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.
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
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.
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
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.