There’s no doubt that vegans are on the rise and so is the vegan movement. However, did you know that by now there are cities who are considered to be the most vegan-friendly cities in the world? Probably, some of these cities may be a surprise to you. However, it’s crystal clear that entire cities have started to align to the rapidly increasing number of vegans. Definitely, there will be more cities in the years to come which are going to offer vegans all kinds of restaurants, premium vegan dinners and many more.
Way back in ancient Greece, Plato was philosophizing about a menu based solely on greenery, making him — along with Buddha, Gandhi and Einstein — among history’s foremost plant diet trendsetters.Even so, the vegan lifestyle is experiencing a remarkable boom today, with a proliferation of in-demand meat and dairy-free restaurants, bakeries and bars around the globe.In light of PETA officially declaring 2016 “#TheYearofVegan”, here are our top picks for cities with the best lean, green vegan scenes.
Portland earned top marks from PETA as America’s #1 Vegan-Friendly City for 2016, and many vegans around the world would strongly agree.“Portland, Oregon is hands down the best city for vegans in the entire country,” declares Will Travel For Vegan Food blogger Kristin Lajeunesse.“They’ve got everything from fine dining to bars, a vegan grocery store, [a] tattoo shop…and even vegan strip clubs.”Vegan-focused film and events producer Demetrius Bagley also co-signs Portland’s plant-eating preeminence.“I really enjoyed the atmosphere and cocktails at Sweet Hereafter … and decadent, sometimes obscene, down-home comfort food of Homegrown Smoker,” he says.“That any given bar with food offers tasty and unique vegan food is still unheard of elsewhere.”
Berlin remains Europe’s Capital of Vegan, with more exclusively vegan restaurants than any other city on the continent (Prague and Warsaw come in second and third, respectively), according to major vegetarian/vegan website HappyCow.com.“You don’t want to inconvenience others with your dietary restrictions and around here you don’t have to,” says Sandra Espenhain, a local vegan.“What’s more? Given Berlin’s relatively low prices, the costs of vegan foods are comparably low.”Upscale choices abound as well, including Kopps, where diners can indulge on five-course dinners in the city’s first high-end vegan restaurant, having opened in 2011.
New York City
New York City, unsurprisingly, offers the most vegan food options in the United States.“New York City is truly the heart of the vegan scene in the East Coast,” says Carmen Surana, the Catering Manager for The Cinnamon Snail vegan food truck.“In the last couple of years, fast casual vegan restaurants and food trucks have changed the way people think about vegan food.”NYC also hosts some of the most trendy vegan/vegan-friendly spots in the world.These include the new, swanky pizza joint 00 + Co. in East Village and Chalk Point Kitchen, which “has become the go-to for celebrities and savvy New Yorkers,” says local insider Chetna Sabnani.
With a population just shy of four million — America’s second largest — the West Coast metropolis was bound to have a variety of dining options for alternative diets.In fact, some vegans, such as Atlanta-based Bryan Prewitt, say L.A. has the edge over the Big Apple.“While both have great vegan choices, L.A. blows NYC away,” he argues. “NYC has some great spots, but they tend to be pricier, less accessible, and they have substantially less variety.“LA has a lot more options, including value options and niche spots like Gracias Madre, the best vegan Mexican in the world in a trendy/casual space.”
Israel’s modern seaside city hosts the world’s largest vegan festival, Vegan-Fest Tel Aviv, and was recently ranked the #1 Best Destination for Vegan Travelers by The Daily Meal.“Veganism here is a way of life,” says Keren Brown, who’s lived in Tel Aviv for three years and writes on the city’s dining scene.“Dairy has lost popularity over the last few years in many circles and the healthy Mediterranean lifestyle with its focus on seasonal fruit, vegetables, lentils, chickpeas and other legumes make it a popular lifestyle.”
One of the hottest spots is Miss Kaplan, a pop-up-turned-permanent best known for their “carrot dog” — a large, smoked carrot marinated in Jack Daniels and served in a hot steamed bun.
Down in the Aloha State, Honolulu has been taking more advantage of its bountiful access to fresh tropical produce and is fast becoming a vegan hotspot in the Pacific.Sandra Ritchie, who was a university student in Honolulu and has committed to the vegan lifestyle ever since, raves about hip hangout Downbeat Diner.“With regular live shows featuring local artists, a decor straight out of the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and vegan options for nearly every menu item it’s a must-stop location for all of my island visits,” she says.Vegans also enjoy Greens & Vines, a sophisticated all-vegan restaurant that also sells goods at several farmers’ markets every week.”