Wednesday, November 21, 2007 at 8:34pm by admin
While most most restaurants have at least a few vegetarian options, for a real meat-free night out, it can be a treat to hit up a veggienly restaurant where you know meat, or even eggs and dairy products, haven’t had a chance of touching your meal. Before you head on your next trip, check out this list of the best veggie dining establishments from all over the world, from big cities to small town America, to make finding great food on the road an easy and tasty experience. This is by no means a comprehensive list, nor is it in any particular order, but it’s useful for finding great vegetarian places to try out in your own city or abroad.
United States and Canada
Both the US and Canada are full of vegetarian and vegan restaurant goodness. Here are a few traveler and native favorites.
- Bliss, Brooklyn, NY: This cafe is not only vegetarian, it’s also organic and most menu choices are vegan or near vegan. The homey atmosphere is a great place to enjoy Bliss’ vegetarian fare, including their signature Bliss Bowl– brown rice with beans, kale, carrots broccoli, cauliflower, tofu, seaweed and tahini. Prices are moderate to low so you can fill up without emptying your wallet. Plus, it’s BYOB, so you can bring along your favorite beer or wine to complete your meal.
- Greens, San Francisco, CA: Built in an old warehouse, scenically located right on the waterfront, this restaurant is a legend among vegetarian restaurants due to chef Annie Sommerville’s skill at cooking up organic vegetarian fare. Menu items include everything from pizza to curries. If you don’t have time for a sit down meal, you can get food to go from the neighboring Greens to Go. If you want to splurge, try the $46 four course meal served only on Saturday.
- Millennium, San Francisco, CA: One of the most well-known vegetarian restaurants in San Francisco, Millennium is stylishly decorated and considerably more upscale than your run-of-the-mill vegetarian cafe. Most menu items at Millennium are vegan as well, and choices range from plantain tortes to creatively styled salads. A great place to bring your vegetarian date!
- Lake Side Cafe, Chicago, IL: Lake Side Cafe, located on the far north end of Chicago, has been voted Chicago’s best vegetarian restaurant for two years running, and it’s no wonder when you see their extensive menu. Enjoy a large variety of organic drinks, toasted sandwiches, salads, pizzas, soups and desserts, most of which can be made vegan if they aren’t already. The restaurant offers cooking classes, so you can learn to make great food when you decide to stay in as well.
- The Red Avocado, Iowa City, IA: Nestled on a quiet street in downtown Iowa City, this restaurant is a far cry from the bustling vegetarian places found in the big cities. This tiny location specializes in having all-organic and locally grown ingredients and has a great selection of vegan and gluten free desserts. You can also pick up foods to go at the restaurant’s in-house organic food store.
- Candle 79, New York, NY: Candle 79 is a must stop for any vegetarian gourmand. The restaurant was ranked as the best vegetarian in the 2007 Zagat guide, and it wasn’t just because the food looks pretty. This upscale restaurant offers both vegan and vegetarian options that are great for you but also good enough to satisfy even the most avid of meat lovers.
- Dragonfly, Columbus, OH: Some of the most innovative and exciting vegan food to be had isn’t in New York or LA, but at Dragonfly in Columbus, Ohio. This haute cuisine restaurant caters to the adventurous and the cautious alike with dishes like tempura yams, raspberry gazpacho and alcoholic fruit smoothes. This one-of-a-kind place tends to run on the higher end of the price spectrum, but can be worth the cost for the experience.
- Fressen, Toronto, ON: This restaurant, decorated in nature-inspired colors, has a varied and well thought out menu. You can choose from appetizers like grilled asparagus with blood oranges and entrees like veggie kebabs. Many of the choices are served tapas style, so you can sample several different choices. Prices tend to be on the high side, so save this for a date or a fancy night out.
- Follow Your Heart Market and Cafe, Los Angeles, CA: This market and cafe has been around since the 70s and has perfected its easy and tasty vegetarian menu. Choose from a huge, ever-changing variety of soups, salads or daily specials. They also serve breakfast and even have a vegetarian friendly Thanksgiving menu if you happen to be in the area over the holidays.
- Rebar, Victoria, BC: Rebar, located right near scenic Victoria Harbor, is a great choice if you’re not sure just what it is you have a hankering for. The restaurant offers international cuisines ranging from Thai to Middle Eastern with numerous vegan options making finding something to eat easy, or hard, depending on how you look at it. Visitors can also take advantage of the in-house juice bar and bakery to get a cup of healthy juice or a pie for the road.
