The best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Switzerland
Whether it be because of concerns about the climate, the treatment of animals or other reasons, an increasing number of people around the world are choosing to pursue a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. Although only roughly 5 percent of the Swiss population is vegetarian, Switzerland still excels in dishing out excellent vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Here are some of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the alpine nation.
Vegetarian restaurants in Zurich
When it comes to which Swiss city and its eateries have made the biggest steps to accommodate meat-free diets, vegetarian restaurants in Zurich have to take the crown. The “Swiss metropolis” has many great vegetarian options to choose from:
Hiltl - The oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world
No list of vegetarian restaurants in Switzerland would be complete without mentioning Hiltl, the oldest continuously open vegetarian restaurant in the world. The first branch of Hiltl opened its doors to customers in 1898, and still retains its location on Sihlstrasse in the heart of the city - although it has also expanded to locations across Canton Zurich and even does the vegetarian food on SWISS flights!
Originally, dishes at the restaurant were based on the vegetarian diet proposed by Maximilian Bircher-Benner, the inventor of Bircher Muesli. Today, the vegetarian buffet offers some of the highest quality and most delicious dishes available, making it a great night out for vegetarians and meat eaters who want to try something both different and tasty!
From the oldest vegetarian restaurant to arguably the most successful. Founded by Daniel and Reto Frei in 2000 with the help of Rolf Hiltl - yes, that Hiltl - Tibits restaurants offer a more relaxed buffet atmosphere and a constantly evolving array of vegetarian delights.
Alongside its Zurich branches, Tibits has restaurants in Winterthur, Basel, Bern, Lausanne, Lucerne, St. Gallen and Darmstadt in Germany. If you want to see what a “chain” of successful Swiss vegetarian restaurants would be like, this is your best bet!
For those craving a more sit-down à la carte meal, Samses on Langstrasse is a must-visit. Founded in 2005 in what used to be a travel agency, the restaurant serves vegetarian versions of traditional Swiss dishes. The menu is seasonal, so don’t be surprised to find new additions and the return of old favourites.
Vegan restaurants in Zurich
In recent years, a number of fantastic vegan restaurants have begun to pop up in Zurich. Here are some of the highlights:
The Sacred mit Vegelateria - The oldest vegan restaurant in Switzerland
Zurich is also home to the oldest vegan restaurant in Switzerland on Müllerstrasse: The Sacred Restaurant. The name refers to the “sacred” connection staff have with their ingredients, with all of their dishes being lean, green and full of goodness and flavour. If you don’t have the space for lunch or dinner, the restaurant is also known for its vegan ice cream - well worth a try!
With a strong focus on seasonal and local ingredients, Restaurant KLE is one of the prime gourmet options when it comes to vegan food in Zurich. From their base on Zweierstrasse, they serve a fusion of Moroccan and Mexican fare, all of which is entirely vegan. Need more convincing? The restaurant has one Michelin star and 15 Gault Millau points.
A fabulous breakfast and lunch option, Roots is most famous for its plant-based Acai bowls, but also offers a wide range of delicious vegan sandwiches, soups, bagels and more. Their restaurants can be found dotted across Zurich and are great if you need a kick of coffee or a shot of ginger!
With their 100 percent plant-based pittas, Veganitas is the go-to place for sustainable and healthy fast food. The shop is also a major hit with students thanks to its discount and special meals for those with a university card. The multi-award-winning cuisine is now available on Brauerstrasse in Zurich and their two branches in the main stations of Bern and Lucerne.
Vegetarian restaurants in Basel
Like Zurich, there are many vegetarian restaurants in Basel that are well worth a visit. Here are some honourable mentions:
Using locally sourced and sustainable ingredients, the staff at restaurant Lauch in the Hotel Basilik / Trio on Klingentalstrasse are masters of veggie and vegan cuisine. Their four-course menu is available in both vegetarian and vegan varieties, making it perfect for any occasion.
While it does serve meat, the delicious, aromatic and wide selection of vegetarian dishes on offer at Za Zaa do merit a mention. The Lebanese soul food restaurant in Petersgraben is notable for its delicious hot and cold mezze selection, the majority of which is meat-free!
Vegan restaurants in Basel
While Zurich was the first, the residents of Basel would argue that their vegan restaurants are now the most popular. Here are some eateries that may prove that point:
If you are in the mood for some cheap but delicious vegan food, then look no further than Vegitat on Klybeckstrasse. One of the must-eats has to be the vegan kebab made of bulgur, tomato, pepper and onion, topped with a devilishly aromatic Cigköfte spice paste. Vegitat has more recently expanded into Zurich and Lucerne, and also offers delivery!
If you are in need of a meat-free feast or a juicy burger, then Swing Kitchen is always a good choice. Originally founded in Vienna - after the main chef, Charly, was unable to slaughter a pig - the brand now has locations across Austria, Germany and Bern and Basel in Switzerland. Some dishes of note include their selection of tasty burgers and their inconceivably good plant-based nuggets.
Vegetarian restaurants in Geneva
Elsalad is a charming eatery famed for its creative mix of salads and wraps which incorporate flavours from across the world. They can be eaten in their three restaurants dotted across Geneva, picked up or delivered.
While not entirely vegetarian, the Gandhi is well worth a visit to sample its vegetarian thalis - a traditional plated Indian dish that includes various curries, dips, rice and pieces of bread. If you want your Indian food served authentically with a vegetarian twist, then this charming cafe on Rue de Neuchâtel is for you!
