Disclaimer: this post is very overdue! I should have posted it right short after my stay in Tallinn, but somehow managed to procrastinate it until now. I hope you still enjoy reading it and find it useful 🙂
When I was living in Tallinn I still wasn’t vegan, so I never really bothered myself looking for vegan options. And, since I was living and working there, I was mostly eating and prepping my meals at home. I was though enjoying eating out from time to time and always found the food there delicious, tasty, fresh and quite cheap, no matter where I was eating at.
A couple of months ago I have visited Tallinn again, and I liked to combine both homemade meals cooked at my cozy Airbnb and eating out. Being vegan in Tallinn is easier than expected! 🙂
Shopping in supermarkets
I love staying at Aibnbs because I can prep my own meals at my place and have total control of what I eat. So one of the first things I like to do when traveling somewhere is find some food to keep at my place and explore the local supermarkets or food markets. Vegan food is easy to find and cheap too. Fruits and veggies can be found anywhere for cheap (I brought a small set of my own reusable mesh bags, but actually was very surprised to find out that at the supermarket close to where I was staying at they were selling reusable produce bags for 1€ each!! yay!), as well as canned or packaged beans, pasta, bread (estonian black bread is simply delicious!!) and for breakfast porridge/oats can be bought for cheap to make a nutritious and healthy breakfast. Of course plant based milks and food like tofu or vegan alternatives to cheese or meat can be found as well, and English is spoken basically anywhere so when in doubt when reading ingredients on product labels you can always ask to a member of the staff. (I didn’t go through this bit because I used that tiny bit of Estonian I’ve learned whilst living there to go through labels when in doubt… but Estonians are always very friendly, so they’d be happy to help). I personally shopped at Rimi Supermarket, I had quite a big branch close to my place, but I’ve also visited the Bio Market in the Central Station Market (Balti Jaam Turg), which has a big selection of whole foods and a bulk section too, yay! I bought some cashews in bulk before leaving because I was traveling back on a Saturday evening and knew I couldn’t buy some once in Berlin (shops are usually closed on Sundays in Germany).
Eating out vegan in Tallinn
Since becoming vegan, I started making a bit of research before traveling somewhere. I recommend using the Happy Cow app, which is a great tool to easily find vegan options wherever you are, both for eating out and shopping. I haven`t been eating out all the time during my trip, but I tried out a few places. I`ll give a small review of each one so eventually you have some info that might be helpful if you`re visiting Tallinn anytime soon.
Address: Rataskaevu 12
This small restaurant is a must stop if you want to treat yourself. I stopped here for an impromptu lunch after walking around the Old Town at -15°C and its amazing food was exactly what I needed. This place offers an amazing vegan slow food experience and everything, from the place itself to the tasty food and the way everything is presented, makes you just want to unwind and really enjoy the food you’re having bite after bite. I decided to spoil myself and go for the whole shabang: from starter to espresso and dessert, I tasted some of the most delicious and nicely presented food I’ve ever had. I love enjoying my meals quietly when I travel solo, and this place was just the perfect stop. I recommend to go there early or eventually to book a table because the place is rather small and always very frequented both from locals and tourists.
Here’s what I had during my meal (please don’t judge, I was very hungry and fatigued due to the insanely freezing cold weather, eheheh):
- Starter: beetroot ravioli with cashew cheese
- Main course: grilled tempeh with brown basmati rice and oven-baked sesame eggplant strips with tomato and coconut sauce
- a glass of rose wine
- black bread
- dessert: avocado-lime cupcake
Great service, and the bill ended up being around 25-26€, tip included!! Great value for the overall experience I got.
Address: Pagari 1/Lai 44
Situated in the Old Town, this cozy cute cafe is a real gem. I knew this place already from when I was living in town, but I went there twice because I like it so much. Open from 9 am to 10 pm, it offers all sorts of vegan stuff from coffees and warm drinks, to cakes and delicious treats to main courses. The atmosphere is very relaxed and gives the coziest, most relaxed vibes to anyone coming in trying to excape the cold Estonian temperatures (I spent a few hours writing and working on my content there and it was simply perfect). The place is nicely decorated, the staff is very friendly and welcoming (they all wear a bright light blue t-shirt that says “powered by plants”, which I personally found very cute); and of course food and drinks are delicious and very worth the price. I personally tried:
- raw bowl with zucchini noodles, avocado, fresh salad sweet potatoes and dips
- gluten free chickpea pizza with rucola, cherry tomatoes and vegan cheddar cheese
- a raw cheesecake (I’m pretty sure it was a raw raspberry cheesecake, but not too sure, as their cake selection tends to vary depending on what they have available, so I couldn’t find info on the exact one I tried on their website)
- cappuccino and chai latte
Overall, a must-visit whenever you’re in Tallinn.
Address: Kopli 1
This little vegan street food kiosk located in the food court of the brand spanking new Balti Jaam Turg (the central station market). It offers burgers and sandwiches at a decent price. I only stopped by for a quick snack (I tried the cheese balls and they were simply delicious!) but enjoyed the friendliness of the staff and the fact that they served my order on a compostable bamboo tray and they provide 100% recycled paper napkins and small wooden forks for snacks (I had my own reusables so I didn’t have to use theirs, but I love when food places think about the environment and provide more sustainable alternatives). I’ve read that during the summer Veg Machine even has a food truck that goes around for festivals and events, so if you’re visiting Estonia this summer you might be lucky and try their food on the road too.
Address: Kopli 1
This tiny cafe located also in the Balti Jaam Turg offers a fairly wide range of raw cakes and snacks, as well as coffee and tea. Unfortunately the seats are very limited inside,but they provide a few tables outside too. I only stopped by for an espresso and a vegan kohuke (typical Estonian dessert/snack made with quark and usually glazed with chocolate). The espresso was very good, but the kohuke didn’t blow me away (maybe because I used to love the traditional version of it and found this vegan version not quite as awesome… or maybe I was just too tired from the walking around at several minus regress, I don’t know). The rest of the raw cakes in the window looked delicious though, next time I’ll visit Tallin I’ll be definitely give this place a second, more thorough try!
Address: Rotermanni 2
This asian fusion restaurant is not 100% vegan, but offers some vegan options as well as gluten free or lactose free options. Everything is marked on the menu, so it’s easy to find vegan dishes (menus are available in english too and the staff is very friendly as speaks fluent english, so they’ll be happy to help if you have questions). I found myself there for a lunch with an old friend of to catch up and liked the place. I had some vegan spring rolls with tofu and vegetables and a bowl of fried rice with tofu and veggies. Tasty food at a good price (I think everything was around 14€, drink included), so I can definitely recommend it, especially if you’re going there with non vegan people (my friend for example is not vegan) so different options are available to satisfy any taste.
According to the Happy Cow app, there are still plenty of other vegan/vegan friendly options available in Tallinn. This list includes my personal recommendations because I had the chance to try them, so I could really tell you how I found the food and the overall atmosphere for the place.
I hope this little vegan food guide I’ve put together will be helpful for you if you’re visiting Tallinn anytime soon! And don’t forget to let me know if you’ll try some of these places out!