There are 327.2 million people in America and of those, an estimated 1.62 million are vegan, meaning they don’t eat meat (including fish and shellfish), dairy, eggs, gelatin, honey or figs because some might contain dead wasps. The plant-based diet avoids animal products completely and instead is primarily comprised of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds and beans.
While this may sound boring to some, there are incredibly creative chefs out there who know how to turn the simplest ingredients into something really special, and Yelp has rounded up the very best vegan-friendly (if not completely vegan) restaurant in every state and Washington, D.C.
It’s not always easy sticking to a plant-based diet in a country that loves its burgers, butter, steak and pepperoni pizza, but you won’t miss the meat at these rockstar restaurants, all of which offer some seriously delicious vegan options.
Jay Jay C./Yelp
In order to compile their list of best vegan restaurants in every state, the number crunchers at Yelp rounded up restaurants with a surplus of mentions of “vegan” and “plant-based” in their reviews, and then ranked them based on the number of five-star ratings. They also took cleanliness into account.
The Sunflower Cafe has locations in Fairhope and Mobile, Alabama, both of which serve brunch and lunch. The healthy, vegan-friendly menu boasts classic plant-based options such as hummus and grilled pita, six different salads, baba ganoush and tabouli, plus a chipotle black bean burrito, Tofurkey avocado melt, Thai curry stir fry and a Jamaican jerk wrap with jerked tofu or tempeh, spring mix, tomatoes and smokey pineapple sauce in a grilled spinach wrap.
Vegetarians, pescatarians and meat-eaters can enjoy the menu, which features spinach artichoke pizza, crab cakes, a chicken salad sandwich and more. All sandwiches and wraps can be made with gluten-free or low-carb bread and you can substitute regular noodles for low-carb kelp noodles. Plant-based proteins including tofu, tempeh and tofurkey can be added to any salad. Sunflower Cafe only uses organic and, when available, locally sourced ingredients.
Middle Way Cafe is a vegan-friendly cafe, bakery and coffee house in the Spenard neighborhood of Anchorage, Alaska. The eatery’s mission is to contribute to a healthy, balanced and sustainable life through good food and drink, and claims it was the first restaurant in the city to implement recycled, compostable and petroleum-free takeout boxes, paper, cups and more.
Diners can take in local art while enjoying dishes off the massive menu. Some animal product-free plates include huevos rancheros made with blackened tofu and vegan sour cream; “The Avalanche” sandwich featuring marinated portobello mushrooms, vegan roasted jalapeño cream cheese, red bell pepper, green leaf lettuce, sprouts and tomato; blueberry banana pancakes; and a “Baja Bowl” with cashew nacho cheese, vegan sour cream, brown rice, black beans, green leaf lettuce, red cabbage, avocado and cilantro.
Tumerico Vegetarian Food in Tucson, Arizona, makes its food from scratch daily, so the menu is constantly changing. Some recent boards show jackfruit carnitas, mushrooms, poblano pepper, tortillas and cilantro sauce; crispy potato tacos; and tostadas with zucchini, mushrooms, huitlacoche and pesto. Many come with rice, beans, salad and pico de gallo with cashew crema. Everything on the menu is vegan, but you can add cheese to a dish if you’d like.
The folks behind MeMe’s Twisted Potato set out to “create the freshest, most flavorful vegan food this world has ever tasted, end of story.” The menu features locally sourced ingredients and produce grown in the restaurant’s garden. For many in Little Rock, Arkansas, it’s their go-to spot for plant-based comfort food.
Fans of the farm-to-table eatery rave about plentiful portions of cauliflower wings, zucchini fries, kale salad and the reuben sandwich. MeMe’s even offers an affordable meal prep service with options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sweet potato enchilada casserole, anyone?
The Sun Vegan is a mom and pop restaurant that serves plant-based cuisine in Fountain Valley, California. The menu is 100% vegan, non-GMO and made without MSG. Better yet, almost every dish costs $10 or less.
Some fan favorites include the “Chick’un Burger” made with Gardein crispy chicken topped with vegan ranch, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato and pickles on a soft bun; spring rolls with soy protein, cabbage, cucumber, spinach, carrots and mint wrapped in thin rice paper and served with organic peanut sauce; and the “Claypot Ocean” featuring seaweed-wrapped soy protein and mushrooms cooked in dark sauce and black pepper, served with salad and multigrain rice.