Vegan restaurants in Geneva
Going vegan has never been easier in Geneva; here are some top restaurants to visit:
Gives a Fork
One of the highest-rated vegan restaurants in Geneva, Gives a Fork serves Asian fusion food in a warm, welcoming setting. The dishes themselves are cooked fresh from scratch in an open kitchen, serving delights to excite both your taste buds and your eyes. Alongside its restaurant on Rue des Eaux Vives, the company also operates a cosy cafe and eatery on Rue David Dufour - ideal for a tasty vegan lunch.
Another great idea for lunch or an afternoon snack is the Alive vegan cafe on Rue des Barques. This cafe’s forte has got to be the many superfoods on offer, which are always based on "fresh, seasonal, organic and local products”. Be sure to try their delectable sucrine tacos and spicy corn ribs.
If you are up for a cosy night in, then maybe a takeaway from Biofred is what you need. Based in the centre of the city on Rue de la Boulangerie, the takeaway service offers hearty meals like chia bowls, vegan sandwiches, and changing tasty dishes of the day. Biofred also doubles as a green and sustainable shop for all your veggie needs.
Where to eat vegan in Bern
From vegan sweet treats to delicious sandwiches, a day started at Bakery Bakery is a day started off right. The completely vegan bakery, founded in 2019, promises a warm communal atmosphere and is a good place to have coffee. They have venues in Bern Breitenrain, Zurich HB and Zurich ThreeofFive.
Turbo Lama is one of the highest-rated lunch and dinner stops in the federal city, serving deliciously balanced and flavourful vegan bowls from its base in Hilfikerstrasse. Alongside its delectable selection of fruit- and veggie-based bowls, they are also well known for their delicious dinnertime tapas selection.
Vegetarian food in Bern
Bern also plays host to some stunning vegetarian food. Here are some suggestions for your next visit:
Beans & Nuts
Situated in a charming cobblers shop just a stone’s throw away from the famous Zytglogge, Beans & Nuts specialises in what its name would suggest: great coffee and tasty nutty treats! Take a seat and enjoy their delicious plant-based smoothies, salads and toasts. The entire menu is also gluten-free on request!
While not an entirely vegetarian restaurant, Bonbec on Rathausgasse in Bern has a wide selection of plant-based dishes for both lunch and dinner. Along with their entirely vegetarian sharing starters, delight your tastebuds with their delectably spiced curries.
If you find yourself in need of a detox, then the delightful salads of Dean&David on Hirschengraben should be the first thing on your prescription. Sit back, relax and enjoy the cornucopia of vegetarian dishes - from crispy sandwiches and juices to curries and salads.
Vegetarian food in Lucerne
There are many restaurants perfect for veggies in Lucerne. Here are some of our favourites:
Cafe Bar Voliere
Situated on the banks of Lake Lucerne is the charming little Cafe Bar Voliere. In the middle of the summer, there is little better than wandering over and having a drink and one of their vegetarian dishes. Run by the local university and radio station, the cafe is only open from April to mid-September and serves up a menu that changes every week.
Get a taste of Italy at Pure Pasta on Furrengasse, right next to the famous Chapel Bridge! While not entirely vegetarian, their veggie dishes are highly praised for their delectable flavour and warmth - perfect for a chilly evening in the city.
Vegan restaurants in in Lucerne
The jewel of central Switzerland, Lucerne, is also a great place to eat vegan food. Here are some places to add to the bucket list:
With its focus on natural and wild herbs and flavours, you are always bound to find something unique at Funky Kitchen on Kernserstrasse. With their purely plant-based, organic, natural dishes, they believe that food should always be fresh, healthy and wholesome. If their menu of delights inspires you to take up the ladle then there's good news: the restaurant offers cooking courses and wild herb walks to help get your own culinary journey started!
100 percent vegan, 100 percent natural; that’s how the owners of Karls Kraut describe their restaurant on St. Karliquai. Their commitment is showcased through their excellent fusion cuisine, taking inspiration from traditional Swiss dishes and food from further afield. Sit down for dinner, or take them up on their delectable brunch offer, available every Sunday!
Vegan restaurants in St. Gallen
Lastly, while not as well developed as some other cities on the list, St. Gallen is still home to some great vegan restaurants. Here are a couple of suggestions:
For lunch and dinner, look no further than the Formidable Pelikan on Schmiedgasse. With their 100 percent plant-based, 95 percent homemade menu, diners are treated to tasty vegan waffles, soups, kebabs, steaks and much more. In the mood for a plant-based version of the traditional afternoon tea? Why not try the graduated platter, filled to the brim with homemade delicacies.
In need of some food on the go? Nil Imbiss on the Marktplatz serves freshly prepared vegan meals at an affordable price. Be sure to try their famous falafel and pickled vegetables - but bear in mind to hold the yoghurt sauce, as that is the only non-vegan thing about the dish.
Vegetarian dinners in St. Gallen
Want to eat vegetarian in St. Gallen? Check out these top eateries:
Although meat-eaters will still get a good selection at Candela, the restaurant on Sonnenstrasse does the utmost to cater for vegetarians and vegans alike. Choosing from a special separate menu, the vegetarian fare at the restaurant puts a meat-free twist on many of the country's most popular dishes. En Guete!
Restaurant Bar Stickerei
Restaurant Bar Stickerei is perfect for people who just want to sit back and enjoy a plant-based burger. Of the 44 different burgers and salads on offer at their base on Oberer Graben, many of them are vegan and vegetarian-friendly, not to mention totally delicious!
Vegan food in Switzerland
Of course, it would be impossible to mention all the best places for vegetarian and vegan food in Switzerland. Do you have a favourite eatery that isn’t on this list? Let us know in the comments below!