Noora Laine-Müller, a Finnish blogger and vegan nutritionist who has lived in Tallinn for four years, gives an overview of the Estonian capital’s vegan scene.
This is an edited version of the article originally published in Noora Laine-Müller’s blog, Wonderworld of Noora.
The Tallinn vegan restaurant scene is absolutely booming these days, and I am glad I have had the chance to experience it. Here, I share my favourite vegan food (and more) hot spots, so you will also be able to get the most out of this great city.
Where to go for breakfast?
Vegan Inspiratsioon – this hippie style cafe is one of the oldest 100% plant-based places in town. They offer huge breakfast portions – from tofu scramble to pancakes and smoothies. It is a great place also for a chill lunch or afternoon coffee. There’s also a terrace on the street in summer.
NOP – This idyllic organic food restaurant is in an old wooden house in Kadriorg district. They have several yummy vegan breakfast options, a big terrace and a small organic food store.
Kringel – this new café offers 100% plant-based food. It’s located a little outside of the tourist paths, but it is worth the walk. Delicious (maybe the best in town) cinnamon rolls, paninis filled with smoked carrot, vegan sausage and cheese and other pastries will for sure keep your hunger away until lunch time. They also prepare daily lunch.
Lisanna Kohvik – this cute little vegan café in the Old Town enjoys huge success; in fact, they just opened a second one close to Freedom Square. Incredibly good coffee, a chill atmosphere, smoothie bowls, sandwiches and sweet bites from 8:30 in the morning.
VegB12 – this tiny place is in one of the huts of the Baltic Station Market and offers morning oatmeal, raw cakes and good coffee.
So Brooklyn – a bagel place in the Baltic Station Market offers vegan bagel and pancakes.
…and what about lunch?
Tallinn is full of restaurants offering very affordable lunch offers, but most of them are still very traditional and meaty.
If you’re looking for a quick lunch on the go, take a look at the Baltic Station Market’s Biomarket – they offer tasty packed vegan salads. The Purée Health Bar in the Rotermann Quarter, near the harbour, offers several daily lunch portions from which most are vegan. Poké Bowl’s chain restaurants have vegan smoked carrot bowl on their menu.
Also, take a look at these places:
Rohe Kohvik – one of my favourite places in town. Offering 100% plant-based food, this restaurant near the Baltic Station Market serves delicious, nutritious bowls, salads and pasta, and as a dessert absolutely gorgeous cakes from Cakery by S.
Bopp Kohvik – this restaurant is in Uus Maailm, off the tourist path. They offer some vegan options, like bowls and wraps.
Papa Joe – Papa Joe is not shining with its location, but it does have nice falafel pitas. Remember to ask for the vegan version.
Commune Cafe – one of the newest plant-based restaurants in town has great options for many tastes. And the best pizza in town, topped with their self-made vegan mozzarella.
F- Hoone – this restaurant is an institution already. One of the first businesses at the hip Telliskivi Creative City area offers several, very affordable vegan options.
Fotografiska – the café of the well-known photography museum offers a few vegan options.
Tokumaru – my long-time favourite makes the best vegan sushi and ramen in town.
St. Maria Telliskivi – vegan restaurant offering fusion food.
Must Puudel – this local favourite recently moved to a new location, but the menu has stayed vegan friendly.
Something for the aching sweet tooth…
I cannot praise Kringel’s cinnamon rolls and Cakery by S‘ cakes enough – you’ve got to taste those. If you’re a chocolate person, an absolute must is Karu Talu – a completely vegan chocolate shop in the Old Town. In the summer, they also make their own soft ice.
La Muu in Telliskivi and Gelato Ladies in the Old Town offer some vegan ice cream flavours as well – try La Muu’s Vegan Brownie, it is delicious. In case you’re looking after raw cakes, you’ll find some yummy ones from Vegan Inspiratsioon, VegB12 and Oivaline. From Lisanna, you’ll find some of the best (ice) coffees and small treats, like my favourite – the salty caramel brownie.
Estonia is a wonderland for cake lovers – here they make them pretty, delicious and affordable. Many of the more traditional places have added at least one vegan option in their selection and getting your coffee with plant-based milk isn’t usually a problem at all.
Then there’s also Healthy Sweets by Polina, a confectionery studio in Kalamaja. They offer gluten-free, lactose-free and sugar-free cakes as well as vegan cakes and vegan home bread.
…and finally, what to eat for dinner?
As you probably already realised, Tallinn offers tons of delicious options for vegans. Dinner is no different – the only problem is, how to fit all this food in your belly? Better stay more than one night!
