Vegetarian Paris – After years of slim pickings, vegetarians now have an exciting choice of places to eat in the French capital
Brasserie Lola, 15th (above)
Located a little off the beaten tourist track, a 20-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower, Brasserie Lola provides an authentic local experience. It looks like a traditional brasserie, complete with a table-decked terrace, and even the food resembles classic French fare – but don’t be fooled. Here, everything is entirely vegan – and very good it is too.
I couldn’t resist its variation on that Parisian-café cliché, the croque-monsieur – normally out of bounds for veggies, let alone vegans – with wheat gluten and sweet potato replacing the ham and cheese. Accompanied by frites and salad, it was every bit as satisfying as I had hoped. Other staples include the club sandwich, tartine crostini and mushroom risotto.
The staff are friendly, the vibe is relaxed, and it really does feel like a taste of proper France. The good news for Lola fans is that the owners have opened a smaller sister restaurant, Brasserie 2ème Art, in Rue Montmartre.
While You’re There: Walk off the frites with a brisk stroll to the Eiffel Tower for the obligatory Instagram photos.
Probably one of the best-known vegan restaurants in Paris, the Gentle Gourmet Café opened in 2012 following the success of the owners’ vegan B&B. Open from Wednesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner, this chic restaurant is renowned for its seasonal gourmet dishes, offering vegan cuisine that is the equal of, if not better than, classic meaty fare. It seems their efforts are paying off, with the city mayor’s office describing it as one of the “best addresses of the capital”.
We tucked into ‘Le Fameux‘ – a marinated and roasted portobello mushroom burger, garnished with a piquant chimichurri sauce, a slice of beef tomato, caramelised red onions and red oak tree leaf from Île-de-France, served with herbed polenta fries.
Look out, too, for the more informal Tuesday night music evenings. With a second restaurant promised imminently, things look set to get even more interesting.
While You’re There: Head to Place de la Bastille, once the site of the notorious prison that was famously stormed in the Revolution, or enjoy a relaxing stroll along the River Seine.