“Piante” translates to “plants” in Italian, and Piante Pizzeria specializes in gourmet New York City-inspired vegan wood-fired pizza. Instead of dairy, the Breckenridge, Colorado, restaurant uses cashew cheese and plant-based meats complemented by organic vegetables from local farms.
Start with the bruschetta or decadent jalapeño poppers, then build your own pizza or choose from 14 specialty pies such as the “Rosemary Jane” with vegan mozzarella, vegan parmesan, rosemary and truffle; or the “Buffalo Soldier” with garlic, Buffalo sauce, vegan mozzarella, green and red onion, fire-roasted Buffalo cauliflower and house-made ranch. Don’t forget dessert. Piante sells seasonal cheesecake and tiramisu with a raw walnut date crust, espresso chocolate and cashew cream.
Ninth Square Market Too Caribbean Style is a no-frills, cafeteria-style Caribbean restaurant that serves massive portions of all-vegan food on the cheap in New Haven, Connecticut. The smallest offering comes with three sides (including one protein), a medium plate comes with five sides (including one protein), and the large comes with seven sides (including three proteins) and clocks in at just $12.99.
For proteins, you can choose from curried soy curls, jerk tofu, BBQ drumsticks, brown stew chunks, veggie fish curry and ginger chik’n. Side options include curried chickpeas, ital dal stew, nine bean stew, steamed greens, green beans, mixed vegetables, stewed eggplant, sweet potato, curried potatoes, rice and peas, white rice, mac n’ cheeze and yam, dumpling and green banana.
What started as a juice and acai bowl shop is now a full-fledged restaurant with a completely vegan menu featuring organic, non-GMO and locally sourced foods. Some of the most popular items at this Wilmington, Delaware, spot are the Impossible Burger, sweet potato chili, spicy avocado smash, loaded nachos, and the “PB Lover” bowl with a pitaya, peanut butter, banana and almond milk base topped with strawberries, banana, chopped peanuts, chocolate chips, honey and granola.
Vegan & Juice is a family-run vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Miami, Florida. Latin-inspired plant-based offerings include wraps, sandwiches and salads, plus soy, veggie, spinach, tofu, veggie Tofurky and salteña empanadas. There’s also a hot bar that changes every day. Okra, eggplant lasagna, sweet plantains, pumpkin soup and spinach pie were recently served.
Those with a sweet tooth can choose from the extensive dessert list featuring raw key lime pie, vegan cheesecake, raw cinnamon rolls, pineapple cake, ice cream and more. Feeling under the weather? The health-forward menu boasts “power juices” like the “Detox” with lemon, apple, cucumber and cayenne; the “Fat Burner” with grapefruit, pineapple and apple; and the “Flu Blaster” with orange, lemon and ginger.
Fox & Fig is a lovely plant-based cafe in Savannah, Georgia. The menu here is quite creative, delivering innovative takes on traditional brunch fare. Customers can sit inside or out while enjoying eggless quiche, smoky “mac + shrooms,” kale pesto pizza and “raw lasagna” with white wine vinaigrette-marinated zucchini sheets, macadamia ricotta, basil pine nut pesto, sun-dried and heirloom cherry tomato sauce and basil.
Gourmet dairy- and egg-free dessert options include seasonal cheesecakes, a brownie sundae and “milky shakes” made with coconut ice cream, including one made with CBD-infused strawberry-chai and dragon fruit powder.
What It Dough/Yelp
What It Dough hails itself as Honolulu, Hawaii’s first artisan vegan pizza kitchen. Three to four times a week for the past two years, What It Dough has served plant-based wood-fired pies out of a tent near Kapi’olani Regional Park. The regular menu highlights 100% plant-based pizzas including Margherita, white, and pesto, each made with fresh, local, organic ingredients with house-made “cheese” and “meat.”
There are also typically one or two specials; recent ones have included Potato Cauliflower Masala with vegan mozzarella, masala, garlic naan crust, coconut raita, cilantro and lime; Loaded Baked Potato with potato, cheddar, meatless maple bacon, vegan sour cream, green onion and chives; and spicy Buffalo Jackfruit with vegan mozzarella, jackfruit, celery and house-made ranch.
