The days are gone when the word “vegan” evoked associations with generous portions of uninspired beans and rice served at an eccentric restaurant in a back alley. Being vegan is increasingly recognized less as a
The days are gone when the word “vegan” evoked associations with generous portions of uninspired beans and rice served at an eccentric restaurant in a back alley. Being vegan is increasingly recognized less as a protest against collective norms and more as a socially and environmentally conscious approach to living in a world threatened by diminishing resources. As awareness grows around the benefits of animal-free diets, so does the number of vegan-friendly restaurants specializing in vegetable-focused cuisine. Many restaurants are proving that a good dining experience is not dependent on dairy or meat on the plate.
1. Paperbark in Sydney, Australia
Located in the Casba Building in Sydney’s bustling Waterloo, Paperbark restaurant specializes in creating dishes from native Australian ingredients such as wattleseeds and pepper berries. The fusion menu, launched in 2018, features innovative dishes such as lemon myrtle and eggplant bruschetta. The lavish establishment also offers an all-Australian wine list, filled with wines with minimal intervention, including a manon pinot noir that complements the Paperbark mushrooms’ earthiness.
2. Planta in Toronto, Canada
Planta, one of chef David Lee’s four restaurants, serves an inspired vegan menu with French and Italian cuisine that serve dishes such as tuna tartare made from beet and served with avocado chutney. There is no soy protein to be seen, as the menu replaces meat with textured vegetables. For example, the “crab” cakes are made from palm hearts, and the bolognese is made from mushrooms. The Toronto establishment has a sleek, modern look and also serves signature cocktails.
3. Original Sin in Singapore
This Italian and Mediterranean restaurant was vegetarian before it was cool, as proudly stated on its website. While not fully vegan, the menu is very vegan-friendly, with most dishes bearing the “V.O” stamp, meaning they can be made vegan. Opened by Michael Hadley and Marisa Bertocchi, Original Sin offers classic dishes like Broccolini Pesto and Mezze dishes.
4. The Ravens in California, USA
Located on the idyllic coast of Mendocino, California, The Ravens is part of the Stanford Inn Eco-Resort and features an all-plant organic menu. The restaurant serves signature dishes like the Sea Palm & Root Vegetable Strudel in addition to hand-rolled sushi and rustic flatbreads. It also offers several sumptuous vegan desserts, including a coconut-based creme brulee and a pecan torte. The Ravens – named after a pair of Corvidae nesting in the trees when the current owners brought the resort in 1995 – also offers an all-organic wine list.
5. Växthuset in Stockholm, Sweden
This chic restaurant in the Swedish capital makes all its vegan dishes from seasonal ingredients, and all its wines are handcrafted. The offerings include charred celeriac with herb emulsion and buckwheat or truffle croquettes with fermented onion marmalade. The restaurant has an understated sophistication with lots of polished wood and flickering candles; it is ideally located next to the city’s famous nightclub, Under Bron.
6. Chiodi Latini New Food in Turin, Italy.
Named after its founder, chef Antonio Chiodi Latini, this restaurant emphasizes sourcing ingredients locally. This not only guarantees freshness but also reduces the menu’s carbon footprint by reducing the need for transportation, refrigeration, preservatives, and packaging.
7. Crossroads Kitchen in Los Angeles, California
Another upscale California restaurant comes in the form of Crossroads Kitchen in Los Angeles. Founded in 2013 by plant-based chef Tal Ronnen, the healthy menu includes hearty dishes like Mushroom French Onion soup, lasagna made with almond ricotta, and lentil tempeh piccata.
8. Pollen Street Social in London, England
While this Michelin-starred restaurant cannot be described as vegan, it does offer a special vegan menu. It even has an exclusive vegan tasting menu with a rather satisfying eight courses to try. Chef Jason Atherton has created plant-based appetizers, such as roasted celeriac risotto with forest mushrooms. The restaurant also serves vegan high-tea daily, but it must be reserved in advance. Don’t forget your afternoon tiara.