It feels a little too soon to start firmly planning any trips, and the thought of doing so with any amount of commitment, only to be disappointment when it isn’t possible, just seems too crushing right now. But, at the same time, I’ve found it helpful to think ahead, in a sort of non-concrete, wistful way, to the days when travelling becomes safe again, and to imagine all the places to go, the things to see and do, and, of course, the different foods to eat.
Trying new restaurants is one of the great pleasures of travelling. It helps expands our culinary knowledge, and creates a lasting impression and connection to the places we explore. This list was constructed with that in mind, and out of the need to find some optimism, and something to look forward to. I hope that it whets your appetite for all the adventures yet to come.
At present, some of these restaurants may still not be able to do indoor dining, but you can always order take-out or delivery.
Healthy Conscience (St. Petersburg, Russia)
In all honesty I know nothing of Russia’s vegan food scene, but Healthy Conscience is proof that it’s thriving. Located in St. Petersburg, Russia’s cultural capital on the Baltic Sea, Healthy Conscience’s menu is a bit eclectic. They have spectacular looking sushi plates with unique, artisanal ingredients like kelp caviars, but they also have smoothie bowls, juices and Linseed porridge. And then they also serve some traditional veganized Russian dishes like Okroshka. While the menu may seem a bit quirky, there is clearly a lot of care and expertise going into each dish.
Crossroads (Los Angeles, California)
Crossroads will need no introduction to many – it’s one of the most well-known and popular vegan restaurants in the world – and all the raves and acclaim are more than justified. Yes, the food is beautiful to look at, aesthetically innovative and clever, but there is a lot of substance and culinary prowess behind it. Crossroads creates the kind of food that bridges the gap between vegans and carnivores, and elevates plant-based cuisine to a place where it can be enjoyed regardless of your palette. Some typical dish examples: eggplant filet with truffle potatoes and bordelaise sauce, stuffed zucchini blossoms, and parsnip gratin stuffed onion.
La Tecia Vegana (Venice, Italy)
Good news for plant-based travellers – Venice actually has a few vegan restaurants! Well two actually but that’s better than nothing and there will likely be more in the future. La Tecia Vegana serves plant-based versions of classic hearty Italian dishes and desserts, including handmade ravioli, gnocchi, lasagna with seitan ragu and of course tiramisu to top it all off. Food is integral part of Italian culture, and indulging in local cuisine is a must, but the country’s traditional dishes are not known to be vegan friendly. With La Tecia Vegana, vegans don’t have to feel left out from the Italian culinary experience!
Vegan World Peace (Reykjavik, Iceland)
Iceland is at the top of my list of places to visit once travel becomes possible again, and Vegan World Peace is extra incentive to make the trek to the Nordic nation’s capital. Vegan World Peace is actually part of the expansive Loving Hut restaurant chain. Each franchise is independently operated and creates their unique own menu, but like most of the locations, Vegan World Peace maintains a connection to the company’s Vietnamese roots with a menu of mostly Asian style dishes. Prices are a bit more than typical of a Loving Hut restaurant, but it is Iceland and things tend to be more expensive there in general.
Trevi’s (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
While it might seem a bit odd to travel all the way to the Netherlands for Italian food, Trevi’s is a culinary experience not too be missed. Many claim that it’s some of the best Italian food they’ve had, plant based or not. Pizza, pasta, focaccia and more – Trevi’s has all the hearty staples to keep you fueled for a long, leisurely hike or bike around the most walkable of cities. Seating is limited, so best to make a reservation online in advance if you plan on eating in.
Vegan Beat (Athen’s Greece)
Greece is a tourist dream, and Athens is the apex of it all, with a dizzying amount of attractions and nearly forty completely vegan restaurants to try. Vegan Beat is a quick serve restaurant, with limited seating, that serves a mixture of salads, wraps, burgers, juices and sweets. While it’s a bit of jaunt outside of the city core, their Banoffee tart alone looks like it would make the journey worthwhile. It’s also not far from Alsos Papagou park, a lovely strip of urban greenery that would be the ideal spot to enjoy some take-away.
Shift Eatery (Sydney, Australia)
The lovely cosmopolitan capital of South Wales is a perfect destination to take in the best Australia has to offer, including its thriving food scene. Shift Eatery has the distinction of being Sydney’s first vegan deli, and they offer a substantial menu of sandwiches, bowls, salads, and smoothies. Their vegan bacon and egg bagels have gotten a lot of acclaim and apparently sell out quickly, so arrive early if you want to give it a try. They do have a few outdoor tables, but this is mostly a take-away kind of place.
