of University of Amsterdam, that’s how Mama’s Keuken started! Eventually he opened the location in De Pijp in 2018.

The name Mama’s Keuken refers to the people he inherited his passion for cooking from, his own mother and other female family members. With the restaurant he wants to offer authentic Syrian food, and show that it’s more than just shoarma and kebab. When Mama’s Keuken started they still had a few dishes with meat, but nowadays it’s only vegetarian and vegan. Khamis himself also evolved from being a flexitarian to vegetarian, and feels much more fit because of it. Read more

Healthy vegan food at Aubergini, Rivierenbuurt

aubergini amsterdam

The idea for Aubergini grew out of his disappointing experiences with take-away food in Amsterdam, tells founder Hamid Safaei. With his restaurant, his aim is twofold. To offer take-away food which is actually healthy and energizing for the body. And to offer that qualitative food without people having to wait too long for it.

The name Aubergini refers of course to eggplants, which is said to be the most consumed vegetable in Amsterdam. Here they use it in a considerable amount of dishes of course! Aubergini opened summer 2021. Besides health-conscious people and vegans they intend also to reach commuters and people working at offices nearby. Read more

Top vegan fine dining at restaurant Yerba

After spending several years living abroad (Australia and England), Walter Marskamp and his partner Sally Mitchell returned to Amsterdam. Having extensive experience working at numerous restaurants including in Amsterdam, this time they wanted to open something by themselves. Eventually spring 2018 they opened Yerba! Walter as chef, Sally as hostess and sommelier, many other people in their team as well.

Over the years they became more conscious of the ecological impact of the amount of meat used in most restaurants, even if it’s organic. For this reason they chose to only use very small amounts of meat and fish on the menu of Yerba. Read more

Rise of veganism featured in Lonely Planet

lonely planet vegan

The rise of veganism in Amsterdam finally made it into the famous Lonely Planet travel guide books as well!! 💥 Its most recent edition (2020) lists many vegan restaurants, also there’s now a bigger spotlight on vegan places, instead of vegetarian in the past.

“Long at the forefront of vegetarian cuisine, Amsterdam led the way with vegan dining and has numerous restaurants citywide.” 🙌

 

lonely planet vegan

lonely planet vegan

Weekly anti-fur protests this winter

Yes fur farming is by now finally illegal in the Netherlands, which is a huge victory. But selling fur is still allowed, just have a look in the streets and you will notice quite a lot of people wearing jackets with fur collars. A group of local animal rights activists decided something needs to be done about it! The rest of the winter they will be doing actions in front of shops selling fur – to put pressure on the stores and to reach out to people passing by in the street. I catch up with activist Tim Reysoo during one of these. Read more

Vegan Temple Bar: vegan burger menu close to Leidseplein

vegan temple bar

Located in a street with mostly tourist restaurants, tourists are also the target audience for Vegan Temple Bar. This used to be a pizzeria before, but the Egyptian owners changed concept and are happy they did! As they are Coptic Christians they are familiar with vegan food, when they are fasting (which is around 200 days a year) they are eating vegan themselves. They are offering all kinds of vegan junkfood classics, not an original concept but it works. Vegan Temple Bar opened June 2021. Read more