Leipzig is like Berlin’s little sister. I heard that phrase a few times, even before arriving, and the sentiment proved to be true. Like little sisters do Leipzig seems to look up to its older sister. Dressing like it, acting like it, and mimicking some of its characteristics. However, siblings are never completely similar, and Leipzig is in no way Berlin’s identical twin.
First of all, Leipzig is noticeably smaller than Berlin, in a good way. Getting from place to place takes considerably much less time, and walking, even from one neighborhood to the other, is often an option. Additionally, Leipzig has its own cool artistic and cooperative spirit, and the people seem to be a bit more genuine and less jaded than they are in Berlin. Granted my exposure to the local scene was limited to people working in the service industry and fellow diners, or bar patrons, so my experience was quite narrow. However, after spending just a few days in Leipzig I craved more, and hopefully someday I can return to spend at least a few months getting to know it better.
My trip to Leipzig was a mere three nights. Hardly enough time to experience every facet of the vegan food scene, but I gave it my best effort and sampled as much as I could, resulting in many fantastic vegan feasts. Below is some of the best vegan food I found in Leipzig Germany.
Note: This article was produced as a result of the Two Vegans One Country: Germany Edition project with my friend and fellow blogger Amelie from Mostly Amelie.
Some of the Best Vegan Food in Leipzig Germany
Pizza Lab is by far the most inspiring project we came across during our travels in Germany. If you have a charitable bone in your body you’ll want to support Pizza Lab while you’re in Leipzig. Plus they have fan-fucking-tastic vegan cheese on their pizza, so even if you don’t get a shit about your fellow man, the planet, or animals you should stop by for dinner.
Pizza Lab is a non-profit vegan pizza restaurant that is 100% volunteer run. The restaurant donates all of its revenue to community projects that focus on sustainability, animal rights, ecology, and veganism.
Pizza Lab is embedded in a project house that hosts other non-profit projects. The house members are either project leaders of one of these projects or otherwise connected to them. This way, house members live and work in the same place and learn to cope with the everyday challenges of living together. For example, house members bid on which chores they’d like to complete, which earns them points. Points equal voting rights, so the more points a house member has the more say they get in the way the house is run. It’s an incredibly fair and cooperative system if you ask me.
In addition to selling pizza for a good cause, Pizza Lab has also put on plenty of events like lego parties, diary slams (where people read from their childhood diaries), clothing exchanges, lectures, and workshops. They also have a cooperative work space with childcare.
If ever there was a good reason to eat delicious vegan pizza, this is it. Make sure you stop by Pizza Lab when you’re in Leipzig, and if you are visiting for an extended period and want to volunteer send them a message on Facebook.
Everyone we asked about the vegan food scene in Leipzig recommended Zest. We were told by locals that it was the one place we couldn’t miss before leaving the city. With that kind of reputation, it had to be good, right?
I’m not going to lie, Zest is not cheap, and main courses can run up to €17.00 each. Even so, an article about vegan food in Leipzig would not be complete without mentioning Zest. We we decided to go mid-day when the menu is more reasonably priced and save a few Euros. It was probably the best decision we made while visiting this city.
Why? Because Zest has a BYO (build your own) brunch menu that’s only €11.00 and includes 7 dishes. There are 10 tempting items in total on the brunch menu to choose from, and narrowing them down was no easy feat, but we managed. We chose the seitan kebabs with sage and fennel seed, grilled pears, sun-dried tomato pesto, grilled zucchini in cumin and garlic oil, smoked paprika tofu balls, basil cream cheese, and the grilled shiitake mushroom with sesame. We also ordered a few appetizers for good measure. Each dish was full flavored, expertly executed, and beautifully presented.
Yes, it lived up to its reputation, and I’m now one of those people that will say “don’t leave Leipzig without visiting Zest”.
Symbiose is Leipzig’s only vegan, bio (completely organic), and seasonal restaurant. That means you can order anything on the menu and don’t have to worry about animal cruelty, or funky chemicals in your food.
The atmosphere at Symbiose is warm, whimsical, and inviting, and the food was surprisingly outstanding. Surprising because we basically knew nothing about the restaurant before we went.
We spotted a cheese plate on the breakfast menu, but after previously being letdown by the same dish at Berlin’s most fancy vegan restaurant, I was a bit hesitant. We ordered it anyway, and the vegan pancakes as a safe backup.
Boy was I a happy girl after devouring half the plate. Not so much when I had to give the other half to Amelie, but we still had two weeks of traveling together so I couldn’t really justify ending our friendship for a few more bites of vegan cheese. After a few mouthfuls of the fluffy, maple syrup soaked pancakes all was again right in the world, and the cheese issue had disappeared.
Symbiose gets two thumbs up and is an excellent option for vegan breakfast in Leipzig.
vVasabi is an all vegan and vegetarian sushi restaurant in Leipzig.
