Besides being some of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in America, these places seriously have some of the most creative names you’ll ever come across. Who doesn’t want to dine at a restaurant called Dirt Candy or Natural Selection? You’ll instantly look trendy checking into these places on Facebook or adding them to your location on Instagram. More importantly, these restaurants are out to prove that meatless doesn’t mean boring AT ALL. The food these establishments serve up is nothing short of exemplary. These restaurants make the case for people worldwide to give being an herbivore a fair chance.
1. The Chicago Diner: Chicago, IL
The Chicago Diner proudly declares that they have been meat free since ’83. At first their idea of a completely vegetarian restaurant was looked down upon and a predicted failure. However, the owners came up with the winning strategy of serving up the always, popular all-American comfort food, but with their fresh twist. However, no dish is sacrificed. They serve all the classics: veggie burgers, home fries and even an array of award-winning vegan milkshakes. Just when you thought the Windy City couldn’t get any better, right?
2. Beyond Sushi: New York, NY
Leave it to New York City to be home to one of the most unique culinary establishments that prize themselves in the art form that is food preparation. Beyond Sushi specializes in vibrant veggie rolls, some of which have a beautiful base of black rice like the roll pictured above. They also have wraps, soups, salads, drinks and desserts, all of which are equally as aesthetically pleasing as the last. The chefs strongly believe in the beauty of consistency and perfection. So, get your cameras out because it is guaranteed that you will be presented with a masterpiece no matter what you order.
3. Natural Selection: Portland, OR
All of the science fanatics out there will instantly swoon over this restaurant’s clever name. Located in Portland, Oregon, Natural Selection utilizes a mix of rustic and modern cooking techniques to manipulate their fresh fruit and vegetables into an array of flavorful dishes. The chefs serve up four courses that include foods like crispy polenta with quinoa and huckleberry crumble with lemon and guava ice cream. Pretty decadent for vegetarians, eh?
4. Vegan Pizza: Garden Grove, CA
First off, peep the heart-shaped peperoni on top of the already heart-shaped pizza, now that’s love. Not every pizza served at California’s very own Vegan Pizza comes in a fun shape, but you’ll be too busy stuffing your face with Philly Cheez Steak and Spicy Thai pies to even notice. Besides pizza that you would have no idea was vegan, they also offer up calzones, Buffalo wings and even corn dogs. Then for dessert they have a creamy, vegan chocolate cake. Warning: this restaurant might officially convert you to the dark side aka veganism.
5. Plant: Ashville, NC
Located in Ashville, North Carolina Plant is a locally owned independent restaurant that knows the importance of being a productive member of the community around them and to the Earth as a whole. They serve up dishes such as seitan chile con queso, caramelized Jerusalem artichokes and an array of baked goods and ice cream for dessert. Foodies from all over the world merge at Plant. With one look at their complete menu it’s easy to see why.
6. Angelica Kitchen: New York, NY
Open since 1976, this New York City gem puts the quality and source of their ingredients above everything else. They have loads of daily specials on their menu alongside entrees such as the Thai coconut lemongrass curry. Fresh sweets like carob brownies and pineapple coconut muffins are baked daily. Also, they now serve brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. That menu includes garbanzo rancheros and fresh baked biscuits. Ok, Angelica.
7. Leaf: Boulder, CO
Located in Boulder, Colorado, Leaf is super unique in that they have their own farm, called Three Leaf Farm, wherein they grow their own produce that they use in all their dishes at Leaf. Clearly, they don’t take the concept of seed to plate lightly. Some of their menu items include buffalo cauliflower, rutabaga gnocchi and spaghetti squash pad Thai.
8. Millennium: San Francisco, CA
In San Francisco, California, executive chef and co owner of Millennium, Eric Tucker has come up with an extremely flavorful menu for his customers. He’ll start you off with some pistachio stuffed dates as an appetizer. Then, follow up with cauliflower curry and then top your meal off with a chocolate praline torte for dessert. Leaf’s Sunday brunch menu includes mac ‘n cheese gratin and sourdough beignets with prickly pear-strawberry rhubarb jam.
9. Elizabeth’s Gone Raw: Washington, DC
Located in Washington, DC, Elizabeth’s Gone Raw is a Friday night only dining experience. This week’s six course tasting menu includes papaya and spaghetti squash salad, quenelle of sprouted beluga lentils and orange panna cotta. Elizabeth’s guests describe their time at her restaurant as an experience that went further than just the food. World travelers and foodies alike agree that Elizabeth’s is a must try.
10. Counter Culture: Austin, TX
In true Texas form, Counter Culture has a Taco Tuesday menu that showcases a new, unique taco each week. They also have a weekend brunch menu that includes stuffed French toast and tofu rancheros. With specials like these, Counter Culture has me wondering how fast one can get a one-way ticket to Texas?
11. The Cheeze Factory: Wisconsin Dells, WI
The name of this Wisconsin based restaurant is probably enough to sell people on giving it a try. Their house specialties include spaghetti and meat sauce Parmesan, sausage linguini primavera and open sesame stir-fry. Some of their coveted desserts include a banana crunch cake, fresh-baked apple pie and a cashew dream cake.
12. Present Moment Café: St. Augustine, FL
Located in St. Augustine, FL, Present Moment Café is a vibrant restaurant that specializes in organic, vegetarian cuisine. Their menu items include mango samosas, creamy white truffle pesto pasta and even nachos. They also offer up wellness shots that help to boost your immune system and detox your body.
13. Dirt Candy: New York, NY
NYC is home to yet another award winning restaurant in Dirt Candy. This restaurant builds its menu upon what fresh vegetables are available such as, mushroom, rutabaga and eggplant. Of course, any complete and full-fledged vegetarian restaurant would not be complete without a bomb brunch menu. Dirt Candy offers up zucchini pancakes, green huevos &no ham and tomato biscuits.
14. Roots: Louisville, KY
Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Roots consists of two restaurants with two menus and one mission. Roots is a more traditional sit-down restaurant while its sister, Heart & Soy in a fast and casual atmosphere with dishes inspired by Asian street food. Roots’ savory menu includes fried oyster mushrooms, crispy potato nest and a forbidden rice risotto.
15. Vedge: Philadelphia, PA
Located in Philadelphia, PA, Vedge prides itself in being a foodies’ restaurant no matter your dietary preference. Some of their coveted menu items include rutabaga fondue, studded avocado and spicy grilled tofu. Their desserts include a Meyer lemon cheesecake, NOLA mud pie and sticky toffee pudding.
16. Plum Bistro: Seattle, WA
Based in Seattle, Washington, Plum Bistro is looking to make veganism accessible to everyone. Some of their dishes include an avocado roll, pumpkin and porcini tempeh and homemade pear and arugula salad.
17. G-Zen: Branford, CT
The slow shoreline town of Branford, Connecticut is the perfect location for this zen restaurant. Their dishes include: sublime vegan nachos, a dim-sum plate and a New Orleans creole tempeh.
18. Sublime: Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Located in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Sublime serves up vegan dishes that are completely cholesterol-free, yet can satisfy the biggest carnivores. They have a celebrity cliental that vouch for Sublime’s amazing dishes. Their entrees include vegetable lasagna, mushroom ravioli and a spicy Szechuan veganese stir fry.
19. True Bistro: Boston, MA
Located in Boston, Massachusetts, True Bistro serves up a vegan brunch like no other as you can see from the photo above. Pictured above is a folded crepe with blueberries, lemon, demerara sugar and a lavender ice cream. Their dinner options include soba noodles, Thai green curry and seitan skewers.
20. Red Lentil: Boston, MA
At Red Lentil in Boston, Massachusetts, they aim to meet the needs and taste buds of every customer. Their dishes include eggplant caponata with sundried pesto crostini, polenta bites and a Jamaican jerk tempeh.
21. Gracias Madre: San Francisco, CA
The ultimate combination of Mexican food and vegan cuisine comes to life through Gracias Madre, located in San Francisco, California. Their dishes include enchiladas con mole, gorditas and even flan.
22. Ground Control: Chicago, IL
Chicago is back at it again with an amazing vegan restaurant in Ground Control. They serve up smokin’ hot mac and cheese, Po boys and southern fried tofu.
23. Veggie Galaxy: Cambridge, MA
Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Veggie Galaxy brings out all the classic American diner feels. They serve breakfast classics like pancakes and French toast while also offering up staples like burgers and mac and cheese.
24. Vegeria: San Antonio, TX
Vegeria wants to educate their community and customers about the importance of practices like urban gardening, farm-to-table movement and organic seasonal farming for cultural preservation. Located in San Antonio, Texas, Vegeria serves up spinach and huitlacoche enchiladas, sweet potato poblano flautas and mushroom-stuffed chiles rellenos.
25. The Butcher’s Daughter: New York, NY
Located once again in New York City, The Butcher’s Daughter claims to treat their fruits and vegetables as a butcher would their meat in that they chop, fillet and carve their produce into pretty juices. This restaurant has even been coined with the name Vegetable Slaughter House. This establishment is most notably a juice bar but also serves up all three staple meals including brunch.