Banish thoughts of limp veggie burgers and half-hearted mushroom risottos, here we round up the best vegetarian restaurants in the world that serve up original, beautifully crafted, imaginative dishes worthy of their foodie status. Who says meat-free food has to be flavour free?
Plant Food + Wine
Seasonal, local, and smack bang on the coolest block on Venice Beach, it is no wonder that this vegan restaurant from Mr Matthew Kenney is seldom ever anything but groaning at the seams with hungry diners. The menu is LA througH and through, composed of small and large sharing plates such as the tamale ranchero, made with an adobo squash filling, salsa verde black beans and pepper escabeche with lime cream. The 65-seat restaurant has a terrace prettily furnished with fig and olive trees which provide a canopy against the LA sun. Indoors, it is all French oak floors and reclaimed stone. It’s a great spot for people spotting. Go, see, be seen, and leave with a healthy spring in your step.
The Butcher’s Daughter
Their ‘heritage juices’ with a bowl of muesli is one of the best ways to start an early NYC day. The ‘Water Flower’ is a blend of watermelon, fennel, honeydew, cactus pear, lime and lavender flower and the ‘Goddess of Green’ contains a potent mix of kale, cucumber, green apple, fennel, pineapple thyme and blue green algae. If you’re in need of carbs, their stone oven pizzas will hit the spot – and you’re still get your veggie fix with micro kale and seasonal greens piled on top. Fashion insiders regularly frequent this charming little place to indulge in nutritional dishes that don’t compromise on the joys of eating.
Flax + Kale
Barcelona is a vibrant, sun-drenched city of colourful buildings, contemporary art and fantastic food. ‘Eat better, be happier, live longer’ is Flax and Kale’s motto. Teresa Carles, a pioneer in veggie restaurants in Spain is at the helm, hence the rave reviews. Something of a rarity in the Catalan capital, Flax & Kale is a bona fide flexitarian restaurant. Not familiar with the term? To be a flexitarian means you are a vegetarian with benefits, so the menu here is mostly vegetarian – think grilled watermelon and quinoa – with some vegan dishes, such as its raw lasagne, alongside some sustainable fish dishes for your cheat days. It is a mid-century modern locale designed with a hipster crowd in mind.
Ms Camilla al-Fayed’s restaurant, all green banquettes and cream walls, is an oasis of health and undoubtedly one of the best health-food restaurants in the capital. Located on Westbourne Grove, its high-flying clientele rave about the delicious plant-based dishes inspired from around the globe. (Farmacy supports both a vegan and vegetarian diet, free from dairy, refined sugars, additives and chemicals). They specialise in healthy comfort food reimagined in vegan form, with veggie burgers made from mushrooms and black beans, sourdough pizza and our personal favourite: a berry sundae confected from blueberries, coconut ice cream and meringue. For those who’d rather swap their cold press juices for something punchier and more potent, there’s a great cocktail list (trust us, the Tequila Mockingbird is splendid).
With its Michelin star, Elsa is sitting pretty as the favoured go-to dining destination for discerning clientele, all thanks to the talent and creativity of its executive chef, Paolo Sari. The cooking style is simple, healthy and natural. Main dishes of carpaccio of San Remo shrimp garnished with pink grapefruit, shaved baby fennel bulb and caviar, and the single cheese course of 3-year-old organic Parmesan prepared as an ice cream, dribbled with 25-year-old balsamic vinegar are sure to impress, whilst desserts of apricots in puff pastry with fromage blanc and honey are the perfect indulgent treat to finish off a dinner. The restaurant has built a network of small organic farmers to supply its fruit and vegetables, and more than 90 percent of its produce comes from within a radius of 60 miles; it’s all about local connections here. This place has even been awarded a level-three label by Ecocert, the respected French organic certification agency.