Top 25 Vegetarian Restaurants in the World
January 15, 2015
These 25 restaurants tempt even the staunchest carnivores
Top 25 Vegetarian Restaurants in the World
These 25 restaurants tempt even the staunchest carnivores.
#25 Feynan — Dana Biosphere Reserve, Jordan
Located on the western edge of the Dana Biosphere Reserve, Feynan offers guests an experience beyond the usual restaurant meal: vegetarian spreads eaten in view of mountainscapes dotted with goats trotting past across the red sand. The eco-lodge is driven to be environmentally sustainable, but also focus on the sustainability of the locals’ livelihoods, offering employment opportunities to villagers who would otherwise need to move to a city to support their families. Meals are inspired by traditional Arab cuisine and come with fresh bread baked daily by local women.
#24 Madras — Mumbai, India
Much of Indian cuisine centers on meat-free cuisine, so a vegetarian’s palate can be easily satisfied throughout most of the subcontinent. Mumbai stands out for its culinary strength, with five-star restaurants of every possible cuisine, but Café Madras is a favorite local haunt with good South Indian food, excellent value and an antiquated charm. The café’s idlis and dosas are must-haves in Mumbai.
#23 Chirimoya — Salta, Argentina
The family-run, upbeat Chirimoya makes guests feel entirely at home as it serves up fabulous vegetarian food (in the land of Argentinian steak, nonetheless!). The menu features a variety of options, including lentil meatballs and quinoa tomatoes with vegan “queso.” Patrons also rave about the juice and smoothie options and organic wine list.
#22 Lotus — Singapore
From its hawker stands to high-end eateries, Singapore is known for its good food, and the options extend into vegetarian fare. Located in the Quality Hotel Marlow, its décor is Asian-inspired and elegant, and the place has become a local favorite because of its two buffet choices, the Steamboat Buffet and the Asian Buffet. Regional choices like laksa and chicken rice come highly recommended, as well as more international options like minced meat eggplant or steamed fish.
#21 Angelica Kitchen — New York City
An East Village staple since 1976, Angelica has a long-running tradition of offering menu choices using no refined sugars, preservatives, dairy, eggs, and of course, no meat products whatsoever. Tempeh Reubens, three-bean chili, and penne puttanesca with enough flavor to rival their meaty counterparts, Angelica’s namesake is its Dragon Bowl, a hearty portion of rice, beans, tofu and vegetables.
Something of a vegan craze has descended on Israel over the last few years. Of its population of 8 million, roughly 200,000 are reportedly vegan — even the local Dominos launched its very first vegan pizza in December 2013. There is a wide array of choices for the vegetarian in Tel Aviv, and Zakaim is one that consistently rises to the top of the list. Featuring Persian-fusion cuisine with a quirky farmers-market-meets-your-living-room charm, Iranian freekeh, Israeli gazpacho, and stuffed cabbage are favorite dishes here.
#19 Miss Saigon — Lisbon
Lisbon’s best vegetarian restaurant was opened in 2009 after years of research in multicultural gastronomy. Its daily rotating menu has featured more than 600 dishes from more than 70 countries, highlighting global cuisine through experimentalism and focus on freshness. Popular dishes include the vegetable pad Thai, cheese-filled sambusak with za'atar and hummus, and tofu souvlaki.
#18 Pure Veggie House — Hong Kong
Blending Chinese fusion with organic vegetables, the restaurant is known for its 18 Luohans menu, which features 18 signature dishes developed from Buddhist tradition. Pan-fried mini buns and a full dim sum menu keep locals coming back, while other Chinese staples like hot and sour soup and Sichuan-style entrées are full flavor and creatively served.
