Top American Vegetarian Cities
Article by Michael Fisher
Whether you’re a vegetarian or vegan, put the following veggie-friendly cities on your travel agenda. As the percentage of animal-friendly eating is increasing across North America, more and more restaurants are offering great-tasting vegetarian options.
With enough vegetarian-friendly eateries to last a lifetime, New York City is a vegetarian’s dream. There are so many vegetarian and vegan options in New York City that it’s just about impossible to pick the best one. New York is home to some of the best organic vegan restaurants in America which include both Candle Caf? and Candle 79.
Red Bamboo NYC – Asian fusion with a strong emphasis on the fusion. Red Bamboo’s innovative vegetarian menu uses a diverse influences of spices and sauces. Its non-dairy desserts complement faux meat dishes with mass appeal.
Gobo Restaurant – Gobo, which is Japanese for “burdock root”, is a trendy vegetarian restaurant with an open kitchen, an organic juice bar. Gobo serves up international vegetarian cuisine in chic Zen-like atmosphere. Also be sure to check out Gobo Upper East Side.
Hangawi – HanGawi is a completely transporting experience and is possibly one of the only vegetarian restaurants where meat eaters won’t feel so deprived. HanGawi treats you to an large array of unexpected and delightful Korean vegetable dishes. Once you settle into the shoe and chair-free environment surrounded by Zen music and Zen wait staff, the strange food starts to appear entirely natural and your palate will spend the next several days trying to decipher the flavors. Hangawi also has a great tea selection.
Angelica Kitchen – Angelica’s highly organic, vegetarian, and vegan menu also caters to macrobiotic eaters and gluten allergies. With its chic SoCal decor and warm bohemian ambience, Angelica Kitchen has a distinct reputation as one of downtown’s best date spots for vegetarians. Angelica has been around for years now, and its menu continues to be consistently creative, attracting both vegetarians and health-conscious diners of all stripes.
Sukhadia India Pavillion – Sukhadia is a midtown buffet-style vegetarian Indian restaurant and sweetshop that serves a number of traditional vegetarian dishes from throughout India as well as Indian veggie sweets. An all-you-can-eat buffet changes daily and always offers an assortment of vegetable curries with varying degrees of spiciness.
Vegetable Bistro & Organic Bar – Counter is an organic wine and martini bar and vegetarian bistro in the East Village. Counter serves elegant Vegetarian-Mediterranean inspired dishes in which local, organic ingredients take center stage. Counter also serves over three hundred organic & biodynamic wine and organic beer. Try Counter’s vegetarian spin on traditional favorites such as po’ boys or burgers.
Candle Cafe – Defying the stereotype of bland health food, Candle Cafe’s macrobiotic vegetarian dishes are full-flavored and elegant, with interesting textures, and made from the finest organic and natural ingredients. No milk, no eggs, no cheese, but tofu, lots of tofu, and vegetables. They also have an extensive juice bar, and plenty of drinks made with soy milk and fresh fruits.
Candle 79 – Candle 79 combines delicious organic and vegan cuisine with gracious, knowledgeable service in a gorgeous duplex space in NYC. Lovingly crafted sustainable food fresh “from local farm to table.” Candle 79 is an intimate organic wine and sake bar and a favorite of East Side regulars and celebrities like Paul McCartney, Alicia Silverstone and Woody Harrelson. Candle 79 has been rated #1 vegetarian in Zagat’s 2007.
From its many food-cart vendors who sell vegetarian food on the street to restaurants that offer more upscale cuisine, Portland caters to every vegetarian’s (and vegan’s) palate and wallet with an unending array of choices. From restaurants that focus exclusively on animal-friendly fare American style to food from the other side of the world such as vegetarian Chinese and Indian styles, Portland is truly one of most vegetarian-friendly large city in the United States.
