by Doris Baric
Some do it to improve their health, others are trying to minimize their ecological footprint, and many simply because they are against the industrial exploitation of animals. There are many reasons why a growing number of people are switching to a meat-free or flexitarian diet.
The decision to do so is not difficult to make, but putting it into practice can be hard, especially in Croatia, where meat and fish are indispensable in the traditional cuisine.
Although supermarkets and eco-chain stores are stocking up their offer of vegetarian and vegan products from year to year, those who once in a while like to eat out still need to be vigilant when choosing a restaurant in Zagreb. So, here is a list of the best vegetarian places, where you can get nutritious and healthy dishes that will make even meat-eaters envious.
Located next to the Cvjetni Trg on Varšavska Street, Green Point is one of the pioneers when it comes to vegetarian and vegan fast food in Zagreb. Besides tofu, seitan, falafel and hemp dishes, they also offer a diverse assortment of refreshing juices and healthy shakes.
And there is no better way to start your day than with one of their delicious breakfast combinations, while the hemp cheeseburger with vegan mayonnaise is one of their long-running classics.
Address: Varšavska ulica. 10
Koykan World Food
Koykan World Food opened its doors for the first time on Gajeva Street in 2012, but the citizens’ huge interest in international and exotic food motivated them to open two more restaurants on Tkalčićeva Street and in the Arena Center.
It is always a perfect choice if you are out with a mixed group of friends, given that they offer from salads, wok dishes and stews, to wraps and quiches a wide range of possibilities, with many vegetarian options as well.
One of their popular tasty treats to grab on the go are the little Japanese mochi cakes made from rice, sesame and coconut, or their refreshing variations of Taiwanese bubble tea.
Address: Ul. Ivana Tkalčića 13
If you are looking for a homey and dog-friendly place to escape from the buzzing city center, Simple Green on Jablanska Street is a real little gem when it comes to vegan and raw food in Zagreb.
Tucked away in the neighborhood of Rudeš, their daily menus range from traditional Croatian recipes adapted for vegans to wok, risotto and pizza, whereas their gluten-free pies are a must-try. The always seasonal ingredients are all purchased from local farmers and they are also organizing regular vegan cooking classes and workshops.
Address: Jablanska ulica 24, Rudeš
Royal India on Tkalčićeva Street is the most popular Indian restaurant in Zagreb and its savory menu features something for every lover of spicy Indian cuisine. They are using only the most authentic methods of cooking and offer also a list of Croatian wines to perfectly go with the traditional Indian specialties.
Their garlic and cheese naan is especially delicious, but vegetarians may also choose from several aromatic dishes as tandoori, which are available in three spiciness levels.
Address: Ul. Ivana Tkalčića 26
If you have a bunch of vegetarian friends around or if you are planning a bigger meal and need a caterer, Vegehop on Vlaška Street is the place to choose. Their daily menus are a creative combination of colorful flavors and healthy ingredients, suitable for everybody who is on the search for gluten-free dishes that are also deliverable in biodegradable packaging.
Their moussaka, as well as their raw food dishes and mouthwatering desserts, will transform even meat-lovers into regular customers.
Address: Vlaška ul. 79
Zagreb’s Museum of Modern Art is not only one of the city’s most important cultural hotspots, but also home of the first vegetarian restaurant in Novi Zagreb. Located on the ground floor of the museum, the bistro Zelena Avenija (meaning “Green Avenue”) is a perfect place for a healthy lunch before embarking on a visit to this vast museum.
The minimalist interior fits perfectly into the impressive ambient of the museum and is dominated by a beautiful black and white illustration done by the local artist Miron Milić.
The menu features little works of art as well, colorfully arranged with an eye for detail and oriented towards many diets. Therefore there are gluten, dairy and nut-free combinations available, while even raw food lovers will find something for themselves. Highly recommended by regular local guests are their daily Vege Tris menus and their vegan and sugar-free cakes.
Address: Avenija Dubrovnik 17
Zrno Bio Bistro
The Zrno Bio Bistro on Medulićeva Street is Croatia’s first certified organic vegan restaurant with an own farm located in the village of Habjanovac, being also Croatia’s oldest eco-farm.
The bistro’s cozy interior and the spacious sunny terrace with a mural painted by the famous local graffiti and street artist Lunar make it a perfect place for a nice summer evening dinner.
Here you can indulge in a glass of organic wine or gluten-free beer, or enjoy a quinoa salad with seitan cordon bleu and a creamy “Bioljubac” vanilla dessert.
Address: Medulićeva ul. 20