This article was originally posted on PETA.org.
Vegan eating is exploding all over the country, as more people learn how it helps the Earth, our health, and animals. Films like What the Health and Okja sent our ‘Guide to Going Vegan‘ orders through the roof, new vegan restaurants are popping up everywhere, and even chain restaurants are updating their menus with exciting animal-free options.
So it seems only fitting that this year, four new cities have been added to our list for the first time ever: Cleveland; Kansas City, Missouri; Miami; and Omaha, Nebraska.
1. Los Angeles
The City of Angels is vegan heaven—it’s no wonder that vegan celebs Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain, Liam Hemsworth, Miley Cyrus, and many others call La La Land home. The city is also home to an impressive list of vegan spots.
For upscale dining, head to celeb hotspot Crossroads and order the Benedict, “Crab Cakes”, Artichoke Oysters, or Scallopini Parmesan. Or enjoy locally sourced, seasonally crafted dishes in a beautiful garden setting at Plant Food + Wine.
If your taste is more casual, check out Doomie’s Home Cookin’ for Bacon Cheese Fries, hand-battered Crispy Chicken, and Deep Fried Oreos. Krimsey’s Cajun Kitchen, “the world’s first vegan Cajun restaurant,” offers jambalaya, po’boys, okra gumbo, and other authentic Big Easy dishes. When the mood strikes for home-cooked meals without the prep, head to Cena Vegan‘s iconic food cart for a taste of its plant-based Carne Asada, Pollo Asado, Al Pastor, or Barbacoa—all of which can now be found at the vegan grocery hotspots Follow Your Heart Cafe and Market and Organix. At Ramen Hood, you can order your bowl with a vegan egg, and Shojin offers an ton of fish-free Japanese dishes.
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Other can’t-miss destinations include Little Pine (Moby’s vegan restaurant), Mohawk Bend, and Vromage, which makes “aged to perfection” artisan vegan cheeses. If hunger hits past bedtime, Secret Lasagna in Chinatown—which delivers until 3 a.m.—has you covered. Even the steakhouses in L.A. are going vegan: The upscale BOA Steakhouse recently added a vegan menu.
L.A. is schooling the rest of the country on vegan eating. The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education voted to launch a pilot vegan lunch program and, because of popular demand from students, has since extended the vegan lunch menu options to 35 schools! The city is also home to The Animal Museum, MooShoes, and PETA’s West Coast headquarters, the Bob Barker Building.
2. New York
The City of Dreams is a vegan dream come true!
Restaurateur Ravi DeRossi is leading the vegan revolution in NYC by turning his bars and restaurants animal-free, including tiki bar Mother of Pearl, Cuban eatery Cienfuegos, the refined Avant Garden, and the recently opened Ladybird. New York is no stranger to celebrities who dig vegan eats: Actor Alan Cumming presented the mayor with an award for the city’s win as the Most Vegan-Friendly City in 2014.
At the vegan P.S. Kitchen favorites include homemade biscuits with seitan gravy, the PS Burger (a Beyond Meat burger on a Sullivan Street Bakery panino di patate, topped with queso and Thousand Island dressing), and Fennel Tartine with cashew crème.
Délice & Sarrasin offers traditional French fare, vegan-style—from sweet and savory crêpes to vegan escargot made from oyster mushrooms to a tahini-based vegan foie gras. Japanese food fans are in luck, too: New York is known for its vegan sushi joints, such as Beyond Sushi, and the upscale Kajitsu specializes in authentic shojin cuisine.
If you’re in the mood for comfort food, cozy up to Terri, an all-vegan café that serves a Chickpea Tuna Melt, Grilled Chicken Caesar Wrap, French Toast Sticks, smoothies, juices, shakes, and other favorites. The Cinnamon Snail takes vegan eats to the street with a food truck and also has a brick-and-mortar spot. It dishes out a delicious Thanksgiving Sandoo (mushroom seitan, sage bread pudding, kale, and cranberry relish on a baguette), Peking Seitan Fries served with wasabi mayo, the Beastmode Burger Deluxe (a chili seitan burger with maple hickory barbecue sauce, jalapeño mac ‘n’ cheese, coconut bacon, and other savory toppings), and many other mouthwatering creations.
What else to do while you’re in the Big Apple? Get a mani/pedi at the vegan and cruelty-free Sundays Studio, shop for a snappy vegan suit at Brooklyn’s Brave GentleMan, or visit Pine Box Rock Shop for a vegan pop-up market with food, jewelry, crafts, and more. And be sure to save room for a slice of NYC-style cheesecake from Peacefood Cafe or cannolis from John’s on 12th Street.
3. San Francisco
A golden gateway to delicious cruelty-free fare, San Francisco is a must-visit for vegan foodies.
