Vegan Restaurants That Should Be On Your Culinary Bucket List
Originally, people viewed diets that exclude or limit meat, eggs and dairy products as fads.
In fact, people claiming they are vegans or vegetarians faced social stigma. Veganism seemed more the territory of hippies than people with regular lifestyles. Not long ago, references to veganism or vegan eating, especially in the mass media were usually negative.
Although Millennials were the main drivers of this international shift away from the consumption of animal products, keep in mind that the plant-based movement is much bigger than a single generation. This is because everyone from athletes and celebrities to entire companies, such as Google and countries like China are now supporting this movement to consume more plant-based foods.
What Constitutes a Vegan Diet?
A vegan diet entails consuming only those food products comprising of plants and avoiding all animal products such as meat and poultry. Most animal products are vital sources of protein, iron, nonsaturated fats, vitamins, as well as minerals in the diet of an average person. As a vegan, you have to find alternative sources of all these nutrients.
There are several reasons why people follow a vegan diet such as environmental considerations, preventing cruelty to animals, or losing weight and leading a healthier lifestyle. You can prepare fresh produce at home. Numerous ready-made vegan meals are now available in most major grocery stores as well as specialist outlets.
Nowadays, vegan options are easily available in most restaurants. Moreover, many restaurants specialize in vegan food.
Why Go Vegan?
Miley Cyrus and ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek are doing it, and so are Alicia Silverstone and Stevie Wonder. People from all kinds of professions, all kinds of backgrounds and at almost all ages have decided to go vegan, especially over the last few years.
It is as if the world is suddenly waking up to the exciting possibility of trading serious chronic diseases for longevity and compassion.
There are several benefits of a vegan diet. It can have a very positive impact on your health and it is great for the environment.
A purely plant-based diet can provide the important nutrients for health while eliminating the risk of eating any harmful animal fats.
Lower Risk of Cancer
Meat eaters are usually at a greater risk of both prostate and colorectal cancers. On the other hand, the vegan diet has far higher volumes of fruits, legumes, vegetables, fiber, as well as vitamin C. They can protect you against a variety of different cancers.
Helps Shed Excess Weight
A rapidly increasing number of individuals are turning to vegan or plant-based diets to shed excess weight and evidence supports it. Several observational studies have shown that vegans are usually thinner and have much lower BMIs compared to non-vegans.
No Animal Fats
Keep in mind that animal fats can cause a range of serious illnesses and health conditions. These conditions include diabetes, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and certain cancers. In the US, animal sources account for up to thirteen of the top fifteen sources of cholesterol-increasing fats.
If you cut these from your diet, you can reduce the risk of several health issues. Moreover, animal fats can also transfer various cancer-linked toxins and chemicals from their environment. In contrast, healthy, plant-based fats and oils, like olive oil, provide essential fatty acids without increasing levels of LDL cholesterol.
Research shows that vegans tend to be happier than their meat-eating counterparts. Actually, researchers state that vegetarians and vegans have much lower scores on various depression tests. Moreover, their mood profiles are more positive than those of meat and fish-eaters.
There is usually an element of freshness when it comes to most plant based dishes, particularly organic produce. Therefore, these dishes purify your mind and keep your thoughts positive.
Vegans usually have better vision and can prevent macular degeneration. As a result, all the extra Vitamin C and collagen can lead to much better skin.
There are many other benefits of going vegan and the ones mentioned above only scratch the surface. A vegan diet:
- Reduces migraines
- Improves athletic performance
- Protects the environment
- Balances hormones
- Improves heart health
- Improves kidney function
Best Vegan Restaurants
In the midst of an entire host of other societal and cultural awakenings, veganism is definitely on the rise. Increasing awareness of the several health benefits linked to a plant-based diet has caused veggie-loving restaurants and eateries to pop up all over the world and in the US.
With a wide variety of influences, excellent preparation and innovative twists, there is a lot more than just salad on the contemporary vegan menu. Here, we earmark some of the best and most popular vegan restaurants to help you get start your journey.
You can visit HappyCow for more information on these restaurants; it is an international guide for vegans searching for veggie-based food worldwide.
The company makes healthy, nutritious, vegetarian and vegan dishes easy to find. Through this website, you will find yummy delights at bars, restaurants, and cafes as well as delicatessens and shops, all over the globe.
This sophisticated and high-end Melrose Avenue institution tends to offer Mediterranean-inspired and seasonally evolving small plates as well as well-crafted cocktails for an exclusive, plant-based dining experience.