This restaurant is temporarily closed until Jan. 1, 2020.
High Note in Boise, Idaho, serves plant-based brunch, lunch and dinner made from locally sourced organic ingredients. Take advantage of the special on Tuesday, when diners can get tacos for just $1.50 each.
If you aren’t in the market for tacos, try the breakfast burrito (seasoned and scrambled tofu, red potatoes, spiced black bean puree, sweet grilled onions, pico de gallo, green salsa, cilantro cream sauce and avocado) or pesto sandwich (walnut-based pesto, grilled red bell pepper, grilled oyster mushrooms, fresh spinach, tomato, and rosemary black pepper aioli on homemade bread).
Loving Heart in Chicago, Illinois, is a 100% vegan cafe that makes its own sauces, soups and more using mostly organic ingredients. The small but mighty counter-service cafe is best known for its Green Diva salad with spinach, romaine, avocado, red bell peppers, cilantro, seaweed, roasted peanuts, special green ginger pesto made with almonds and your choice of vegan Korean BBQ or seasoned garbanzo and black beans.
Other favorites at this eco-friendly eatery include a Curry Bowl made with house curry (sweet potato, carrots, onion, chickpeas and yellow curry), spinach, red bell pepper, romaine, brown rice and cilantro; the Eden Wrap with avocado, spinach, tomato, apple, pickles, roasted peanuts and a cashew-based house-made vegan cheese spread); and a blueberry banana smoothie with soy milk.
Ezra’s Enlightened Café/Yelp
You won’t find any animal products on the menu at Ezra’s Enlightened Cafe, with the exception of raw, local, sustainably-sourced honey. The Indianapolis, Indiana, eatery sources its ingredients from local farmers and its very own 6-acre farm. When you dine here, you’ll most likely be eating produce that was picked within the last 48 hours.
Ezra’s has a fairly large menu featuring smoothies, juice, kombucha on tap (with CBD add-ins), granola bowls, smoothie bowls, soup, salad, wraps, almond-crusted pizza and more. There’s also a rotating daily entree. Some examples are an enchilada bowl, pad Thai, curry, dal, jambalaya and zoodles.
Rest assured, there’s no dirt in the burgers at Dirt Burger. This quick-service vegan restaurant, located in Des Moines, Iowa, makes nutrient-dense plant-based burgers without sacrificing taste or burning a hole in your pocket. Everything here is certified organic or verifiably grown without chemicals.
A few fan-favorites include the Bombay Burger with a Mumbai curry-spiced patty, green chili “yogurt” and poppadom chips; the Volcano, with a spicy patty, hot pepper cheese, jalapeño broccoli slaw and red hot onion rings; and the Spartan with olive pepper relish, tzatziki, arugula, spinach, avocado and crispy onions. Don’t miss the Dirt Balls, potato croquettes with quinoa and flax.
Lotus Leaf Café/Yelp
Lotus Leaf Cafe in Wichita, Kansas, doesn’t have a completely vegan menu, but there are plenty of options for those following a plant-based diet. Animal product-free appetizers include a savory, smoky pumpkin and almond dip served with house-made seed crackers and sweet potato chips; and red pepper cashew “cheeze” dip served with fresh baked blue corn chips, red onion, tomato, cilantro, pepperoncini and jalapeño.
For the main course, vegans can chow down on quinoa and flax tortillas filled with roasted chickpeas, cauliflower rice, red pepper, red and green cabbage, red onion and jalapeño-mango salsa; zucchini noodles with red pepper and spinach tossed in a creamy red pepper cashew cream sauce; or gluten-free, buckwheat crepes with a crumbled beet and black bean patty, red pepper and red onion topped with almond chipotle sauce. Also, many vegetarian options can be made vegan upon request.
When Sue Zhao and her young daughter made the switch to veganism, they found that vegan cookies and cakes were hard to find. Zhao perfected plant-based dessert recipes in her own kitchen and in 2013 opened Half-Peach Bakery and Cafe in St. Matthews, Kentucky.
