As a traveller, it can be hard and tiring to find a vegetarian restaurant. Vegetarianism is a growing lifestyle across the world so in celebration of World Vegetarian Day fellow travel bloggers and I have put together a list of our the best vegetarian restaurants and cafés across the world.
1. The Honest Vegan in Belfast, UK
The Irish are known for heavy meat dishes with carbs and therefore historically it has not been the easiest place for vegetarians or vegans to find a restaurant.
Located on Lisburn Road you’ll find The Honest Vegan. They feel passionate about the concept of cruelty-free food, you won’t even find honey on their menu.
Entering the café, the staff will give you a warm welcome and sit you down explaining the menu and the specials. On the waiter’s recommendations, we were sold on the French Toast and Chocolate pancakes accompanied by some delicious smoothies.
Not only was the food scrumptious but the bill only came to £17 for two people. A bargain compared to London!
2. Teresa Carles in Barcelona, Spain
Teresa Carles is a renowned vegetarian chef in Barcelona. She has several vegetarian restaurants in the city, all of which are excellent, but my favourite is Flax & Kale. Actually, Flax & Kale is flexitarian, not vegetarian, and has a couple of fish dishes too. The menu highlights if each dish includes oily fish, is vegan friendly, gluten free, or raw food, so you always know what you are eating. Each dish is beautifully presented, garnished with edible flowers and carefully selected ingredients to delight the palate. The shared mezze starter plate is a must, with three types of hummus to try, including black hummus with activated carbon (much nicer than it sounds!), quinoa ‘meat’balls, and crudités.
For main course, for me the stand out dish is the vegetarian black rice. Black rice is a traditional seafood dish in Barcelona, usually made with squid ink to colour the rice. This version though has no fish or seafood, with slices of coconut flesh replacing the squid rings, fresh edamame beans and a green pea & chlorella garlic sauce finish the dish. It is one of those meals you just don’t want to end! Juice lovers can choose from the wide range of pressed and squeezed colourful juices, or for the less virtuous there is wine or beer to accompany the meal too. The décor is sleek and simple, service excellent, and it is, without a doubt, one of the best restaurants in Barcelona, vegetarian or otherwise!
3. Concious Cafe in Hillcrest, South Africa
In Hillcrest, South Africa you will find our favourite vegetarian restaurant which is also has Vegan options available. Conscious Café has so many things that makes it unique, not to mention that the cafe is situated in a genuine old stone castle. Everything they serve is as natural as can be and sourced from local farmers or comes directly from their own garden. Their menu consists of fresh squeezed juices, smoothies, Classic Haloumi wraps, lasagne and soups. All baked goodies are made in their kitchen with organic ingredients. Meals can be enjoyed inside in an Eastern Decorated stoned walled lounge or outside in the garden under a tree to the beautiful sounds of the wind chime. The food here is made with real love and the ambiance of the atmosphere just makes the food taste even better.
4. Udipi Palace in San Francisco, USA
My favourite vegetarian spot in San Francisco is undoubtedly Udipi Palace in the food haven neighbourhood of Mission. Located on Valencia street, this 100% vegetarian restaurant has been serving tasty south Indian fare for over a decade, most of which is also gluten free thanks to the generous use of rice flour in making the delectable crepes called Dosas and steamed cakes or Idlis. There are also Indian platters or “thalis” that you can order if you are feeling particularly hungry and these come with the whole gamut of rice, roti (Indian flat bread), side dishes, lentils and dessert for a complete meal. The prices are extremely reasonable for San Francisco and you will be spoiled for choices since everything is meat free. This restaurant is cash only though but no advance reservations are required.
5. Macbar in New York, USA
Being a vegetarian, or vegan, traveler is a unique challenge, since most cultures tend to be meat based and actually show reverence for their guests, by presenting them with the best meat dishes they have to offer. And any vegetarian or vegan dishes presented, are generally side dishes that lack the creativity and appeal of an excellently prepared main course. This happens all the time, like when someone hands you a plate of mashed potatoes and calls it dinner.
That’s why, when you find an amazing restaurant, with great vegetarian options, you want to share the knowledge. Now, it probably comes as no surprise that New York City has amazing vegetarian options. I mean, New York City is one of the major culinary capitals of the world. But, I don’t want to spend $10,00 on a Michelin star rated dish.
So, to find reasonably priced, delicious vegetarian food, I had over to Macbar, on 54 Prince Street. At Mac Bar, all they sell is macaroni and cheese, and it is the stuff that dreams are made of. Yes, the restaurant isn’t fancy, since Macbar primarily does take out, but the macaroni and cheese is heavenly with such great options as shroom’ mac, the traditional, four cheese, and primavera. And a small container only costs $7.99!!! A bargain for such divine, cheesey goodness.
6. Vegan Burger Bar in Borough Market London, UK
Borough Market in London Bridge is one of my favourite places to grab market food. The vendors constantly out do themselves with incredible quality food. Last time on my adventures to Borough Market I discovered the Big V London which hosts a burger bar stall called ‘Vegan Burger Bar’.
Not only is it totally vegan but they source the produce from UK farms like Ted’s veg (Borough Market) grown on his farm near Boston in Lincolnshire. Plus all packaging is biodegradable just to add another nice touch to help the environment.
The promise of meat free bacon meant that I couldn’t help but choose the Classic V Facon Cheeseburger. It’s a seitan mushroom burger on poppy seed bun with house slow roasted tomato relish, house burger sauce, pickles, red onion, vegan cheddar and house maple facon.
7. Cafe Infinito in Valencia, Spain
There are so many vegetarian restaurants in Valencia so you are never out of options, but this restaurant wins it for us. The food is amazing and the staff are super friendly. They have a big menu including a great selection of tapas, main courses (burgers, wraps, pasta) and desserts. Everything is delicious but our favourite dishes are the rice and mushroom croquettes and sundried tomatoes with bread. The brownie is also to die for. I love the atmosphere, there is always great jazz/chilled music playing and the friendly staff definitely add to the experience. It is now the restaurant we take all our friends and family when they come to visit, and they always enjoy it too, meat-eaters included!
8. Wild Food Cafe in Neal’s Yard, London
I was recently in London to see Disney’s Lion King show in the West End with my boyfriend (who eats meat). We chose to stay close to Covent Garden for dinner so we only had a short walk to the theatre afterwards. Neal’s Yard was the best option for us; I ate at the Wild Food Cafe and my boyfriend grabbed a few pizza slices from Homeslice next door!
I’d browsed through Wild Food’s menu online before we arrived and it all looked amazing. All the food served is vegan and I had a hard time choosing what to settle on. I finally decided on ‘Spiral-way-to-Heaven’ which was a sort of pasta dish made entirely from celeriac and parsnip with a sage & lemon creamy sauce. It was incredibly filling and refreshing.
For dessert I had the matcha cheesecake which was really creamy and had lovely citrus flavours running through it. I heard good things about the white chocolate tart from the customer next to me as well, so can wholeheartedly recommend either. All of the dishes were presented beautifully and proved that vegan food can look sophisticated!
There is usually a bit of a queue to get into Wild Food as it has become very popular. If you’re lucky enough to get a window seat, the view over the infamous Neal’s Yard makes for some lovely photos.
Let me know your favourite Vegetarian or Vegan restaurant. Have you tried any of the places we’ve recommended above? Where is your favourite vegetarian resturarant?