The world's best cities for vegan food
Generally, vegan food can be found absolutely everywhere. For proof, see the blog Veggsocial, founded by activists Ryan Huling and Joel Bartlett, who posted photos of vegan dishes from every country in the world to prove that there are no excuses—you can take your vegan diet with you wherever you go. And that’s really no wonder, since fruit, vegetables, pulses and grains are available everywhere.
But, if you’re anything like me, you enjoy a fine evening out at a restaurant every once in a while. Cooking is lovely, but many travellers don’t have access to a kitchen (tip: get a room or house with one if you can), plus dining out is one of the luxuries of life—one that vegans don’t have to miss out on at all. And when it comes to dining out, some places in the world are easier than others for plant-based travellers.
Sydney offers a variety of options for the hungry vegan. Try authentic Italian pizza at Gigi’s, indulge in burgers at Soul Burger, or an ice cream at Gelato Blue. Sydney’s first vegan pub, The Green Lion, is definitely on my must-try list. For some vegan health and beauty shopping, head to The Cruelty Free Shop: a 100 per cent vegan store offering food, cosmetics and household items such as cleaning products and candles.
Melbourne has almost 100 vegan-friendly restaurants, according to HappyCow at the time of writing this book. Try Smith & Deli for a vegan poached egg (!), enjoy a vegan pizza at Red Sparrow Pizza or tacos at Trippy Taco. Are you a health-food fan? Go wild with the deluxe smoothie selection at Matcha Mylkbar. If you, like me, are a huge fan of desserts, then Girls & Boys will be your new favourite: this takeaway spot offers fudge bars, cakes and ice cream. Bonus: it’s right next to Vegie Bar, another plant-based hotspot.
Singapore is a favourite among plant-based food lovers thanks to spots like Asian fusion specialists Genesis Vegan Restaurant, falafel spot Fill a Pita and cake paradise, HotCakes. For irresistible vegan junk food galore, head to VeganBurg, and for healthy yet enticing dishes, try HRVST.
London is a mecca for vegan culinary exploration that never ends. During my four years of living in the English capital, I had the chance to sample so many indulgences—and there are so many left to try. Among the top contenders for best vegan eatery are comfort food spot Manna, gourmet burger paradise Mildreds and innovative health-food haven Vantra. If you happen to be in the King’s Cross area, stop by the all-vegan shop Vx for takeaway, vegan snacks and cakes.
New York has been considered one of the most vegan-friendly cities on the planet for a long time, and if you hear about a new vegan shop, restaurant or fashion label popping up, you can bet that nine times out of ten, it will be here. Pioneering vegan brand VAUTE has their boutique here, and the city is a haven for delicious plant-based food, from the Impossible Burger (which looks and tastes exactly like meat) to mouth-watering doughnuts at Dun-Well.
Los Angeles is the number-one spot for health-minded vegans, with a vast selection of plant-based options that are great for the mind, body and spirit. Enjoy organic and seasonal meals at Café Gratitude, Mediterranean-inspired delights at Moby’s restaurant Little Pine, and sophisticated deliciousness at Crossroads. If you’re in the mood for shopping, don’t miss Vegan Scene, a concept store in vibrant Venice Beach carrying men’s and women’s fashion, gifts and accessories.
Berlin topped HappyCow’s list of best destinations for vegan travellers in 2017. The German city is known as a plant-based paradise and boasts an entire area dedicated to vegetarian and vegan restaurants. From greasy burgers to raw gourmet cuisine, Berlin is the place to be if you’re a vegan traveller. Places to try: superfood haven LAB Kitchen; mouth-watering bakery Cafe Velicious; and the entirely vegan supermarket Veganz, full of plant-based goodness. If you’re after more than just food, explore the vegan shopping at DearGoods, a fashion concept store offering fair-trade, organic and vegan designs.
Paris has recently upped the stakes in its plant-based offerings—in just a few years, it’s gone from a relatively clueless place when it comes to anything meat-free, to a culinary destination full of veggie delights. Visit the refined eatery Gentle Gourmet for creative dishes crafted from fresh and zesty ingredients, or why not try raw vegan dining at 42 Degrés? Relish the feeling of being able to eat everything on the menu at 100 per cent vegan Café Ginger, then finish off with dessert at Patisserie V.
Amsterdam was chosen as the most vegan-friendly city in Europe by holiday lettings company Holidu in 2017. See just how creative plant-based dining can be at the Meatless District restaurant, sample eclectic international cuisine from all corners of the world at Jackson Dubois and finish off with dessert at Koffie ende Koeck, an all-vegan cafe serving baked goods that will seriously tempt your taste buds. If you happen to be in town for Amsterdam Fashion Week, remember that it’s one of the relatively few Fashion Weeks in the world that is 100 per cent fur-free.
Milan was not vegan-friendly at all when I lived there—but in the last few years, veggie food offerings have really blossomed in this northern Italian city. Grab a burger at one of Universo Vegano’s locations, explore innovative vegetarian cuisine at Joia, or have the best tiramisu of your life at Alhambra Cafè. Bonus: you can now enjoy soy milk in your cappuccino at most of the city’s cafes, which wasn’t the case when I called this place home. Back then, some baristas didn’t even know what soy milk was!