Top Five Vegan Restaurants in the US
According to recent research, nearly ten million US citizens are vegans – meaning they account for around 6% of the population – and this number is growing on a weekly basis. The new focus on health and well-being precipitated by the pandemic, environmental concerns, and a desire to live more ethically have all played a part in this unprecedented increase. Just a few years ago, veganism was regarded as a niche diet: a form of extreme vegetarianism that was often mocked.
Even those that aren’t committed to full-time vegan eating are keen to boost their health by eating vegan meals regularly. Given all this, it’s no surprise that the food industry has responded: new vegan restaurants are popping up everywhere, and even the most embedded steakhouse establishments and fast food joints have overhauled their menus to include plenty of vegan-friendly fare.
If you’re looking for the very best vegan dining experiences in the country, this list’s for you: here are the five plant-based restaurants you need to visit.
The owners of Vedge are husband and wife team Kate Jacoby and Ric Landau – both are James Beard-nominated chefs. Fusing global flavors with local seasonal food is the ethos behind this entirely plant-based restaurant. Food and Wine magazine named Vedge as one of the Forty Most Important Restaurants in the World in 2018.
Dishes include Smoked Portobello Carpaccio, Spicy Dan Dan Noodles, and Campfire Carrot, all beautifully presented and bursting with inventive, unexpected flavors. The dining space is contemporary yet intimate: simple and stylish restaurant chairs and tables are arranged in a light, airy dining room with a warm, cozy atmosphere. It’s been mooted that Vedge isn’t just one of the best vegan restaurants in the country – but one of the very best restaurants in the country, period.
Kindred, San Diego
Incredibly popular among vegans and non-vegans alike, Kindred offers gastro fare in a relaxed, friendly setting. Some of the most popular dishes on the menu include Beet Risotto, Cauliflower Steak, and Memphis BBQ Jackfruit. The latter tastes so much like pulled pork that you’ll be rechecking the menu to see if you’re really in a vegan place.
And if you can’t make it for dinner? The brunches at Kindred are legendary. The Good Morning Captain includes New England-style kimchi chickpea cakes, shaved horseradish tartar sauce, radish, pickled cherry tomato salad, herb oil, and chives. Or there’s The Forenoon: choose this option, and you’ll receive a country-fried breakfast sausage, pickles, and shiitake mushroom gravy, all tucked into a sesame seed bun.
The cocktails at Kindred are almost as famous as the food. And non-drinkers don’t need to miss out on the fun: there’s a wide range of non-alcoholic cocktails incorporating ingredients like pineapple, turmeric, and passionfruit.
Plum Bistro, Seattle
The chef-owner of Plum Bistro, Makini Howell, has recently been featured in the New York Times as one of the most talented chefs changing the USA’s food scene, and a visit to this restaurant proves that the accolade was well-deserved. For Howell, it’s about combining familiar ingredients in surprising ways to delight her diners; Plum was conceived to answer the needs of those wanting complete, plant-based dishes made using organically-grown, seasonal vegetables and organic, locally-grown fruits and herbs.
Offering an upscale, contemporary dining experience, Plum Bistro showcases the freshest seasonal plant-based food, crafted into culinary masterpieces. The menu features spectacular dishes such as Black Truffle Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Fresh Lemon Ricotta Ravioli, and Double Cheese Meatball Bakes. The Mac and Yease and Buffalo Portobello Burgers are crowd-pleasers, too.
Fans of the eatery can visit its sister establishment, Plum Pantry, also in Seattle, which offers diners a relaxed, casual experience – but with the same high-quality food on the menu!
Millennium, San Francisco
Located in the heart of San Francisco, Millennium has been a legend of the vegan food scene for the last two decades and has now taken its rightful place in the mainstream spotlight.
The menu constantly changes to reflect the season and changing availability of ingredients. It takes its inspiration from worldwide cuisines: Coriander and Arborio Crusted Oyster Mushrooms sit alongside Carrot and Amarosa Potato Tikka and Green Garlic Polenta Cake.
For its legions of loyal followers, Millennium will remain one of the original and best establishments offering exquisite plant-based food.
Plant, North Carolina
This restaurant prides itself on its constantly evolving nature – opened in 2011, Plant is chef-driven, with menus and dishes changing to reflect the seasons and other factors.
The plant has been the recipient of many accolades, including for Healthiest Bite, Best Service, Best Vegetarian Restaurant in Asheville, and Greenest Restaurant, and it’s been listed as one of the most romantic places to dine in the state. As well as being fully vegan, this establishment is 90% organic, mostly gluten-free, and virtually everything is made in-house, from scratch.
For the chefs, each dish is designed to be eclectic and entertaining; as a taster, here are a few of the choices you can expect to see on the menu: Applewood Smoked Mushroom Mole, Lasagna Cruda (this one’s a raw dish), Masala Uttapam, and Hazelnut-Crusted Tempeh.