The Superfood Cities Travelers Are Going Mad For

© Brooke Lark/Unsplash
© Brooke Lark/Unsplash
Photo of Esme Benjamin
Wellness Editor24 August 2017

Traveling as a vegetarian—navigating foreign cuisines and language barriers—used to be a gastronomical minefield, but now that the plant-based lifestyle has become mainstream, noteworthy veggie and vegan restaurants are everywhere and healthy urban eats are a vital part of a location’s appeal. Here are the cities spearheading superfood tourism around the globe.

Los Angeles, USA…

Wellness is an ingrained way of life for Angelinos, and the city takes healthy eating to new heights. At plant-based Café Gratitude menu items are named after affirmations, so ordering a bowl of macrobiotic veggies sounds something like this…

You: “I am whole.”

Server: “You are whole.”

In LA lattes often come made with non-dairy “mylk” and a dusting of anti-inflammatory adaptogen powder. Moon Juice is the hot spot for fancy elixirs, smoothies and teas with nuanced health benefits and Instagramable packaging, like the spirulina-based Blue Moon Protein, which “activates your brain, tames inflammation and detoxifies”.

London, UK…

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Defying its reputation for bland, carb-heavy cuisine, London’s healthy food scene is thriving, and the trendy way to consume salads and veggie ensembles is buffet style. Restaurants like Mediterranean joint Ottolenghi display giant plates of freshly-cooked multi-colored dishes—you point to the ones you like and the server spoons them onto your plate.

At the start of 2016, prominent clean-eating blogger Deliciously Ella opened her first brick-and-mortar location—The Mae Deli—where vegetables are served jazzed up with seasonings and sauces (think maple-roasted sweet potato wedges with dollops of silky guacamole).

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia…

Pandan, passion fruit, ginger, coconut

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As the sole Hindu enclave in the predominantly Muslim archipelago, Bali has always been sensitive to vegetarianism, but it wasn’t until the release of Elizabeth Gilbert’s autobiographical tome Eat Pray Love that wellness culture really exploded here, with plant-based dining experiences that eclipse generic acai bowl and avocado smash.

Treat yourself to a multi-course dinner at Locavore, whose high-end Herbivore menu boasts dishes like chargrilled eggplant with white curry sauce and crispy black rice. Alternatively, opt for dinner at the movies—event space Paradiso incarnates as a cinema by night, serving a vegan menu from next door’s Earth Cafe & Market.

New York, USA…

Although “bagels and pizza” probably spring to mind when you think of classic NYC foods, the big apple is actually extremely accommodating to the meat-free, gluten-free, diary-free crowd. This city does healthy(er) versions of your favorite guilty-pleasure foods really, really well. Try the vegan English Breakfast at The Butcher’s Daughter, which comes with a veggies sausage and “bacon” made from adzuki beans; the veggie burger or meatball sub from vegan fast food joint, by CHLOE.; or crazy-delicious pizzas at Greenpoint spot Paulie Gee’s, where the toppings are locally sourced and the vegan menu is surprisingly “cheezy” and extensive.

Melbourne, Australia…

Aussies are a health conscious nation on the whole, and there’s no shortage of veggie-friendly restaurants clustered in the country’s most prominent cities. Though less sunshiny and surfer-y than its northern neighbor Sydney, Melbourne has emerged as a superfood city that takes holistic wellness seriously. Take for example, Serotonin Eatery, where the menu was created to release its namesake feel-good chemical, and the decor—which includes a backyard with a swing chair—is designed to evoke calm and ease.

Copenhagen, Denmark…

The European capital of green, Copenhagen, consumes more organic produce than any other place on earth, and this predilection for natural, foraged foods is immediately evident after a glance at menus across the city. In the summer, snag a lawn table at Morgenstedet for organic veggie meals with a side of people watching.Or, if you’re really embracing the vegan ethos try Simple Raw—the brunch spread includes a little of everything you fancy, from the avocado on gluten-free raw seed bread to chocolate cake, plus a shot of raw ginger juice to aid digestion.

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