“Are there even any vegetarian cafes or restaurants in Yerevan?” – one of my veggie-loving European friends once asked me. Well, to be fair, he has never been to Armenia before. As a vegetarian traveling to Yerevan, at first you might be overwhelmed by the amount of meat Armenians typically consume. But that’s just on the surface; once you dig deeper, you realize a lot of menu items are vegetarian – anything from main dishes and snacks to delicious desserts.
So, I thought, I should list some of Yerevan’s best cafes and restaurants suitable for my vegetarian readers. All venues in the list below are either strictly vegetarian, or at least have a clear indication of veggie options in their English menu. Also, further down in this post, I’ll give you a couple of tips on how to order veggie options if you are eating out at a not-strictly-vegetarian venue. Last, but not least, don’t forget to take pictures of your delicious meals, and tweet and instagram them to me with #ArmeniaTravelTips. Enjoy this gastronomic journey through the best vegetarian cafes and restaurants in Yerevan.
Jengyalov Hac – vegetarian cafe by definition
Jengyalov Hac (62, Teryan Street) is a restaurant in the heart of Yerevan named after a traditional vegetarian Armenian dish from Artsakh and Syunik regions. As a vegetarian traveling in this city, you absolutely must visit this place and try their signature dish. As the name suggests, they serve Jengyalov Hac… and only Jengyalov Hac. That’s a traditional Armenian vegetarian snack. Since they only offer this one dish, de facto they are a vegetarian restaurant.
The name translates into English as “bread with greens”, but don’t be quick to judge assuming it’s something simple and boring. First, remember that you’re in Armenia, and there are over 50 different herbs that have a solid place in Armenian cuisine. Armenians love their herbs in every meal. And, we eat incredible amounts of those – fresh or cooked, at home or when eating out at countless cafes and restaurants in our cities.
Jengyalov Hac is a traditional flatbread that is stuffed with about 25 types of diced herbs and leafy vegetables, often green peppers are also added. If you ask the waiter to make it without butter, you can even turn it into a vegan meal (say ‘Arandz karaq’). Jengyalov Hac is a must-try meal if you are a vegetarian traveling in Armenia, and it’s something you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
I recommend you pair it with traditional Armenian tan, which is a drink based on Armenian fermented milk (kind of yogurt) called ‘matzun’. It also goes great with Armenian red wines. Both options are available at this vegetarian cafe.
Eat&Fit – widest selection of vegetarian options
Eat&Fit (80, Aram Street) is a lovely restaurant in the city center that mainly offers vegetarian options on the menu, except for only a few meals. The ingredients and nutritional facts are clearly listed in English for each dish, so it’s easy to choose the right meal for you here. The place is very nice itself, the atmosphere is very relaxed, and the staff is friendly. I also love the way they arrange the food on the plate, it’s very “Instagrammable”. 😊
They use local produce to create the most creative vegetarian food in the city. Falafel wrap, green burrito, grilled or stir-fried veggies, avocado salads and toast, tabbouleh, different vegetarian rolls, and much more – you can find it all here. They also have a very decent selection of vegetarian desserts and breakfast options – chia or granola yogurt, banana crepe, veggie omelet etc. Eat&Fit certainly offers the widest selection of different vegetarian options I’ve seen in our capital city. So, I think it’s a must-visit place if you are looking to tour around vegetarian cafes and restaurants in Yerevan.
Tapastan – vegetarian tapas in Yerevan
Tapastan (6, Martiros Saryan Street) is one of my favorite eateries in Yerevan. It’s located in the heart of the most hip and trendy area in the city, in Saryan street, where all the cool locals and expats hang out. It’s a tapas bar, so obviously most of the food is presented in a form of tapas (bite-size). But mostly it’s all traditional Armenian dishes, it’s just that they come in an unexpected form.
Roughly half of all menu items are vegetarian, and those are clearly marked on the menu. I also like the genius of their food naming. It’s really entertaining to read through their menu, even the English one.
My favorite one is the unpretentious vegetarian version of traditional Armenian tolma, which they call ‘As if tolma’. It’s a mash of red beans, lentils, pea, walnuts and bulgur – all wrapped in grape leaves. This vegetarian tapa is served with a sweet and sour sauce. It doesn’t taste like Armenian tolma with meat, but I think it’s not supposed to. It’s delicious nonetheless. Another must-try here is their ‘1.5 billion salad’ – a mix of pumpkin, beats, carrot, some greens and cabbage, all topped with pomegranate and orange sauce.
Tapastan is also known for a great selection of wines they offer. The prices are above average for Yerevan, but on par with other venues in the area. They have to pay premium for a trendy location in Saryan street, at the end of the day.
Sherep – traditional, Armenian, vegetarian
Sherep (1, Amiryan Street), which can be translated from Armenian as “kitchen ladle”, is the first open-kitchen restaurant in Yerevan. Here you can follow the whole process of preparation of every dish and enjoy the mixture of fresh smells and vibrant colors.