The menu at Half-Peach was inspired by Zhao’s Chinese roots, but she’s also created fun twists on southern classics. For example, there’s a banh mi with mushrooms and soy protein along with pickled cabbage and carrots, cucumber, cilantro and vegan mayo on a house-made baguette; and “Nashville Hot Chickn” with a spicy breaded fried soy cutlet with pickles and spicy chipotle aioli on a sesame bun. For dessert, go for the chocolate chip cookies.
Sweet Soulfood in New Orleans, Louisiana, goes beyond basic plant-based eats with heaping plates of Creole-inspired vegan comfort food. There’s a different set menu for every day of the week, but some hot bar items include beans, okra, potato salad, chicken fried cauliflower, cornbread, pralines, barbecue cauliflower, eggplant lasagna, nacho salad, mushroom steak and gravy, mac and cheese, jambalaya, bread pudding, stuffed bell peppers, sweet potatoes, collard greens and more.
Green Elephant is a vegetarian bistro in Portland, Maine. Chef and owner Dan Sriprasert created the menu using locally sourced meat-free ingredients and flavors influenced by Malaysia, Japan, China, India and Thailand.
Even though this is technically a vegetarian restaurant, there are tons of vegan options like deep-fried veggie and mushroom-stuffed spring rolls, crispy wontons, dumplings, fried Brussels sprouts, veggie citrus “spare ribs,” hot and sour noodle soup, pad Thai (just order it without egg) and curry.
Harmony Bakery in Baltimore, Maryland, makes from-scratch vegan and gluten-free baked goods, pastries and more using organic and seasonal ingredients from local farmers. Although the menu changes daily, some core offerings include a spiced chickpea tart with coconut cilantro chutney and caramelized onion; mock crab cake with aioli and greens on a sesame bun; and caesar salad with cashew dressing, capers and nut parmesan. For dessert, guests can order freshly baked cookies, cakes and cupcakes.
Belmont Vegetarian Restaurant/Yelp
Don’t let the size of this humble restaurant deter you from trying some of the best plant-based food in the Bay State. Belmont Vegetarian Restaurant in Worcester, Massachusetts, serves vegan and vegetarian dishes inspired by Jamaican and American cuisines. Portion sizes are generous and the meatless meat tastes just like the real deal.
The menu at Belmont is super simple: Order a medium or large plate and fill it up with any (or all) rotating hot bar items like barbecue, “unsteak,” curry, faux chicken, collard greens, veggie stew, steamed vegetables, tofu, black beans and rice.
When Christopher Scott Oliver was diagnosed with cancer and diabetes, he embraced a plant-based diet that he claims helped him overcome both. In the aftermath, he opened Unburger Grill in Dearborn, Michigan, to share the restorative lifestyle with his community.
At Unburger, customers can order sandwiches, faux sausage, nachos, salads (including taco salad), soup and sides including potato salad, Brussels sprouts and chili cheese fries. Make your own burger with your choice of patty: black bean portobello, spicy chickpea and zucchini, sweet potato and quinoa or “Ultimate,” a house-made meat alternative that’s gluten-free (but contains soy). Keep it basic (lettuce, tomato, onion and house-made vegan mayo) or spice things up by going with mushroom and Swiss, Southwestern or sweet barbecue.
Seed Cafe in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is all about good people, good food and good community. Nothing is deep-fried, everything is plant-based, all sauces are made in house and lots of items are naturally gluten-free.
Some favorite flavors from this colorful, comfy cafe include a chickpea frittata; kale caesar salad; a wrap with turmeric rice, Thai peanut sauce, Asian coleslaw, seared tofu steaks, carrots, ginger, garlic, cilantro and chopped peanuts; a “grilled cheese” with sourdough bread, plant-based cheese, spicy kimchi and fermented chili sauce; and a breakfast sandwich with crispy tofu, greens, avocado, oozy cheese aioli and sweet potatoes on focaccia.
Everything at Good Karma Cafe is plant-based. The restaurant, located in Gulfport, Mississippi, is run by mother-and-son duo Maharani and Deshi Berg, who specialize in Malaysian/Indian vegan and vegetarian cuisine. Lunch is just $12 and includes your choice of tea, soup, organic green salad, brown or basmati rice, vegetable subji, stir fry cabbage, chutney, Papadam bean chip, oats or quinoa cookie, and cornbread, gluten-free bread or vegan naan.