While there are some places in Europe where finding a meat-free meal can be a bit of a challenge, most big cities have loads of vegetarian options to help sate your hunger.
- The Gate, London, England: Located in an old church hall, The Gate is one of London’s most popular vegetarian eateries. It’s no wonder why when you see their menu, which includes items like chipotle-glazed artichoke and a spicy Thai salad. You might even spot a few celebrities there as it’s known to be a favorite haunt of Gwenyth Paltrow and Madonna.
- Le Grenier de Notre Dame, Paris, France: This quaint restaurant is tucked away on a side street near Paris’ famous Notre Dame Cathedral. Order one of their vegan plates and get a taste of home-cooked, warm, meat free food like your grandma would make you if your grandma cooked vegan. It’s great place to head to in a city that doesn’t always have the most vegetarian options.
- Artemesia, Madrid, Spain: Those looking for healthy vegetarian food will find Artemesia and its sister restaurant Artemesia II to be a great solution to vegetarian eating in ham-crazy Spain. Centrally located and reasonably priced, this restaurant offers traditional vegetarian fare like the house specialty of oven roasted vegetables. There is also a small portion of the menu that offers non-vegetarian dishes, if you happen to bring along a carnivorous friend.
- Hans Wurst Vegan Cafe, Berlin, Germany: This completely vegan cafe in Berlin doesn’t quite live up to its name: there is no wurst to be found anywhere. The menu does, however, include pizza, daily specials, soups, risotto, or seitan. It’s also conveniently no smoking, and cozy chairs make it a nice place to hang out even after you’ve finished your meal.
- Biosfeera, Warsaw, Poland: Treat yourself to this upscale vegetarian restaurant next time you’re in Warsaw. The menu is varied with tortillas, pastas and salads, and you can get a wide variety of fresh-squeezed juices on the side. No drinking or smoking is allowed, so you’ll have to start the party after your dinner.
- Arancia Blu, Rome, Italy: Veggies and meat lovers alike will love this Roman eatery. Dishes are inspired by traditional rural European fare, and you’ll find everything from lasagna to couscous on the ever changing menu. Make sure to save room for dessert: you can have your own chocolate tasting with 14 different chocolate wafers from all over the world. Vegan dishes are not a problem–you just have to request them.
- Oriente Chiado, Lisbon, Portugal: This macrobiotic and vegetarian restaurant is a real bargain, with an all you can eat buffet for around 12 euros. If buffets aren’t your thing, vegan and vegetarians alike will delight in sampling the restaurant’s tofu curries and cottage pies.
- Eden, Athens, Greece: Go all natural with this vegetarian eatery. All foods are organically grown, prices are cheap, and you can even get freshly made carrot juice to go along with your meal.
- Susie’s Wholefood Diner, Edinburgh, Scotland: Enjoy your meal in the well-worn Bohemian charm of Susie’s. The menu offers soups, salads, stews and stir frys with a wide variety of vegan choices all served in a homemade style. And don’t forget to save room for dessert; the gluten free chocolate cake is not to be missed.
Asia and the Middle East
If there was any place in the world that was friendly to vegetarian diets it’d be Asia and the Middle East. These are just a few of the many great restaurants you’ll find on your travels.
- May Kaidee’s Vegetarian Restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand: This chain of restaurants provides high quality food at very reasonable prices. Most of the food comes from small, local growers, and the curries are known for being especially tasty. If you’re feeling adventurous, sign up for one of the restaurant’s cooking classes. You’ll learn to make 10 dishes and get to eat one after you make it yourself.
- Sanchon, Seoul, South Korea: Ranked as one of the best veggie restaurants in Asia by PETA, this restaurant specializes in creating an array of perfectly prepared mountain grown greens, though porridges and tofu are also big on the menu. Visitors will enjoy their food to the sounds of traditional Korean music, and even dancers for some evening services.
- Taim Hakaim, Tel Aviv, Israel: This casual deli is a great place to stop for lunch or a quick bite to eat and is famous for its barbecue twist and sandwich made from genuine fake meats. Visitors will find the market and vegan bakery to be a great value, and vegans will appreciate the vegan soft serve ice cream on a hot day.