You won’t want to miss out on VeganBurg, the “world’s first 100% plant-based burger joint,” which dishes out bountiful burgers like the Haight ‘n’ Salsa (featuring a pan-grilled patty with hand-crafted pico de gallo and vegan aioli), the Tangy Tartar, and the Hawaiian Teriyaki. Don’t forget to save some room for dessert—you’ll want to check out the recently opened all-vegan Wholesome Bakery, which sells gorgeous cakes, cupcakes, tarts, brownies, and more.
Other hotspots in the “City by the Bay” include Golden Era Vegan Restaurant, Peña Pachamama—where you can take in a live South American music or dance performance while dining on vegan Bolivian fare—Cha-Ya, and The Flying Falafel. Soul Groove pleases everyone from ballers to city hallers with its Vegan Fried Soul Sandwich (a fried “buttermilk”-battered Gardein soy patty served between vegan waffles with Vegenaise jalapeño coleslaw and spicy maple barbecue sauce) and other tasty treats.
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San Francisco is so vegan-friendly that you can even get vegan meals from vending machines! Courtesy of leCupboard, the machines dispense healthy food, including zucchini noodles, lentil salads, and chia puddings, that you can eat on the go.
It may be located in the country’s top turkey-producing state, but Minneapolis is an oasis of tasty vegan eats that animal-friendly foodies can’t wait to gobble up.
It’s home to The Herbivorous Butcher, a brother/sister-run vegan butcher shop that makes mouthwatering meat-free meats and cheese-free cheeses. Think Korean BBQ Ribs, Pastrami, Sriracha Brats, Garlic Pepper Havarti, Queso Dip, Smoked Gouda, and more. You can also find The Herbivorous Butcher’s creations at Target Field, one of PETA’s Top 10 Vegan-Friendly Ballparks for 2017, as well as at Tilt Pinball Bar.
Other unique eats in town include the Korean BBQ Mock Duck Tacos, Mexicali Not-Dogs, and Yucca Fries with lime and chimichurri at Muddy Waters Bar & Eatery and the Mock Duck Tacos and Mock Duck Soba Noodles at Minneapolis airport’s Republic. Also worth a stop is The Depot Tavern, which offers vegan tacos made with bulgogi from The Herbivorous Butcher, falafel burgers, and VBLTs (with vegan bacon and mayo on egg-free toast). Not to be missed are the standout vegan ham and cheese, banana-and-cocoa crêpes, and cocoa nib-and-red jam ice cream at Crepe & Spoon. Slightly farther afield, St. Paul–based all-vegan restaurant J. Selby’s serves up vegan twists on classic favorites such as the Chicago(ish) Dog; The Philly made with shredded “beaf,” grilled onions, and provolone cheese; and the beer-battered cauliflower “wings” drenched with barbecue, Buffalo, or sweet chili sauce—plus a comfort-food brunch of Herbivorous Butcher breakfast sausage, vegan biscuits, and gravy.
5. Portland, Oregon
The City of Roses deserves a dozen long stems for its sweet vegan offerings. In fact, the city caught the eye of Paul McCartney when he presented the mayor with an award for being PETA’s Most Vegan-Friendly City in 2016.
Known for its food carts, Portland is a great place to grab a bite and explore on foot. At Wolf and Bear’s, any of the pita wraps can be made vegan, including the Falafel and Sabich (an Iraqi-Jewish traditional breakfast). At the DC Vegetarian, all sandwiches can be made vegan, and it has breakfast offerings like the Sausage, (Not)Egg & Cheese sandwich. Homegrown Smoker also has a food truck to satisfy your vegan barbecue craving on the go. And a visit to Portland wouldn’t be complete without a doughnut, so be sure to stop by Voodoo Doughnut, which has an entire vegan menu, and Doe Donuts, where everything is vegan!
The vegan-friendly Portland establishment Off the Griddle offers a delicious vegan brunch that includes Chk’n Waffles, Pumpkin Cheesecake Waffles (add a scoop of Coconut Bliss vanilla ice cream for a real treat), and more. At Vtopia All Vegan Restaurant & Cheese Shop, you can enjoy fermented cashew-based cheese platters, soups, salads, sandwiches, and more. Portland is also home to Vtopian Artisan Cheeses, which crafts cashew cheeses, including Peppercorn Brie, Port Cheddar, Caramelized Onion Camembert, Macadamia & Cashew Camembert, Reserve Sharp Cheddar, and Chive & Dill, which can be found in stores around the area and across the country. Nothing screams “vegan” like the completely plant-based metal-themed Black Water Bar, which features delicious eats such as the Scorpion Burger (with Chao cheese, grilled jalapeños, and chipotle mayo), Wingz, and the Hot Diggity (grilled Field Roast frank on a bun with chili and cashew cheese). Dozens of other vegan restaurants, including Next Level Burger, The Bye and Bye, Sweet Lemon Vegan Bistro, and many others, make Portland a vegan haven.
