As you are no doubt well aware, Japanese food rates among the best in the world. However, if you are vegan, or even vegetarian, you may struggle to find your needs catered to. Many vegetarians have found themselves offered the ‘vegetarian; option’ in a restaurant only to find that it contains seafood or fish. Even the fried egg rolls are usually made using the near-inescapable ‘dashi’, a broth made of dried bonito fish flakes!
But being a vegetarian in Nagoya does not necessarily condemn you to nights cooking at home. There are plenty of vegetarian restaurants out there, you just have to know where to look.
LOVE Cafe Pacific
The ‘LOVE’ in name stands for local, organic, vegetable, eco-friendly, and as part of the Pacific Sports Club, you can expect healthy. LOVE Cafe Pacific is probably best known for its lunch sets, and as such they can sell out pretty quickly, so get there early! After lunch there are a few à la carte choices, the burgers in particular are a big hit. Keep in mind that it is counter service, and portions are on the Japanese side of size.
Breakfast at Stephanie’s
If you want good, home-cooked vegetarian and vegan fare in a friendly, English speaking environment, Breakfast at Stephanie’s should be right up your street. Stephanie has such a passion for good vegan food that she has opened up her own kitchen to the Nagoya public. Popular takeaway dishes include quiche lunch sets, breakfast bagels (the poppyseed and onion variety are particularly amazing) hummus and falafel dipping balls, and a vegetarian lasagne that meat eaters find difficult to refuse. However, where Stephanie really shines is in her deserts: the banana, pecan and maple muffins; gingersnap cookies; carrot cake; oatmeal raisin cookies, all of these are wonderful, but once you try a slice of her vegan banoffee pie, there is no way that you are not going back for seconds. Breakfast at Stephanie’s opens periodically, so join up to her group to be kept in the loop for when she holds her events.
- Where: Freebell Apartments, 2-10, Ushijima-cho, Nishi-ku (map)
- Website: www.facebook.com
- Tel: 080 3629 2767
Offering delicious vegan, creative, fresh food from farm to table, Pupu Kitchen deals in macrobiotic cuisine. With a friendly decor to make you feel like you are sat at someone’s dining table, it’s another great lunch option. There are lunch sets of vegetables, dry food and grains for 1,300 JPY that includes a deli featuring brown rice and soup. For your children there are even kids’ onigiri and soup sets for just 400 JPY. There are only 15 Pupu lunches prepared each day, so it’s another one to get to early. But if you miss out, you could always hang around for the chocolate cake…
- Where:2 Chome-15-13 Josai, Nishi Ward (map)
- Website: www.heal-ai.com/en_organiccafe.html (English)
- Tel: 052-602-5959
Lala Natural Organic Cafe and Deli
The owner of Lala Natural gained valuable experience of the Vegan restaurant industry working in the UK, and has brought that experience to this lovely, rustic cafe. Selling vegan, organic food with no white sugar, they can even fulfill custom cake orders. On Sundays they hold a small vegetable market so you can make delicious organic food of your own.
- Where: Mukaeda-209 Narumichō, Midori-ku (map)
- Website: www.facebook.com/LalaNaturalOrganicCafedeli/
- Tel: 052-623-0660
Live and Lounge VIO
While most vegan and vegetarian places in Nagoya cater for the lunch crowd, Live and Lounge VIO is great for an evening out. Vegan-friendly, as the name suggests this is a venue providing live music with house nights, belly dancing, hip hop, jazz and reggae events throughout the week. The food itself is certainly heavy on the vegetables with a macrobiotic lean towards Japanese cuisine, and there is a full bar service.
Image: Stephanie Gayle (own work) – Modified
Image: https://tabelog.com/en/aichi/A2301/A230109/23033065/ (screen grab) – Modified