Looking to eat something local when visiting Tallinn? Ask Estonians about traditional meals and many will mention pork, sprats, black pudding and a range of other meaty dishes. In other words, Estonian cuisine isn’t particularly suited to vegetarians. While there are places in Tallinn where vegetarian meals are still hard to find, more and more eateries are adding vegetarian options to their menus. Here are some of my absolute favourites!
D-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s. Even non-vegetarians approve of this place. Conveniently located in the Old Town, it’s easy to find, but it can be hard to decide what to order. The menu changes quite often, but their legendary vegan burger and desserts are permanent fixtures. As it’s a popular place, from time to time there are ugly fights between the city’s vegans to get a table (don’t worry, I’m just kidding). Give them a call and book a table in advance to avoid disappointment (and dangerous attacks by starved vegans).
Photo credit: Jaagup Jalakas
NOP is located in the lovely neighbourhood of Kadriorg. It’s just a few tram stops (take tram no. 1 or 3) away from central Tallinn and is totally worth the trip. These guys are dedicated to creating fresh, organic dishes. Vegetarian and gluten-free dishes are marked on the menu, and they even run their own organic shop. When the weather is nice you should sit in the garden and enjoy the green surroundings. After your meal, take a short walk to Kadriorg Park to see Peter the Great’s Palace and the Presidential Palace. Kadriorg is also home to two of Tallinn’s best art museums, so have a good meal at NOP and continue exploring.
Photo credit: NOP
The Telliskivi area is hipster heaven – don’t miss it! Once a huge factory complex, nowadays it’s a cultural hub with many good restaurants. Lendav Taldrik serves Asian food, with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu. It’s renowned for putting people in food comas, so make sure you’re hungry when you arrive!
Photo credit: Lendav Taldrik
If you’re hungry and have just stepped off a ferry or are hurrying back to your ship, Papa Joe is a hidden place where you can get yummy falafel wraps and pitas at good prices. It’s located in Sadama Market close to Terminal A, and not far from the cruise terminal, Linnahall and Kultuurikatel. Papa Joe wraps are so delicious that some local vegetarians walk the extra kilometre out of the city just to eat there. If you’re vegan, ask for hummus instead of yoghurt sauce. They also sell a range of imported products like halva, fig jam, olives, baba ganoush (note that it’s not vegan here) and meatless dolma.
Photo credit: Papa Joe Falafel
If you’re looking for a super fresh meal, then the yellow house on Rataskaevu Street with AED written on it is the place to go. Aed means “garden” in Estonian, and as the name suggests, this restaurant offers a good selection of fresh dishes. With a separate vegetarian menu and a convenient Old Town location right by Town Hall Square, it’s definitely worth finding.
Photo credit: Von Krahli Aed
Mamo mostly caters to local workers who stop by during their lunch break. They serve fresh fruit, salads, cereal and yoghurt for breakfast, and falafel wraps, soups and cakes throughout the rest of the day. Their menu isn’t entirely vegetarian focussed, but serving chia pudding and soups shows that they are striving to offer fresh and healthy options.
Photo credit: Mamo
Hidden from the busy streets and tourist traps, Sesoon serves good vegetarian meals at reasonable prices. Whether you opt for soup, a salad or their vegetarian burger, Sesoon won’t let you down. On your way there, pay a visit to the Russian flea market by the railway station and admire the wooden houses of Kalamaja. This restaurant is worth finding not only for its food, but also for its location in the eclectic Kalamaja neighbourhood.
Photo credit: Sesoon
Located in the Old Town, this Indian restaurant has a whole section dedicated to vegetarian dishes on their menu. If you like spicy food, lentils, Indian bread and a relaxed atmosphere, check out this oasis on Vene Street. They often have a vegetarian curry as a lunch special, which means you’ll save a few euros and enjoy your food even more.
Photo credit: Elevant
These guys usually have two to three vegetarian mains, and there soups tend to be vegetarian too. Some local vegetarians who stop by regularly have tried the same meals more than once, but no one really complains since the quality is so good. It’s a lovely café and many people often want to go back a second and third time, or even every day. After your meal, take a walk through St. Catherine’s Passage to enjoy the atmosphere of the medieval walls and old monastery.
Photo credit: Sinilind
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Opening photo credit: Vegan Restoran V