Detroit is gaining a reputation as an oasis of vegan cuisine.
A longstanding favorite in the community, Detroit Vegan Soul has opened up a second location to bring healthy and humane fare to residents on the west side of the city. Some must-trys include the Soul Platter (mac ‘n’ cheese, smoked collards, maple glazed yams, black-eyed peas, and cornbread muffin), Seitan Pepper Steak, and the Smothered Tempeh (with brown mushroom gravy, redskin mashed potatoes, and green beans). Food truck Rocky’s Road Brewoffers up an all-vegan taco menu, including chorizo, southern-fried tofu “chicken,” and al pastor tacos in Southwest Detroit. Nosh Pit—in nearby Hamtramck—has moved from a food truck to a brick-and-mortar location that serves up its unique take on the Rueben (with roasted beets), cauliflower steak, mac and cheese, and more. At the upcoming Chili Mustard Onions, you’ll even be able to enjoy a vegan Coney Island hot dog—the city’s unofficial signature dish. On a soul-food kick? Don’t forget to check out Moor Herbs: Every weekend, it hosts a “Soul Food Saturday” and features dishes like Macaroni and Cheez, BBQ Lentil Loaf, and Jamaican Jerk Vegetables.
Other Motown newcomers include The Grim Feeder—a pop-up that boasts soyrizo Mexican waffles, vegan poached egg, and tres leches cake—and Vegginini’s Paradise Cafe on the East Side, which offers up vegan tortas, vegan chili cheese chicken sandwiches, curry-fried chicken, lasagna, and more. GreenSpace Café in nearby Ferndale and GreenSpace & Go in Royal Oak were founded by Dr. Joel Kahn—one of PETA’s Sexiest Vegans Over 50 for 2016 and a practicing cardiologist who was featured in What the Health. Many bars and restaurants are also developing vegan menus—like Ale Mary’s in Royal Oak, which is now serving vegan boozy milkshakes, Beyond Burgers, and more. Detroit also just hosted its very first vegan event—V313—which drew huge crowds to the city’s historic Eastern Market. And in addition to great vegan food, you might also find love in Detroit: GreenSpace Café is known to host speed-dating events for vegans! There’s also a new vegan meal delivery service called Sprinly delivering delicious vegan meals to Detroiters.
Cleveland definitely won’t leave your sweet tooth aching, but there are plenty of savory options, too.
Cleveland is known for its pierogis, and vegans can indulge in the doughy, egg-free delights at Pierogis of Cleveland, which offers several varieties, including one with potato, caramelized onion, and chives. Bakeries in Cleveland are sweet to vegans, too: Poison Berry Bakery, which opened last spring, is all-vegan and the perfect spot to indulge in whoopie pies, chocolate chip banana bread, doughnuts, cannoli, cupcakes, cookies, and more while browsing the antiques district. The Cute Little Cake Shop is a mecca for vegans with cupcakes and cakes in just about every flavor imaginable, as well as family-recipe butter cookies, frosted chocolate chip brownies, croissants, and much more. And the sister-owned Vegan Doughnut Company bakes up craveable flavors, including hibiscus, maple coconut bacon, and lemon lavender, along with all the classics.
The Awesome Grilled Cheese Sandwich made with Daiya cheddar at Helio Terra Vegan Café lives up to its name, as do the Zucchini Alfredo and the Cashew Cheese Wrap. At Melt Bar and Grilled, everything vegan is clearly labeled, which is a good thing, because there’s so much to choose from—including the vegan Melt Cheeseburger, Wild Tofu “Wings,” and the Gourmet Grilled Cheese. TownHall is the place to be on Monday vegan nights, with Popcorn Tofu Nuggets, Tempeh Gyros, Wild Mushroom Chimichangas, and Cauliflower T-Bone Steak. Not to be outdone by TownHall, La Cave du Vin launched its own Monday vegan nights that feature delicious dishes like Jackfruit Tacos served up Tex-Mex and Sweet Chile Pineapple style or Southwest Chorizo Chili and Chips, among other yummies.
8. Omaha, Nebraska
2018 marks the first time that Nebraska’s largest city has cracked PETA’s Top Ten. With dishes like these, it’s easy to see why Omaha made the cut.
Omaha is home to vegan cooking maven Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Modern Love restaurant, which serves Nachos Molo (nachos topped with walnut chorizo, cashew cheese, and coconut milk sour cream), Honee Mustard Cauliflower wings, Mac & Shews (creamy red pepper cashew cheese with cornmeal crusted tofu), and other “swanky vegan comfort food.” The all-vegan mobile hot dog stand Fauxmaha Hot Dogs can often be found parked outside Modern Love, cooking up handmade local faves such as the Banh Mi Dog and BBQ Dog (featuring Modern Love’s BBQ sauce, slaw, and smoky coconut bacon).
