Kyiv or Kiev is the stunning capital city of Ukraine. If you’re wondering if Kyiv is worth visiting, I say definitely yes!! There are many reasons to visit this city and one of them is the vegan food scene.
Over the last few years, Kyiv has seen a mini-boom of vegan restaurants and the eco-friendly community keeps growing rapidly.
During my time in Kyiv, I did encounter lots of great vegan food. For what I understand its’s partially due to religious reasons. I was told that in Orthodox Christianity there are several fasting periods, during which specific animal products are not consumed.
They abstain for 40 days leading up to Easter, for a period in May/June, for the first 14 days of August, and from 15 November to 24 December, and all year round on Wednesdays and Fridays.
For that reason, most restaurants have a ‘fasting menu‘ (‘Lenten menus’ – постное меню in Russian) that is mostly composed of plant-based dishes.
Communism also ‘helped’. There are great vegan products (not labelled as such), originated during the Communist era. In order to reduce costs and shortages, they used plant-based ingredients, instead of expensive animal products.
Apart from religion and communism veganism is on the rise in general, and Kyiv is not an exception. There are many great vegan places to eat around the city.
When you eat at a non-vegan place notice that they eat quite a lot of сало (lard), сметана (sour cream) and sometimes there are small amounts of meat ‘hiding’ in some dishes.
Vegan Restaurants, Cafés and Bakeries:
B12 candy bar is a vegan bakery, with a small shop attached located in the historic part of the city. Also offers salads and sandwiches. A great place for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Soupculture is famed for the various soups served in edible bread bowls.
Nikogoneem located in a plaza-style area with multiple vegan restaurants. They serve amazing tofu and seitan burger.
KOLO, is a lovely restaurant in Podil with a cosy interior, that serves homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, wraps and desserts.
Sereda, sells delicious cakes, fresh juices and smoothies. The place is also bike-friendly.
Orang+utan offers a rich selection of vegan sandwiches, salads and smoothies.
Cafe Imbir near the Olimpiska metro station has a cosy atmosphere and great vegan and vegetarian food. You can even find a few raw vegan options.
Bessarabsky Market, it’s an indoor market full of stalls, farmers stands, and restaurants. There are several vegan options in this market: Green 13, sells wraps, sandwiches, burgers, salads, soups and desserts. Ra.Man. has a wide selection of vegan ramen, six types of bowls, pitas and desserts.
To find other vegan places in Kiev happycow is your best friend!
Where to Find Vegan Food in Kiev
I’ve found that there are great 100% vegan restaurants but also interesting local restaurants with at least one meatless option everywhere. So I would say that is quite easy to travel in Kyiv as a vegan.
The trendy district called Podil is probably one of the best neighbourhoods for vegan food in Kyiv.
There are also some excellent local events such as the monthly flea market Kurazh Bazar (with delicious street food) and the annual Kyiv Vegan Boom festival, with a food court and market set up on the bank of the Dnieper river.
So I assure you, you will not go hungry in Kyiv. I think the scene there is going to get better and better and it’s definitely a city to keep your eye on.