Dinner is also just $12 and includes the same as above or your choice of veggie burger, speciality noodles served with vegetables, a bowl (chickpeas, sweet potato, quinoa, spinach, avocado, kale, spiral squash, cucumber and peanut sauce), tacos, a burrito, penne or a big salad with a vegan burger patty on top. If you save room for dessert, don’t miss the vegan lavender cake.
Lulu’s Local Eatery is a sustainable neighborhood cafe in St. Louis, Missouri. The quick-service restaurant, which started out as a food truck, recycles and composts 95% of its waste and offers a 100% plant-based menu using all-natural, local and organic ingredients as much as possible. If you ride your bike there, you’ll get 15% off your meal. There’s a craft beer, wine and cocktail ping pong bar upstairs, too.
Some popular menu items are the Buffalo Caesar wrap with house-made crispy cauliflower bites, shredded kale, Brussels sprouts, from-scratch Caesar dressing and chickpea croutons on a whole wheat tortilla; loaded nachos featuring tortilla chips topped with jackfruit carnitas, house-made butternut squash cheese sauce, salsa, sour cream, green onion, pickled jalapeño and cilantro; and latkes Benedict made with crispy potato pancakes, house-made breakfast sausage, tofu egg, avocado and hollandaise.
Rebel Roots Kitchen/Yelp
A couple plant-based options include the spicy Thai coconut soup served over garlic riced cauliflower and topped with bean sprouts, cabbage and fresh basil; and Korean tofu tacos with hoisin-marinated tofu, purple cabbage slaw, avocado, spicy sriracha and peanut sauce topped with toasted sunflower seeds and green onion.
Modern Love serves “swanky vegan comfort food” in Omaha, Nebraska. Must-orders include a barbecue tofu bowl with tofu “ribs,” black-eyed peas, jasmine rice, sauteed collard greens and crispy shallots; nachos with walnut chorizo, cashew cheddar, pico de gallo, guacamole, pickled red onions, house hot sauce and cilantro; and risotto with creamy butternut sauce, tempura broccolini, roasted butternut squash, caramelized onions, pepita “Parmesan” and radicchio.
For dessert, choose from pumpkin or chocolate cheesecake, cherry trifle, fig bread pudding, a soft serve sundae or a milkshake.
Jay Jay C./Yelp
There are no animal products on the menu at Chef Kenny's Asian Vegan Restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada. All of the beef, chicken, tuna and other proteins listed are made with meat alternatives that taste strikingly similar to the real deal.
Don’t miss the Sexy Roll (papaya, avocado and cucumber on the inside, and lemon, kiwi, green sauce and eel sauce on the outside); spicy tuna roll (tuna, avocado, cucumber and jalapeño on the inside, and spicy tuna, eel sauce, orange sauce and sesame seeds on the outside; pad Thai; or Kung Pao chicken.
Susty’s Cafe in Northwood, New Hampshire, has been serving delicious vegan food for more than a decade. Some popular items from the extensive menu include nachos (tortilla chips, black beans, fresh salsa and house-made cheesy sauce); a sandwich with marinated fried tofu, marinara sauce, pesto and soy parmesan on warm focaccia; and “tofu fries” battered in cornmeal and herbs, fried and served with ketchup.
Susty’s also serves soy-based fritters, hummus, soup, salad, wraps, burgers and other vegan twists on classic dishes including seitan shepherd’s pie, gluten-free mac and cheese of the day, enchiladas and burritos. You can even pick from a limited list of frozen entrees to go.
Leaf is an all-vegan eatery in Haddonfield, New Jersey, that serves lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, and brunch on Sunday. Worth seeking out are the Buffalo cauliflower with blue cheese dressing, the crab cake with tartar sauce, pad Thai, tacos and a tempeh sandwich with lettuce, tomato, avocado, aioli and pickled vegetables.
There’s local small-batch kombucha on draft and the dessert list features apple crisp with strawberry glaze, walnuts, pomegranate, caramel sauce and ice cream; key lime cake; and chocolate olive oil cake with vanilla bean icing and strawberry puree.
An Hy Quan Vegetarian Restaurant is a family-run restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The kitchen uses eggs and dairy in some of its offerings, but it does not serve meat, poultry or seafood in any capacity. Most dishes are vegan, but some are vegetarian. If you’re unsure, just ask.
