In honor of World Vegan Day, Musement takes a look at 14 of the top vegan restaurants in America.
Once upon a time, the limited vegan offerings of many restaurants seemed more like an afterthought than an actual thoughtfully composed plate. The days when vegans picked on a plate of unseasoned boiled vegetables by default while their companions feasted like royalty are long gone. Nowadays, it’s great to be a vegan! Not only do many restaurants have special vegan menus, but there are plenty of vegan restaurants that will satisfy even the most carnivorous omnivores.
World Vegan Day is today, so in its honor, here’s a look at 14 of the best vegan restaurants in America.
1. Candle 79, New York
Candle 79 is a pioneer, one of the first restaurants in New York to offer vegan cuisine in an upscale setting before it became cool–in the early 2000s. Today, the upscale vegan restaurant has two downtown outposts in addition to its original Upper East Side townhouse location. Website
2. Plant in Asheville, North Carolina
As described on its website, Plant specializes in cuisine made from “thoughtfully chosen ingredients that come from the earth”. Chef Jason Sellers’ deft hand creates flavorful vegan fare that will dazzle your taste buds. Try the Applewood smoked portobello. Website
3. Gracias Madre, San Francisco
With locations in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Gracias Madre specializes in vegan riffs on the culinary fare of the nearest country: Mexico–all made with love. From flautas to tacos to enchiladas to gorditas and everything in between, you’ll fare well no matter what you order…just don’t forget to order the guacamole! Website
4. Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, Washington D.C.
Elizabeth Petty, who adopted a raw food diet after a breast cancer diagnosis, founded this Friday-and-Saturday-night-only experience in Washington D.C. The seven-course raw vegan menu prepared by executive chef Francisco Hernandez changes every week. Website
5. By Chloe
What started as a fast-casual Joint in New York soon expanded to Los Angeles and London, and is currently poised to take over the world! If the subsequent outposts are anything like the original New York location, expect a line out the door as you wait to place your order…then, ya gotta find a seat. Try the guac burger and the mac n’ cheese with shitake bacon. Website
6. Leaf Boulder
This vegetarian restaurant is mostly vegan and boasts a lot of gluten-free options as well. Global influences are incorporated into the dishes that include Jamaican jerk tempeh, vegetable tajine, mushroom stroganoff, jackfruit “carnitas” enchiladas and Burmese corn curry. Website
7. The Crossroads Kitchen, Los Angeles
This hot spot on Melrose Avenue specializes in vegan plates from Oprah-endorsed chef Tal Ronnen. Here, expect Mediterranean-influenced plant-based deliciousness like baked butternut squash tortelloni and “artichoke oysters” comprised of artichoke purée with crispy oyster mushroom, yellow tomato béarnaise and kelp caviar. At lunch, choose from a satisfying selection of burgers and sandwiches. Website
8. True Bistro, Boston
Linda and Michael Harrison opened this plant-based restaurant in Boston so that vegans and non-vegans can all dine together and eat well. The cuisine from Stuart Rich includes seared cauliflower, mushroom shepherd’s pie and saffron capellini with scalloped king oyster mushroom, wild sea bean, beurre blanc, rouille, garlic breadcrumbs. Take care not to miss brunch. Website
9. Vedge, Philadelphia
Husband-and-wife chefs Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby, opened Vedge in Philadelphia, which is considered not only one of the best vegan restaurants in America but one of the country’s most important restaurants in general. The menu is divided as follows: Vedge Bar (cold starters), The Dirt List (single seasonal vegetables), and The Hot Kitchen (richer plates). Website
10. Millenium, Berkeley
Like Candle 79, Millennium has been championing vegan cuisine on the west coast for more than two decades, having moved from San Francisco to Berkely a few years ago. The menu from chef Eric Tucker, who opened San Francisco’s first vegan restaurant in 1984, includes cornmeal crusted poblano chile Japanese sweet potato scallion cake (yum!) and tamarind orange glazed tempeh. Website
11. Dirt Candy
Amanda Cohen’s vegetarian restaurant is awesome, and since all the dishes can be made vegan, it warrants a slot on this list. At dinner, choose from two tasting menus: the five-course Vegetable Patch or the nine-to-ten course Vegetable Garden. The menu changes constantly, but and you’ll always leave here satiated. Open for brunch and lunch as well. Website
12. Superiority Burger
Brooks Headley has had an interesting career: from emo-band drummer to executive pastry chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant to the owner of a burger bar with a menu on which “everything is vegetarian a lot is accidentally vegan just ask”. So, go check it out and ask. Website
13. Plum Bistro, Seattle
Savor chef Makini Howell’s vegan takes on comforting classics like spicy Cajun mac ‘n’ yease, pan-roasted cauliflower handmade beetroot and ricotta ravioli. In addition, this beloved Seattle eatery offers a selection of salads, sandwiches, and sweets. Website
14. Seed, New Orleans
The Big Easy is one of America’s most exciting food cities, so it’s no surprise that New Orleans doesn’t disappoint on the vegan front. This laid-back restaurant’s garden-based menu includes gratifying salads sandwiches, and soups, as well as some exciting, takes on classics vegan nachos, quesadillas, pad thai and sweet corn polenta. Website