Although not specialized in vegetarian cuisine, Sherep offers a great variety of meals suitable for vegetarians. All ingredients are clearly listed in the menu in English, so it’s quite easy to pick the right meal for you. Besides, since it’s quite popular among travelers, the staff is well familiar with what “vegetarian” means and they’ll be able to help you navigate in the offer.
Some of the best vegetarian dishes here are mushroom barbeque, fried green beans and marinated red peppers. They also have a variety of great veggie soups; for example, mountain sorrel soup or a delicious pumpkin cream-soup. And I can’t forget to mention some of the great salads they offer here, because I’ve never had them anywhere else. Their Babylon and Iceberg salads are absolutely the best.
The Babylon one is made of cabbage and pears with Roquefort cheese. And when they add walnuts and honey to it, these salads become unforgettable. Everything is of course topped with a bunch of Armenian spices. Yum!
The Iceberg salad is similar but instead of pears they use pomegranate and the type of cabbage that goes into it is also different. While not necessarily the healthiest options, due to the amount of cheese that goes into these salads, they are some of the yummiest things you’ll ever eat.
Sherep is a must-visit place to have a great dinner and traditional Armenian breakfast. You also get the bonus of a pleasing visual experience of seeing how your food is being made in their open kitchen.
Asian restaurants in Yerevan also offer great vegetarian meals
If you spend some time in Yerevan, you might want to try something different. While Armenian food is undoubtedly delicious, the international cuisine is becoming well represented in the Armenian capital. Among others, some of the restaurants of traditional cuisine of Asian countries offer great vegetarian options. Here are a couple of those that I really recommend.
Indian Mehak (10, Koryun Street), which literally means Indian sweet smell, is a restaurant and a bar specializing in Indian cuisine. Offering Indian food, it’s obvious that the restaurant also offers a wide range of vegetarian meals. Among others, don’t forget to check out the following vegetarian dishes:
- papdi chaat – crisp puris with chutneys, veggies, and curd
- chana chaat – chickpea salad made of tomatoes, onions, and green chilis
- rajma – red kidney beans in a thick gravy with many Indian spices and a lot more.
My favorite vegetarian dish here is kaddai paneer, which is a type of Indian cottage cheese cooked with bell peppers in spicy masala sauce. If you want to try vegetarian Indian food while in Yerevan, then this Indian corner in the city center is the right choice.
Dragon Garden (76, Aram Street) is another great example of a place dedicated to Asian cuisine in the center of Yerevan which offers some good vegetarian meals. Apart from great food, this place has one-of-a-kind interior design and they also organize very interesting cultural events quite frequently. The food is mainly traditional Chinese, Thai, and Japanese, i.e. sushi, maki etc.
While their Chinese menu is quite heavy on meat, with an exception of a couple of salads and soups, the Japanese one offers several yummy and filling dishes. Veggie tempuras and different kinds of maki with vegetables and cheese are a pretty good choice. I also like their broka soup. But maybe that’s just me, as I genuinely like broccoli! 😊 They also have a couple of nice rice-based dishes with vegetables.
I’m unsure if their dessert sushi sets aren’t some kind of cultural appropriation, but they are pretty tasty regardless. I recommend you try the one called Black Orchid. It’s a maki roll with strawberries, kiwi and banana inside, covered with chocolate and coconut syrup. It’s divinely good!
How to order vegetarian food at cafes in Yerevan?
When traveling to Yerevan, you will inevitably visit many different food venues. Our food is great and I’m sure you’ll love it. It is very likely that eventually you’ll end up at a restaurant or a cafe where the vegetarian options are not marked in the menu. In such case, I hope these tips will help you.
If you want to say that you “don’t eat meat” in Armenian, you should say ‘Yes mis chem utum’ or just bookmark this page and show the following picture to the waiters at the venue.
You might also want to say that you want food without a certain ingredient. The word without is ‘arandz’ in Armenian. Then simply add the name of the ingredient you want to avoid right after this word. Here are the most common options you might find useful:
- Chicken – arandz hav
- Fish – arandz dzuk
- Seafood – arandz tsovamterk
- Dairy – arandz katnamterk
- Eggs – arandz dzu
- Honey – arandz meghr (the ‘gh’ should be pronounced as the French ‘rr’ sound)
- Nuts – arandz enkuyz
- Tomato – arandz lolik
- Gluten – arandz sndzan, but keep in mind the staff might not know what gluten is – this is not LA. 🙂
Final thoughts on vegetarian cafes and restaurants in Yerevan
I really hope you found this list of best vegetarian cafes and restaurants in Yerevan useful. I want to be honest on my blog, I’m not a vegetarian myself, but I find this food delicious anyway. My love for food is endless, in all its shapes and colors. 🙂 If you like these tips, you might also want to check out my list of vegan restaurants in Yerevan, or to learn more about our Mulberry Festival in the post where I help my readers choose the best time to visit Armenia. I hope you’ll enjoy your stay in Yerevan and will check these vegetarian foods out when you’re visiting our capital. Tweet or instagram your delicious pictures to me with #ArmeniaTravelTips and let me know if my tips were useful.
Featured image credit: Photo by Mariana Medvedeva on Unsplash