America's Best Vegan Restaurants

It's not always easy being a vegan. Everything vegans eat needs to be completely free of any animal- or animal-based products, which, in this meat-centric country, isn't always easy to track down. But thankfully, more and more food products and restaurants that cater exclusively to vegans are coming onto the pipeline all the time, and these are 10 vegan restaurants that even carnivores will love.

America's Best New Vegan Restaurants (Slideshow)

Cooking for vegans is a challenge, but it's one that plenty of chefs will readily accept. It wasn't so long ago when if someone requested a vegan meal at a restaurant, he or she would be served a boring plate of vegetables. Today, most upscale restaurants have at least a few composed vegan dishes available at all times, and even some of America's most renowned pizzerias, including Brooklyn's Paulie Gee's, are offering vegan pies. For vegans, it's truly a golden age.

Running a vegan restaurant isn't exactly easy. While eliminating meat from a menu is fairly straightforward — just load up on the vegetables, beans, and meat alternatives like tofu and tempeh — some of the more complex culinary aspects can get a little complicated. Butter, for example, can't be used, and neither can cheese or milk, so depending on how involved the menu gets, perfecting each recipe can take a lot of trial and error. Making a vegetable and tofu stir-fry is one thing; making vegan croissants is another. Vegan chefs also need to be able to coax as much flavor out of vegetables as possible, and some are even creating cheese from nuts, which is surely some sort of alchemy.

For many vegan chefs, however, eliminating animal products opens the door to insane levels of creativity and experimentation. Some truly spectacular dishes have come out of the vegan movement (seriously, if you thought all veggie burgers were bland pre-frozen hockey pucks, guess again). For a glimpse into how chefs and restaurateurs have taken vegan cuisine to the next level, read on.