They offer an unusual assortment of vegan sushi. In fact, I’ve never seen sushi like this anywhere else in the world. Fancy a Thai green curry sushi? How about goulash sushi? Maybe roti? vVasabi has it, and much more.
Of course, being the good vegan travel bloggers we are, we tried every one of their savory sushi options. I’ll admit, it wasn’t the best sushi I’ve ever had in my life, but it was good and they scored points for originality and imagination.
If you’re looking for something a little different while in Leipzig, swing by vVasabi for lunch or dinner and see what experiments they have on offer that day.
My mouth salivates every time I look at the above picture.
If you want to taste two of Germany’s most popular dishes while in Leipzig, head to the no-frills, all vegan Vleischerei and get the Currywurst and Doner Kebab. You will not be disappointed, or hungry when you leave.
The Currywurst sauce was tangy, slightly sweet, and aromatic. The vegan sausage was crispy, chewy, and fatty, and the fries were greasy crunchy delights, especially after dipping them in the accompanying garlic cream sauce. The doner was also delightful, however, it took tremendous skill to carve into and consume without getting it all over our faces, laps, and the floor. Still, totally worth the effort.
Both dishes are meaty meat-free feasts, and massive enough to share with a friend. So go famished, or with a loved one.
Hard as it might be to imagine, having a job that consists mostly of eating at all of the top vegan restaurants a country has to offer can be demanding. Especially if most of the food you eat can be considered junk food. Just look at my article about Berlin’s best veganized food, it’s full of burgers, donuts, dumplings, and kebab.
Suess Salzig in Leipzig was a godsend. Although not vegan, it did have plenty of options to choose from, including the most comforting home-style meal I had while in Germany. The baked couscous dish was stuffed full of broccoli, corn, seitan, smothered in zesty tomato sauce, and topped with bubbling vegan cheese. Although it was served piping hot it disappeared within a matter of minutes.
Go to Seuss Salzig if you’re looking for homestyle cooking while in Leipzig, but be prepared to wait. Both times we stopped by it was packed and we were only lucky enough to get a table on our second attempt.
The sweet and cozy Cafe Kater is another spot in Leipzig that was always packed. Before our first visit we had strong cravings for good coffee, which proved to be surprisingly difficult to find in Germany, so we waited for a few seats to open up. We were generously rewarded with a delicious vegan raspberry cream cake, outstanding filter and espresso coffee with non-dairy milk.
The cafe isn’t vegan but they have at least one vegan dessert option and some of the best coffee I had in Germany. I highly recommend stopping by, hovering over someone’s table until they leave, and ordering a nice cup of coffee and whatever vegan cake they have that day.
KulthuM is a non-commercial, vegan, feminist, safe space and bar in Leipzig. It has one of the most free and relaxed vibes I’ve experienced in a long time. The night we visited there was a massive city-wide art festival, and KulthuM hosted a few artists in their upstairs space. Not only was there fantastic music, an uber cool crowd, and cheap drinks, but there was also some pretty interesting art to ponder.
KulthuM has events (concerts, films, djs, workshops, etc.) along with soup and cakes on Wednesday nights, party bar night (no food) on Fridays, and late Sunday brunch with food and drinks. Everything is always vegan.
Where to Stay – The Best Hostel in Leipzig
Hostel & Garten Eden
Hostel & Garden Eden is a quick 15 minute tram ride from the center of Leipzig, and is the perfect hostel for anyone looking for a unique accommodation experience.
From the moment you step foot in the hostel’s reception area you’ll feel at home. The staff are attentive, warm and friendly, and the communal areas feel super cozy and inviting. The hostel’s massive backyard garden is perfect for lazing about on a warm sunny day or for a few evening drinks and socializing.
Every room at Hostel & Garden Eden was created by local artists and have a unique theme inspired by things like cats, geometric shapes, tree houses, playgrounds, and spaceships. The beds are super comfy, there are plenty of plugs in the rooms to charge electronics, and loads of natural light.
The hostel has a huge kitchen to prepare meals or snacks, there are free laundry facilities, and there are plenty of showers in the shared bathrooms (no lines!).
The location is also fantastic. At first glance of the map you might be inclined to think it’s far from the center, but it’s a quick and easy tram ride away from the touristy area. It’s tucked away in a cool artistic and progressive neighborhood in the west. It’s also directly across the street from KulthuM, a few blocks over is Pizza Lab, and a 15 minute walk from Vleischerei and Cafe Kater making it a excellent option for vegan travelers.
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Disclaimer: Big thank you to Leipzig Tourism and Marketing GMBH for their support while we were touring their beautiful city, and big thank you to Hostel & Garten Eden for hosting us during our stay in Leipzig.
As you can see I included a few handy affiliate links in case you want to book accommodations while in Leipzig. I receive a small commission for any sales made, without any additional cost to you, dear reader.