As the popularity of animal-friendly eating continues to grow, more
and more restaurants are offering great-tasting vegetarian options.
We've searched the United States and Canada for the best
vegetarian-friendly cities in 2006, and we've compiled our picks here. If your
town didn't make the list, don't fear—these days, any restaurant worth
its salt offers vegetarian meals, and online guides such as VegGuide.org, VegDining.com and HappyCow.net can help you find the best places to dine in your area.
Plus, many of the top chain restaurants and fast-food establishments are offering terrific vegetarian selections, so you can enjoy cruelty-free foods anywhere you go.
Other cities might be bigger, but beautiful Portland, Oregon, reigns
as the most vegetarian-friendly large city in the United States. From
food-cart vendors who hawk vegetarian eats on the street to restaurants
that offer more upscale cuisine, Portland sure caters to every
vegetarian's wallet and palate with a seemingly unending array of
Several restaurants focus exclusively on animal-friendly fare, including Veganopolis,
which will tempt your taste buds with delicious, affordable offerings
such as the Tofurky Melt, the Seitan Caesar sandwich, and an assortment
of vegetarian burgers and grinders. If you like food from the other
side of the world, check out Vege Thai.
Both of these restaurants serve a wide variety of mock meats and other
tasty dishes. The Kalga Kafé offers great organic, international
vegetarian choices and is open late.
Wake up and head over to the Paradox Palace Café for breakfast,
where you'll find vegan versions of pancakes, French toast, sausage,
and biscuits and gravy. (It also serves a dinner menu.) Later on, swing
over to Zack's Shack, a hole-in-the-wall stand, for a tofu-dog lunch on
the go. Or get a soy cheese- and veggie-topped pie at It's a Beautiful
Pizza, where you can lounge on the patio and knock back a few beers
while you wait. For sensationally sweet treats, try Scooter's for vegan
ice cream, or head to Voodoo Donuts,
which offers an ever-changing variety of decadent vegan donuts. Dot's
Café offers a wide variety of hearty fare, including a falafel
sandwich, a beans-and-rice platter, burritos, a daily vegan soup, spicy
fries with tofu sauce, and the scrumptious Vegan Deluxe sandwich.
If you live in Portland, you've probably already heard of Food Fight!,
a vegan grocery store that offers fantastic vegan vittles. If you can't
make it to Portland, never fear—Food Fight! can ship goodies right to
your door. There's also the Daily Grind grocery store, which makes
vegan pies, cookies, and breads. It also has an extensive bulk-food
section. (The vegan coconut ice cream gets an A+.) Portland-based
Herbivore Clothing doesn't sell food, but its hot threads will let you
spread the word about vegetarianism wherever your travels take you.
Bike store VeloShop will supply you with nonleather riding gloves, footwear, and other
cycling accessories. Don't forget about your companion animals:
Portland Pet Supply has bulk vegetarian treats, and they'll even give
your doggy pal a free sample. For more tips on the vegetarian scene in
Portland, check out Food Fight!'s guide, or visit Northwest Veg's unveiled VegPortland.com, a comprehensive guide to all the
vegetarian-friendly restaurants, groceries, and bakeries in the
Top Tip: Paradox Palace Café and Voodoo Donuts make Portland one of the tastiest places anywhere to eat breakfast.
The Emerald City shines once again in PETA's survey of the most
vegetarian-friendly cities in North America. Seattle is such a hotbed
of vegetarian goodness that it even has a Web site called VegSeattle.com.
Because there are so many people there who are opting for a healthy
vegetarian diet, it's no surprise that Seattle was named "America's
Fittest City" in 2005 by Men's Fitness magazine. If you're in Seattle at the right time of year, be sure to attend the massive VegFest, which is hosted by Vegetarians of Washington, one of the largest vegetarian organizations in North America.
Seattle's vegetarian food options are as numerous as they are unique. Start the day off at Mighty O Vegan Donut Shop.
It's one of the only all-vegan donut shops in the world. We suggest the
Don King—a chocolate-covered chocolate donut topped with shredded
coconut. You'll find more fun food at Cyber-Dogs,
the all-vegetarian hot dog shop and ultra-funky Internet café in the
downtown core, named "Best Healthy Hot Dog Vendor" by Seattle Weekly.
Choose from creatively named and garnished "hot dogs," such as the
DoggiLama and the Spudni. Vegan Chinese restaurant Bamboo Garden serves more than 100 different dishes.
Visit Hillside Quickies for a taste of "hip-hop vegan"—the Jamaican
Spice Tempeh Sub and the Mama Africa Burger get rave reviews. Seattle's
University District, one of the most vegetarian-friendly neighborhoods
in America, is also home to the city's best vegetarian sandwiches,
including the Wayward Café's Philly Seitan and the Spicy Thai Grinder
that's available at the Chaco Canyon Café. You'll be "on top of the
world" when you dine in the Space Needle; just request a vegan meal
when you make your reservation. If you're looking for high-class
ambience or the perfect date spot, try the very popular Café Flora, or
check out cozy Carmelita and its wonderful wine list.
