Paris has long been a key city for culinary delights-- unless, of course, you don't happen to eat meat or animal products. Not only did many Parisians formerly respond to assertions of vegetarianism with confusion or outright scorn, but restaurants would often refuse to make substitutions for non-carnivores-- or expect them to dine on plates of unseasoned vegetables. Luckily, that's all been changing at an astounding pace over the past few years. These days, there's a flourishing vegetarian--and even vegan--restaurant scene in the capital: one that's gaining in force and reputation all the time. So don't fret if the sight of yet another beef bourguignon sends you packing. It's becoming much easier to find delicious, reasonably priced veggie options, provided you know where to go. These are 12 of the best places in town to head if you're vegetarian, vegan or a flexitarian wishing to cut back on animal products.
Le Potager de Charlotte
This cheerful restaurant wedged between the Grands Boulevards district to the south and Pigalle/Montmartre to the north is one of our favorite spots for vegan cuisine that goes beyond the ultra-casual, often cramped "cantine" format. Here, flavorful, inventive dishes debunk the misguided idea that vegan cooking is necessarily bland or without texture.
House specialties we recommend trying include savory chickpea and rice galettes (pancakes) filled with cashew cream, herbs and spices, fresh, nicely seasoned gazpachos, colorful supersalads and a range of vegan desserts, including a solid mousse au chocolate topped with coconut cream. The generous brunch menu includes fresh juices or smoothies, savory and sweet pancakes, coconut cream yoghurt, an avocado presented "hard-boiled-egg" style and a hot drink.
In addition to the primary location on 12 Rue de la Tour d'Auvergne, there's a second one at 21 rue Rennequin, 75017.
We couldn't possibly compile a list of the city's best veggie eateries without mentioning its numerous, fantastic falafel restaurants and stands. And the one that keeps people coming back in hordes, L'As du Fallafel, makes a particularly addictive version of the natural vegan sandwich, featuring crispy falafel balls, crunchy carrots and cabbage, slices of deliciously greasy eggplant, and a generous smear of tahini.
This is perhaps the perfect meal when you're touring the city or want to sit in a park or square to enjoy a light meal. Fortunately, if the lines are too long at L'As, Paris has many other excellent purveyors of falafel, some on the same popular Marais street in the old Jewish quarter. And if you choose to take your sandwich away, this is a satisfying meal that won't set you back more than a few dollars.
When celebrated French chef Alain Passard decided to eliminate meat from the tasting menus at 3-star Michelin restaurant L'Arpège, many scoffed in disbelief, mocking him for daring to base an entire concept around the beauty and flavors of vegetables. Yet his bet has proven a success, and many now credit the chef-- who sources produce from his own organic gardens outside Paris-- with forcing French gastronomy to take vegetables (and vegetarians) more seriously.
The vegetarian tasting menus at this high-end restaurant will set you back quite a lot, and are not affordable for many, sadly. The lunch tasting menu is a tad more accessible, but will still represent a huge spend for most travelers.
Still, we had to applaud this gastronomic reference for pioneering the concept (along with Alain Ducasse at the 3-Michelin-starred La Plaza Athénée) of a top French restaurant that treats vegetables with the respect and passion they deserve. Examples of dishes recently presented on the tasting menus include vegetable sushi with lime leaves and Orléans mustard; onions au gratin with fresh parmesan, vegetarian brioche burger with fresh hibiscus flowers, and topinambour soup (a root vegetable) with Xeres vinegar.
Also located in the Marais, Le Potager du Marais is a vegan restaurant that offers innovative takes on traditional French cooking such as "beef" bourguginon, creme brulée and French onion soup. It's also a convenient stop following a visit to the Centre Georges Pompidou or a wander through the hip surrounding neighborhoods. Compact and hectic, the restaurant has a relaxed, homey atmosphere-- no starchy white tablecloths or snobbery in sight here.
All dishes are prepared with organic ingredients, and many are gluten-free. Another plus? The staff is reputed to be friendly and to speak excellent English.
Macéo has carved out a solid place for itself in the competitive, ever-changing Parisian culinary landscape. This traditional-looking restaurant near the Palais Royal in the city center placed creative, gorgeously presented vegetarian cuisine at the centerpiece of its menu long before others dared to.
There are several à la carte options, and all of the seasonal lunch and dinner menus are guaranteed to have at least one option for non meat-eaters. Vegan options are usually present, and you don't have to worry about being presented with a bland raw vegetable platter, either. Here, the Japanese chef treats his vegetarian creations with as much care as his meat-based entrees—if not more. Recent vegetarian dishes served at Macéo include Provence green asparagus with ginger cream and citrus vinaigrette, pink-lentil dhal lightly spiced with turmeric & coriander, and gnocchi with old parmesan, broccoli and mushrooms.
If you're a fan of wine, the extensive wine list offers perfect pairings for your meal. Reserving ahead is essential here.
This casual Vietnamese-style eatery at the edge of the trendy Canal St-Martin neighborhood is relaxed and inexpensive, and the Asian-style offerings-- all vegan-- are reliably delicious and full of flavor.
In the summer, when it's hot and sticky out, try a crunchy, spicy mango salad followed by a vegan Bo Bun (a traditional Vientnamese dish composed of filled spring rolls called nems, various vegetables, noodles and a flavorful sauce). Or try their mock fried shrimp, caramelized mock chicken or vegan cheescake with fruit coulis. If you prefer, you can get lunch or dinner to go and enjoy your feast on the banks of the nearby canal.
