If you are vegan or vegetarian, it’s easier than ever to find places to eat when you travel. One of the restaurants on my list even won best new restaurant in Canada, the first vegetarian restaurant to earn that honor.I’m not a vegetarian myself, but I have traveled extensively and do test out the restaurants, especially when I go with, or meet people that are if I’m traveling alone.
Some of the cities on this list may be obvious, while others may surprise you. I’ll start with New York and Toronto because that’s where I spend most of my time. A lot of these places also have gluten-free options.
New York, USA
There are so many vegan and vegetarian options in New York. You’re pretty much guaranteed to find one just walking around. I recently went to one called Hangawi based on a recommendation from Stephanie at @avolicious blog. It’s a gourmet, vegetarian Korean restaurant and the food was amazing. I tried the organic zen bibimbap.
Other notable places I’ve tried:
Vegan: The farm-to-table Candle Cafe on the Upper East Side (the one on the Upper West Side has meat options).
Vegetarian: Dirt Candy. It’s small so you’ll have to book in advance. The food is worth it! Pick any dish on the menu, and you won’t be disappointed. The owner is Canadian so recently on Monday nights they turn the restaurant into the “Great Canadian Beer Hall.” I have to check it out on a Monday night!
For more places to try, read Best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in NYC.
The vegan and vegetarian scene is growing in Toronto. It was good a few years ago, but it’s even better today.
On my last visit, I checked out the new upscale vegetarian restaurant Planta with some coworkers because it’s close to our office. I would definitely go back. It has some very creative food options.
Other notable places I’ve tried:
Vegetarian/Vegan: One Love Caribbean Creole food. It’s close to my Toronto office, and the food is delicious. If you go, try their corn soup. No matter which options you include with it, you will find nothing to criticize!
Vegan: I enjoyed Live Organic Food each time I went. The food is also gluten-free, organic and free of refined sugar. They make their juices and cleanses in house, which I’ve tried after a workout.
Check out this guide to Toronto’s top vegan and vegetarian restaurants.
I probably should have put this one first because vegetarianism has been around the city since the 1800s, so you know they’ve mastered the art. Portland is also home to the world’s first all-vegan mini mall. It includes a vegan tattoo parlor, grocery store, clothing store, and bakery
Less than a year ago, the best restaurant I went to, Natural Selection closed. It’s unfortunate because it was delicious. The other place I tried based on a recommendation was vegan sushi restaurant SushiLove. It didn’t disappoint.
Check the Vegan guide to Portland for information on all options outside of food in the city.
It’s no surprise that a city known for its health has a lot of vegetarian and vegan food options.
There are many notable restaurants including the Heirloom, The Parker and my favorite, The Acorn.
Vegetarian/Vegan: The Acorn, has snagged a few top awards since opening a few years ago including winning best new restaurant in Canada (the first vegetarian restaurant to win), the second best vegetarian restaurant in the world, and one of the world’s ten best vegetarian restaurants in the world. I am not surprised. The food was outstanding. It has a lot of gluten-free options too.
Vegan: Meet on Main offers a fully vegan and mostly gluten-free menu. Their fries are amazing and they have great rice and quinoa bowls.
Check the Best Vegan and Vegetarian restaurants in Vancouver for more restaurant options.
You can find a lot of vegetarian options in South India. Spicy rice-based dishes and curries are common.
My favorite vegetarian restaurant was Madras restaurant. It’s located in the Raintree Hotel in Chennai and is known for its delicious home-style cooking. I found the curries exceptional.
Another vegetarian restaurant I tried was Little Italy. Of course I had to try it! I went against my rule of only eating traditional food when I go anywhere. But my curiosity got the better of me. It was a mix of Italian and Mexican food with some traditional Indian dishes. The food and service were only okay but if your curiosity gets the better of you too, then it’s worth a shot because you won’t be out of pocket a lot of money. Some of the coffees at Starbucks cost more than the meals here.
Read Pure Veg Restaurants in Chennai for more dining options and ratings.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai has more than 80 vegetarian restaurants. Even those that aren’t vegetarian have a lot of meatless soups, pad thai, salads and curries.
The restaurant I tried and loved was Pun Pun Wat Suan Dok, which sources organic vegetables from its own farm. All the food is homemade including the tofu and is free of MSG, GMOs, and preservatives. They also don’t use refined sugar.
London is considered a top site for meat-free eaters, and this is many years after PETA ranked it the most vegetarian-friendly city in the world. It has over 130 vegetarian and vegan restaurants, even some of the pubs are getting into the act.
Vegan: I’ve been to The Gate a few times and am always satisfied. They offer fusion Thai, Greek, Indian and Japanese dishes and have a lot of gluten-free options as well. My favorites were the Aubergine Schnitzel and the chunky herb polenta chips.
Vegetarian: Hand’s down my favorite is Zeret Kitchen, a traditional Ethiopian restaurant. It is excellent! I had to go multiple times t offers meat options too, but the vegetarian fare is what they’re known for, so if you go, try the House Favorite Vegetarian Selection. This way you can try a little bit of all the dishes. Also, a must try is the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. It’s pricey but an experience that is worth it if it’s in your budget.
Read London’s best vegan restaurants and London’s best vegetarian restaurants for a list of dining options.
A couple of years ago, Berlin was voted the hottest city on the planet for vegetarians. It’s also been named the world’s “New Vegetarian Capital.”
Vegan: Bar and restaurant Kopps, serves creative traditional German food and it is delicious. On the higher end, they rotate their menu frequently. I also enjoyed the Lucky Leek. They had a potato soup that was incredible.
Vegetarian: The Bistro Bardot at the Almodovar Hotel was excellent. It’s Mediterranean cuisine and offers lots of tapas size dishes so you can order a few to taste a variety of things. I enjoyed the meatless balls in a spicy sauce while I was there.
Read the Top 10 vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Berlin for rankings and reviews.
Honorary mentions (because I haven’t been there yet)
A few years ago, PETA named Glasgow the best city for vegans in the UK. I will be heading to Scotland later this year. My friends recommend the vegan Mono Cafe Bar. It brews its own beer and has live music.
So far, I have only been to a few cities in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. But places like South Korea, Malaysia, Jordan and Ethiopia are all known to be vegetarian-friendly.
These are some of the places I’ve been. Do you have any cities you’ve been to that you would recommend?
For gluten-free ideas, you can check out my post Five destinations for gluten-free dining (some might surprise you!).