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Breaking news: a new vegetarian restaurant has opened in Paris. Kitchen is from the same owner as Bob’s Juice Bar and has a lot in common. They are both easy-going veg breakfast and lunch places with interesting options for Vegans. Among cool décor and communal tables, you can enjoy the daily soup, a great green or fruity smoothie, raw Conscious Chocolates, the açai bowl and more.

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I was especially pleased to see that you can get a coconut with a straw, which is a rare pleasure to find in central Paris.

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The prices are reasonable, and they have some good takeaway items, like the delicious ‘sushi’ style roll that I picked up.

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My husband has been telling me I should spend more time in the Kitchen… now maybe I will!

Kitchen
74, rue des Gravilliers, 75003
Métro: Arts et Métiers
06 50 95 36 97

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Although it is no London, there are plenty of Indian restaurants in Paris. My favorite has to be Krishna Bhavan, located in the Little Jaffna neighborhood between Gare du Nord and La Chapelle which is home to the city’s Tamil population.

It is said that Tamils consider serving food as a service to humanity, and it shows in the warmth of service you get at this 100% vegetarian restaurant. When you tell your server that you need non-dairy food they will try to make anything on their menu vegan for you. Last night our lovely, English-speaking waitress even went out of her way to reemphasize that everything she was serving us was vegan.

And she served us plenty, because the combination of low, low prices and delicious, delicious food is a deadly one. Last night we started with banana pakoras, which were plantain-like and savory. Samosas were next, in a philo-style pastry followed by idlis. I almost never see idlis over here so I had to order them and they were lovely with their curry and chutney accompaniments. The highlight was the finale of masala dosas: massive, deliciously crispy, potato stuffed lentil-flour pancakes. With my cardamom tea, I was very happy.

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There is even more good stuff on the menu, although the one on their site is slightly different than the one they are actually serving at the moment. And if you are not in the mood for a restaurant meal, they serve the same food across the street at their take-out branch. Also in Little Jaffna you can explore the various grocery stores, boutiques, veg-friendly restaurants and cd emporiums in the bustling and welcoming community.

Pros: Vegan friendly, cheap and very welcoming
Cons: No beer

Krishna-Bhavan
24, Rue Cail, 75010
Métro: La Chapelle
01 42 05 78 43

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Blue Elephant

Finding truly vegetarian Thai food is something of an art due to their beloved and ubiquitous nam pla fish sauce: I had never eaten Thai in Paris until a couple of nights ago when a tip-off led me to Blue Elephant down by Bastille. It didn’t work out…

You certainly can’t accuse them of underdoing the décor. Even if they just had the indoor rain forest and hadn’t gone for the waterfall, that would have been quite striking, but they had both.

I had heard that they had a dedicated vegetarian menu, and indeed they had a page in their menu that really talked up their commitment to their vegetarian customers. But, you know me, I had to ask… how could they have Thai green curry when it is always made with that pre-made paste that almost always has shrimp paste and nam pla in it? Turns out that it was too good to be true: if the wait staff are to be believed, that item is indeed non-vegetarian.

Of the vegetarian items that we did order, it was a mixed bag. The rolls were good, and the cashew dish was tasty too. Unfortunately it was served inside a pineapple. OK we get it… we’re in a tropical wonderland!!!!!

Rolls

But the other vegetarian plat was unpleasant and the pad thai was sloppy and may also have been tainted with nam pla. Also, everything is rather pricy here – I suppose someone has to pay for the waterfall – such as the 9€50 coconut drink. By chance, I had just bought some coconuts in Chinatown for a Euro a pop so I really couldn’t justify that luxury.

Oh well, you can’t win them all.

Cons: The food and the prices
Pros: Complementary orchid for ladies on the way out

Blue Elephant

43-45 rue de la Roquette, 75011

Métro: Bastille

01 47 00 42 00

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I just had a short vacation in Morocco, visiting Marrakesh and Essaouira, and I found it very accommodating for the vegan traveller. I even think eating raw here would be quite easy. I didn’t try though, as I wanted to satisfy my lifelong desire to eat couscous in Maroc… and satisfy it I did! I was concerned about the broth but I always enquired and was always guaranteed the veg dishes contained no animal stock what so ever. So I trusted.


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Marrakesh

I started my days with breakfast at my hotel, Tchaikana: fresh fruit on the rooftop (oranges, strawberries), fig jam and tomato jam (yes really and it’s great), baguettes and special Moroccan flatbread (my fave, double check that there’s no butter). I brought along Lake Klamath blue-green algae to stir in my morning juice. I think it gave me lots of energy throughout the day.

