Utrecht, Netherlands

After visiting Amsterdam, we took the train to Utrecht, a nearby city packed with lots of students, bikes and cute shops. It’s basically a mini Amsterdam, without the overwhelming presence of the red light district, drugs and tourists. In Utrecht, we found another vegan squat cafe, lots of bio shops, and made friends with Miffy at the super cute Dick Bruna museum.

Kitchen Punx and Squat Cafes

ACU

ACU, Utrecht, The Netherlands

We enjoyed our meal at De Peper in Amsterdam so much, we jumped at the chance to eat at Kitchen Punx, a similar restaurant in Utrecht. The Kitchen Punx vegan restaurant is located on the ground floor of the ACU building, a political cultural center. The rest of the building is used as a community space where concerts, dance nights, parties, political info sessions and poetry events take place. ACU also has a squatters’ advice bureau, hosts activist meetings, shows local art, and puts on DIY workshops. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Kitchen Punx serves vegan dinner, offering up daily specials and a menu of items that changes each month. They make everything from scratch and always cook with fresh ingreidents, keeping their meals free of preservatives and out of the microwave. It’s a not for profit operation, which makes for reasonable prices but not as cheap as what we found in Amsterdam.

Meal of the day - Tofu Lasagna with bechamel sauce and veggies

Vegan Lasagna and Veg

I opted for the meal of the day, which cost €7.00 Euros ($8.97 USD). The day’s special combo was a vegan spinach tofu lasagna covered with a bechamel sauce, served with a side of roasted veggies. The tofu lasagna was okay, but I’m not the biggest tofu fan and there was a lot of it. The vegan version of the bechamel sauce, which is typically made from scalded milk and a white flour-butter roux, was very thick, and rich. Not something I’d had before, and not something I’d go for again. The roasted veg was a nice side, especially the pumpkin. I didn’t dive into the dip, the creaminess of the lasagna topping was enough for one night.

"Tortelloni" - Really just Ravioli

Mushroom and Walnut Pasta

John ordered one of the monthly menu items, tortellini pasta stuffed with mushrooms and walnuts, covered in a buttery sage sauce and served with a side of fried vegetable balls. The dish was reasonably priced for the portion size, ringing in at €8.50 Euros ($10.89 USD). The tortellini, which are usually small ring shaped pasta, turned out to be three huge raviolis. John ate the centers and fillings, but couldn’t get through their doughy surroundings. The buttery sauce didn’t sit well with him. The veggie balls were deep fried and similar to falafels in texture. He liked those and filled up on them. Overall, he wasn’t really into the meal. The food looked nice but left us feeling like we’d had too much oil.

Salad

Veggie Salad

Thankfully, our meal was served with a shared salad and we got a little bit of raw veg in for the day.

ACU

ACU Kitchen Punx

Kitchen Punx had a nice atmosphere, was very organized and well priced. There menu is always changing so there is a good chance you could visit and have a much better experience than we did.

Kitchen Punx
www.kitchenpunx.nl

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday  6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
ACU politiek cultureel centrum
Voorstraat 71
Utrecht, the Netherlands
Tel: 030-2314590

KRAAKEETCAFE

Kraak Eetcafee, Utrecht, the Netherlands

At Kitchen Punx, we saw two posters for other vegan food operations. There was an ad for the Kraak Eetcafee (eetcafee = eatery), which serves vegan food every Wednesday starting at 7:00 p.m.

Kraak Eetcafee
Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m.
Bike Wars Squat
Groeneweg 52
Utrecht, the Netherlands

EETCAFE

Eetcafee Vegan Diner, Utrecht, The Netherlands

The second poster was for the Eetcafe Vegan Diner at the Blue Cube, which recently started serving vegan meals on Thursdays for €4.00 Euros ($5.13 USD). Both of these places seem to be really underground, they have no online presence I can find. If you plan to go there, make backup dinner arrangements just in case they are closed or you can’t find them.

Eetcafe Vegan Diner
Thursdays at 7:00 p.m.
At the Blue Cube
Van Vollenhovenlaan 227
Utrecht, the Netherlands
Tram Stop 5 mei plein

Health Food and Organic Stores

De Groene Winkel

De Groene Winkel

We visited a few health food store in Utrecht. De Groene Winkel opens early, and was one of the first places we checked out after arriving in the city. Partly because we were hungry, partly because it was one of the few open stores at 10:00 a.m. The store was big, with a lot of selection. You can easily find everything you need to make healthy meals. Satisfying a sweet craving won’t be a problem either. I spotted some yummy looking Sommer & Co biscotti and cookies, as well as Evernat blueberry and apricot tarts.

Bio Bread Stamp

Organic Bread Stamp

We picked up a loaf of organic bread and some hummus. Our bread came with an edible stamp on the bottom. Apparently this is a common sight in the Netherlands. Who knew organic bread needed to be certified authentic…

De Groene Winkel
www.degroenewinkelutrecht.nl/
Zadelstraat 16-18
Utrecht, the Netherlands
Tel: 030 2316164

EkoPlaza

Eko Plaza

EkoPlaza is even bigger than De Groene Winkel. They’ve got everything you can think of in terms of grains, produce, snacks, sweets and tofu creations. They had a huge fridge full of mock meat products. There was also a nice, big shelf full of chocolate bars and candy. Not everything was vegan, but there was more than enough selection to get us excited.

Candy from Eko Plaza, Utrecht, Netherlands

Coconut Chocolate BonBarr and Eco Sweets Cherry Candy

We picked up a Golden Coconut & Dark Chocolate BonBarr and a bag of Eco Sweets cherry candies. The coconut bar was oh so coconuty,  just like a Bounty bar. The cherry candies were good, but the colour and shape were the only similarities shared with the cherry candies we ate as kids. The texture, which was much harder, and taste, which wasn’t as sweet, was totally different.

Ekoplaza
www.ekoplaza.nl/
Twijnstraat 46
Utrecht, the Netherlands
Tel: 030-2312900