The 33 Best Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants in America
Go green with black bean burritos, chickpea curry, portobello po’boys, and vegan pizza.
There's never been a better time to be meatless in America. Plant-based burgers are achieving the impossible. People are figuring out how to make incredible sushi with eggplant and tofu. They’re making huge strides in lab-grown meat, although the vegetarian status of that is certainly up for debate. Also, perhaps most importantly, these 33 plant-based restaurants exist as not just fantastic examples of vegan and vegetarian fare, but top restaurants, period.
Alongside classic veggie sides (crispy cauliflower, seasonal soup, and mustard greens), West Seattle’s Allyum is also serving up some more unexpected plates, so good they might fool the most stubborn meat-eater—like a comfort bowl with chkn’ fried mushrooms, spaghetti puttanesca, and fried potato tacos. Stop by on weekends for a special brunch menu, too, featuring at least one can’t miss item: the chkn’ fried mushroom and waffles.
Brooklyn, New York
Opened several months into the pandemic, Aunts et Uncles whips up Caribbean-inspired vegan food in a cafe resembling a small independent retail space. The menu features plant-based classics like plantain mofongo and sautéed greens alongside inventive reimaginations of lobster rolls and meat patty pastries—plus, other assorted items like French toast, wildflower salad, burgers, links, and pasta. In addition, the eatery offers a variety of drinks, both alcoholic and non, in the families of coffee, tea, beer, wine, and kombucha.
By now, we all know that going meatless doesn’t have to mean a diet of uninspired sandwiches and raw vegetable bowls. If you’re looking to get creative and saucy during your clean-eating spree, bellagreen’s tasty snacks and loaded dinner menu have you covered. Get cozy with vegetarian pizzas, shout “oh kale yeah” with the signature kale and avocado-lemon salad, twirl your fork in a plate or two of paleo spaghetti squash bolognese (which can be made vegetarian upon request), and serenade the last little bit of your appetite with some chipotle-spiced sweet potatoes.
Blossoming Lotus has quietly endured for the past decade-plus, a small, elegant destination for plant lovers tucked amid the strip malls and chain restaurants of Portland’s Lloyd District. And for good reason: Dishes like the chickpea chana masala curry and a bibimbap with peanut soy curls get huge marks for culling tremendous flavors from their Asian influences, while the place’s house-made “cheeses” are rich and creamy enough to give a Wisconsinite pause. Throw in a selection of raw options and killer smoothies, and it’s no wonder the place has managed to survive as long as it has.
Los Angeles, California
Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, Bulan is a beloved Thai treasure that won’t leave you compromising taste (or general happiness) with its meatless menu. Well-known for having an incredibly attentive staff, they take traditional Thai dishes and creatively turn them into bold and delicious vegetized versions that still manage to pack the same punch. Soy Thai iced teas, satisfyingly juicy deep-fried veggie hot wings, and umami-rich “chicken” pad see-ew (pan-fried flat rice noodles with broccoli) keep Angelenos of all levels of carnivorousness coming back to curb their Thai cravings.
Brooklyn, New York
Ethiopian cuisine is generally fairly vegan-friendly to begin with, but Bunna Cafe’s revelatory, entirely vegan take on it has made it stand out, first as a pop-up and Smorgusburg vendor that transitioned to brick-and-mortar status a few years back. Find a hungry friend, split the feast for two, and find yourself treated to a spread of nine veggie-based dishes like shiro (a mash of fragrant yellow split peas simmered in spices) and misir wot (spiced red lentils) heaped onto injera flatbread—there’s more of it on the side for your scooping and eating convenience. There’s always a different seasonal special in the mix, which gives you some incentive to return, not that you needed it.
New York, New York
At Cadence, the simple menu from executive chef Shennari Freeman manages to hit all the spots, flaunting redefined classics like Southern fried lasagna with red wine “Bolognese” and pine nut ricotta; a fried Buffalo oyster mushroom sandwich enclosed in a pretzel bun; expertly seasoned smoked grits; and a housemade fruit cobbler. The wine menu exclusively features bottles from Black-owned wineries, and watch its social media for details on its still-developing takeout program.
Coronado is a vegetarian and vegan restaurant that’s breaking the mold of what a meat-free restaurant should be. The breakfast menu boasts (meat-free) breakfast burritos, chilaquiles, and chia pudding. And don’t worry, the rest of the day offers just as many delicious dining options, including a beet and quinoa burger, cauliflower tacos, jackfruit flautas and a smokey eggplant sandwich. For dessert, opt for the s’more cup or a rosemary chocolate chip cookie.