Crossroads Kitchen is a great gourmet restaurant and serves what it prefers to call “refined” vegan Mediterranean cuisines. Their unique artichoke oysters usually center on a tasty and crispy oyster mushroom enhanced with sumptuous artichoke puree, kelp caviar and yellow tomato bearnaise.
"Crabcakes" are prepared with hearts of palm, currently side kicked by roasted beets, Granny Smith apples and horseradish aioli. In addition, mustard-glazed parsnips along with fermented cabbage are really cabbage and parsnips. Not everything has to be super clever.
Crossroads has gradually become famous in Los Angeles, a favorite for celebrities and locals alike. The restaurant’s elegant interior features charming rustic elements, but stays chic enough for the most discerning of Hollywood stars.
Noteworthy guests include Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Clinton and Oprah. You might get lucky enough to sit under one of the gasp-worthy photos of the famous rock and roll photographer Jim Marshall.
You may know that Ethiopian cuisine is usually quite vegan-friendly to start with; that being said, Bunna Cafe's unique and revelatory, completely vegan take on it has made the restaurant stand out, initially as a great pop-up and Smorgusburg vendor which transitioned to conventional brick-and-mortar status just a couple of years back.
Bunna Café is an incredible vegan restaurant, where the absence of dairy and meat is not obvious while you are there. However, once you venture out that front door, you will be feeling great.
So, find a hungry friend or loved one, split the sumptuous feast for two, and have yourself treated to a fantastic spread of 9 veggie-based dishes such as shiro (a fine mash of aromatic yellow split peas carefully simmered in fragrant spices) and misir wot (spicy red lentils) heaped on injera flatbread.
In addition, there is much more on the side just for your eating and scooping convenience. You will always find a different and tasty seasonal special in the mix; it will give you enough incentive to come back again.
Far from the large cities of its more trendy counterparts, Plant in Asheville, North Carolina is rewriting nearly all the rules. Big ideas grew from this small town to create a distinct restaurant that has diverse visitors coming from both near and far.
This vegan restaurant tends to focus on fresh and locally sourced ingredients, building the community as well as lowering its impact on the environment in the process. The appetizing menu at this restaurant allows for the quality and wholesomeness of the ingredients to really shine through, with calculated, yet simple preparation.
The elegantly presented plates of food at this great establishment are sure to leave a mark on even the most dedicated meat and dairy eaters. Plant’s menu takes a lot of inspiration from several international cuisines; as a result, do not be surprised when you see Mexican dishes listed next to Korean or even Caribbean-inspired plates.
Vegan desserts do not hold back at this restaurant either, from tasty saffron creme brulee served with Asian pear to peanut butter blackout pie and the impossibly indulgent chocolate soufflé, the restaurant never ceases to amaze.
Canteen in Portland, Oregon is a small and popular restaurant that is just as cool and unassuming as it can possibly be. It is worth mentioning that the artistic and eclectic vibe of Portlanders as well as their city permeates this elegant eatery.
The restaurant has a philosophy of offering great and healthy food, prepared from fresh ingredients that are also sustainable. Their breakfast menu is very popular; the oatmeal is as healthy and tasty as it can get. This is because oats are topped with goji berries, currants, hazelnuts, cacao nibs, walnuts, and fruit; they are mixed in with maple syrup and coconut milk.
For lunch, you cannot miss the Portland Bowl. The base of black beans and quinoa is carefully topped with a tasty baked maple tempeh for added protein and tossed with hazelnuts, kale, and carrots, all in a delicious NW sauce — a great blend of nutritional cashews, yeast, peppers, and garlic.
The fact that Canteen’s menu is hundred percent vegan is a bonus to the otherwise good-natured ambience of this restaurant.
This amazing vegan Seattle go-to reworks traditional and simple American fare into healthy meatless masterpieces. Flowers, wooden furniture, and plants give this restaurant an earthy vibe, which is made more pleasant and alluring when they open up their huge garage doors out front when it is not raining.
Located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, Plum Bistro uses only sustainable and local ingredients in all their dishes. Their extensive menu includes sandwiches, soups, vegan “food truck favorites” as well as extensive dessert selection.
However, their signature dish is Mac 'N' Yease; and although the texture tends to differ from real cheese, you will be glad to know that it remains deliciously silky and cheesy, and will not disappoint even the most fervent dairy enthusiasts.
