You may think that Eastern Europe would be a difficult region in which to find vegan food. Especially a fairly small city like Riga. And sure, if you went to a traditional Latvian restaurant, you’d probably be right.
However, all it takes is a little research and there’s often far more delicious veggie options available than you’d think.
I was actually pleasantly surprised by the sheer amount of vegan-friendly places I found under “Riga” on Happy Cow (a lifesaver for vegan and vegetarian travellers). I only wish I had more than three days in town to try them all out!
Of the places I made it to, here’s a few that you just can’t miss:
My first food stop was at Fat Pumpkin in Riga’s Old Town. Not gonna lie, I was sold just by the name. By happy coincidence, it ended up being just three minutes’ walk from my hotel. Hoorah!
This trendy little eatery surpassed all my expectations and was so good that I ended up visiting twice!
On my first visit, I went for dinner. Dining solo in the evening isn’t my favourite thing to do but this is a lovely but relaxed cafe rather than formal restaurant so I felt more at ease. It helped when two other solo diners ended up sitting nearby…
Fat Pumpkin’s main menu is varied with raw dishes, pastas and risottos, soups and salads. Plus they have a whole burger menu. Swoon!
Regular readers will know that I find it hard to pass up a good vegan burger. It was a tough decision between the house burger, the “Fishless” tofu burger, but in the end I went for the Butternut Squash Burger. It was HUGE and super-tasty. All their burgers are served with hand-cut chips and vegan mayo.
At €10.50, it wasn’t cheap but it was a huge, great quality burger so totally worth every cent.
They have a huge smoothie menu (€5 each) that I just had to try. So along with my burger, I ordered the Fat Bastard smoothie, which was banana, coconut milk, cashew nuts, dates and cacao nibs. Yes, I mostly ordered it because of the name.
Needless to say, I was pretty stuffed after my meal. I regret nothing.
On my second visit, I popped in for a coffee and treated myself to a raw orange snack ball. Both were delicious.
The service was friendly and they really take care in the presentation of their food. Everything is fresh and made with quality ingredients so although it’s not one of the cheapest places in Riga, it won’t break the bank. An absolute must for veggie and vegan travellers.
Miit Coffee is located on the other side of the bridge, in New Town. The cafe is all-vegetarian and has loads of vegan options available, both savoury and sweet.
It’s super-trendy with an interior of exposed pipes, wooden detailing and quirky lighting (ie. empty Jack Daniels bottle as lampshades). There’s loads of seating with benches, tables and a cosy sofa area.
It seemed to be popular with local students and “work from home” types, tapping away at their laptops. There’s free WiFi and plenty of power points dotted around, which is always a plus not just for laptop workers but travellers with a terrible sense of direction who use up way too much phone battery on Google Maps…
I was there at lunchtime so while my phone charged, I chowed down on their vegan sandwich. It was… okay; the filling was nice but if I’m completely honest, the bread was a tad dry.
You still need to go here.
Why? Firstly the coffee. Their freshly roasted coffee is excellent quality and the baristas clearly know what they’re doing. I had a latte with their homemade almond milk, which was delicious.
Secondly, the cakes and sweet treats. I treated myself with my coffee a got a vegan cherry “Bounty” bar. Oh. My. God. It was insanely good! I’d recommend this place just for the chocolates!
If you’re not a coconut fan, they had plenty of other chocolates, cakes and cookies to choose from, several of which were vegan-friendly.
Service was friendly and prices fair for this busy part of town.
There are three branches of modern “Flexitarian” restaurant The Beginnings in Riga. I visited the cafe on Kr Barona street in the New Town.
The Beginnings offer mostly raw and plant-based food but they do have some vegetarian dishes and oddly, some seafood (hence describing themselves as a “flexitarian” establishment).
The restaurant has a small store with their own-brand sweet and savoury snacks, condiments, juices, and superfood packs.
On their lunch menu, they offer a vast range of bowls (which is where you’ll find the fish), burgers and soups as well as a selection of salads and raw dishes.
I rarely eat raw dishes so wanting to try something different, I ordered the Raw Vegetable Lasagna with Three Kinds of Pesto. The “lasagne” was made from shaved courgette and the “pestos” were sun-dried tomato, green basil, and cashew cream.
It was really delicious and surprisingly filling. I loved the cashew cream and the crispy, “cheesy” topping.
Plus, they get 10/10 for presentation of their dishes.
The Beginnings don’t offer coffee (gasp!) but they do have a large drinks menu with matcha tea, juices and smoothies.
Staying with the theme of trying new things, I went for the Matcha Pina Colada – a (non-alcoholic) matcha, pineapple and coconut smoothie. It was actually really tasty – very refreshing and not overly sweet. The coconut cream foam was delicious!
At €8.80 for my lasagna, it was a little pricey (for Latvia, at least – super-cheap for London!) but nice for a treat. All the burgers on the menu are under €7 and soups are €4.50, which is pretty decent so seems I just picked one of their pricier dishes. Worth it.
Overall, Riga had way more vegan-friendly eateries than I’d anticipated so perhaps one day I’ll make it back to check out some more!
Have you been to Riga? What places would you add to this list?