Do you still remember the gloomy internet cafes where it cost a fortune to surf ten minutes and read the emails (or more so wait for them to load)? It never even crossed my mind to use that precious time to find a place to eat when traveling.

The times have definitely changed and I think these days I would spent my time next to the gamers and neon lights trying to search for the best tofu and seitan dishes of the town.

Since internet cafes have almost vanished thanks to wifi and smartphones, here is a list of apps that have made finding restaurant easy and fun for me. Although sometimes the best places come across when you are not staring to the screen, these have been a great help.

Happy Cow

I bought this app couple years ago after hesitating to pay. Whopping 4,49 euros! I think it was even cheaper when I got it. My gosh, I have spent that amount of money so much worse so many times. Anyway, I am glad I got rid of my inner Scrooge McDuck because it is my favourite travel app and has saved me so many times and brought me to the nicest places.

In the app you can search by the name of the city or use our location to find the restaurants near you. I often start by checking the all-vegan restaurants, then if not many are found I add vegetarian restaurants to the search and then non-veggies with vegan options. There are also vegan stores and spas etc. listed.

Even though you can’t search offline, you can save your favourites to lists beforehand. The only minus is, you can’t check the location on map offline since the app uses the maps of Google and Apple (in the case of iPhone at least).

The information I have gotten has almost always been correct and the reviews of other users are really helpful. One restaurant I didn’t find in Lisbon, but it is Lisbon after all with its wonderful mess of streets so I can’t say for sure that the information was incorrect.

In Stockholm I was trying to find a pizzeria that serves huge amount of vegan pizzas with mock meats (at least that is what the legend says). In the app it said the restaurant had recently moved to a new location. So I took the metro and walked many kilometers in the old industrial area until I finally saw the sign of the pizzeria. I got a bit suspicious since there was not a word of vegan menu anywhere. This is when I learned that there are restaurants Oh Mamma Mia and O’Mamma Mia in Stockholm and I was in the one, that had meat pretty much in every dish. I would have laughed but I was too hungry so I made my (long) way back to center and had a burger. Happy ending to the story.

You can use Happy Cow for free on your laptop but trust me, here is a service that is worth paying for.

Happy Cow for iPhone.
Happy Cow for Android. (for Android there seems to be also a free version with limited features)

Maps.me

This map app is free so I had no trouble start using it. What I can’t believe is that it is really free, because it is amazing.

You can download the maps you wish, either areas or whole countries and use them offline. I usually mark the restaurants I find on Happy Cow to the Maps.me as bookmarks. That way I can even find the fastest route to walk to the place.

Of course, this app is not just for finding restaurants but it is a great help with that too.

Maps.me for iPhone
Maps.me for Android

Tripadvisor

If I don’t find any interesting places (or nothing at all) in Happy Cow, I start using Tripadvisor. I know some people prefer Tripadvisor to start with but to me it is a backup app.


I think for me the problem is that when I search with “vegan options”, the app might show first a meat smokery with one vegan dish. Or maybe I just don’t know how to use the app properly. But it does have very many restaurants listed and I have found some gems also with it.

Tripadvisor for iPhone
Tripadvisor for Android

These are my tools also during this quest and I hope they lead me to many nice dishes. If you have some good suggestions of places to see and foods to eat, don’t hesitate to send me a message.

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