If burgers are beckoning, head to Block 16 for the Block Burger or Sloppy Nick, which can both be ordered vegan, or try Benson Brewery‘s Black Bean Burger with a side of Seitan Wings. At Blatt Beer & Table, munch on a Root Burger (red quinoa and roasted beet with Vegenaise) or Vegan Currywurst while you watch the game. Or dig in to the vegan burger (black bean and sweet potato patty with lettuce, onion, avocado, and vegan aioli) at Nite Owl.
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For lighter fare, the all-vegan High Vibe Café offers acai bowls and fresh juices, as well as an addictive caramel dip called Apple Crack. At The Blue Sushi Sake Grill, try The Cowgirl (vegan tempura, Sriracha-fried onion rings, vegan mayo, and barbecued paper) or Shojin (barbecued seitan, grilled asparagus, and sweet soy). Or head to Nice Noodles for Gimbap Korean Style Sushi and other tasty Asian fare.
Top everything off with a sweet treat from the ever-changing vegan selections at Coneflower Creamery (chocolate, peanut chocolate chip, raspberry lime sorbet, and more), or Ted & Wally’s (tutti frutti with a coconut base and apple cider sorbet, to name a few). Or perk up with the all-vegan Amateur Coffee‘s muffins, doughnuts, whoopie pies, cinnamon rolls, and, of course, delicious coffee.
Miami is known as the Magic City, and it does magical things with vegan food.
Take, for example, Atlas Meat-Free Delicatessen, a vegan butcher shop that serves Wood-Bone Wings (fried vegan chicken in hot sauce), Buttamlk Fried Chk’n, Kansas City Burnt Tips, and other hearty fare. And then there are the Spaghetti & Meatless Balls, Jackfruit “Al Pastor” Taco, Watermelon Ceviche, Truffles, Choco-cado Mousse, and Ube Pie (purple sweet potato custard with gingersnap crumble) at GLAM Vegan.
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Locals load up on healthy fare at Manna Life Foods—which specializes in “Life Bowls” loaded with creative and fresh veggie combinations, cold-pressed juices, and desserts—as well as at Della, where you can build-your-own “healthy bowl of happy” from an array of vegan proteins, veggies, and sauces. Choosy eaters can get exactly what they want at the all-vegan Choices Café, which offers plenty of tasty options in bowl or wrap form, including the Insane Mex with soy chorizo and cashew cheese, as well as brunch items, including The Kind Slam (pancake, tofu scramble, tempeh bacon or soysage patty), and more. Coconut Grove will go nutty for Miami’s recently opened and very first vegan food hall, V Shops, which features delicious eats from Choices Cafe as well as Neo’s Blender, a smoothie bar for kids. Also new to the scene is the restaurant of vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli: the Vegan Café. It features delicious “eats” like the Butternut Nachos (butternut-cashew queso, honee-Sriracha, seitan, guacamole, mango salsa, and a coconut-lime drizzle). If you still have room, don’t forget to get a taste of the Food Network Cupcake Wars award-winning cupcake, the Chocolate Strawberry Cupcake. Speaking of customization, at Bunnie Cakes Studio, which recently opened as an extension of the Bunnie Cakes Vegan Bakery, guests can decorate their own vegan cupcakes.
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10. Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City may be the Barbecue Capital of the World, but with its bountiful plant-based offerings, it could soon be considered the vegan capital of the world!
Peaceful Pig Vegan BBQ—an all-vegan food cart—debuted last summer, and the vegan Happy Apple Café is set to open this spring, with comforting offerings like sweet potato and black bean burgers, rolled tacos, spicy seitan chicken sandwiches, and housemade cheesecake, waffles, and doughnuts. We say “cheers” to Beer Kitchen‘s Truffle Popcorn, Jackfruit Tamales, Eggplant Muffuletta Sandwich, and more.
Eden Alley Café‘s brunch is simply divine. Think Sweet Potato Benedict (smoky paprika grilled tofu, sweet potatoes, creamy mushroom gravy, kale cabbage, candied onions, and lemon hollandaise), French Toast Bake (topped with agave sweet butter, grilled apples, cinnamon cream, and candied nuts).
Other must-trys in K.C. include Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffee (its scones are award-winning!), Pirate’s Bone (all-vegan specialty coffees, waffles, burgers, and sandwiches), KC Kitchen and Pizzeria‘s Go Vegan pizza, the Vegan Wrap and Vegan Masala at McCoy’s Public House, the Eggplant Pockets and Veggie Dumplings at Blue Koi Noodles & Dumplings, and the huge selection of smoothies plus the fluffy vegan pancakes at ProteinHouse.