Vegan Cheap Eats in Downtown Brussels

We all know travelling as a vegan can be tricky at times. Certain cities are less vegan friendly than others, that’s just the way it is. Unfortunately, Brussels isn’t brimming with vegan & vegan-friendly places yet. Since it’s not a vegan’s paradise (hopefully someday), you can’t get away with just winging it.

Now, if like most people you’re going to Brussels for just a couple of days or less, chances are you’ll be staying in the very center and won’t wander too far away from it.

Add to this the fact some of us want to keep a tight budget, being a vegan then becomes a hurdle, and it shouldn’t be.

Fear not coming to Brussels though ! Thanks to this list, there will be no need to cook everything yourself during your stay.

Every place that made the list was under a budget of 10 euros and located in the Old Town.

LOVING HUT EXPRESS FOOD TRUCK

Fully vegan & promoting this lifestyle peacefully, Loving Hut is a favorite for quick, cheap food in the center. However, it’s a food truck, so there’s no seating and it’s only around Mondays & Tuesdays.

The food is great though. Cheap, tasty, 100 % plant-based.

Part of the Loving Hut chain, the food trucks have more limited choices of food than their restaurant counterparts. This one offers burgers, gyros, wraps, pizza bread, Thai curry, quinoa salad, muffins, etc.

We had a burger & a gyros wrap, both better than the real thing. Great option if you’re walking around Brussels.

Where : Boulevard de l’Impératrice, In front of Ste Gudule’s cathedral, by the trees (Mon) & 90, Rue Dansaertstraat (Tue).

Budget : 4 to 8 euros.

Opening hours : 12– 2.30 pm. 4.30 – 8.30 pm Tuesdays only.

Website : LovingHutExpressBelgium  //  Your impact as a vegan


VEGAN DELIGHT

Another fully vegan food truck, however I haven’t tried this one yet. I’ll make sure to add pictures & comments once I did.

Where : Outside Central Station.

Budget : 6 euros Hot dog. 9 euros burgers.

Opening hours : Every Thursday from 12 pm, until there’s nothing left.

Website : Vegan Delight


 MR. FALAFEL

A small shop that sells warm falafels in a whole grain pita bread with your choice of sauce for 5 euros and the salad bar is free.

It’s a vegetarian place so there is mayo or yogurt in some of the salads, but as a vegan you can choose between a tahini or spicy sauce to put on your falafels, and there’s unlimited hummus. You fill your pita bread & salad box yourself.

There are a few tables inside, and weather permitting, outside on the sidewalk aswell.

Now, it’s not the prettiest place to eat at, they have no bathroom, and if you’re a girl eating on the sidewalk, you might get hit on by some shady dudes. Yes, plural.

But hey, the food is cheap, quick, surprisingly very filling and the falafels are quite tasty.

Where : Boulevard Maurice Lemonnier 53

Budget : 5 euros.

Opening hours : 12 pm – 12 am every day.


EXKI

Exki is a chain of organic health food self-service cafeterias. They sell hot beverages, sandwiches, soups, salads, pies & sweets. They only have a few vegan options (the Mitsumi sandwich, several salads and some of their soups) but they’re everywhere in the center, the food is ready so it’s quick, you can choose between eating in or take away, and it’s not too expensive.

I tried the new Mitsumi sandwich with tofu, seaweed, carrots & pumpkin. A teeny bit dry but tasty. I’ll buy it again.

All the food is clearly labelled. Oh, and there’s wifi. So you’ll see people working on their laptop sipping on a cup of coffee all day.

Where : De Brouckère (Next to the cinema, good selection of food). Bourse/Beurs (the biggest one but not more food choices, nice upstairs area, beggars outside, closes late). Rue Neuve (in the middle of the main shopping street). Agora (Between Grand-Place & the Queen’s galleries). Central Station.

Budget : About 4 euros for a soup wth bread. 4 to 5 euros for a sandwich. 3 to 8 euros for salads. Slightly cheaper prices for takeaway. There’s a menu that includes a soup or small salad + a sandwich + a water for 8 euros.

Opening hours : From 8 am. Closing time between 7-10 pm depending on the outlet. The ones at Bourse & Agora are open on Sundays.

Website : Exki.be


ZAIN SHAAM

This one is not an obvious choice. And that’s exactly why I need to share this with you !

Looking at grilled meat pictures out the window of a Middle Eastern restaurant, you would instinctively stay away from the place. However, their mixed vegetarian plate (actually vegan) is absolutely divine, only costs 10 euros and is big enough for two if you feel like sharing.

My plate included rice, potato vegetable curry, roasted cauliflower (heaven), tabouleh salad, a falafel (too hard – sorry), a spinach pastry, some hummus, tahini & baba Ganoush.

You can ask them what’s on the mixed plate today, highlight the fact you don’t eat dairy and you may remove anything you don’t want. Also, don’t hesitate asking for a takeaway bag with your leftovers if you couldn’t finish. Flatbread & dessert on the house.

Cosy & quiet interior, especially upstairs.

Where : Boulevard Anspach, 189

Budget : 10 euros for the vegetarian plate (huge), around 5 euros for a veggie Dürüm (wrap) with fries.

Opening hours : 11 am – 12 am. Closed on Tuesdays.

Website : Zainshaamresto


BARAKA

Another non-obvious choice, Baraka is a vegetarian friendly restaurant, with a selection of veggie pizzas & pasta.

Just ask them to remove the cheese to make your pizza vegan. Instead of the weird look you might get at other places, here they’ll just say «of course» with a smile.

It is cheap, clean, friendly and takeaway boxes are common place.

Good pizza options are n°2 Funghi (mushrooms), n°4 Pepperoni (bell peppers), n°6 Parmigiana (eggplant) & n°7 Al Baraka (artichoke, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, olives). If you’re in the mood for pasta, I believe your only options are Arrabiata (spicy tomato sauce) or Garlic.

There are two Baraka restaurants on the same street, 50 m away from each other, the first one is a snack shop (fries & meat sandwiches) and the second one is the actual restaurant.

Pizza n°7 – Al Baraka (without cheese)

Where : Boulevard Maurice Lemonnier 48

Budget : 8-9 euros for a pizza.

Opening hours : Every day 12 pm – 12 am. Sunday 3 pm – 12 am. Closed during Ramadan.

Website : pastabaraka.be


AVOID – FRIES SHOPS

I hear many vegans make the mistake of eating only fries when in Brussels. It isn’t only unhealthy & boring, it’s also NOT always vegan.

According to tradition, potatoes must be fried twice, in beef fat. That’s what gives them their special flavor. Most of the time, animal fat is mixed with vegetable oil. Sometimes it’s just vegetable oil.

Bottom line is, unless you can make sure only vegetable oil was used, You’re better off staying away from fries corners in the Old Town.

Tip for fries lovers : Muslim places tend to use 100% vegetable oil to fry the food. But they may use the same oil for meat so keep your eyes open, and ask.

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