People rave about the cashew mock pork with rice, clay pot tofu with mushroom, crispy chow mein and a mung bean crepe with bean sprouts and mushrooms. The portion sizes here are quite generous, so you might be able to make two meals out of it.
Jajaja is a plant-based Mexican restaurant in New York City. Customers can go to the quick-service counter for tacos, nachos and other eats, or take a seat in the quaint dining area for a meal complete with tasty cocktails. Just make sure that, if you want table service, you make a reservation in advance; this place is super popular and fills up fast.
The standout at this Lower East Side spot is the “Buffalo Flower” taco with tempura cauliflower, flaxseed, shredded carrot, queso azul and apple blossom. The coconut queso quesadilla, another must-order, is made with spinach and basil pesto, serrano chiles, king mushroom, pico de gallo and sour cream. Other menu items include a beet and pumpkin empanada, enchiladas and a chimichurri eggplant torta. If you’re in the market for an adult beverage, try the Cucumber y Basil, with vodka, fresh-pressed cucumber juice and lime.
Plant is an all-vegan, 90% organic and mostly gluten-free from-scratch eatery with open kitchen-side dining and a seasonal patio. There’s a very strict policy on animal products: You can bring in your own bottle of wine (there’s a $10 corkage fee), but it has to be vegan. You can’t wear fur (you’ll be asked to remove it from the building) and if you need to feed your child, you can only bring in plant-based food. There are no exceptions.
Innovative dishes at this romantic restaurant include “Something Nice & Grits” with wild mushrooms, vegan cream cheese, Georgia white grits, Calabrian chile, dried olive and watercress; an all-vegan cheese plate; and seitan chile con queso featuring a tamale, grilled romaine, cilantro mojo, pickled jalapeño and onion. Plant also serves ravioli, raw lasagna, curry, crispy potatoes and more.
Raison D'etre D./Yelp
India Palace in Fargo, North Dakota, is a vegetarian Indian restaurant, but many of the dishes can be made vegan upon request. For example, the chana masala (with chickpeas, ginger and garlic) can be served with poori (fried flatbread) without butter, and rice without ghee. Coconut milk can also be used as a substitute for dairy products in food preparation. Customers can choose their preferred level of heat from mild to very hot.
Earth Bistro Cafe serves contemporary American cuisine with Cuban influences. The restaurant, located in Cleveland, Ohio, serves meat and plant-based food, but the entire menu can be made vegan upon request.
Favorites include the veggie grilled burrito, black bean veggie burger and fried tofu sandwich (with fried seasoned tofu, lettuce, tomato, onion, spring mix, alfalfa sprouts, avocado and jalapeño mayo served on a rosemary focaccia roll). If you’re a fan of meatless meat, Earth Bistro offers the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger.
The Loaded Bowl came into existence in 2013 as one of Oklahoma’s first vegan food trucks, and today, there’s also a brick-and-mortar bar and restaurant in Oklahoma City. The Loaded Bowl uses ethically-sourced ingredients to make affordable plant-based meals served in reusable, recyclable and/or biodegradable packaging.
Fan favorites include cashew mac and cheese and orange chicken featuring faux chicken, broccoli and grilled brown rice with vegetables and eggy tofu topped with sweet orange sauce, crushed red pepper and green onions. On Sunday, customers can order vegan twists on brunch classics, like breakfast tacos, chicken and biscuits, and pancake corn dogs with two mini Beyond Meat sausages served with fried potatoes and tofu scramble.
Supernova Vegan in Portland, Oregon, is a food truck with a completely vegan menu and many gluten-free options. The business, which opened in 2017, celebrates a plant-based diet without heavily depending on soy products or meat substitutions.
Menu standouts include the mac and cheese (rich and creamy “cheese” sauce over regular or gluten-free pasta tossed with steamed broccoli and topped with BBQ glazed tempeh and nutritional yeast), fish tacos and a sandwich with crispy tempeh, citrus slaw, warm BBQ sauce and melted Chao cheese on a ciabatta bun.
Goldie is a vegan Israeli-style falafel shop from star chef Michael Solomonov. There are currently three locations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Sansom Street, Walnut Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. The menu at each is short and sweet, featuring a falafel sandwich, a falafel salad, fries (regular, with shawarma spice or loaded) and drinks.