- Nataraj, Tokyo, Japan: This huge eatery spread out over three elaborately decorated floors is located conveniently on one of Tokyo’s main thoroughfares. Though it looks fancy, this Indian restaurant is modestly priced and serves some of Tokyo’s best curries and Indian breads. Everything is vegetarian and most things can be made vegan, even the naan, but you must order ahead.
- The Farm, Manila, Philippines: For the raw food diet lovers out there, The Farm is a delicious and nutritious choice for a meal. Raw entrees are made from fresh vegetables, fruits, grains and seeds, and there is a selection of dairy-free pastas, soups, stir frys and salads as well, many of which are served buffet style.The restaurant is part of a larger resort, so after lunch you can hop over to the spa and enjoy a nice massage.
- Bo Kong, Hong Kong: Want vegetarian food that even meat lovers won’t be able to tell doesn’t have meat in it? Try this restaurant located in the Times Square. Chinese favorites are prepared with meat alternatives so there’s no guilt but still all of the flavor.
- Fortune Centre, Singapore: Fortune Centre isn’t one restaurant, it’s a bit more like a mall filled with vegetarian shop and restaurants, making it an ideal location if you’re not sure what you want to eat or just want to check out your options. Choose from restaurants like VegePals Eggless Cakes, Bodhi Vegetarian, and New Green Pasture to name just a few.
- Little Italy, Mumbai, India: Take a break from the local cuisine and step into this Italian eatery in the heart of Mumbai. Cuisine is distinctly Italian, but everything on the menu is vegetarian. Service is said to be second to none, and if you get really attached, the chain has locations all over India.
- Vegetarian Life Style, Shanghai, China: For the vegetarian visiting China, this is a must. Whether you prefer all-veggie meals or enjoy artificial meats, you’ll find something to love at this homey and friendly restaurant. The menu also features an impressive selection of herbal teas and fresh juices to accompany your meal.
Australia and New Zealand
While stereotypically, Australian Crocodile Dundee may have been ready to throw another shrimp on the barbie, you likely aren’t and you won’t have any trouble finding vegetarian friendly eateries while you’re down under.
- Govinda’s, Brisbane City, Queensland: Vegetarians will find this Indian restaurant to both have great food and great deals. Try out the buffet on the weekends for a real value and enjoy checking out the Hare Krishna decor.
- Lotus Vegetarian, North Perth: Picky vegetarians can order as they like at this strictly veggie place, offering over 80 a la carte choices including satays and curries. The restaurant also offers an all-you-can-eat buffet on Fridays and Saturdays, so you can fill up for less. You can also stop into the adjoining health foods store to pick up the ingredients to make your next meal at home.
- Bodhi at Home, Sydney, NSW: Stop into this fully vegan restaurant, or its sister store Bodhi in the Park, to enjoy some veggie dim sum, various dumplings, and a wide variety of exotic and sometimes unusual asian fare.
- The Vegie Bar, Melbourne: This hip location in Melbourne serves breakfast as well as lunch and dinner, making it a great stop at any time of the day. Food arrives in generous portions, and indecisive types will enjoy the wide variety of choices on the menu, taken from cuisines all over the world.
- Bernadette’s Cafe, Canberra, ACT: Nestled in among a hip shopping district, this restaurant provides a lovely and modern setting for enjoying their informal but gourmet food. Visitors can choose from dishes like crepes stuffed with pesto and eggplant, tofu burgers, and a wide variety of of pizzas and curries.
- The Blue Bird Cafe, Auckland, New Zealand: Enjoy vegetarian food prepared in the spirit of oneness at this cute and cheerful establishment. Visitors will get to sample vegetarian and vegan food with a homemade taste like their vegetarian sausage rolls, among other things. When you’re done with your meal, you can head upstairs to listen to the Sri Chimnoy music or just enjoy the lunch environment full of plants.
- Mainstreet Cafe and Bar, Christchurch, CAN, New Zealand: This vegetarian place has been around for years, and it’s no mystery how they stay in business with their hearty but modern menu items. Enjoy a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian options or just take in a quiet drink at the bar.
- Goodness Gracious, Hobart, Tasmania: This small cafe offers a wide variety of macrobiotic and vegan options with its combination Asian and Indian menu. While you’re chowing down on your favorites, you can also check out the colorful murals that adorn the walls. The restaurant also has an adjoining health foods store that you can browse after your meal.