#17 Bodhi — Sydney
Known for its Asian tapas-style menu with a focus on Australian and organic produce, Bodhi is a true oasis in the city specializing in vegan yum cha and Pan-Asian cuisine. Yum cha is what we call dim sum. Yum cha is an ancient Chinese tradition that focuses on the philosophy of freshness, and lunch at Bodhi therefore varies based on the availability of ingredients and seasonal produce. Dinner is à la carte, however, featuring its famous Peking “duck,” teriyaki “chicken” skewers, and salt, pepper, chili, coriander, tempura vegetarian 'prawns'.
#16 Herman’s — Stockholm
For a city not known for its wallet-friendly dining options (or much of budget anything), Herman’s boasts variety in its menu options but also an environment that doesn’t come with the typical Scandinavian price tag — views across the city and well-kept gardens on premises. The restaurant’s buffet rotates every weekend with a different theme serving as the inspiration, including Tex-Mex, Middle Eastern, Asian, Mediterranean, and Scandinavian cuisine.
#15 Leaf — Boulder, Co.
You can’t explore quality vegetarian fare without including earthy, quirky, health-and-wellness-haven Boulder, Colorado on the itinerary. Leaf’s mission relies on the tenet of sustainability, sourcing all of its ingredients locally from its own organic farm and featuring a menu developed collaboratively by farmers and chefs. Menu favorites include the Jamaican jerk tempeh, beet pierogi, and huevos rancheros. An added bonus: all vegetarian fare can be made vegan upon request.
#14 Sanchon — Seoul
When it comes to Korean food, the culinary staples typically revolve around one option: barbecue. However, the tradition of Buddhism in the country relies on the practice of vegetarianism. Opened by a former Buddhist monk, Sanchon offers a twist on “temple food.” It’s famous not only for a unique, traditional Korean experience but also for its selection of greens, pancakes, soups, and vegetables served with heightened attention to presentation.
#13 The Test Kitchen — Cape Town, South Africa
It’s a challenge to be vegetarian in a country famous for biltong (dried, cured, jerky-like meat) and braai (South African barbecue). But the chef at The Test Kitchen brings culinary influences to his constantly evolving menu from countries around the world, including Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Switzerland, and The Philippines. While not a totally vegetarian restaurant, The Test Kitchen offers the most interesting and creative vegetarian courses, including an exquisite vegetarian tasting menu with home dried tomato, sesame and eggplant purée with a smoked goat cheese mousse, salt-baked celeriac, and BBQ carrots with black bean and curry.
#12 Mono City Bar — Glasgow, Scotland
According to PETA, Glasgow is the best city in the United Kingdom for vegetarians. Mono is one of the most popular bars in town, offering a light and modern menu that spans international options like bean burritos, vegetarian phở, bánh mì, and porcini risotto. Set in an airy space with a laid-back vibe, this burgeoning vegetarian haven is a local favorite.
#11 El Huerto — Santiago, Chile
Fish is a nearly ubiquitous culinary staple of Chile and its South American neighbors, so a true vegetarian may have a hard time finding sustenance while living or traveling there. In Santiago, El Huerto offers just that. Designed as a center for art, music, and culture in the capital city, the restaurant caters to variety; it’s a veritable rotating sampler plate of global cuisines with an à la carte focus on local traditions like ceviches and vegetable-stuffed quesadillas.
#10 Café Paradiso — Cork, Ireland
Run by celebrity chef Denis Cotter, who reportedly has a fear of cattle, Café Paradiso doesn’t offer an ounce of the meat and potatoes we’ve come to expect from Irish fare (although, goat cheese gnocchi: check!). Entrées depend heavily on local vegetables and cheeses and draw from the wider Irish food culture. Favorites include feta and pistachio couscous cakes, parsnip ravioli, and sweet chile-glazed pan-fried tofu.
#9 Pun Pun — Chiang Mai, Thailand
Because of its Buddhist population, Chiang Mai is famous for vegetarian food, with dozens of award-winning restaurants opening up every year. There’s even a vegetarian food festival held annually! It’s safe to say you’ll enjoy almost anywhere you eat in Chiang Mai, but Pun Pun repeatedly stands out from the rest. The restaurant sources all of its ingredients from its local farm on the outskirts of Chiang Mai to create a giant menu that caters to every taste, even covering Western options like tofu steak with coconut milk and black pepper sauce. Pun Pun also serves vegetarian spins on local cuisine, like its Massaman curry (a meal at which one visitor admitted to licking the bowl clean). The $2 USD price tag attached to most entrées is certainly no deterrent, either.
