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The United States’ Most Vegan and Vegetarian-Friendly Destinations
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The United States’ Most Vegan and Vegetarian-Friendly Destinations

Picture of Elizabeth Nicholas
Updated: 18 September 2017
Big coastal cities like Los Angeles and New York have reliably excellent dining options for vegetarians and vegans. The same cannot be said for all points in between. But these eight cities in America are at the forefront of innovative and excellent vegan and vegetarian cuisine, and should top the travel lists of any plant-based foodie in search of what’s next and best.

Asheville, North Carolina

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Downtown Asheville, North Carolina
Downtown Asheville, North Carolina | © James Willamor / Flickr

Asheville, North Carolina

The South might be better known for its barbecue than for its sophisticated vegan cuisine, but the latter is in abundant supply in the charming college town of Asheville, North Carolina. The Block off Biltmore is a case study in the city’s vibrant vegan scene. The bar is a community space of sorts for Ashville’s vegans, artists, community organizers, and educators, and regularly hosts poetry readings and talks by activists. The food will come from collaborations with vegan chefs from around the city turning out dishes like gazpacho, hummus, and vegan paté, with vegan-friendly drinks options aplenty.

The Bar Off Biltmore, 39 South Market Street, Asheville, NC, USA, +1 828 254 9277

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Accessibility & Audience:

Dog Friendly, Family Friendly, Kid Friendly

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours, Rentals

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Instagrammable, Photo Opportunity, Scenic, Architectural Landmark, Peaceful, Touristy
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Portland, Oregon

Any vegan or vegetarian who secretly misses brisket and burgers will find their pangs assuaged in Portland, where the city’s meatless chefs create incredible imitations out of tempeh, soy, and tofu. At local favorite Homegrown Smoker, options include faux buffalo wings, rib plates, Philly cheesesteaks, and po’ boys that taste so good they could fool a carnivore.

Homegrown Smoker, 8638 Lombard Street, Portland, OR, USA, +1 503 477 7274

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Santa Fe, New Mexico

Earthy, health-conscious Santa Fe offers vegetarians and vegans options aplenty at its restaurants, many of which are scattered around the 16th century adobe plaza at the center of town. Café Pasqual is legendary for its hyper-local Nuevo Mexican fare, and most dishes can be made vegan and vegetarian-friendly, if they aren’t already. Spiced sunflower seeds are served in lieu of bread, and the nopales (cactus) salad is a standout.

Café Pasqual’s, 121 Don Gaspar Ave., Santa Fe, NM, USA, +1 505 983 9340

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Boulder, Colorado

Vegan and vegetarian restaurants abound in Boulder. Julia Hellerman’s restaurant, Julia’s Kitchen, was the progenitor of the city’s health food scene. Wholly vegan, gluten-free, and organic, Julia manages to make the likes of veggie pancakes and sprouted buckwheat millet crêpes delicious, and dusts almost everything with a sprinkling of mineral-rich pink Himalayan sea salt.

Julia’s Kitchen, 3980 Broadway, Boulder, CO, USA, +1 720 389 5578

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Burlington, Vermont

Vermont is both a foodie mecca and home to some of the country’s most environmentally-friendly and health-conscious denizens, so it should come as no surprise that its largest city, Burlington, is home to excellent vegan and vegetarian dining options. Vegetarian-only restaurant Revolution Kitchen receives rave reviews for its basil and mango salad rolls, jerk seitan, and Thai massaman noodle bowls.

Revolution Kitchen, 9 Center Street, Burlington, VT, USA, +1 802 448 3657

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Berkeley, California

While hippie-intellectual Berkeley has vegan and vegetarians aplenty, no trip to this California college town would be complete for a plant-based eater without eating at Alice Waters’ legendary Chez Panisse. Opened in 1971, Chez Panisse was the original farm-to-table restaurant that introduced the world to California cuisine. Routinely named one of the best restaurants in the country and the world by leading food critics, Chez Panisse always offers inventive and exceptional vegetarian dishes to complement its main menu.

Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA, USA, + 1 510 548 5525

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Ithaca, New York

Ithaca may be most famous among the general population for its Ivy League university, Cornell, but for vegetarians and vegans the city’s real claim to fame is Moosewood, which has been racking up awards for its entirely meat-free menu since 1973, and whose best-selling cookbook has inspired countless cooks to go meatless and vegan with elan in their own homes.

Moosewood, 215 N Cayuga Street, Ithaca, NY, USA, +1 607 273 9610

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Restaurant guide Zagat calls Philadelphia’s hot new vegan restaurant, Vedge, the “holy grail of vegan restaurants,” where chefs have managed to make “a radish taste better than a lobster.” Reservations to sample Vedge’s inventive, innovative fare are hard to come by, but if you manage to snag one you’ll want to try the tandoor eggplant and avocado toast, Korean seitan tacos, rutabaga fondue, and probably make another reservation for the next available opening on your way out the door.

Vedge, 1221 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, USA, +1 215 320 7500

Miami, Florida

Glitzy Miami may not seem like an obvious choice for vegetarians and vegans looking for hospitable dining climes, but the city is developing real bona fides as a home for them. The city hosts a star-studded Seed Food and Wine Fest every November, where celebrity plant-based chefs mingle with and try out new dishes on eager attendees. But it’s chef Matthew Kenney’s Plant Food and Wine that really makes the city stand out as a culinary destination—one of the hottest tickets in town, the restaurant is entirely vegan and plant-based.

Plant Food and Wine, 105 NE 24th St, Miami, FL, USA, +1 305 814 5365