Africa can be one of the hardest places to find a truly vegetarian restaurant when you’re traveling. Here are some of your best bets for vegetarian fare.
- L’Aubergine, Cairo, Egypt: Cairo provides many opportunities for vegetarians to find a great meal, but L’Aubergine is the only solely vegetarian restaurant in this bustling city. With primarily Mediterranean inspired decor and handwritten menus, this restaurant offers vegetarian food in a variety of styles with specialties including soups and crepes. Upstairs you’ll find a full service bar for continuing your night in Cairo.
- Fields, Cape Town, South Africa: South Africans are known for their love of meat, but lucky for the traveling vegetarian, there are plenty of meat free options as well. Stop into this local favorite, a small deli located in a health foods store, and enjoy one of their sandwiches or other options, many of which are available for vegans. You can also add on some freshly squeezed juice to your order to round out your healthfulness if you so desire.
- Lola’s, Cape Town, South Africa: This sidewalk cafe offers both scenery and the chance to eat some of the best veggie food Cape Town has to offer. Enjoy delicious curries, sandwiches, smoothies, pastas as well as fresh squeezed juice.
- Chowpaty Pure Vegetarian Restaurant, Nairobi, Kenya: Just like the name suggests, there is nothing on this restaurant’s menu that isn’t safe for those wishing to stay meat-free. The cuisine is primarily south Indian in style, owing its authenticity to Kenya’s large Indian immigrant population. Try out the Masala Dhosa and sip on a side of fresh juice the next time you’re in Kenya.
- Vegetarian Corner, Kampala, Uganda: You won’t find loads of vegetarian-only dining establishments in Kampala, but this place is an oasis for those seeking meatless menus. Offerings are primarily Indian in style and you’ll be able to enjoy freshly squeezed juice and homemade bongo as well.
- Sable D’Or, Tangier, Morocco: It must be confessed that this isn’t an vegetarian only restaurant, though there are tons of choices on the menu for those less than thrilled at the thought of eating meat. The reality is that this is about as close as you’re going to get to pure vegetarian only fare in Morocco. Enjoy Indian favorites or snack on a few Chinese dishes at this bustling restaurant.
Central and South America
Whether you’re enjoying your food on the beaches of Brazil or in the high peaks of Chile, you’ll find plenty of vegetarian options to choose from. Here are a few favorites.
- Vegan Vegan, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Enjoy hearty vegan fare at this Rio eatery. Located in the Botafogo neighborhood, this out of the way restaurant can whip you up some meatless entrees that will rival the meat-heavy ones Brazil is known for.
- Bodhi, Buenos Aires, Argentina: Fill up on a hearty vegetarian buffet while visiting the "Paris of South America". You’ll find many deep-fried options to indulge your less healthy side, but also a huge salad bar to help balance things out.
- Restaurant Vegetariano, Cochabamba, Bolivia: Those needing a soybean fix can check out this quick and easy vegetarian restaurant in Bolivia. Visitors will find a range of tofu platters, vegetarian meats, and stir-frys. Hours can by trying however, as oddly enough, the place isn’t open Saturday afternoon or Sunday.
- El Huerto, Santiago, Chile: Well-known among native Chileans for its all-natural vegetarian food, El Huerto is a great place to stop in to grab lunch or a dinner out while visiting. The menu changes weekly, making it a new and exciting experience every time you visit this restaurant.
- Imaymana, Bogata, Columbia: This vegan-friendly take out restaurant offers a wide variety of tofu, gluten-free, seitan and veggie dishes. You can also taste a bit of South American culture by sampling the homemade quinoa bread with your lunch.
- El Paraiso Bio Leben, Lima, Peru: Make this your stop for lunch next time you’re in Lima: with the value priced lunch menu you can’t go wrong. Visitors will find a variety of both vegan and vegetarian fare.
- El Gourmet Vegetariano, Caracas, Venezuela: Vegetarians will find plenty to keep their mouths occupied at this vegetarian buffet. There are many filling vegan options available as well, just ask the staff which buffet items are animal product free.
- El Natural Saks, Mexico City, Mexico: This vegetarian eatery offers an extensive menu of both international and local Mexican cuisine in an attractive and modern setting. Visitors can also treat themselves to freshly squeezed juice or a full-service salad bar. Vegans will need to be aware, however, as many of the dishes contain cheese.
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