Utrecht is the most centrally located city in the Netherlands, but not the most innovative one if it comes to food. Many restaurants still serve the traditional menu they’ve had for years. Luckily there are a few gems in this city. Below are my recommendations if you want to have a healthy (veggie) lunch or dinner in Utrecht. I’ve got you covered for vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options!
If I would ever start my own restaurant, it would be pretty much like Gys. It’s an organic restaurant with many vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. They’re open for lunch and dinner, and their prices are very reasonable. Gijs, the owner, didn’t want anything over 10euros on the menu. So you can have a delicious meal, a drink and a vegan dessert for less than 20 euros. The restaurant at the Voorstraat is very popular, the other branch at the Amsterdamsestraatweg often has more seats available.
They recently opened up a Gys restaurant in Rotterdam.
SYR is a restaurant that has started to involve refugees more with Utrecht and the Netherlands. It’s an initiative from GYS. SYR offers work for refugees so that they can learn the Dutch language and culture and gain work experience in the Netherlands. It’s also great for the Dutch people to get to know the Syrian culture, hospitality and food staples, so it works both ways. And the Syrian food is delicious! For both the starter as the main course you choose vegetarian, fish or meat. And from that categorie you’ll get a variety of finger food. I went for vegetarian (of course) and on the picture you see a few of the dishes that I got.
I love the interior at Broei (see picture at the top of this page) as much as I love their food. Broei is a vegetarian restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But they’re also a creative (work) space. I recommend going there for lunch and have a sandwich because they have their own mini bakery in which they make their own sourdough bread. They also have vegan options like the sandwich with hummus, za’atar and vegetables pictured above.
In a hip neighborhood in Utrecht you’ll find HOOI, a high quality lunchroom with many vegetarian options. Almost everything on their menu comes straight from organic bakeries, local farms and herb gardens. Vegetarians, vegans and people who eat gluten free are welcome for breakfast and lunch at HOOI. But you can bring your carnivorous friends without feeling guilty because they also have some meat and fish items on the menu. I recommend their high tea where you get spoiled with soup, sandwiches, cakes and unlimited tea refills.
Looking for a vegetarian 3, 4 or even 5 course dinner in style? You should definitely go to Kantien! Although they also have fish and meat menus, their vegetarian version is really delicious! The plates are all little works of art and the flavors and textures are perfectly adjusted to each other.
Meneer Smakers is a burger bar with 3 locations in Utrecht. They have artisan burgers with fresh ingredients. They have 2 vegetarian burgers on the menu and 1 vegan burger. The ‘Tante Connie’ is a vegetarian burger with goat cheese, cashews, grilled aubergine, courgette and walnuts. The ‘ Tante Mila’ is vergetarian burger made from walnuts, red lentils, cumin and chili peppers. The burger is served with yogurt sauce, tomato and avocaod.
The ‘Tante Lieke’ is a vegan burger made from white lupine beans, curry herbs and carrot. It’s topped with grilled bell pepper, mango chutney and cashews. They also have fries with free mayonaise and ketchup, and you can order each burger as a salad too.
Le:en is an Asian restaurant located near Broei. It’s a shame that it’s a bit far out of the city center but that also makes it perfect for if you’re meeting up with someone travelling by car (parking is a lot cheaper!). Le:en is a shared dining concept, so your order several small dishes from the menu and share them with your party. The vegetarian and vegan options are clearly stated on the menu and there’s quite a lot to choose from. They have a vegan broccoli salad and vegetarian sushi (both pictured) as cold dishes for example. And vegan curry with courgette or vegetarian wontons as warm dishes, just to name a few.
Oproer is mainly a brewery. They’re making their own bear and are constantly trying out new things to improve the flavors. At the moment they have 3 homebrewed beers available, but you can also order many beers from other breweries at their ‘brewpub’. I don’t drink beer however, so the main reason I come here is the food! They have a 100% vegan and organic menu at their restaurant. Including this vegan black bean burger. Oproer is a bit out of the city center, but it’s right next to the Utrecht Zuilen train station so you can take the train from Utrecht Central Station.
Rabarber is a cute little coffee shop where they have delicious homemade pies. You’ll have difficulties choosing between the cheesecake and the carrot cake.
They also serve great lunches and they’ve got healthier options there. Their sourdough bread is really tasty and I’m a big fan of their salad with lentils, pumpkin, beets and feta cheese. If you’re looking for some indulgence; they’ve got croissants with homemade nutella and the pumpkin pancake with fried banana pictured above.
Yogurt barn also has branches in Amsterdam, The Hague, Den Bosch and Haarlem but the one in Utrecht was the first store to open. As the name already says, they sell yogurt. You can choose your own yogurt (all organic, and there’s also vegan option) with your own toppings, or go for one of the combinations that they have on the menu. Pictured is their Energy Explosion with banana’s, figs, almonds and honey. You can also order a picnic or reserve a high tea.
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