There was only one place to eat vegan in Plovdiv listed on HappyCow, but after a less than satisfying time being vegan in Bansko for almost a week, I was so excited to be heading to somewhere where eating vegan just might be even slightly better for our third week of Veganuary.
Travelling vegan in Plovdiv turned out to be quite a delight! After a lot of research and some false leads, it turns out that Plovdiv has not one but three vegan restaurants and a number of places with vegetarian and vegan options and even whole vegan menus.
From an incredible guesthouse who made us a vegan breakfast every morning, to experimental and creative vegan cuisine throughout the city, as well as some accidentally vegan discoveries, our explorations uncovered the best places to eat vegetarian and vegan in Plovdiv.
Veggic is definitely the most well-known restaurants for anyone who’s vegan in Plovdiv – and was the only HappyCow listing for the city. The menu had a whole range of really interesting and creative dishes, including rice with lime and maple syrup. The vegan sushi was a real let down because it was made with some kind of twangy nut paste instead of rice (turns out I’m not the only blogger to feel this way).
We liked the food though often it felt as though the dishes were still in an experimental stage and maybe needed to be taste tested by a wider range of people to find the right flavours. The tomato and olive risotto was a big hit with us, but we thought the vegan sushi and hummus needed some work.
Meal: Lunch and dinner (vegan, except the use of honey in some drinks and sweets).
Best Vegan Food: Tomato and olive risotto.
Cost: Moderately priced. 2 mains and 2 espressos cost 15lev.
We were really pleased with ourselves to find Country Life, a vegetarian and vegan lunch place that attracts a lot of locals. They serve a small buffet with mostly vegan options and the owner lived in the UK for a while so has excellent English and was happy to point out the best dishes of the day.
I was so cold that I immediately ordered a piping hot lentil soup that I could see steaming away in the pot. Luke, as always, opted for a dish of potatoes. We grabbed a salad to share and a sweet banitsa filled with pumpkin (the only vegan banitsa we saw in Plovdiv). It was good, hearty food.
Meal: Lunch (vegetarian and vegan).
Best Vegan Food: Menu changes daily, but the lentil soup was great.
Cost: Cheap. Three dishes and a banitsa cost 11lev.
Be Fresh Bio (permanently closed)
Be Fresh Bio is a little out of town, but it’s definitely worth the extra walk if you’re travelling as a vegan in Plovdiv. The restaurant itself has a kind of odd greenish design inside and the tables are cluttered with loads of ornaments and strange small green wheelie bins.
All that aside, the food here was excellent and you can tell that the cook worked hard to prepare it. The sweet peppers stuffed with brown rice and potato were definitely the highlight, and we also had a dish of steamed potatoes mixed in with a very yummy pesto.
Meal: Lunch (vegan).
Best Vegan Food: Stuffed peppers.
Cost: Moderate. 2 mains, a coffee and a green tea cost 20lev.
Primarily a juice bar, Vitafix also serves up lunch time salads, hummus, simple sandwiches and these really great crackers – which are more like chewy and oaty savoury flapjacks. All three kinds of flapjack cracker looked appealing to me so I got one of each: a courgette one, a tomato one and a seedy one. It’s ideal for grabbing a snack and a juice while sightseeing in the city.
Meal: Lunch or snack (vegetarian and vegan).
Best Vegan Food: Courgette oaty cracker.
Cost: Cheap. Each cracker was less than 2lev.
Sometimes you find great vegan options in the most unlikely of places. This hotel restaurant has a whole page on their menu that’s dedicated to vegan food, ranging from soups and salads to quinoa and spaghetti.
The food was good, and Luke’s buddhist stew had particularly delicate flavours that were quite different from most vegan food we’d tasted in Bulgaria.
The hotel seemed really posh to us but the prices weren’t much different from most places we’d eaten vegan in Plovdiv, although the portions were quite small.
Meal: Lunch and dinner (veg-friendly, they have a vegan menu page).
Best Vegan Food: Buddhist stew on rice spaghetti.
Cost: Main dishes cost around 5 – 9lev and portions were small.
For vegetarians in Plovdiv, a pizza place is a good bet. For vegans, I was less sure about it. I read online that they have a vegan special every day but this didn’t seem to be the case when we were there. Nonetheless, there were a couple of good vegan options on the menu, including a delicious vegetable hot plate, potato wedges and a beetroot and shaved walnut salad.
Meal: Lunch and dinner (veg-friendly).
Best Vegan Food: Vegetable hotplate.
Cost: Moderate. Our meal for 2 with wine and beer cost 22lev.
This Mexican joint is across the river, quite far out of town. If you really want to eat something different though, then it’s not a bad shout. We walked there along icy roads one evening and were really unsure about the place when we realised it was located on a main road in an out-of-town area next to a furniture shop.
Inside though, it’s warm, fun and colourfully decorated, so we immediately relaxed and got into the swing of the place. For vegans, there’s a big plate of grilled vegetables served with guacamole and spicy relish, corn and wheat tortillas, various potato options, and rice (though we suspect this may have been cooked with butter).
I was desperate for some beans as well, and managed to order a separate side dish after some discussion with a waitress who asked me “how many beans do you want?” to which I responded by staring blankly trying to decide how many actual beans that would even be. “100g portion of beans?” she prompted me and I let out an “ohhh” and nodded enthusiastically.
Meal: Lunch and dinner (veg-friendly).
Best Vegan Food: Grilled veggies and tortillas.
Cost: Moderate. Our meal for 2 with beer and wine cost 23lev.
If you love wine and tapas, then Vino Culture is definitely where you want to be. This isn’t a restaurant though and you can only order small tapas snacks to compliment your wine – which they do very well.
We really enjoyed sampling some local Bulgarian red wines and learning about biodynamic wine from the owner whose wine knowledge was incredible. The wines were really unique in flavour (to use anyway), especially the finishing wine which we had.
We had a vegan tapas of bruschetta with hummus, sundried tomatoes and olive oil with herbs, which was nothing short of delicious. There are also vegetarian tapas options with goats cheese and similar.
Meal: Evening, only small tapas dishes (veg-friendly).
Best Vegan Food: Hummus and sundried tomato bruschetta.
Cost: A little more expensive as we’re really talking about drinking good wine here (between 3.50 – 6lev for each glass of wine).
Where to Stay When Travelling Vegetarian or Vegan in Plovdiv
We stayed in Hostel Old Plovdiv and we’re so glad that we did! The guesthouse provides breakfast, so I emailed in advance to let them know that we were vegan – not only did they respond within three minutes of my email, but they said that it was absolutely no problem and they were happy to accommodate us. We were so impressed with their thoughtfulness and on top of a great breakfast of salad, fruits, toast and muesli, they even specially got in soy milk for us. They also pointed us in the direction of the vegan restaurant and recommended some other places to try as well. If you’re travelling as a vegan in Plovdiv, definitely stay at Hostel Old Plovdiv.
Resources for Travelling Vegetarian and Vegan in Plovdiv
Our first point of call for restaurants that would be vegetarian and vegan in Plovdiv was HappyCow, but be careful to check which places are now closed before venturing out. Mostly I discovered the other vegetarian and vegan places by typing “vegetarian and vegan in Plovdiv” into Facebook, which pulled up their local pages, as not all of the places had English information online.
Have you travelled vegan in Plovdiv? I’d love to hear about any other vegan recommendations for this Bulgarian city.