Their popular portobello burger is huge and hearty to say the least; it is something you may expect from a deep-fried and panko-coated 'shroom which is topped with ranch, Buffalo hot sauce, grilled onions, and greens with the appropriate sidekick of tasty russet fries.
Since its opening in 2011, Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby, who are husband and wife, aptly named this restaurant Vedge. It is one of Philly's (and perhaps America's) best restaurants irrespective of type, plant-based menu or not.
If the restaurant’s menu at does not excite you (though it should), its location definitely will. Vedge is situated in an old, historic mansion on Locust Street and provides an elegant and unique dining backdrop you will fall in love with.
Dishes are carefully conceptualized and elegantly plated such as portabello carpaccio served with deviled kohlrahbi and caper puree. You will also love wood-roasted carrots. The restaurant serves them with carrot kraut and carrot mustard as well as garbanzos and pumpernickel. In addition, smoked eggplant braciole with delicious Italian salsa verde and cured olives may just convince you that they have stashed a vegan Nonna somewhere in the back.
And that is not all, the beverage program at the restaurant lives up to and complements the thoughtfulness of the plates at each turn. All the veg-based dishes at Vedge are seasonal. Moreover, they source their ingredients and produce locally. In addition, their wine selection includes some of the finest biodynamic labels.
Millennium is considered legendary when it comes to vegan restaurants. For more than two decades, this fine restaurant has been serving its loyal customers organic, wholesome, and plant-based dishes in San Francisco.
The restaurant menu is seasonal, and often changes in order to reflect the fresh produce. Fusing preparations and flavors from a variety of different cuisines, the chefs provide an experience, which is incredibly creative.
This restaurant is a blend of nouveau cuisine and classic elegance. Millennium features artistic decor with dark wood paneling. You see tall windows and ceilings, small mirrors, and unique drapery that mute the light. Hence, the restaurant has an incredible Bohemian steakhouse feel. The restaurant has an easy and relaxing ambience, with soothing and soft colors, and comfortable chairs. Some recommended menu items include plantain torte, marble potato and macadamia salad, Italian lentils, sea vegetable salad, Moroccan Portobello and grilled Korean tofu.
Sutra is another terrific restaurant that takes a refreshing and unique approach to the vegetarian and vegan meal as it aims to appeal to all of your senses. Before you even taste your first bite, you will realize that this restaurant is a feast for your eyes.
The restaurant’s interior is colorful, chic and cheery, while the food’s plating is both aesthetic and artistic. Keep in mind that the menu at Sutra is prix-fix, and often changes to accommodate the freshest and seasonal ingredients. Guests love five courses that blend flavors and techniques seamlessly, for a unique and great overall experience.
And that is not all as Sutra expands its great vibes outside the restaurant too. You can try their community retreats and yoga classes, to nourish both your body and soul.
Stuffed inside a somewhat restaurant-heavy corridor of a modest Boston suburb, you will find Red Lentil. Although the rest of this block is overflowing with pizza places and wing joints, the restaurant will lure you to its front door. The aromas of their exceptional seasonal offerings and the crowds outside will capture your fancy.
Red Lentil is a friendly and popular neighborhood restaurant with a great menu of vegetarian dishes from different parts of the world. The restaurant is a favorite for its legendary "Gobi Manchurian,” The recipe comprises of fried cauliflower that they marinate in a sweet and spicy tomato sauce.
A majority of barbecue lovers are likely to scoff at the notion of full-on vegan BBQ, until they get a whiff of this amazing cart-turned-restaurant’s unbelievably smoky tempeh ribs as well as hearty seitan burgers, in particular the ones covered in the joint’s delicious MacNocheese. (Here’s their delectable menu)
As Portland is currently in a BBQ boom, it only makes sense that a great vegan restaurant would pop up eventually. That said, the real and pleasant surprise is how singularly tasty the wares are at Homegrown Smoker. You can see amped-up postmaster takes on various fake meats, such as soy-based tofu fish fillets and smoked chicken. Moreover, you will also view familiar and stellar sides such as beans and grits.
You can search for other great vegan restaurants near you by visiting HappyCow. Using their app, you can:
- Search filters by type of food, location, or type of store
- Browse popular restaurants or cafes
- View an interactive and friendly map
- Store all your favorite places to find your favorite vegan foods
- Get phone numbers, directions, reviews, as well as website information
- Share your photos and experiences
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