It turns out there are more vegan restaurants in Paris than I had thought: last time I visited Green Garden, I believed the menu which shows ‘V’ symbols next to their vegan options. But today I had a nice chat with the waitress and she cleared it up for me that the menu [and web site] is totally wrong and that they are 100% vegan there!
Green Garden is one of the two well-known Chinese vegetarian places in Paris. It has a big menu with a wide range of Chinese classics, and is very friendly and welcoming. But since I last visited they have made a major change which has spoiled the atmosphere a bit. The restaurant is devoted to the spiritual teacher Ching Hai, and now in addition to the interesting looking pamphlets they have added two large-screen TVs pumping out Supreme Master TV, with positive message news and poetry and songs by the Master herself. It’s very hard to ignore: on the plus side while my children were being indoctrinated for an hour they were quiet and docile.
Many of the menu choices are ‘faux meat’ and, frankly, apart from the fairly neutral faux chicken some of that stuff is a bit too unappetizing for me. Today we felt a bit experimental and thought we’d try the ‘house product’ [chewy soy protein] in tomato sauce – however, it was a bit too simple a dish and not really recommended.
We also had the ‘bifun’ noodle dish that was good and the always great spring rolls delivered.
The tofu beignets looked impressive but inside was a silky tofu that is not my personal favorite.
But their cousins, the pineapple beignets, were a big greasy hit.
As you can see from the picture of the tomato dish, there are some real duds on the menu here so a good idea is to take a look at the featured dishes on Green Garden’s website before you head over there.
In the corner of the store you can get frozen versions of their ‘house products’: all manner of fake animals are there! My kids were bemused.
PROS: 100% Vegan. No MSG. In Chinatown, so handy for Asian grocery shopping.
CONS: Big TVs. Plenty of bland dishes on menu.
20 rue Nationale, 75013
Métro: Porte d’Ivry
01 45 82 99 54
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I had a nice salad for lunch today at Le Pain Quotidien in the 4th. There are lots of salads in Paris, which is great: nothing wrong with that. They’re green and one of the best things you can eat, alive with wonderful chlorophyll.
This charming Belgian café chain has locations all over the world, five of which are right here in the center of Paris. It’s by no means a vegan restaurant, but I appreciate so much the acknowledgment of putting a carrot symbol next to the vegan options. They have three salads, vegan soup everyday, a fruit salad and of course their wonderful organic, whole wheat pain au levain [sourdough bread.]
Sitting in the charmingly decorated location that they have in the Marais around the big communal table, we had a warming bowl of potimarron [chestnut-flavored squash] soup and two nice salads: one with artichokes and beans, the other with tofu and three tasty sauces. The tofu might have benefited from being marinated but it was still an impressive and satisfying salad. Just look at the photo I took!
PROS: Openly vegan friendly, organic, multiple locations, sells nice oils, spreads etc.
CONS: No vegan desserts.
Le Pain Quotidien
18, Rue des Archives, 75004
Métro: Hôtel de Ville
Tel : 01 44 54 03 07
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There are a plenty of vegetarian restos in town, but there also are so many other places that are really nice beautiful, charming, fun or interesting where a vegan can still find something on the menu. Like, for example, the Rose Bakery which is not a vegan bakery but has a lot of my favorite things available in it like organic food and of course raw bars and lots of gorgeous salads, a menu that changes every day with a tofu dish and it’s in a really hip neighborhood for doin’ the boutiques. It’s also not far from the Picasso museum.
The original location is in the 9th at Métro Notre-Dame-de-Lorette and they opened the new location in the 3rd about a month back. Today I picked up some raw bars for a bit of raw power on the go. One of my favorite raw bar makers, Larabar, has brought a new flavor to the market: coconut cream pie. They had me at ‘coconut.’
Why eat raw vegan food anyway? Well the idea is to get the maximum nutrition from your food. It’s a huge movement in CA and NY and England and Holland are getting into it. France hasn’t gone there yet. This little English-run shop has sneaked these bars in, which is a start and maybe now I don’t have to bring an extra suitcase over to the US with me to bring back raw bars. I was also surprised to see another of my smuggler items: Emergen-C vitamin C powder. Great for boosting the immunes this time of year.
They also do takeaway from the deli counter and I had the best of my life broccoli sesame salad with okara in it.
No vegan baked goods but you can special order a vegan cake: that’s huge… what if I didn’t want to bake a cake… or what if you wanted to get a vegan cake for me!
30 rue Debelleyme, 75003 Paris
Metro: Filles du Calvaire
01 49 96 54 01
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