Delicious food has played an unforgettable role in my travel memories. As a vegetarian eating in "regular" restaurants around the world, menu research is paramount in finding the best meals -- so if you are searching for the perfect restaurants in your travels, look no further!
If you haven't read Part I of this three-part series, you can find it here here!
20. Dametra Café
Always a favorite in my travels, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines take center stage at this fabulous restaurant. The Spanakopita is a flawless combination of crisp phyilo and delicate spinach, the Dolmas are sultry and well spiced, and the Baklava is light, crisp, and delicately honeyed.
19. Jamie's Italian Covent Garden
Jamie Oliver brings his famous flair with food -- Italian style. The Gnocchi Genovese is innovative and bright with purple potatoes and pesto, the Three Cheese Caramelle takes fresh cheeses and pairs them with a tomato sauce, the Summer Truffle Risotto is not to be missed nor are the lovely and very colorful salad options.
This organically sourced restaurant on a quaint side street in the old town of Split features rich pastas, incredible balsamic grilled mushrooms, and a beautifully made Greek salad on the second floor of a beautiful palace.
17. Bostonia Public House
During a short stay in Boston, we dined here twice. The yellow beet salad is marinated in a fabulous sweet vinaigrette and accompanied by whipped honey ricotta in a perfect fusion of flavors. The lemon risotto proves a flawless mix between citrus tang and creamy rice.
16. Agriturismo Leone
Spend the night in this beautiful agriturismo amidst the stretching gold and green fields of Sicily, overlooking ancient Roman walls and a pen that holds two ostriches. Meals are the highlight of the stay at this Agriturismo (owned by the Leone family). The Sunday lunch that we enjoyed here was resplendent with deep, endless platters of food - we lost count after ten - from thick hearty mozzarella to fresh bowls of ricotta to savory olives to silky sundried tomatoes to long swirls of pastas to the perfect bowl of chilled fruit accompanied by the best cannoli and the freshest limoncello in Sicily.
15. Via Veneto
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
The bruschetta is a crisp explosion of flavor, the Insalata di Rucola Porcini perfectly pairs sharp parmesan with slivers of mushroom, the Cacio e Pepe - a special during our stay - matched that of any Roman restaurant, and the Tortino al Cioccolato pairs deep spicy chili pepper with sultry dark chocolate. And if you get lucky, it might be pizza night during your visit with the outside pizza oven fired up and a long menu brimming with divine toppings for the perfect thin crust.
14. Fiction Kitchen
Raleigh, North Carolina
Closer to home, I am a frequent diner at Fiction Kitchen - a fabulously innovative, brightly decorated, locally sourced restaurant in Raleigh's blooming downtown. The cornmeal-fried oyster mushrooms hail memories of calamari, perfectly set off with a sweet chili sauce or a creamy dill aioli. My favorite salad is the Grilled Romaine Salad with dreamily soft vegan cheese, crunchy nuts, sultrily grilled pieces of romaine, melt-in-your-mouth caramelized onions, and flavorful vegan Caesar dressing. The Tinga Tacos are not to be missed nor is the utterly heavenly Videri chocolate pie.
Rovinj, a picturesque Croatian town where Italian influence still reigns strong, winds around a hill, looking over the ocean. The sway of the sea and of neighboring Italy plays a key role in this restaurant. The night that we dined there, the chef deviated from the menu and created a divine vegetable "ravioli" for us -- this "ravioli" consisted of beautifully marinated vegetables layered with thick melted cheese and a sauce so perfect that I still can't quite describe it.
12. Gostilna na Gradu
Set within the castle that pensively watches over Ljubljana, Gostilna na Gradu has an old world charm with new world flair. Enjoy the delicate pumpkin filled ravioli with a smoky cheese sauce and bright poppy seeds or the delicate zucchini blossoms stuffed with soft cheese that accompany the Slovenian summer. If you have the chance, take the winding staircase into the basement where ruins of the earliest castle glow in soft light.
Thinking of visiting Slovenia? Read my article "Four Reasons to Visit Slovenia While It Is Still a Hidden Gem: here.
I still dream of the "Carpaccio "Eros" from Dalmatino: softly steamed zucchini sprinkled with pistachios, pine nuts, and sharp cheese all marinated in a balsamic glaze. They feature fresh salads and the most incredible melt-in-your-mouth Gorgonzola Gnocchi.
Look for Part III - my top 10 vegetarian meals around the world - in the next few days!
*Photo courtesy of author