Starting with one of the best restaurants in town – vegetarian or not – Plant is an upscale, dinner-only vegan hotspot that captured Ashevillians’ hearts when its doors opened in 2011. The intimate space has garnered all kinds of praise in its seven years of operation, including a nod in January 2018 in Thrillist’s list of “The 21 Best Vegetarian Restaurants in America.” Expect an eclectic, small menu with a few unfamiliar ingredients that may just take your taste buds to places they haven’t been before. Reservations recommended.
Plant, 165 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC +1 828 258 7500
This bright, inviting space has a playful approach to vegetablizing familiar dishes like lasagna made with zucchini noodles or pizza on a cauliflower crust. A smattering of outdoor tables make this a wonderful lunch escape, and raw diet followers will also find a few options here. Laughing Seed’s Sunday brunch is a vegetarian’s best brunch bet in Asheville.
Laughing Seed Cafe, 40 Wall St, Asheville, NC +1 828 252 3445
This cold-press juice bar and cafe serves and sells 16-ounce bottles of freshly made juices, nut “mylks” made with cashews, and smoothies. Those looking for a bit more texture can choose from acai bowls, salads or avocado toast, and gluten-free bread and other options can be found on their menu as well. And for raw dieters, their raw desserts earn rave reviews.
Elements Real Food, 233 S Liberty St, Asheville, NC +1 828 412 5701
With 16 years under their belt in a slightly tucked-away corner of downtown, Rosetta’s has cemented itself as one of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the city. In fact, their homestyle veggie burger is now sold at local health food retailers. A conscientious vibe permeates beyond the food menu here since Rosetta’s has an “Everybody Eats” program, which offers a healthy beans-and-rice plate on a sliding scale starting as low as $2. Their downstairs Buchi Bar is an extra-special treat too with plants on the walls and a welcoming hangout atmosphere and Buchi kombucha flights.
Rosetta’s Kitchen, 116 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC +1 828 232 0738
This tiny place packs a big breakfast and lunch punch that will leave you feeling fueled up and ready to tackle the rest of your day. People rave about the vegetarian herb gravy, seasonal hash bowls, and super-healthy juices designed to help with what ails you (waking up, detox, immunity or hydration). Plus, Over Easy’s meat dishes can be substituted with either tempeh or soysage.
Over Easy Cafe, 32 Broadway St, Asheville, NC +1 828 236 3533
This self-described “vegetarian-friendly restaurant” focuses on Caribbean flavors, and the menu clearly places a “V” next to the vegetarian options, with vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options also indicated. Nine Mile’s non-vegetarian dishes that can be converted to vegetarian, and dishes that contain honey or tree nuts are also marked for each guest’s convenience.
Nine Mile, 233 Montford Ave, Asheville, NC +1 828 505 3121
Several vegetarian options can be found at this cute, bustling open kitchen cafe that locals and visitors alike love. Opt for the classic biscuit and gravy but topped with a vegetarian herb cream gravy, or consider the vegan tofu scramble. For lunch at Early Girl, vegetarian-minded patrons can go for a Smiling Hara, or chipotle-maple tempeh sandwich or avocado and sprout sandwich.
Early Girl Eatery, 8 Wall St, Asheville, NC +1 828 259 9292
Asheville’s finest Indian street cuisine is made in this intimate, colorful space, and vegetarian-eating patrons will be delighted to see at least half of the menu’s items marked as vegan or vegetarian. Want a vegan- or vegetarian-only menu? Just ask your server to see a copy of their Special Diets menu.
Chai Pani, 22 Battery Park Ave, Asheville, NC +1 828 254 4003
Green Sages have popped up all over town as people appreciate their quick counter service and the wide selection of healthy options that can be enjoyed on the go, like juices, smoothies and wraps. For those with a little more time, a number of salads, soups and even a beet burger make for filling vegetarian choices that can be enjoyed in these bright, welcoming spaces that typically host a few guests having quick business lunches or working fervently on laptops.
Green Sage, 5 Broadway St, Asheville, NC +1 828 252 4450
The last best vegetarian restaurant to try in Asheville on our list is Blue Dream Curry House, another counter-order location that brings tons of flavors to each plate at affordable prices. Go for plant meat tacos, vegetarian curries or vegetarian soups and bowls like pho and Malaysian coconut soup. The minimalist space offers the option of adding No Evil Foods plant meat or tofu to any dish, too.
Blue Dream Curry House, 81 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC +1 828 258 2500