Vegetarian House – Vegetarian House offers a wide selection of Chinese style vegetarian food. Situated near the entrance of the Chinatown gates, this haven for vegetarians and vegans does brisk business. Bike messengers rub elbows with suit-and-ties at the popular lunchtime buffet, while dinnertime is less crowded. The decor is strictly Communist-era China, with fluorescent lighting and antiseptic green walls. The menu features dishes like tofu “hush puppies” in a heavy, tangy sauce and mu shu “beef” with loads of cloud-ear mushrooms and shredded vegetables.
Food Fight Vegan Grocery – Yep, a vegan grocery store. Well, more like a vegan convenience store, minus the booze and the cigarettes, plus a nice little produce and bulk section. If you live in Portland, you’ve probably already heard of Food Fight!, a vegan grocery store that offers fantastic vegan vittles. If you can’t make it to Portland, never fear-Food Fight! can ship goodies right to your door.
Voodoo Doughnut – This blink-and-you’ll miss it downtown doughnut shop is a frequent stop on tourist treks through town. Voodoo Doughnut is a doughnut market, serving the sweet rings under weird names like Dirt, Butter Fingering, Cock-n-Balls and… No Name. Yes, that too is the name of one of the doughnuts! One glance at the revolving doughnut case proves how quintessentially Portland is. The Menu undergoes modifications quite often. Be sure to also check out Voodoo Doughnut Too.
The Farm Cafe – The Farm Cafe has brought fresh, local and organic farm-to-table products from the Pacific Northwest since 2003. As the name suggests, The Farm Cafe supports local farmers by buying direct whenever possible; and because they change the menu constantly, they can benefit from using the freshest ingredients when they are in season and at their best. Even their crimini mushrooms come from a small farm called Hood River Organics just right up the road from the restaurant.
No Fish Go Fish – No Fish Go Fish pescaterian restaurant is a uirky Hawthorne neighborhood restauarant draws loyal locals with dressed-up comfort food, a daily-rotating soup menu and sweet or savory fish-shaped corn waffles. No Fish Go Fish gets its name from the little sandwiches they create called No Fish. Shaped like little fish, they are cornbread based and come with different fillings, both veggie and meat.
Sweetpea Baking Company – Sweetpea Baking Co. is 100% Vegan. Like most small businesses, Sweetpea started as a hobby, with hours spent baking and tweaking and taste testing at home. At the urging of friends Lisa Higgins began to sell her baked goods in local Portland stores, and Sweetpea became official. Sweetpea’s focus is on making quality vegan baked goods that will rival any counterpart. We have set out to prove that no animals need to be harmed to make a delicious moist cake, a soft doughnut, or a flaky scone.
This Pacific Northwest city shines as one of the most vegetarian-friendly cities in North America. Seattle is a hotbed of vegetarian goodness with more then forty restaurants in the greater Seattle area that do not serve any meat, and many of which are also vegan restaurants.
Mighty-O Donuts – Healthy might be stretching it, but the vegetarian doughnuts at this charming shop are dairy-free, made entirely with certified organic ingredients and have no hydrogenated vegetable oils or trans fat. Savor them with the rest of the bleary-eyed neighborhood denizens in the small, breezy one-room cafe. Popular flavors include Lots o’ Chocolate, lemon poppy and French Toast; customers can mix and match a dozen or have the expert server make up a selection.
Thrive – Thrive’s menu is a testament to the decadence of Raw foods, demolishing the myth that to eat healthy you must sacrifice deliciousness. Thrive is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, fatigue-free, and wholly pro-bliss, pro-joy, pro-shine. Located in the heart of the Roosevelt neighborhood in Seattle, WA, Thrive is committed to unleashing the physical magnificence possible in all people.
Cafe Flora – Cafe Flora’s award winning menu features modern and sophisticated vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free cuisine that is inspired by international culinary traditions and created with local, organic and sustainable ingredients. The winning combination of eco-friendly philosophy, community based involvement and cutting edge, dynamic vegetarian cuisine has brought tremendous success. Sixteen years and one abandoned laundromat later, Cafe Flora remains Seattle’s premier vegetarian restaurant.
