Vegans used to be the oddball at the party, munching on carrot sticks and veggie burgers while other partygoers gawked with hamburgers in hand. But, today, veganism has grown and continues to skyrocket in popularity. Whether it’s another fad like the South Beach Diet, or a lifelong commitment, one thing is for sure: the United States offers up some of the tastiest vegan food for vegans and those who claim they’re just a bit veg-curious. Read on for a few of the best eateries to visit while traveling the U.S.
Chicago Raw– Chicago, IL
For the average-Joe, vegan can be a menacing word. Even more foreign to the standard American diet is eating raw. Chicago Raw, is both. While most would flee from such a combination, omnivorous and vegan restaurant-goers alike agree that the food is spectacular. At Chicago Raw, you’ll only find 100% raw, organic, vegan fare. Unlike cooked food, raw food usually refrains from heating morsels over 106 degrees, a level at which raw foodies agree nutrition content could be lost or altered. They offer myriad smoothies, including Morning Buzz that claims a healthful high with greens powders and more.
Hungry? Their traditional French chili croquettes marry Latin tang and come with a side of Salsa Fresca or couscous. For just $14, a dessert is included in your meal. Chicago Raw can be found at two locations that are based in Chicago, IL: the “french market location,” and the, “gold coast location.” Chicago Raw is just one of the many vegan food hot-spots, with many more neck-and-neck with quality.
To get the best bang for your buck, you should look into getting a hotel in Chicago, so you can visit more of the United States best vegan restaurants in Chicago, like Amitabul, Delicious Cafe, and Karyn’s on Green. Chicago Raw also offers up a weekly takeaway option that provides guests with pre-made raw, vegan food for an entire week for under $140. Be careful, because once you visit Chicago Raw, you might never leave. But, maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all.
Beyond Sushi– New York, NY
“Vegan usually scares people away, but this vegan sushi is SO TASTY!” Says a past diner of Beyond Sushi. The word sushi usually conjures up images of thinly-sliced raw fish, but Beyond Sushi offers no fish on the premiss. In fact, Beyond Sushi is 100% vegan. There are more varieties of rolls than you could ever imagine: Mighty Mushroom, The Haricat, Sweet Tree, and Spicy Mang are just a few. Beyond Sushi also offers individual sushi pieces for sale at just $1.15, like the their baked tofu in a chili mango sauce, or their carrot roll in toasted cayenne.
Can’t decide from the dizzying array? Take Beyond Sushi’s advice and consider one of their rolls or pieces of the month. As if a vegan sushi date couldn’t get any better, Beyond Sushi also caters to your sweet tooth with a range of vegan desserts like Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding and Black Sesame Avocado Coconut Cookie.
Through the month of March, flights to New York, NY are around $250. Be sure to visit other vegan eateries in the area, like the zen-like Dao Palate and the Candle Cafe.
Loving Vegan– Albuquerque, NM
The name says it all– even if you walked into Loving Vegan not so sure about vegan food, you’ll walk out with a different attitude. Loving vegan claims, “New Mexico that’ll blow your tongue away!” If you give them a chance, they’ll do just that. Loving Vegan creates Asian Fusion cuisine, like filling bento boxes that includes delicacies like Vegan Spareribs, Vegan Salmon with Teriyaki Sauce, and Vegan Chicken Steak with Grilled Vegetables. Feeling a bit frisky? Try the Vegan Duck Curry that boasts bell pepper, basil, and tomato.
After you stuff yourself with vegan treats, you’ll be just eight minutes away from a Hipmunk-reviewed four-star hotel to relish in your newfound food coma.
Laughing Seed Cafe– Asheville, NC
Fourth up on your vegan travels is Laughing Seed Cafe, although many might argue it should have been first. Laughing Seed Cafe serves farm-to-table, organic, local vegetarian (and vegan) food. Looking for more spice in your life? Try the gluten-free Jalapeno Onion Fries with organic ketchup for $6. Craving something simple and laid-back after all of your fancy vegan food faire? Help yourself with the Open Market Plate that lets you create your own feast from their basics, like Sea Vegetable Salad, Grilled Marinated Tofu, Brown Rice Steamed Vegetables, and Organic Purple Sauerkraut.
The restaurant began when couple Pam and Scott created food from a community kitchen until they got enough money to have their own. The two purchase mostly organic produce from a farmer’s market on Sundays, and sometimes deliver their food locally on Mondays to supplement customers that order a week’s worth of food at a time.
Feel free to chow down with a local beer in hand, as the cafe also has a bar that offers regional, organic spirits and more. Had too much to drink? Consider staying at the Aloft Asheville Downtown hotel featured on Hipmunk’s site, a hotel within walking-distance .Or, if you’re craving the cocktail flavor without the buzz, Laughing Seed Cafe will be happy to make you a virgin drink.
Be on the lookout for one of their many hosted events. On Valentine’s Day, Chef Matt offered a prix fixe menu that made a couple’s dinner just $60. During such events, Laughing Seed Cafe is booked quickly, and it’s best to make reservations. The cafe also sometimes offers spring cooking classes that include three courses served with wine, beer, or a mocktail.
Whether you’re a vegan or just curious about participating in those Meatless Mondays your coworkers chat about, touring some of the best vegan restaurant hot-spots will open your eyes and your stomach to a variety of new, unforgettable tastes and textures. Chicago, IL; Albequerque, NM; New York, NY; and Asheville, NC all offer up some of the best vegan eats in the U.S.
What’s your favorite U.S. vegan restaurant? Share this post and see what your friends think, too.