Feeling like something hearty?
I’m talking about something greasy, something salty, something extremely tasty…
VegMachine – this small vegan joint located in the Baltic Station Market’s food street offers a small menu of things like deliciously greasy burgers, loaded fries and toasts. Perfect before a night out – or the day after.
Toit’s – upstairs of the Baltic Station Market you’ll find a cosy restaurant with big terrace offering specialties made of Oumph!, Vöner and Beyond Burger.
Burger Box – this burger joint with Asian twist is located opposite to the Baltic Station Market, in a somewhat shady looking building. But don’t be put off, the food is good and they even have a secret terrace in the back.
Commune Cafe – I know, I mentioned this place already. But I was genuinely so impressed by their all-vegan pizzas that I must mention it again. Go there, just go.
Uulits – one of the first “gourmet burger” places in Estonia offers two different vegan options.
Estonian Burger Factory – just a few steps away from the Tallinn harbour you’ll find this mainly meaty burger place offering delicious vegan “Beyond Meat” burger with kimchi.
Fancy something fancier?
If you’re looking for a spot for romantic date night or milestone celebration with friends and family, try one of these:
Odeon – a trendy, totally instagrammable restaurant further away from the touristy centre is worth of a short tram trip. An interesting menu offers several vegan options and a wide range of cocktails. Perfect for adults’ birthday parties.
Naganaga – the atmospheric, dim-lit, relaxed cellar restaurant in the Old Town is perfect for a casual date or gathering with friends. Long opening hours, a big terrace on the street and interesting vegan options.
Vegan Restoran V – the legendary V is one of the first completely vegan restaurants in this region. A cosy, small place with very friendly and professional service is made for date nights.
Von Krahli Aed – this place next to V has a charming decor and few vegan options on their menu.
Rataskaevu 16 – one of the top restaurants in Estonia with modern Estonian cuisine offers a pleasing amount of vegan options.
Ülo – this trendy “plant-based restaurant that also offers fish and meat” has become one of my favourites. It shines with its hip decor, interesting food and drink menu and extremely good service.
Lore bistroo – the newly established Noblessener area is a place to see. In case you get hungry there, Lore offers you high-quality food accompanied with very friendly service.
Kivi Paber Käärid – this gluten-free, casual restaurant is in the hipster quarter Telliskivi. It offers several vegan options, friendly service and a big, sunny terrace.
Lendav Taldrik – the trendy Indian restaurant is in Telliskivi Creative City. They’ve got space for a bigger group and many vegan options but prepare to wait for the service.
Ginger Cafe – a more traditionally decorated place offers a wide range of Asian-inspired vegan dishes.
Looking for a supermarket?
The plant-based selection in the supermarkets in Estonia doesn’t unfortunately live up to the expectations set by the booming vegan restaurant scene, but there’s still all you need also for a longer visit, you just need to know where to look.
I come from Finland where the variety of vegan processed products in large supermarkets is insane, so please take into consideration that I look the selection through this perspective.
Biomarket – for treats like chocolate and wine, this organic food store chain is the place to look.
Prisma – this supermarket chain has the best variety and the best prices when it comes to vegan processed products, like milk, yoghurt, cheese and ready meals.
Selver – the bigger Selver supermarkets have a quite satisfactory selection of vegan specialties, but the prices are high.
Stockmann – you’ll find some vegan products from the grocery section of this department store.
Solaris – the Delice supermarket downstairs of the Solaris shopping centre has quite a wide range of vegan processed products but, again, the prices are high. Sometimes, they have good offers.
Rimi – even the bigger Rimis don’t have much when it comes to vegan specialties. You can expect to find plant-based milk, some puddings and hummus.
And finally, some souvenir options
Vesh is specialised in vegan shoes and bags, they have a small store in the city centre and an online shop. Märss is a small Estonian bag designer whose products are vegan. They have a shop in the Põhjala rubber factory area in Kopli (with appointment only).
There’s plenty of organic cosmetic brands available in Estonia from which many are vegan and cruelty free. You can browse the selection, for example, in Sinu Looduskosmeetika at the Baltic Station Market or at the Kaubamaja department store. VeganShop is an online store specialised on vegan cosmetics, household products etc. They have also a physical store at 1 Kassi street, with appointments only.
The brand new Nudist bar and wine shop sells their own Estonian-produced vegan sparkling wine.
And last but not least: Taimetoidumess is a yearly event for plant-based food and lifestyle, it should not be missed.
As you see, Tallinn is truly a vegan foodie wonderland!
Cover: Vegan Restoran V.