Bamboo Garden – In the tradition of Chinese vegetarian cuisine, Bamboo Garden offers tantalizing dishes whose origins go back thousands of years to China’s early imperial dynasties. Bamboo Garden’s chef creats extraordinary vegetarian recipes, with the appearance, texture, and taste of the emperor’s favorite meat, poultry, and seafood dishes. All “meat”, “poultry”, and “seafood”, menu items are made from vegetable protein products and 100% vegetable oil.
Sutra – Sutra’s focus is amazing vegetarian food that appeases all the senses and is served in an atmosphere where sustainable agriculture, community dining, and responsible business practices are of utmost importance. All of Sutra’s food is prepared fresh each day. The practice is artistic, intuitive cooking with a menu that respects the changes of season, availability of local organic ingredients, and the experience of connecting to our communities in a holistic urban environment.
Araya’s Vegetarian Place – Religious about vegetables, this University District Thai restaurant is popular for Buddhists, vegans and others who like it fresh and pure–steadfast omnivores might not even miss their normal beef or chicken. Fresh herbs and spicy oils flavor traditional favorites like pad thai and pineapple fried rice, while unusual treats such as Drunken Mushrooms (portobellos with rice noodles) keep things interesting for regulars.
#4 San Francisco
The City by the Bay is yet another amazing vegetarian-friendly city on the Westcoast.
Millenium Restaurant – Millennium Restaurant is dedicated to supporting the essential earthly concepts of organic food production, small farms, sustainable agriculture, recycling and composting. Millenium cooks with fresh produce delivered every day, and choose organic whenever possible. Millenium believes that a gourmet dining experience can be created out of vegetarian, healthy, and environmentally friendly foods. Millenium is completely free of genetically modified foods.
Herbivore the Earthly Grill – The welcoming, seat-yourself style is present at both the Valencia and Divisadero locations, with tables on the street and breezy back patios. Glossy dark-wood tables and modern seating put the final touches on an already popular dining experience. Service is friendly, but can vary in speed depending on the time of day and the location. The vegan food is well-prepared and simply presented.
Ananda-Fuara Vegetarian – Ananda-Fuara is a Sri Chinmoy divine enterprise located in downtown San Francisco that specializes in delightful vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Ananda Fuara means the “Fountain of Delight,” a name given to us by spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy. Ananda-Fuara strives to offer our customers delicious food that satisfies both inwardly and outwardly, combined with a peaceful atmosphere.
Massawa Restaurant – Meat and vegetarian dishes share the menu in an unassuming Eritrean joint. All dishes are served family style with injera, African bread, which doubles as a plate. Sambusas make crunchy appetizers and come stuffed with beef or vegetables. Shared entrees such as kitfo, a ground beef dish, provide an excuse to get a bit closer to dinner companions, and lack of knife and fork make eating fun and messy.
Cafe Gratitude – Hidden on an out-of-the-way Mission corner, the look is standard upscale coffee shop, with wood floors, pillowed bench seating, and bare painted walls. The only eyebrow-raiser is the café’s own board game, Abundant River, colorfully splayed on every table. Clientele proudly sport chin stubble and a clean, but rumpled vegan chic. Rising above the challenge of vegan cooking and blending an almost-all raw menu, the food is a bargain, beautifully prepared, and satisfying enough to turn any carnivore herbivore for an evening.
Greens – On each visit, you and your guests will enjoy Chef Annie Somerville’s daily menu, which draws from a repertoire that has made Greens one of the premiere vegetarian restaurants in the country. From our airy, art-filled dining room, with floor to ceiling windows you are treated to sweeping views of the Marina, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin headlands. Greens Restaurant is located in a converted warehouse at historic Fort Mason, which currently is home to more than 50 non-profit cultural and environmental organizations.
About the Author
Michael Fisher is an writer for Peas Love Carrots, an online directory of vegetarian, vegan and raw food restaurants in North America. Michael is also a life long vegetarian.
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