If you want no-frills falafel, you can order a “bag of balls,” which comes with a half-dozen balls for $5 or a dozen for $9. Don’t leave here without getting one of Goldie’s famous dairy-free tehina shakes — made with tehina, a condiment made with ground sesame — in flavors including mint chocolate, Turkish coffee, date and banana.
Innovative eats from the extensive menu include cauliflower risotto cakes with frisee and garlic-red pepper aioli; roasted butternut squash quesadilla with black beans, jalapeño jack cheese and avocado in a whole wheat tortilla with salsa; carrot and egg biryani with basmati rice, hazelnuts, dried fruit and pickled carrots and grilled eggplant parmesan with almond “ricotta,” warm sorghum and broccoli pesto.
Dellz Uptown is a quick-service restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina. Not everything here is vegan (or even vegetarian), but most items are. Don’t miss the Hawaiian pizza (which is topped with mixed Daiya cheese, smoked tofu, diced pineapple, green onions, capers, red pepper flakes and mango salsa) or the Jazzy Pizza (with mixed Daiya cheese, brown rice, black beans, bell peppers, mushrooms, mango salsa and house-made spicy goddess dressing). Other plant-based options here include wraps made with vegetables and meat substitutes for chicken, bacon, crab and beef, veggie burgers, tacos, bowls and nachos.
Devine Delights is an all-vegan ice cream parlor and deli in Rapid City, South Dakota. Everything on the menu is geared toward comfort. Offerings include brownies, chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon rolls, caramel rolls, cake and pie. Protein options for sandwiches include meatless sliced turkey, shredded chicken, bologna and a beef-like burger, and if you’re in the mood for greens, there’s a garden salad and a kale salad. For dessert, check out different flavored ice cream scoops or go big with a brownie sundae.
The Southern V is a family-owned and operated restaurant in the Buchanan Street Business District of Nashville, Tennessee. The majority of the menu is made from scratch, including fresh bread and house-made, soy-free seitan. Every dish is 100% plant-based, and there’s an entire section of the menu dedicated to gluten-free fare.
Nashville Hot Chicken is a Music City staple, and The Southern V’s version replaces the chicken with crispy seitan. The chickpea tuna melt with tomato and cheddar cheeze, chik’n and waffles, and the mac and cheeze are also standouts.
Li’l Nonna’s is “all vegan all the time.” The pizza trailer, located in Austin, Texas, has a simple menu with just one appetizer — crispy Sicilian Brussels sprouts with balsamic, shallots, garlic, capers, crushed red pepper and golden raisins — and one option by the slice: Sicilian.
For pizza by the pie, choose from a 12-inch gluten-free or 14-inch New York-style classics like cheese and Margherita. Specialty pies are made with organic tomato sauce, housemade vegan mozzarella and toppings including “beeteroni” (pepperoni made from beets), pineapple, pickled jalapeños, roasted garlic, baby spinach, marinated artichokes, lemon and balsamic glaze, mushrooms, Italian seitan sausage and smoky tempeh.
Buds has been serving Salt Lake City, Utah, since 2012. The entirely plant-based menu boasts classic sandwiches with from-scratch sauces and fresh-cut vegetables. Apart from the handhelds, Buds also serves salads, including a Buffalo-style with meatless chicken.
People really dig the Deli Classic, with thinly sliced veggie turkey, cucumber, tomato, red onion, organic alfalfa sprouts, guacamole, mayo and mustard on whole-wheat bread. There’s also a barbacoa sandwich and burrito, a Mediterranean veggie sandwich, a plant-based cheesesteak, pesto sub and more. Don’t leave without trying one of Buds’ famous zucchini chocolate chip cookies.
Revolution Kitchen opened in 2013 and claims to be the first restaurant in Burlington, Vermont to serve an all-vegetarian menu. Here, you’ll find dishes crafted with fresh, local and organic ingredients inspired by Asian flavors. Revolution Kitchen is vegan-friendly with gluten-free options.
Dinner highlights include seitan piccata with crispy seitan cutlets, sauteed spinach and garlic mashed potatoes in a lemon white wine caper sauce; stir-fry with Japanese eggplant, cauliflower, red peppers, carrots and tofu in a spicy curry ginger sauce served with jasmine brown rice; and tacos with grilled sweet potato, oyster mushrooms, sauteed kale, guacamole and salsa fresca with Cuban black beans and rice.