Vegan chef and restaurateur Matthew Kenney has created a full menu of plant-based pizzas that come out of the wood-burning oven. Pies are covered with his signature nut cheeses (including a luscious cashew mozzarella) and toppings like Calabrian chiles and rapini. His “Not Pizza” section is filled with variations on old-school Italian fare including a really good eggplant parm, baked meatballs with macadamia ricotta, a sunflower Caesar salad, and a cashew cream-based cacio e pepe. Most pies can be made gluten-free with rice-based cheese for those who want nothing to do with nuts.
Just like bipartisanship these days, DC also doesn't have a lot of vegan restaurants, though that is changing thanks to chefs Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby. The plant-based empire builders expanded their reach to the nation's capital from Philadelphia with Fancy Radish. The space is decidedly relaxed and people are too busy stuffing their faces with impossibly melty and somehow dairy-free rutabaga fondue, BLT sandwiches starring shiitake "bacon," and twirls of ramen "carbonara" to talk politics. The couple's approach to cooking—which is to celebrate vegetables without any of the vegan rhetoric—is easy to see in every dish. It's the best way to get your fill of vegetables without having to pound a tub of salad.
San Francisco, California
Gracias Madre’s slogan is “Our mission is love” and that mission is delivered in the form of 100% organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, plant-based Mexican dishes in a bustling environment that feels inviting and casual (lots of wood, communal tables, and a somewhat open kitchen towards the back). The menu is seasonal and changes based on what’s available at their organic farm in Pleasants Valley, in addition to being totally vegan. Go for plantain French toast or potato and tempeh chorizo hash for brunch or sweet potato flautas and a zucchini squash quesadilla for dinner.
Green is one of the Valley’s most popular exclusively vegan dining spots, and for good reason. There are meat-free versions of traditionally carnivorous dishes—think Buffalo wings, chili fries, and Chicago cheesesteaks—that you didn’t know you were missing (or wanted a vegan version of). The restaurant also strives to use mostly organic ingredients and even has gluten-free options. Plus, after you enjoy one of their spectacular meals, you head over to Nami right next door to their Phoenix location for a delicious vegan ice cream tSoynami.
San Francisco, California
Greens is a restaurant where you could take your meat-loving uncle from Minnesota and he might not even notice that there’s nary a cow, chicken, pig, or fish on the menu. Sure this is partially because of the stunning views of the harbor, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Marin Headlands, but also because Greens behaves like a normal restaurant that just so happens to serve some of the most inventive vegetarian dishes. The menu is constantly changing based on seasonality and availability, but we can promise that even the most die-hard meat enthusiasts will leave saying they just enjoyed one of the best meals they’ve eaten in a long time. And maybe feeling a tiny bit duped once you let them in on the secret (in a good way, of course).
This Logan Square favorite has built up quite the following in recent years largely on the strength of shockingly satisfying sandwiches like their take on the Jibarito, a vegified take on the classic Puerto Rican sandwich which houses homemade seitan, poblano, onion, garlic, greens, American cheese, and garlic mayo between smashed plantains. Their po-boy is stuff with juicy, battered portobello nuggets that provide a satisfying base for pickled red onions, spicy greens, and garlicky aioli. Staying Southern (at least relative to Chicago) the Nashville hot tofu with garlic smashed potatoes and beer-braised kale is as tasty as it is face-meltingly spicy.
St. Paul, Minnesota
Started by a Minnesotan who grew tired of being the menu afterthought amongst a table of more carnivorous friends, J. Selby’s has had hordes of Twin Cities residents rethinking their Jucy Lucy habit since debuting in April 2017. The Dirty Secret is an addictive plant-based rendition of a certain special sauced, sesame seeded signature burger found at a prominent fast-food chain. The take on a Philly cheesesteak will also surprise you, and be sure to try the chickin’-friend local lion’s mane mushrooms, which are sourced from the family-owned Minne Mushrooms and served with house made ranch.
San Diego, California
So much attention is given to the death metal soundtrack and Victorian/goth decor at Kindred that it’s easy to forget they also have some of the most inventive vegan dishes in the city. Skewers of chargrilled seitan with chimichurri, harissa, and horseradish aioli is a great starter for your skeptical non-vegan friends. Grilled cheese uses herbed bechamel, tapioca mozzarella, apple, braised kale, and caramelized onion on sourdough for a melty, juicy riff on the classic. Memphis BBQ jackfruit adds pulled soy curls, green chili aioli, pickle, onion, and dijon mustard on sourdough with a side of house-made potato chips. Save room for the S’more Sliders with snickerdoodle cookies, marshmallow fluff, TCHO dark chocolate, and maldon salt, that will satisfy the most hardcore sweet tooth.
