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!
Food as medicine? That is the idea behind Le Botaniste, a vegetarian restaurant in the center of Ghent. 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. They offer an assortment of fresh appetizers like veggie sushi and mezze, but the bowls are where it’s at. Try the Tibetan Mama bowl with coconut curry and kimchi, the Spicy Chili Sin Carne with beans and turmeric, or choose from the wonderful list of bases, sauces and toppings to design your own tasty bowl. Order at the counter and sit in the bright space in back.
Hornstraat 13, Open for lunch & dinner, closed Sunday, no cash
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. In the evenings, they also offer pasta. Everything is freshly and deliciously prepared. Sit outside in the lovely garden on a nice day.
Citadellaan 47, Open for lunch & dinner, closed Saturday & Sunday
Barbiet is a cozy breakfast and lunch spot just off the Vrijdagmarkt. The menu is small, but well done. There is a daily breakfast special, two lunch specials and a small menu with other breakfast and snack items. You might find something such as Massaman curry with sweet potatoes, tofu and peanuts or you might prefer a breakfast like vegan peanut pancakes. Along with interesting menu items, Barbiet offers fresh juices and unique lemonades such as ginger and coffee.
Baudelostraat 3, Open for breakfast & lunch, closed Monday
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. Every day for lunch and dinner they serve a variety of tasty options such as parsnip chips, roasted eggplant and mushrooms in tomato sauce, loempia, and beets with walnuts. There are cold and warm dishes to choose from as well as soup and dessert. Komkommertijd is a cooperative, so there is not table service but the selection will please vegans and non vegans alike!
Reep 14B, Open for lunch & dinner, closed Mondays and Saturday lunch
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. I recommend the Superfood Salade, chock full of a yummy combo of quinoa, avocado, chickpeas, greens and other fun components.
Nederkouter 42, Open daily for lunch and dinner, except for Sunday lunch
Lekker Gec recently moved to a new, stark location across from Ghent St. Pieters Station. What makes Lekker Gec unique is that it is a buffet, but you pay by the weight of your food. There is also a start price of 2 euros, so this quickly brings the price a bit high for what you get. The buffet includes cold and warm options.You can also separately purchase soup, fries or pasta.
Tuin van Eten
Tuin van Eten is a brasserie serving salads, quiches, and vegetable burgers made from ingredients such as spinach, beets and mushrooms.
Kortrijksesteenweg 573, Open 12-20:00, closed Friday dinner and weekends
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.
Jan-Baptist Guinardstraat 9, Open for lunch, closed Saturday & Sunday
Lokaal offers six vegetarian options per day- a soup, bruschetta, salad, quiche, gratin dish and something else (perhaps a burger). Each day the ingredients in these dishes vary. Preparation can sometimes be lackluster.
Brabantdam 100, Closed Sunday & Monday
Many restaurants and frituurs cook their fries in animal fat. If you are looking for vegetarian fries, check out these places:
De Frietketel-Papegaaistraat 89
Frituur de Papegaai– Annonciadestraat 17
Frietcultuur– Kantienberg 28