Phoenix Garden Vegetarian Restaurant is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant located in Richmond, Virginia. Although it says “vegetarian” in the title, all entrees and desserts are actually vegan (some appetizers, like breaded corn nuggets, aren’t, however).
This unsuspecting Vietnamese eatery is best known for its pho, a comforting bowl of traditional Vietnamese soup loaded with fresh vegetables, herbs, rice noodles, meatless beef, tofu, mushrooms, onion and cilantro, served with bean sprouts, basil and lime wedges on the side. Plant-based banh mi and funnel cake for dessert are also standouts.
Harvest Beat is 100% organic, serving seasonal vegan and vegetarian fare. The Seattle-based restaurant only offers a pre-fixe menu that “respects food of the moment” and eliminates “the need to stock, and most likely waste, food that may not be ordered.” Each offering is paired with an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink.
If you visit, your meal may start with roasted pumpkin bisque with cilantro chimichurri, a fall salad with smoked maple carrots, roasted Ambrosia apples, cauliflower, golden raisins and baby bok choy with thyme ginger dressing and spiced pumpkin seeds. Then might come romanesco cashew cheese souffle followed by lemongrass scented baby gold potatoes, saged cider-poached fennel and more. A sample dessert is a flourless butter cookie with chocolate, huckleberry mousse and huckleberry sauce.
Fancy Radish is an inventive plant-based restaurant by James Beard-nominated chefs Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby. The upscale vegan eatery, located in Washington D.C., features medium-sized cold dishes and vegetable charcuterie, single seasonal vegetables and complex plates.
The menu is seasonal, but some standouts include pastrami-spiced carrots with white bean sauerkraut puree, pumpernickel and smoked mustard; spicy dan dan noodles with Sichuan pepper, sesame and five-spice glazed mushrooms; and trumpet mushrooms with grape tomatoes and basil.
Kelley Farm Kitchen/Yelp
Ben and Sondra Kelley went vegan the day before Thanksgiving in 2016 after watching a documentary called “Forks Over Knives,” and two years later they opened Kelley Farm Kitchen. The business started as a farmers market vendor selling homemade spaghetti sauce, pickles, salsas, jams and baked goods before blossoming into a brick-and-mortar eatery in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
The 100% plant-based cafe uses products like Impossible Meat, Beyond Meat, Just Egg, Yves and WayFare to make gourmet burgers, ramen, nachos, Buffalo cauliflower dip (a hot take on Buffalo chicken dip) and eggs Benedict with two English muffin halves topped with a faux-egg patty, meatless Canadian bacon, tomato, sliced avocado, housemade hollandaise sauce and fresh locally-grown sprouts.
The Beerline Café/Yelp
The Beerline Cafe is a vegan-friendly vegetarian cafe in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that serves sweet and savory crepes, panini-style sandwiches, soups, salads, smoothies, fresh juices, baked goods, espresso drinks, locally brewed beers and wine by the bottle or on tap.
Some vegan highlights at this quick-service restaurant include jalapeño cheese dip and chips; loaded nachos with tortilla chips, vegan nacho cheese, black beans, chickpea chorizo, pico de gallo, cashew lime crema and avocado; pesto mac with basil almond pesto cheese topped with diced tomatoes; and a Buddha bowl with roasted cauliflower and broccoli tossed with marinated carrots, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and edamame over brown rice topped with tahini cashew sauce.
Sweet Melissa’s has been “serving comfort food to the homesick vegetarian” in Laramie, Wyoming since 1999. According to the company, it’s the only restaurant in Wyoming that can guarantee a 100% vegetarian menu. Sweet Melissa’s offers a wide variety of vegan-friendly and gluten-sensitive options as well.
The menu is pleasantly lengthy with vegan items such as cashew queso, sweet potato black bean fritters, cauliflower wings in Buffalo or barbecue sauce, roasted winter squash salad (ask for this without goat cheese and, if you don’t eat honey, get a different dressing), the Impossible Burger, falafel pita and much, much more. Now that you know where to find the best plant-based eats, make sure to add these vegan-friendly resorts to your bucket list.
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