While Boulder’s rep as a hippie paradise makes it seem like there’s a vegetarian restaurant (and a dispensary) on every corner, that couldn’t be further from the truth (on both counts, though the latter are certainly multiplying). So while Leaf could coast as being one of the town’s few veg-only options, they instead rise above the typical old-school portobello burger and offer elevated fare like the crowd-pleasing Jamaican jerk tempeh with forbidden black rice and coconut plantain sauce, plus a seitan shawarma with quinoa tabouli. And they grab bonus points for sourcing a good portion of produce from their own organic farm.
In a town full of BYOBs, one reigns supreme for our vegan and vegetarian friends. At Miss Rachel’s Pantry, you can curl up in the restaurant’s cozy digs, get comfortable, and enjoy course after course of delicious plant-based dishes. The five-course menu on Fridays and Saturdays includes multiple courses featuring the restaurant’s latest seasonal creations, plus dessert and a selection of non-alcoholic drinks.
Modern Love (believe it or not, the second restaurant on this list whose name is a David Bowie reference) opened in 2016 under the helm of vegan cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz, whose wide-ranging menu pulls its influences from the vast array of cuisines she experienced growing up in New York and carried with her when she opened her first restaurant in Omaha in 2014. That means starters like almond cheese-stuffed arancini, creamy borscht, and five-spiced cauliflower wings with kimchi give way to oyster mushroom scampi and rosemary-kissed seitan chops with applesauce. If you can thrive equally among the steak-inclined denizens of Omaha, you’re probably doing something (or all the things) right.
If you’re looking for a vegan food adventure, head to Mora Pizza, a roving food truck that makes its home in some truly unexpected areas. Here you’ll find pies topped with everything from stuffed poblano peppers to ice cream to French fries, plus stromboli, cheesesteaks, and pretty much everything else you’d expect from a pizza truck. Check Instagram for the daily special, and come hungry.
Formerly Woodland’s Vegan Bistro, Nu Vegan Café now operates three locations in greater DC, and one in Richmond, Virginia. Hearty vegan dishes like lasagna, mac and cheese and a black bean burger, along with vegan salads, sandwiches and juices feature on the menu.
Honestly, this is Pat Greer’s sustainable universe and we’re all just living in it. Since a young child, the Dallas native has always engaged in health-conscious activities, planting seeds on her paternal grandparents’ farm, harvesting plump figs, and building a massive pantry of canned vegetables. She kept those memories close, moving her earth-fueled efforts to Houston and going on to build one of Montrose’s top culinary haunts. Here, herbivores and carnivores alike can load up on sugary blocks of fudge and almond and peanut butter rice treats, enjoy black-bean stuffed tamales and hearty bowls, and try a burger-topped salad minus the starch.
Asheville, North Carolina
Chef Jason Sellers heads up the kitchen in the warm and intimate Asheville favorite, crafting artful dishes with strong and complex flavors, like a raw lasagna with herbed almond cheese and marinated peppers, tofu bibimbap with pickled shiitakes and purple cabbage, and seitan chile con queso with grilled romaine. Vegan desserts don't hold back either, from saffron creme brulee with poached Asian pear to the impossibly indulgent chocolate and peanut butter blackout pie.
Planta’s food menu is divided into five sections—sushi, chilled & raw, dumplings, small plates, and wok & noodles—featuring bold highlights like the watermelon “ahi” nigiri and coconut ceviche. The cocktail menu incorporates a variety of fruity Asian flavors as well, like the Herb Your Enthusiasm, made with thai chili-infused tequila; Lych Please, made with hibiscus-infused gin and lychee liqueur; and the Kombucha Mojito, which is exactly how it sounds.
The four-year-old fast-casual Asian restaurant went vegetarian in 2019 to see if it had enough support for a meatless menu and, sure enough, it did. Here you’ll find plant-based versions of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean dishes, including egg rolls stuffed with pineapple kimchi, Taiwanese fried cashew mozzarella, and sweet and sour pork made with seitan.
