Vegetarian cuisine is a lot more than just salad and grilled vegetables. In fact, there are chefs all over the U.S. turning market-fresh, meatless ingredients into works of edible art. Whether you’re looking for a fine dining experience or something more relaxed, you can find it around the country. To help you plan an omnivorous itinerary, here are the most delicious vegetarian restaurants in the US that may well convert you to vegetarianism.
Food and healing all in one place in Santa Fe
Photo courtesy of Body
At Body in Santa Fe you’re not just getting a restaurant, but a spa, yoga studio, and healing center all in one. Take a Hatha Flow or Vineyasa class before relaxing with a hot stone massage or shiatsu. From there, head to their organic restaurant for some high quality vegetarian fare. Start with a “Maple Spinach Salad” featuring warm sweet potatoes and butternut squash as well as candied pecans and caramelized onions before moving onto the “Mushroom Croquettes” with spaghetti, basil marinara, vegan ricotta, and whole wheat or sourdough toast. From there, a selection of meatless curries, seasonal stir fries, wraps, sandwiches round out this holistic experience.
Intense, Fresh and Optimal nutrition in Naples
Photo courtesy of Cider Press Cafe Facebook
One of the country’s best plant-based menus can be found at the The Cider Press Café in Naples, FL. This bright interior of the restaurant is made with American-made and sustainable materials. The restaurant showcases historical farming artifacts like a restored apple cider press from 1869 and bar stools made from tractor seats. Along with having a menu that’s 100% gluten-free, dishes incorporate local, organic produce and molecular gastronomy cooking techniques. For preparation all temperatures are kept below 117ºF to help maintain intense flavors, freshness and optimal nutrients. Their menu offers a true taste of Florida terroir, with some highlights including a “Florida Roll” wrapped in jicama rice and stuffed with mango, avocado, cilantro, Key lime ponzu sauce and a faux watermelon “tuna”. Along with food, they serve fermented teas, fresh-pressed juices with curative spice additions, and satiating smoothies.
Prohibition-era glamour & local farmers in Chicago
Photo courtesy of Sable Kitchen Facebook
While not 100% vegetarian, Sable Kitchen & Bar in Chicago’s trendy River North neighborhood offers more than 20 unique vegetarian dishes. Executive Chef Heather Terhune works with 25+ different farmers to ensure fresh seasonal ingredients in her made-from-scratch small plates. Enjoy a savory mushroom flatbread or deviled eggs made with truffle oil and protein-rich black trumpet mushrooms. Pair your meal with one of the restaurant’s handcrafted Prohibition era cocktails. The space takes you back in time to experience the glamour of the 1940s with minimalist decor and modern industrial touches like a 40-foot dark wood bar, a mix of dark and light wood paneling and floor to-ceiling windows to maximize natural light.
Locally-sourced and delicious in Dayton
Photo courtesy of Olive restaurant Facebook
Don’t let the name fool you. Olive, an Urban Dive in Dayton, Ohio, is anything but a hole-in-the-wall. A fun time to visit is Wednesdays on “Rock Your Nosh” day, when the special is a vegan, gluten-free item. Farm-to-fork, glutenfree, GMO-free and paleo dishes are all focuses on the menu, as restaurant owner Kimberly Collett aims to show both omnivores and carnivores that eating produce-driven, healthy food can be satisfying. While a Vegan Socca Flatbread is topped with a hearty sweet potato puree, filling chunks of apple-smoked salt tofu, caramelized onions, a Mediterranean Frittata transports you to Greece with farm-fresh eggs, in-house chopped salsa, Kalamata olives, Ohio-sourced mushrooms and salty goat cheese. On Saturdays meat-free eaters can enjoy a delicious BYOB brunch.
Vegan tasting in Washington, DC.
Photo courtesy of Equinox
Equinox in Washington, DC. caters to both carnivores and omnivores, with a focus on American dishes made with seasonal, local ingredients and European cooking techniques. The sophisticated yet unpretentious venue is owned by husband and wife Chef Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray. Some of their menu highlights include a hearty helping of truffle risotto fritters with parmesan cheese and herb crème fraiche; a buckwheat pasta salad that is a mix of sweet, savory and tangy; and a protein-rich spinach fusilli with royal trumpet mushrooms. Their 5-course Vegan Tasting Menu is also not to be missed. Another highlight of the eatery is the ability to choose between four distinct dining areas: The Main Dining Room with booths and small tables, the Atrium with fireplace, the Private Wine Room where guests can have a private meal in a wine cellar and the Bar where food and drink pairings occur.
Raw by a model/chef in California
Photo courtesy of 118 Degrees
After cooking raw foods in her own home, former model and chef Jenny Ross decided she wanted to show the community that eating healthy can be tasty. At her 118 Degrees restaurants, the menu is 100% plant based and prepared at a maximum of 118-degrees to preserve flavor and nutrition. Start the meal with some pesto-stuffed mushrooms or a mezze platter of tahini cheese and avocado with sprouted grain bread before moving onto some verde tacos. End the experience with chocolate cheesecake made with avocado and a walnut crust or a Superfood Torte. They also offer a number of unique drinks, like organic Peruvian coffee made with raw cacao, lime and cayenne and fresh coconut juice served in a coconut.
A very person veggie experience in Maine
Photo courtesy of David’s Opus Ten
A restaurant within a restaurant, David’s Opus Ten offers diners an intimate experience. Located within a private dining area in David’s Restaurant in Portland, Maine’s Monument Square, a max of 18 guests are served each night, with dinners typically lasting about three to four hours. Guests can choose between a prix fixe seven-course meat or vegetarian menu — which changes seasonally — with or without wine pairings. One of the major draws of dining at David’s Opus Ten is having the chance to chat with the chef and learn about his inspiration for a dish. Some menu items you may encounter include brown butter poached heirloom carrot with an English pea risotto cake, pickled fennel and pea tendril salad; a quail egg-parsley pasta ravioli topped with ramps, porcini and morel mushroom nage; and Torrefacto ice cream gowned in hazelnut crumb cookie and white salted caramel.