Plant-based Cuisine Proves Popular at Long-Running and New Restaurants; California and New York Eateries Lead, Followed by Pennsylvania and Maryland
In celebration of World Vegetarian Day and Vegetarian Awareness Month, OpenTable, the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations and part of The Priceline Group (NASDAQ: PCLN), today unveiled the 52 Best Restaurants for Vegetarians in America. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 20,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Featuring many of the restaurants that helped establish the vegan and vegetarian eating movements, such as Moosewood in Ithaca, New York, and Sublime in Fort Lauderdale, as well as newer vegetable-centric eateries that have moved plant-based cuisine into the mainstream, such as Al’s Place in San Francisco and Vedge in Philadelphia, the complete list features winning restaurants in 14 states and the District of Columbia. California has 15 winning restaurants, followed by New York with 13, Pennsylvania with six, and Maryland with four. Illinois, Oregon, and Washington all have two eateries. Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Vermont, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin are also represented.
Vegan restaurants represent 21 spots on the list, as do vegetarian-friendly eateries; vegetarian restaurants account for the remaining ten. While most of the winning restaurants have deep ties to growers and emphasize seasonal, farm-to-table dishes, a host of global cuisines proved popular, including Afghan, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Mexican, and Shojin. A significant percentage of honorees easily accommodate diners with gluten allergies or sensitivities.
More than half of the award winners were founded in the last five years, with seven winners opening their doors in 2015 alone, such as Plant Food and Wine in Venice, California, and Encantada Restaurant in Baltimore. Landmark vegetarian restaurants also dot the list, with some having been in business since the seventies, including Blind Faith Cafe in Evanston, Illinois, and Irregardless Cafe in Raleigh, North Carolina. Standout restaurants skew heavily toward providing an upscale casual dining experience as opposed to fine dining, though several winners cater to this affinity.
“Whether these restaurants serve vegan, vegetarian, or vegetarian-friendly fare, fruits and vegetables are given the star treatment at each establishment,” said Caroline Potter, Chief Dining Officer at OpenTable. “From omnivores seeking to indulge in the best of the season’s natural bounty to diners who prefer a sustainable, meatless diet, eaters of every appetite can discover delicious plant-based dining experiences at any of these outstanding spots.”
Of the vegetable-forward food movement, Matthew Kenney, renowned chef and CEO and founder of Matthew Kenney Cuisine and culinary academy added, “The market is blossoming all over the world for plant-based cuisine. It’s just expected now that all progressive restaurants will have a vegetarian tasting menu or vegan items on the menu.”
The OpenTable data science team used natural language processing techniques to identify all semantically related phrases that refer to the concept of a vegetarian or vegetarian-friendly restaurant. For each restaurant, they then identified reviews that contain these key phrases (qualifying reviews). A final score was assigned to a restaurant based on a combination of three scores: the percentage of qualifying reviews, a score based on the sentiment expressed in the relevant portion of these reviews, as well as the “overall” star-ratings associated with these reviews.
Based on this methodology, the following restaurants, listed in alphabetical order, comprise the 52 Best Restaurants for Vegetarians in America according to OpenTable diners.
2015 52 Best Restaurants for Vegetarians in America
A Single Pebble – Burlington, Vermont
Agrodolce – Seattle, Washington
Al’s Place – San Francisco, California
Blind Faith Cafe – Evanston, Illinois
Blossom-Chelsea – New York, New York
Blossom on Columbus – New York, New York
Cafe Clover – New York, New York
Cafe Gratitude – San Diego, California
Cafe Manna – Brookfield, Wisconsin
Candle 79 – New York, New York
Candle Cafe West – New York, New York
Charlie Was a Sinner – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Civico 1845 – San Diego, California
Crossroads – Los Angeles, California
Departure Restaurant and Lounge – Portland, Oregon
Dirt Candy – New York, New York
Dovetail – New York, New York
Encantada Restaurant – Baltimore, Maryland
Equinox – Washington, D.C.
FARMiCiA – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Firefly Restaurant – San Francisco, California
Flora – Jenkintown, Pennsylvania
French Meadow Cafe & Bluestem Bar – Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Gadarene Swine – Studio City, California
Gather – Berkeley, California
Gracias Madre – West Hollywood, California
Green Zebra – Chicago, Illinois
Greens Restaurant – San Francisco, California
The Helmand – Baltimore, Maryland
The Herb Box-Old Town – Scottsdale, Arizona
Irregardless Cafe – Raleigh, North Carolina
Kajtisu, New York, New York
Mi Lah Vegetarian – Ambler, Pennsylvania
Mizuna Restaurant and Wine Bar – Spokane, Washington
Modern Love – Omaha, Nebraska
Moosewood – Ithaca, New York
Natural Selection – Portland, Oregon
Pala – New York, New York
Plant Food and Wine – Venice, California
Ravens Restaurant-Stanford Inn by the Sea – Mendocino, California
Sage-A Plant Based Bistro – Culver City, California
Saha – San Francisco, New York
The Springs – Los Angeles, California
Sticky Rice – Baltimore, Maryland
Sublime -Fort Lauderdale, Florida
SunCafe – Studio City, California
Sweet 27 Bar and Restaurant – Baltimore, Maryland
V-Note Organic Wine Bar & Vegan Bistro – New York, New York
V Street – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Vatan Indian Restaurant – New York, New York
Vedge – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Wassail – New York, New York
Diners can read more about the 52 Best Restaurants for Vegetarians in America, including the OpenTable Connected kick-off celebration of World Vegetarian Day at Plant Food and Wine held on September 30, 2015, by visiting the OpenTable blog. For perspectives on plant-based dining from culinary professionals, visit OpenTable’s restaurant industry blog, Open for Business.