Finding a Vegan restaurant when traveling can be a challenge. Finding a Vegan restaurant when on a road trip, far away from big cities, is even more more difficult. But thankfully, there is an app for that!
The App you need to find a Vegan Restaurant
It’s Happy Cow of course!
Happy Cow enables you to search for vegan, vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurants and also lists health-food stores and other vegan friendly businesses in any area. In case you are wondering, it works great in Europe (just mentioning for US readers!).
The app isn’t free but the website is of course, so try it and download the app later, once you are convinced!
OK, this is not super news, every vegan I know uses Happy Cow. It’s most likely the number one app used by vegans. But if you are a newbie, read on to learn how to use it best.
How I use Happy Cow when traveling
When traveling, I use Happy Cow every day! It is a life saver. What I do, is that I go to the website and and browse through all the available addresses in the city I’m in. Next, and this might seems old school, I mark on a map all the restaurants and stores I’m interested in. I’m talking about a real paper map, the ‘tourist’ kind of map!
1- I’m a map king of gal!
2- I don’t want to solely rely on my phone when strolling through a city, mostly to limit my rooming fees ; and
3 – I’m never 100% sure where I’ll be when I start getting hungry. Plans change along the way. Maybe it took longer to visit a place, maybe the weather wasn’t cooperative… I don’t like to be forced to cross a city just a eat at a particular place.
So having a paper map, with all the real options around me, is something I find useful.
By real options, I mean restaurants or shops that are open by the time I’m looking for food. Little cafés might be only open until 6PM, or only serve diner or be closed certain days of the week. I hate to be starving and arrive in front of a closed door!
So yeah, by marking on a map all my options, I expand my chances of finding vegan food!
Vegan restaurants are fun!
Happy Cow is really great but sometimes some of the restaurants listed have gone out of business…
The restaurant in the dark back alley
A few years back, Mr A and I were in Antalya in Turkey. Most restaurants we went to, in the old town, were very accommodating to our special requirements and were eager to serve us copious portions of hummus, delicious bread, grilled vegetables and so forth. However, after a few days, I started felling the need for something different.
That evening we headed to a vegan restaurant I had found on Happy Cow. After having experienced the Occupy Gezi movements, we knew we were absolutely safe in Antalya, even outside the old city walls.
So we left the old town behind us, crossed the busy boulevard and took a left in a smaller perpendicular street. ‘Is it in this street?’ ‘No, I guess, it’s in the next one’. We took a right, stopped quickly as the street was narrowing and getting darker. Turned around. Looked on the other side, which was unfortunatelly just as dark. A broken car and a pile of rubbish in a dark alley are never a good sign. The light and buzz from the main street felt so far away despite behind just a few meters away. My heart was beating maybe a little faster but it stopped for a second, as I heard a strange noise behind me. Probably just a cat or a dog…
I got my phone out to check the exact address of the restaurant and confirmed we were standing in front of it. There was nothing, no light, no sign. A shabby door, maybe something that used to be a store front but clearly, there was no restaurant or at least not anymore.
Filled with disappointment, we quickly made our way back to the old town and for once, I was happy to be in streets with lots of people.
That evening, we had hummus and grilled vegetables, one more time, and it was good!
Perhaps one moral of our little back alley story is that you should double check if the restaurant you selected still exist! Check the reviews on Happy Cow (no reviews for more than a year is not a good sign!), Google the restaurant, and call to check availabilities!
Come say Hi on Facebook and tell me which is your favorite vegan restaurant!