Once upon a time, vegetarians had a few bland pasta dishes or some unexciting vegetable stir-frys to choose on most restaurant menus, but such limitations have all but disappeared in modern dining.
In an interview last January, all-star chef Alex Guarnaschelli said she believes that we're entering a golden age of restaurants embracing the potential of vegetables. "The era of slapping together a bunch of vegetables if a vegan comes through your doors is coming to an end," she added.
Vegetarian restaurants are on the rise, and they are becoming more creative and playful by the day. Today, an ever-evolving list of vegetarian eateries around the world are catching the eyes -- and tempting the appetites -- of even the staunchest carnivores among us with their creative and inventive dishes.
Some restaurants, like L'Arancia Blu in Rome, are offering modern spins on vegetarian classics, like ricotta di bufala ravioli, while others have developed vegefied versions of meat staples like Bodhi's Peking "duck" (Sydney) or The Chicago Diner's famous meatless Reuben sandwich. But nearly every restaurant on our list boasts completely original creations across all kinds of cuisine -- like the Jamaican jerk tempeh or beet pirogi at Leaf in Boulder, Co. or El Huerto's vegetarian ceviche in Santiago, Chile.
In order to compile our list of the best vegetarian restaurants around the world, we started by looking at vegetarian restaurants that have a proven history of success through accolades, awards, and positive press. We also consulted forums like TripAdvisor and Yelp to gain insight into what really matters: the everyday customers' experiences. Additionally, we considered the number of options on offer while also taking into consideration the creativity of the menu.
Take a look at our list of the best vegetarian restaurants around the world. Feel like we've missed one? Let us know by tweeting @TheDailyMeal.
#5 L’Arancia Blu — Rome
All of the napkins at L’Arancia Blu are printed with the phrase “Many consider vegetarian dishes to be lacking in flavor, monotonous and punitive. We try to prove them wrong.” An Italian restaurant through-and-through, the eatery specializes in dishes such as ricotta di bufala ravioli, handmade paste ripiene, buttered zucchini flowers, and black truffle macaroni. Photo Credit: Facebook/L’Arancia BluClick Here to See Click Here to see the Complete List of Top 25 Vegetarian Restaurants in the World
#4 Cookies Cream — Berlin
Adhering closely to the “underground/anonymous” ethos present in many major cities, especially Berlin, Cookies Cream is hidden away, speakeasy-style, in a delivery yard above a popular nightclub. With an atmosphere that’s less high-end-vegetarian-fare and more your-cool-artist-friend’s-loft, signature dishes include Parmigiano dumplings, country-fried egg yolk with beluga lentils, and cauliflower and rocket polenta. The menu is notably empty of pasta, rice, or tofu, a deliberate decision by the chef, who prefers to craft his own style of cooking. Photo Credit: Joselu Blanco
#3 Le Grenier de Notre-Dame — Paris
French cuisine is highly sought-after globally, and committed food lovers everywhere visit France to savor the country’s culinary excellence. New vegetarian options are starting to pop up in French cuisine with more frequency, while staples like Le Grenier de Notre-Dame have been faithfully offering the excellence of French cooking to non-meat eaters among us for years. The restaurant has two menus — the first, “Zen,” is macrobiotic-based, and the second, “Discovery,” is purely vegetarian. Photo Credit: Facebook/Le Grenier de Notre DameClick Here to See Click Here to see the Complete List of Top 25 Vegetarian Restaurants in the World
#2 Acorn — Vancouver
Tucked away in the up-and-coming food capital of Vancouver, Acorn has boasted a consistent record of wowing patrons with meals like beer-battered halloumi, coconut cashew and kimchi dumplings, and raw beet ravioli, along with a signature cocktail list and local beer and wine. The restaurant also highlights local artists through its Acorn Artist program, creating new artist postcards each month to hand out to guests. Photo Credit: The Acorn
#1 Millennium, San Francisco
One of the 100-percent vegan places to make this list, the gourmet spot Millennium, with its sophisticated and creative menu, is regarded as a must-visit establishment for any food lover. Millennium boasts seasonal menu options such as pistachio-crusted portobello mushrooms or black garlic and sweet soy-glazed tempeh and shaved butternut squash pad Thai. San Francisco Magazine
claimed the vegan fare “intrigues even the most devoted carnivores among us.” What’s most impressive, however, is its famous dessert menu that’s entirely dairy-free. Photo Credit: The MillenniumClick Here to See Click Here to see the Complete List of Top 25 Vegetarian Restaurants in the World