Earth Café is the organic vegetarian and vegan restaurant of Marrakesh, and it is in the heart of the medina, just off the Jemaa el Fna square. They have six entrees, three of which are vegan and cost 60 dirhams [about 5 or 6 euros] for huge delicious portions. They also have good fresh juices. Earth Café is welcoming and friendly with a great atmosphere. This is the kind of place I would like to hug.

I visited Chez Chegrouni after hearing they didn’t use animal broth in their vegetarian dishes: in fact I even got someone from our riad [hotel] to double check! Fabulous view from the top floor terrasse of the square and the minaret. Cheap. Loved it. You even get to write down your own order.

Café des Epices is a wonderful, friendly, welcoming and stylish place. Spotless and with impeccable service, we ended up here for mint tea often. I enjoyed their vegan avocado and tomato sandwich served with bowl of warm stewed and spiced lentils and their fruit salad (swimming in fresh orange juice of course). Also, they have Wi-fi, but no I did not blog while I was there!

Terasse des Epices has the same owner as Café des Epices. Beautiful, cool, stylish, very comfortable, fun view, I can’t say enough about this place, especially the setting. I had tomato and cucumber salad, orange and strawberry juice, and penne with aubergine. Complementary bread and olives, as is common but always welcome in Morocco. Wi-fi here too.

Le Foundouk is rather Chic and quite lovely. Good food, including cooked salads, and the best couscous I had in Morocco. The classiest and most expensive place I visited.

Le Tobsil was recommended and hard to find, yet we were surprised to find it totally empty. No one came. We ordered some mixed salads. Nothing special.

Essaouira

Lalla Mira is an organic and ‘eco’ restaurant, hotel and spa. The food here was good: so good it was gone before I could take a picture. I had tabouleh with bulgur and their tagine with fennel: so perfectly spiced and I don’t mean spicy. Have a treatment at the spa for an authentic, if brutal and somewhat surreal, experience worth writing home about… but perhaps not blogging in great detail.

Cafe de l’Horloge provided good food in a nice square. Plenty of outdoor seating and street entertainers kept the music coming, for a small fee.

La Petite Perle is a charming, authentically decorated popular restaurant. Friendly service, great food. We tried green salad, an amazing aubergine salad (which is cooked, mashed and seasoned) and tagine.

In addition to restaurants I should mention that Argan oil is the pride of this area. Drive through argan orchards past cooperatives. I bought cosmetic and culinary varieties. This oil is all the rage these days, and it is very good. It is harvested in an interesting manner… look it up…

Street food

Street food is also a big part of the fun in Morocco -

  • Bread on the street: Yum, yum, and also… yum. Hot, crispy, flaky and greasy.
  • Orange juice: fresh, cheap, delicious.
  • Dried fruit and nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Coconut and pineapple

In some ways, I found Vegan Maroc to be easier than Vegan Paris. I always felt that the people were keen to work with my diet and make sure that I felt welcome. I am looking forward to returning there some day soon.

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After a year and a half in Paris, today I finally visited Pousse-Pousse and my bitter regret at not having gone there long ago is exceeded only by the intense joy I experienced while eating at this Raw oasis in the city.

Pousse-Pousse is a small and elegant raw organic vegetarian restaurant. We arrived and immediately noticed the shelves containing supplies for a raw food lifestyle: masticating juicers (vs. the inferior and ubiquitous centrifugal type), dehydrator, sprouting supplies, including a wide range of seeds and legumes, already sprouted sprouts for take away, green powder superfoods, etc.) But we also noticed the beautiful chandelier and vibrant green tables.

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Pousse-Pousse seems to have a philosophy of providing an inviting eating experience to all, and they offer a combination of raw and some cooked vegetarian food. We asked to get our food all-raw: and it was so good, that it would satisfy anyone even if they have never tried, or never enjoyed, raw food before.

We opened up with wheatgrass shots and without irony raised our glasses and said “Santé”.

I wanted lots of greens so we followed the shots with a juice of cucumber, fennel, arugula, ginger, and fruit. Wow! It was alive with delicious complex flavors that just screamed energy.

Next, we shared the plate of the day. It was a salad of mixed greens and sprouts, spring rolls with a glorious pesto dipping sauce, two sprouted legume ‘caviars’, cumin and curry, served with flax and sunflower seed crackers, endive boats filled with perfectly diced and marinated carrot and daikon and also sliced avocado topped with a rich spirulina cream. Yes, it was so good that I had to list every ingredient!

