Welcome to Ghent, the veggie capital of Europe! Ghent earns that title by having more vegetarian restaurants per capita than any other city. Ghent is also the home of “Donderdag Veggiedag,” which translates to Veggie Thursdays, a means of encouraging less meat consumption by going vegetarian one day a week. According to the Ethical Vegetarian Alternative, who run the campaign, about 50% of Ghent’s population takes part in Veggie Thursday, and with the great options listed below, you can too!
Don’t forget to also read our introduction to Belgian restaurants to learn more about typical opening hours and other practicalities related to dining out in Ghent. Note that some of the vegetarian restaurants in Ghent give discounts to members of EVA (Belgian vegetarian initiative), Gents Milieufront or Friends of the Earth.
Food as medicine? That is the idea behind Le Botaniste, a vegetarian restaurant in the center of Ghent. You might have heard the name before – Le Botaniste is the brainchild of Alain Coumont of the Le Pain Quotidien fame. In 2015, he launched a new plant-based casual restaurant concept and Ghent had the honour of being his testing ground. The restaurant has the unique style of an old apotheek, or drug store, with shelves behind the counter filled with bottles that look like elixirs of one sort or another.
Come here for: a quick meal with environmentally-friendly background. Not only are the food&drinks organic and plant-based (vegans welcome), the company also does its best to become carbon-neutral.
De Appelier is located close to Citadel park and features “dagschotels,” daily dishes that vary by season and chef’s choice. You can get a small, medium or large portion of the dish and it includes grains, assorted colorful cooked and raw vegetables and a piece of quiche or veggie burger. You can also add soup or choose a raw daily dish. Everything is freshly and deliciously prepared. Sit outside in the lovely garden on a nice day.
Come here for: travel to the origins of veggie Ghent at one of the oldest vegetarian restaurants in town, while admiring up and coming local artists on the walls of the restaurant
Over at the Reep, where recently the waters of the Leie and the Scheldt have been joined again, you will find Komkommertijd. Walk through to the back and you will find a large sitting area, as well as a small outdoor space for guests of this all you can eat vegan buffet. This is an all-vegan restaurant. Komkommertijd is a cooperative, so there is not table service but the selection will please vegans and non vegans alike!
Come here for: cosy atmosphere and a vegan take on Belgian classics, like vol au vegan.
Greenway has four restaurants throughout Belgium and they also sell a line of vegetarian products at Delhaize. You might think of it as the most like a fast food restaurant on this list, but don’t let that deter you. They sell burgers, wraps, soup and salads and the service is friendly and quick.
Come here for: the best introduction to vegetarian (fast) food for meat lovers! The owner himself used to be a meat eater and has started the chain after he got food poisoning from meat on his travels.
Lekker Gec is located just across from Ghent St. Pieters Train Station. Previously, this used to be the only veggie buffet place in town. For a small starting price you could pile up your plate and pay by weight, which quickly brought the price a bit high for what you got. Post-Corona, the buffet has been (temporarily) scrapped and they now function as a normal restaurant.
Come here for: a quick lunch when taking the train, a chance to sit on the terrace and watch the coming and going on the Maria Hendrikaplein-square.
Tuin van Eten
Tuin van Eten is a vegetarian brasserie, meaning it serves food all day long. It is just a stone’s throw away from the Ghent St. Pieters Train Station and cosy sit-down place with decent food.
Come here for: a vegetarian take on the traditional Belgian brasserie, pancakes and cakes included
If you check their Facebook page, you can see the daily menu for Pacha Mama which usually includes a combination of stews, roasted vegetables and beans.
Come here for: simple, affordable and delicious food in a cosy setting
Lokaal offers a few vegetarian options on the spot or as take-away. Each day the ingredients in these dishes vary. Preparation can sometimes be lacklustre.
Come here for: basic food based on locally-produced vegetables
Many restaurants and fry shops (fritkots) cook their fries in animal fat. If you are looking for vegetarian fries, check out these places: