In the midst of a whole host of other cultural and societal awakenings, veganism is on the rise.
Whether people are becoming vegan for health reasons, for the planet or for the animals, there’s no doubt that restaurants have had to up their game when it comes to meat- and dairy-free menu options.
Vegan-only restaurants are popping up all over the country, raking in the five-star ratings for their creative takes on plant-based dishes. Here are some of the country’s most exciting vegan eateries.
Crossroads Kitchen: Los Angeles, California
Crossroads is a gourmet restaurant serving what it likes to call “refined” vegan Mediterranean dishes.
To read the menu and see dishes such as chicken & waffles and meatball pizza, you could easily be convinced that you accidentally stepped into the wrong place, but Crossroads focuses on quality plant-based ingredients done with pizzaz.
What to try: The Impossible Burger—I dare you to bite into it and not be convinced it’s a juicy patty you’re chomping.
Plum Bistro: Seattle, Washington
Plum in Seattle’s Capitol Hill uses only local, sustainable ingredients in their dishes. Their menu includes soups, sandwiches, vegan “food truck favorites” and even an extensive dessert selection.
What to try: The Spicy Cajun Mac n’ Yease (vegan mac n’ cheese) has become the stuff of legends.
Vedge: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
If the menu at Vedge doesn’t excite you (and it should), then the location certainly will. It’s situated in a historic mansion on Locust Street that provides a unique and elegant dining backdrop.
The veg-based dishes are all seasonal and locally-sourced, and the wine selection includes only the finest biodynamic labels.
What to try: The Stuffed Avocado, with romesco, pickled cauliflower, “fried rice” and black salt.
Plant: Asheville, North Carolina
The beautifully-presented plates of food at Plant are sure to impress even the most dedicated of meat eaters. Their small menu takes its inspiration from many international cuisines, so don’t be surprised to see Korean dishes listed next to Mexican or even Caribbean-inspired plates.
What to try: The Applewood Smoked Portobello, with garlic greens, white polenta cake and fennel salad.
Veggie Galaxy: Cambridge, Massachusetts
This vegan take on an old-school diner serves up comfort food by the bucketful.
Technically, they cook both vegetarian and vegan food, but because they make everything from scratch, they can easily make menu items vegan if they weren’t to begin with. They also have an on-site bakery where they craft mouth-watering layer cakes, pies and vegan cheesecakes.
What to try: The seitan Chick’n & Waffles, with mushroom gravy, followed by a slice of Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie.
Counter Culture: Austin, Texas
Counter Culture started as a food truck. After sweeping Austin by storm, it took up residence in its current retro-blue-colored restaurant. The menu is huge and contains a range of raw, soy-free and gluten-free vegan dishes that are all made fresh daily on the premises.
What to try: The Spicy Baked Artichoke Dip—after one dunk of your chip, you may never want to eat the dairy-filled option again.