Vegeto Liko: Organic, Vegan & Gluten Free
Looking for a delicious vegan, gluten free, and organic restaurant to try out? Then you may want to stop by Vegeto Liko! Not only is it a great option for vegans and vegetarians, but it's also a safe haven for people with dietary restrictions, intolerances, and allergies. At Vegeto Liko, all foods are vegan and gluten free, which means: no eggs, dairy, wheat flour, or white sugar (which is often made using animal bone char for a white finish!) are used in their foods. Vegeto Liko is also a great option for the health conscious, as the café mainly uses organic ingredients with little oil and sugar in their dishes. The meals are also well balanced, almost entirely homemade, and offer high protein options too!
The Struggle of Alternative Food Options in Japan
Anyone looking for alternative food options in Japan knows the struggle. As someone who used to be vegan before coming to Japan, I eventually had to abandon the lifestyle altogether due to the lack of affordable options here (why are fruits and vegetables so expensive in this country?!). Still prefering to eat majoritarily plant based, I'm always on the look out for new places to enjoy great food with a milk-free latte (lactose intolerance is no joke!). After hearing about Vegeto Liko, located just off of Sun Mall Ichibancho, I couldn't wait to go check it out and try their menu out for myself.
Seating no more than twelve people at a time, Vegeto Liko's quaint little interior has a minimalist yet cozy vibe. The staff are extremely welcoming and their passion shines through as they excitedly speak about their café and the food they serve. On display, you'll find a couple of vegan items for sale, including oats milk and vegan protein poweder. On the same shelf are a bunch of magazines showcasing the many vegan, halal, and other fringe diet-friendly places waiting to be discovered in Sendai. I'd recommend coming to Vegeto Liko just to leaf through these resources alone!
Their menu is very simple, which as someone who struggles to make decisions, is a great relief! Looking through a menu that goes on for pages is such an anxiety ridden experience, but at Vegeto Liko, the decision making process is easy. There is only one lunch menu: The Daily Lunch Plate. Changing every day, the lunch menu is the epitome of fusion Japanese cuisine, inspired by dishes and incorporating ingredients from all over the world. The lunch plate is always served with miso soup, organic brown rice or their organic homemade bread (available in small, medium or large portions with the option for refills at no extra price; just ask for "okawari"). Drinks included in the menu range from fair trade coffee, to rooibos tea, apple juice, and orange juice. For an extra 250 yen, you can try their homemade craft gingerale or soy latte. We tried both, and would recommend the gingerale to cool off from Japan's summer heat or the latte with desert to warm up on a cold winters day. For those who get the lunch menu, a mini assortment of deserts featuring three gluten free cakes is offered for an additional 350 yen. Other lunch options include their high protein "Power Salad" and their "Gluten Free Burrito" (these do not come as a set menu though). The Daily Lunch Plate and deserts are also available for takeout and delivery!
The Daily Plate
I went with their Daily Lunch Plate and it did not disappoint! As I mentioned before, the passionate staff don't hesitate to go into great detail to let you know exactly what you are eating. The lunch of the day was a "karaage plate" which included a quinoa salad, roasted veggies, homemade hummus and tahini, a tofu curry, saffron rice, homemade vegan tofu scramble, tempeh and an incredible mushroom miso soup. Their miso soup is actually one of their most praised dishes, even by many non-vegan Japanese customers, who prefer it to traditional miso soup. The "karaage" is made from soy beans, and was topped with their homemade vegan mayo. Inspired by Japanese, Indian, Middle-Eastern, Indonesian, and European cuisines, somehow all of the flavors used in this dish worked so well together, complementing one another in each bite. Although it may not look like it, the lunch plate is incredibly filling, likely due to the protein-rich satiating foods that are included in the meal. Going for a larger portion of rice would also make it more filling (I went with the smallest portion and it was just the right amount for me).
Desert: Vegan & Gluten Free Cakes!
Even though I'm not much of a sweet tooth, I couldn't resist trying some of their homemade vegan and gluten free deserts. I opted for the lunch set desert, which on that day included a Cacao Brownie, a Matcha Cake, and a Matcha Cheesecake, all served on an elegant stone platter. I had them alongside their vegan soy latte, which was the perfect way to close off this dining experience. Although their matcha cake was a bit dry, I really enjoyed the rich Matcha Cheesecake and the Cacao Brownie!
Have you ever been to Vegeto Liko or do you have other recommendations for places that accomodate people's dietary restrictions? Be sure to comment your thoughts and recommendations below to help out the community!
Written by Catrina Sugita
Writer & 2022 Editor-in-Chief