Stuffed inside a rather restaurant-heavy corridor of an unassuming Boston suburb, you’ll find Red Lentil, and while the rest of the block is filled to the brim with wing joints and pizza places, you'll inevitably find yourself lured to Red Lentil’s front door by the crowds outside and the aromas of their killer seasonal offerings. A friendly neighborhood restaurant with a menu of vegetarian dishes from all over the world, Red Lentil is a favorite for its legendary Gobi Manchurian, consisting of fried cauliflower in a sweet & spicy tomato sauce.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Seva is now in its fifth decade of turning Wolverings onto veggies (they now have a sister restaurant in midtown Detroit, as well). While they do allow for dairy on the menu, much of it can be substituted with plant based-alternatives to go full-vegan, as is the case with the beloved calabaza queso, a satisfying dip that gets its orange hue from the squash that serves as its centerpiece. You'll also find tempura-battered General Tso's cauliflower and spaghetti with tempeh-walnut meatballs, and black-bean sweet potato quesadillas. Don't duck out before having the vegan pumpkin pecan tart with brown sugar shortbread crust and a scoop of also-vegan volcano salt vanilla ice cream from Detroit's ice cream plant.
Slutty Vegan went from “that food truck with the freaky-sexy named Impossible Burgers and the wildly long line” to what’s basically the heir to Ann Price’s Ghetto Burger in terms of national media attention and local love. And yes, again, these are plant-based food items. Everybody famous has eaten there and been willingly “Sluttified” (meaning captured on Instagram eating the food), even before it moved into the Westview neighborhood last January. But it’s the seductive appeal of the sauce that launched SV’s no-meat menu offering—whether you prefer the “Ménage à Trois” burger, the “Heaux Boy” vegan shrimp sandwich, or the vegan “Hollywood Hooker” Philly cheesesteak—into its own fame.
Los Angeles, California
This women-owned Mexican eatery is doling out the tacos that vegan dreams are made of. Mix and match fillings of plant-based crispy fish, carne asada, al pastor, and carnitas, with add-ons like mango salsa and cashew queso. Go bad ass with the ghost taco stuffed with pollo diablo and doused in habanero and ghost pepper salsa. The menu is also jammed with burritos, nachos, quesadillas, and sides of street corn, seasonal veggies, and beans and rice. The short but very sweet dessert menu offers churro donuts, plus rotating donut specials.
La Jolla, California
Trilogy Sanctuary is a yoga studio, wellness community, and cafe serving gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free, 100% organic vegan food. Think Vega-nachos with blue corn chips smothered in quinoa chili, cashew cheezy sauce, cashew sour cream, pico de gallo, hemp seeds, and avocado. House-made red corn tortillas hold quinrizo (quinoa “chorizo”), avocado, eggplant bacon, pico, and spicy almond sauce for Two Perfect Tacos. Tempting desserts include Decadence, dark chocolate avocado mousse layered with creamy cashew chocolate mousse and vanilla cream topped with fresh strawberries and raw cacao nibs.
Time and again, Vedge is listed not only as Philadelphia’s best vegan restaurant, but as one of the city’s best overall. Since opening in 2011, it’s pushed the envelope and exceeded expectations for plant-based cooking, inspiring dozens of other restaurants to do the same. Pay the place a visit and discover the wonders of wood-grilled carrots, eggplant braciole, and more innovative plant-based dishes.
The Well is a Cali-cool spot stocked with as close to a Zen environment as a restaurant could possibly get. Dishes are centered around top-tier nutrition using local and sustainable ingredients, and everything is gluten-free, soy-free, and refined sugar-free. Yes, meat and fish do appear on the menu, but on the whole, plants shine and vegan eating reigns supreme. Standouts include hemp heart and chickpea falafel, mushroom brown rice risotto, and brunch-worthy vegan chorizo tacos (made with chickpea and lentil “chorizo”). To drink, point your compass toward delicious cocktails spiked with cold-pressed organic juices and natural sugars like agave, honey and dates.
One of Nashville's most well-known vegetarian and vegan restaurants, The Wild Cow naturally has plenty of options for all non-meat-eaters out there. The restaurant recently moved to Five Points from their long-time original location, so even more neighbors will be exposed to their fine fare. With a great group of chefs who are always creating new dishes, it has constantly rotating specials, including tons of desserts, and its website is updated daily with the specials, so check there before going. And don’t forget: It's randomly closed on Tuesdays.
Writers: Mary Beth Abate, Kyler Alvord, Emma Banks, Daisy Barringer, Chris Chamberlain, Julekha Dash, Jamie Killin, Matt Meltzer, Marielle Mondon, Adrianne Reece, Joshua Robinson, Lizbeth Scordo, and James Wong