A five-minute walk from Notre Dame Cathedral, this quaint little left-bank restaurant arrived on the scene way back in 1978. It proudly touts itself as the first all-vegetarian and macrobiotic restaurant in the city, and has had the same friendly chef, Abib, since its opening year.
The fare here is fairly traditional and straightforward. In other words, don't expect anything hugely innovative, but do expect the dishes will be healthy, simple, and tasty. The restaurant has been turning to the same local farmers for many of its base ingredients, including pumpkin, endives, cabbage and other fresh produce.
Seating is available on two floors, and the set lunch and dinner menus provide good choices for vegetarians and vegans alike. Popular current choices from the menu include Indian-style raita made from avocado, couscous with vegetables, vegetarian cassoulet (a traditional French dish made with white beans that is usually quite meaty), a macrobiotic plate and a variety of giant salads and platters that combine proteins and grains with colorful vegetables.
Many of the menu options are vegan, and the juices here are highly recommended too.
Authentic South Asian curries can be as hard to come by as good vegetarian food in many parts of the city, but fortunately, Krishna Bhravan offers a satisfying dose of both under the same roof. South-Asian-style crepes (dosa) and basmati rice are served with spiced vegetables and sauces (which are often dairy-based, so vegans should check ingredients before ordering). Value for money here is second-to-none: for less than a tenner, you can feast on a main course, pappadams, soup, salad, and a traditional Indian dessert.
If you're the sort of person who likes to try a bit of everything, order a thali: a huge platter that comes with several small portions of different dishes, plus rice or bread and spicy sauces. Takeout is also available.
Travel tip: The surrounding neighborhood, frequently referred to as "Little Jaffna" owing to its large Sri Lankan community, is full of restaurants and cantines catering to vegetarians and vegans. See more about the area and find further recommendations in our full guide.
Address5 Rue Bourdaloue, 75009 Paris, France
This tiny, always-overpacked vegan cantine at the far end of Paris' hip Rue des Martyrs district in South Pigalle has become a local favorite for healthy, quick lunches. In theory, you can sit in, but the lines are so long that you may be better off ordering a Buddha bowl or other dish, then tucking into it on the steps of the nearby Notre-Dame-de-Lorette Church. Go on-- many others are doing the same!
The bright, airy cantine smells of freshly squeezed juices and chopped vegetables, and looks like it belongs in San Francisco or Berlin. But the wild success of So Nat-- which has another location near the Gare St. Lazare in the 9th arrondissement/district-- seems to underline just how far Paris has come from the days when being a non-meat-eater meant not going out for meals.
The one disappointing piece of news? So Nat is only open for lunch, from around noon to 3:00 pm. It's also closed on Sundays. So make sure you plan accordingly before attempting to come get a taste of the delicious bowls, platters, salads and desserts here.
Tip: If you're craving ice cream, head just up the street on Rue des Martyrs to Impronta, which serves a variety of tasty vegan sorbets and ice cream flavors made with coconut milk or other ingredients.
Address55 Rue des Archives, 75003 Paris, France
Craving a good burger? Hank is an excellent choice. Serving several vegan patties (some gluten-free) with as many yummy toppings as you can possibly conjure, the small eatery at the edge of the Marais and near the Musée Picasso is yet another inexpensive option in an area where sit-down restaurants can stretch your budget.
If you're after vegan pizza, meanwhile, try Hank Pizza near the Arts et Métiers metro stop. (18 rue des Gravilliers, 3rd arrondissement)
Juicy & Tasty
Address78 Rue la Fayette, 75009 Paris, France
This humble, ultra-friendly eatery in a busy Parisian business district makes an ideal choice for lunch when you're visiting the nearby Opera Garnier, Galeries Lafayette Department store, or just got off the Eurostar train at Gare du Nord and are wondering where to find decent vegetarian options nearby.
Opened by two passionate chefs who say they're as committed to environmental responsibility as they are to excellent vegan food, Juicy & Tasty has comfortable, spacious seating and a simple but excellent menu of wraps, salads, soups, juices and desserts. Choose from six vegan "bases" then add your protein-based "veggie balls" of choice, all served in a wrap or salad.
All dishes are homemade and produce is sourced locally or organic. The restaurant, while serving food in a "fast" format, doesn't distribute single-use plastics.
Unlike many of the city's other vegetarian and vegan cantines, this restaurant is open from lunch through dinner, six days a week. It's closed on Sundays. No reservations are necessary, but try to show up on the early side at lunchtime to ensure you get a spot if you prefer to eat in.
Address23 Rue des Vinaigriers, 75010 Paris, France
Last but certainly not least, this bustling cantine located on a side street just off the Canal St-Martin is incredibly popular with the neighborhood's young professionals and hipsters. Based around the concept of superfoods and their health benefits, Sol Semilla offers a large variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes, many raw and gluten-free.
Choose from soups and main courses of the day, including one raw option, superfood bowls that include a variety of vegetables combined with grain and protein of choice, and a number of freshly squeezed juices and smoothies. There's also an unusually large selection of vegan desserts.
People-watching from the windows here is always amusing: the Rue des Vinaigriers, plastered with street art, is typically crawling with creative and interesting locals.