Five culinary highlights in Leipzig
veggie, vegan or bio? we got ourselves in Leipzig fed through some food hotspots and summarized our sustainable highlights. In 2014, Leipzig received the award for “Germany’s most vegan-friendly city” from the animal protection organization PETA. The selection of gluten-free cakes, vegetarian Fine Dining or vegan snacks seems endless. Probably the many students this supply is promoted with their demand, but in all restaurants you meet young and old, locals and tourists or people who just want to eat well.
1. Zest - Vegan fine dining
This culinary gem is located in the lively district of Connewitz on tram line 11. A large window allows a view of the cozy dining room with almost ten tables from outside. Simply kept in wood with brick walls and without klimbim. In the Z the focus is on the food. In winter there are three coordinated menus with four courses, from which you can choose two, three or four courses. If you are hungry and have enough time, it is best to order all four courses with the accompanying drinks. Time because everything is really made in-house here. There are no convenience products and no additional purchases.
The menus change every two months. Everything is purely vegan and the consistencies and combinations are more than surprising and exciting. For example, a homemade pretzel roll with juicy seitan and tofu meat, braised pointed cabbage and sweet mustard and chipotle mayonnaise. There is also Brussels sprouts and chestnut pesto and Violetta Boskop salad. Or an interpretation of the Rhenish favorite dish "Heaven & Earth" with Pommes Paolo tartlets, oyster mushroom thalers, apple chips with apple and horseradish gravy and glassy onion pearls like from molecular gastronomy. We finish off with a warm chocolate soy curd brownie with tonka bean ice cream that we found to be mouthwatering.
2. Mala – The young hangout with a heart
In the Neustadt, or as the locals call Leipzig-Ost, it is somewhat hidden Small. A gate leads to the small inner courtyard of the two-storey building, which combines the restaurant, beer garden and yoga room. In summer you can sit outside in the idyllic courtyard. In winter, the cozy dining room with a fireplace and candlelight is particularly inviting. Various wooden furniture, warm gray painted walls and indirect light ensure instant cosiness. The super warm and competent staff makes the evening a round event.
The daily menu offers some delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes, all of which are regional and seasonal. In winter there are pumpkin, beetroot, peas, quince, lamb's lettuce and co. Everything is excitingly combined and reinterpreted - the pumpkin, for example, is available in wafer-thin strips in tempura dough, the pea puree is given an exciting twist by the habanero sauce Contrast, the quince is super cinnamon with walnut ice cream and delicious speculoos crumble. There are also great wines, selected beers from the region, fair coffee, which in Leipzig is roasted and a really exciting grappa. The vegan burger with a self-developed patty made from organic ground flaxseed and potato wedges is also particularly popular – even with vegan cheese if you want.
With a lot of passion, sustainability should remain affordable for everyone. A purely organic restaurant with the corresponding prices would probably not be so popular in this part of the city. Sustainability sometimes means finding a really good compromise and developing your own products if they don't already exist. High quality, low environmental impact and regional management are the purchasing criteria here. Since the opening in 2018, the young team around the founders Hannes and Pirmin have been concerned with finding the best products with the best taste. Personal contact with the producers and always trying out new things are very important. This keeps the map exciting and innovative.
3. Katzentempel – Fresh Feel Good Food for animal lovers
Completely unplanned, after visiting the highly recommended Museum of Fine Arts, we ended up starving in the restaurant opposite. A vegan comfort food restaurant with an animal concept. The "Cat Temple" lives up to its name, because cats run through the restaurant here, which are clearly the bosses here. Lots of climbing and retreat options ensure relaxation for the four-legged friends. They only come to the tables and let themselves be petted if they really feel like it. We only find out later that the cats have found a new home here with the help of animal protection organizations and that each animal has its own story. There are now branches of this animal concept in more than ten cities. If you want to support the concept, you can even sponsor an animal. The combination of a vegan menu and active animal welfare really convinced us.
The food is real comfort food; there are burgers with planted-pulled-pork patties, delicious fries or pumpkin sandwiches with pesto, seitan and salad. If you prefer something sweet, depending on the season, you will get your money's worth with carrot cake with mascarpone, speculoos crumble and gingerbread syrup. Everything is very fresh and beautifully presented. A paw or cat stencil provides the perfect decoration with either paprika or chocolate powder.
Don't worry, the four-legged friends are of course not allowed in the kitchen. It is separated by a glass door, and a small anteroom is used to ensure that no animal can escape. This funny deli is probably nothing for people who are allergic to animal hair or dog freaks - because the purring furry friends sometimes come very close. If you haven't had enough of cats after all this, you can buy jute bags, thermal mugs, calendars or postcards with cat motifs in the in-house shop.
4. Macis - Noble organic supermarket and bistro cuisine
The Macis in the city center there is an organic supermarket and organic bakery, bistro and restaurant all in one. The shop was reopened in 2019 and, with its elegant interior, is a popular tourist spot to recharge your batteries while strolling through the city. The vaulted market hall with black bistro chairs, iridescent blue tiles and stucco ornaments is particularly pretty. The kitchen of the market hall is open so that you can not only watch the cooking, but also see all the products and buy them at the counter to try them yourself.
There is breakfast with homemade granola, classic snacks such as antipasti and cheese platters and a fine lunch menu with pasta variations or salads. There is also fresh sourdough bread, vegan patisserie and homemade lemonades. Cooking events and wine tastings also take place here regularly. All ingredients are from controlled organic cultivation. A place for everyone who also wants some flair and inspiration when shopping.
5. Kulturapotheke, Kune and Dr. Hops - Medical help for full bellies
As a fifth tip, we present three places - but only with a special drink. In the cultural pharmacy (“KuApo” for short) on Eisenbahnstraße in Neustadt has been a comfortable place to sit between the old apothecary cupboards for over five years. The beautiful scenery has also made it into German series several times. Depending on the season, you can get excellent homemade mulled wine and roasted almonds here. For a warm indoor Christmas market feeling, so to speak, when it's too cold outside.
If that's too soft for you, go a block further and get in the minimalist furnished There is mixed the best vegan whiskey sour in town by the charming bar team. With organic lemon juice and sugar liqueur. The viscous cooking water from chickpeas (aqua faba) is used for the significant protein foam of the drink, which can be cracked almost like an egg and is also great for vegan baking.
The dr whoops in Connewitz there is (almost) only beer - albeit freshly tapped from the region. The two Leipzig beer brands are particularly tasty Synde Bräu and Box Bräu, the latter being brewed literally around the corner in a backyard. In the relaxed pub you can bring your own food or have pizza delivered and there is often live music.
Cheers, Leipzig! We'll be back very soon, because the list of sustainable food recommendations is still very long...
© Photos: Mala, Katzentempel GmbH, Macis, culture pharmacy