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We ate in a lovely friendly atmosphere as the owner, Lawrence, and her team conversed warmly with the happy diners. On the way out, I picked up a raw maca chocolate to take with me.

I have had the fortune to eat in many raw restaurants in the US, and I have to say that Pousse-Pousse is in the highest rank in providing amazing food in a lovely atmosphere. And it does this while being a pioneer in a country that is so associated with its animal-based cuisine.

Raw food usually tends to be costly due to the high quality of the organic and super-food ingredients, and craftsmanship involved. I found the prices at Pousse-Pousse to be very reasonable: for example a fresh juice and a main dish is 17€.

I took a long time to get there, but it won’t be long before I go back!

Pousse-Pousse
7, rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, 75009
Métro: Notre-Dame-de-Lorette
01 53 16 10 81

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Bob’s Juice Bar

There are a number of juice bars in town, but unfortunately a lot of them try to get away with pouring you some pasteurized juice from a bottle. If I am going to hit the juice bar, I want them to really get the juice out of some real fruit for me, which is one of the many reasons why I like Bob’s Juice Bar.

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Bob’s is a very American kind of juice bar, so if you are feeling good about the USA as of late then you will particularly enjoy being there. They have one communal table and take a very down-to-earth approach to their menu. For the juices, they’ll whip up whatever combo of their delicious fruit and veg that you request. Friday afternoon, I was delighted to enjoy a green juice: spinach, apple and pear and I was even asked if I wanted spirulina (I did!) I got a great feeling of being in a place that really gets what makes food and drink good. This is the only place I’ve visited here in Paris that even gets what ‘Raw’ is: they have raw recipe books, a dehydrator and vitamix and even raw chocolate ‘kisses.’ (Yes, I got some.)

Bob’s is also a wonderful vegetarian spot for lunch (and if you continue north-east from Bob’s you’ll find yourself at the Canal St. Martin a great spot to picnic on a warm day.) Each day Bob’s offers a vegan soup, vegan salad and sometimes vegan sandwich.

To give you an idea the other day the soup was Corn, sweet potato, cumin. Yum! And the salad was Avocado, quinoa, beans, and beets. I saw it and the veggies looked super fresh with greens and grated beets. As they get very little demand for vegan, the muffins are not vegan but the people there are interested in experimenting with vegan recipes and adding some raw creations to their repertoire.

Bob’s is run by Marc Grossman: he is also the author of two cookbooks  – I paged through his smoothie book and it looked like there were plenty of vegan concoctions. If like me you read somewhere that they have a raw buffet on Sun. it is no longer taking place. Currently wheatgrass is not available but they’ve got what they need to grow their own. So look for that in the future. A lot of the produce they use is organic, but not all. However, if you want to have an organic-only juice, they can whip one up for you.

From their website you can link to their Facebook page which if full of info, photos and a fun video. You can become a fan. I did! 

Bob’s Juice Bar

15, rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010

Métro: Jacques Bonsergent

09  50 06 36 18

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Au Grain de Folie

Au Grain de Folie is a little restaurant in Montmartre, not far from Sacré Coeur, that I have been wanting to check out so when my vegan friend and I found ourselves in that area one recent Tuesday night, possessed with ravenous hunger but with only 20 minutes to spare we decided to give it a whirl.

Au Grain de Folie

Fortunately (for us) it was empty and the friendly server was happy to accommodate our crazy deadline. We were seated at a candle-lit table and soaked in the earthy, hippy ambience and the colorful paintings for sale on the walls. We didn’t waste much time on the menu: they had three options and one of them was vegan. The food was fresh with a good portion of raw veg, and was in the basic macrobioticy style consisting of red cabbage, green cabbage, carrots, lettuce, lentils, lentil spread on bread and the fanciest bit: the pumpkin tart. For 14€ it was a good size meal that was enough for both of us.

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We couldn’t resist ordering a dessert, but of course we didn’t have time to eat it. The waitress was happy to pack it up for us so we then dashed through the winding streets nibbling on the 4€ crumble, particularly enjoying the occasional morsel of brown sugar.

So while I wouldn’t head to Au Grain de Folie for a stunning culinary experience it is great to know that it is there if I ever find myself hungry in Montmartre.

Au Grain de Folie

24, Rue la Vieuville, Paris 75018

Métro: Abesses

01 42 58 15 57

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