#8 The Coup — Calgary, Alberta
Known for its rich tradition of farming, rodeos, and cattle, Alberta is endearingly referred to as “Cowtown” by its locals — not somewhere you’d imagine housed one of the world’s top vegetarian eateries. Local favorite The Coup undoes that philosophy. Its clever, international menu ranges from “pseudo sushi” and “mushroom faux gras” to falafel quesadillas and Caribbean BBQ pizza, not to mention a full breakfast menu to rival the highest quality home cooking.
#7 The Chicago Diner
Opened in 1983, Chicago’s vegetarian staple easily boasts the most established berth of the list, delivering comfort food for the vegetarian soul long before it was fashionable to do so. Priding itself on turning “skeptics into believers” with patrons copping to tricking meat-eating friends with the diner’s famous Reuben, buffalo wings, or fried steak. The vegan shakes are also a huge hit.
#6 The Gate — London
This award-winning establishment was opened in 1989. The Gate is known among locals for not just being a good vegetarian restaurant, but a good restaurant, “avoiding all clichés of vegetarian eating,” according to one judge of the London Restaurant Festival Awards. Seasonal menu items include Thai red curry, eggplant schnitzel, and butternut rotolo.
#5 L’Arancia Blu — Rome
All of the napkins at L’Arancia Blu are printed with the phrase “Many consider vegetarian dishes to be lacking in flavor, monotonous and punitive. We try to prove them wrong.” An Italian restaurant through-and-through, the eatery specializes in dishes such as ricotta di bufala ravioli, handmade paste ripiene, buttered zucchini flowers, and black truffle macaroni.
#4 Cookies Cream — Berlin
Adhering closely to the “underground/anonymous” ethos present in many major cities, especially Berlin, Cookies Cream is hidden away, speakeasy-style, in a delivery yard above a popular nightclub. With an atmosphere that’s less high-end-vegetarian-fare and more your-cool-artist-friend’s-loft, signature dishes include Parmigiano dumplings, country-fried egg yolk with beluga lentils, and cauliflower and rocket polenta. The menu is notably empty of pasta, rice, or tofu, a deliberate decision by the chef, who prefers to craft his own style of cooking.
#3 Le Grenier de Notre-Dame — Paris
French cuisine is highly sought-after globally, and committed food lovers everywhere visit France to savor the country’s culinary excellence. New vegetarian options are starting to pop up in French cuisine with more frequency, while staples like Le Grenier de Notre-Dame have been faithfully offering the excellence of French cooking to non-meat eaters among us for years. The restaurant has two menus — the first, “Zen,” is macrobiotic-based, and the second, “Discovery,” is purely vegetarian.
#2 Acorn — Vancouver
Tucked away in the up-and-coming food capital of Vancouver, Acorn has boasted a consistent record of wowing patrons with meals like beer-battered halloumi, coconut cashew and kimchi dumplings, and raw beet ravioli, along with a signature cocktail list and local beer and wine. The restaurant also highlights local artists through its Acorn Artist program, creating new artist postcards each month to hand out to guests.
#1 Millennium, San Francisco
One of the 100-percent vegan places to make this list, the gourmet spot Millennium, with its sophisticated and creative menu, is regarded as a must-visit establishment for any food lover. Millennium boasts seasonal menu options such as pistachio-crusted portobello mushrooms or black garlic and sweet soy-glazed tempeh and shaved butternut squash pad Thai. San Francisco Magazine claimed the vegan fare “intrigues even the most devoted carnivores among us.” What’s most impressive, however, is its famous dessert menu that’s entirely dairy-free.