Komeda Is (Tokyo)
Tokyo is a dazzling, enchanting metropolis with a limitless amount of urban treasures to discover. Komeda Is one such treasure. Komeda is a popular Japanese coffee shop franchise, but Komeda Is, located near Tokyo’s core, is a plant-based branch that serves a large cafe style menu of sandwiches, drinks, salads and more. It’s also known for its super chill atmosphere. Given the frenetic and enormous nature of Tokyo, you’ll probably need a good quiet place to relax for a bit, and Komeda Is is the perfect spot to unwind – also they serve alcohol in addition to coffee drinks.
VegAmo (Mexico City)
It’s currently -11 degrees Celsius in Toronto, so a visit to Mexico City sounds very appealing right about now. Just imagine relaxing on the patio of VegAmo, a popular vegan cafe with locations in the Roma and Tepito neighbourhoods, taking in the sweet, warm morning air while enjoying an americano and some of VegAmo’s delectable French Toast, made with Homemade brioche and served with homemade jam, red berries, vegan ice cream and maple syrup. Of course, there is much, much more on their menu to be enjoyed – and yes, they also serve alcohol. Sounds nice doesn’t it?
Ao 26, Vegan Food Project (Lisbon, Portugal)
I was foolish during my trip to Lisbon and didn’t make a reservation at Ao 26. I tried dropping in to see if I can get a table, but no such luck, and from what I understand, it’s pretty much impossible to get a table without a reservation – and I missed my opportunity. Learn from my mistakes. It will be certainly be the first restaurant I try when I return. And Lisbon is a place you’ll want to return to multiple times. In the midst of so much rich history, stunning architecture, and generous amounts of sun, warmth and nature, it’s not hard to see where Ao 26 pulls the inspiration from for its colourful and innovative dishes.
Lekker Vegan (Cape Town, South Africa)
There is something that’s endlessly pleasing about vegan junk food. It flies in the face of all the naysayers, all those who insist that vegan food is bland, boring, and consists of little more than broccoli and lettuce. Lekker Vegan takes vegan food junk to staggering new heights, literarily, with massive burger towers, stuffed with meaty vegan chunks, cheeses, chick’un, hash browns, meatballs and more. And that’s just the burgers. They also have epic sized sandwiches, wraps, bowls and desserts. Don’t worry about eating too much. There’s lots to see and do in Cape Town, and you’ll have no trouble burning off those calories – perhaps with a hike up Tabletop Mountain.
Filthy Vegan (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
You might not expect to find vegan fast food in Ho Chi Minh City, but it does indeed exist. Ho Chi Minh City in fact has been working its way up the chain of most vegan friendly cities and now has a whopping 96 completely vegan restaurants. Yet Filthy Vegan is still fairly unique in its offerings. They have hot dogs, hamburgers, tacos, pizza and more. It’s also located in the hearty of the city, so there’s lots nearby to see, do and explore.
Headed by Chef Mark Senn, Veginity is a fine dining restaurant in the trendy Philsborough neighbourhood that serves elevated street food. Their menu encompasses breakfast, brunch, dinner, and desserts, and they also have a nitro genius bar where they brew nitro brew coffee and kombucha blends. The menu changes depending on the time and year and everything is made from scratch, with fresh seasonal produce. A three coarse set menu is 35 Euros (around $50 Canadian), which is really not bad at all for what is certain to be a memorable and high-quality meal.
Pizzis and Cream (Vienna, Austria)
Pizza is an essential food group, and taste-testing the many unique variations and flavours found in cities across the globe is a worthy goal for any traveller. Pizzis and Cream is a completely vegan pizzeria in Vienna’s Neubau district, an area known for its trendy eateries and hip, independent shopping venues. They have eight different types of pizzas, from margherita to Hawaiian, plus some appetizers, and the garlic knots are legendary. They do have some seating, but it’s minimal so this is mostly a take-out place.
Suculenta Sanguchería Vegana (Santiago, Chile)
Chile is known for its adventurous, innovative and boundary pushing cuisine, and the vegan cuisine in the country is no exception. There are 49 vegan restaurants in Santiago, Chile’s capital city, featuring a large variety of cuisines, but if you want to experience authentic Chilean food, Suculenta Sangucheria Vegana is a great option. Their menu consists of traditional Chilean sandwiches, like Churrasco Chacarero (steak and beans), made vegan. Sitting appears to be somewhat limited, but they also do delivery and take-out.