If you're cooking at home, be sure to try Field Roast's "artisan meats," made in Seattle by Chef David Lee. The high-quality, grain-based deli
slices and sausages are available at many Whole Foods and Wild Oats
stores throughout the country. Seattle is also home to Puget Consumers Cooperative (PCC),
the nation's largest natural-foods cooperative chain; there are eight
locations in the Seattle area. PCC has tons of vegetarian and vegan
grocery items, delicious baked goods, and some great deli selections.
Top Tip: The best worst-kept secret in Seattle is
the daily, awe-inspiring, all-vegan Thai lunch buffet at Araya's, where
you can eat spring rolls, tofu with fried rice, and pad Thai to your
The City by the Bay is so vegetarian-friendly, it has multiple
organizations and handy Web resources devoted to herbivores, including Bay Area Vegetarians, the San Francisco Vegetarian Society, and VegSF.com.
San Francisco is also home to both the Giants' SBC Park, which has the
best meatless stadium fare in baseball, and our friends at VegNews Magazine.
To see that vegetarians are turning the tide and have meat on the
retreat, one need look no further than Geranium—this
vegetarian-comfort-food joint is located in a former butcher shop.
Also, tickle your taste buds at the gourmet restaurant Millennium.
Bring in a flesh-eating friend for the monthly "Convert a Carnivore"
night—you'll get a discount and will spare an animal's life. Here's the
dirt on the Bay Area's best vegan ice cream—Maggie Mudd is an independently owned and operated ice creamery with store
locations in San Francisco. Try your favorite vegan flavor in a sundae,
split, or float.
The caramelized "chicken" at Golden Era comes highly recommended. Herbivore is a trendy, all-vegan restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the too-good-to-be-true category, Barney's Gourmet Hamburgers has nine vegetarian burgers on its menu. And be sure not to forget
about the long-time San Francisco vegetarian mainstays Shangri-La and
Bok Choy Garden, which have both been around for more than two decades.
The Rainbow Vegetarian Grocery Co-Op is the future of grocery stores with its breathtaking, all-vegetarian selection of unique foods.
San Francisco has so many vegetarian-friendly options that we're starting to run out of space, so check out Bay Area Vegetarians' restaurant guide for more info. On a side note—if you're looking to improve your own
vegetarian-cooking skills, be sure to check out "Vegetarian Cooking
With Compassionate Cooks," an engaging DVD presentation hosted by
PETA's own Alka Chandna and San Francisco's Colleen Patrick-Goudreau,
who hosts regular cooking classes in the Bay Area.
Top Tip: It's somewhat pricey, but if you can afford to splurge, make reservations at Millennium.
The Big Apple is a veritable vegetable mecca, with enough
vegetarian-friendly eateries to last a lifetime of New York minutes. If
you're really obsessed with good food, visit them all—they're just a
train ride away!
There are so many vegetarian options in New York City that it's impossible to pick the best one. FineTuning.com hails Red Bamboo, Gobo , and Hangawi, while New York magazine praises Sukhadia's Gokul's Bombay Pav Vada (deep-fried potato turnover) as the city's best
vegetarian sandwich. We think that the Big Mack Daddy Veggie Burger at Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop is one of the nation's best meatless creations. Angelica Kitchen has a highly acclaimed all-vegan menu. We at PETA are also fond of Pure Food and Wine and its chef Matthew Kenney.
New York is home to two of the best organic vegan restaurants in America—Candle Café and Candle 79. Seitan fans, rejoice, because the fiery folks at these
restaurants have "wheat meat" perfected—try the Seitan Piccata at
Candle 79. Once you have practiced spelling "seitan," you'll be ready
to join the Vegetarian Scrabble Club.
In New York City, many nonvegetarian restaurants also dish up
delicious cruelty-free options. Atlas Café now has vegan dessert
crêpes, sandwiches, and an excellent Moroccan Vegan Chicken Crêpe,
which is filled with soy chicken, onions, and peppers and covered with
a spicy sun-dried tomato sauce. Two Boots offers some delicious vegan
pizzas on its menu.
Plug in at Soy Luck Club if you have work to do. Its signature Green Tea Soy Latté (along with
several vegan snacks) will refresh you, and the complimentary
high-speed Internet access will keep you connected. The place to see
and be seen is Teany, a café-style restaurant run by vegan music superstar Moby. And every fashionable, animal-friendly shopper should stop by Moo Shoes for a new pair of über-stylish pedal pushers or pavement pounders.
Top Tip: For the best late-night munchies in New York City, try Food Swings in Brooklyn. This vegan fast-food-style hangout has its own cult
following (its "drumsticks" and vegan milkshakes are legendary). Its
whole menu is mouthwatering!
Life is peachy for vegetarians in Atlanta. From soul food to sweet
treats to authentic global cuisine, Atlanta and its surrounding towns
have a terrific variety of vegan food options.
You won't want to miss the all-vegetarian Green Sprout,
which our sources say has some of the best soups they've ever tasted.
Several people also told us that when they want a taste of the sea
without hurting Nemo, they order Green Sprout's delicious "Fish" Filets
With Crispy Bean-Curd Skin. For a lazy evening, use its free
home-delivery service for an order of Empire "Chicken" and some
Pan-Seared Veg Pancakes, which are made with spinach, mushrooms, and
onions. The faux shrimp at Harmony look and taste like the real thing,
and the Indian food at Udipi is tantalizing, though you should wear loose pants if you are trying the buffet! Lush Café,
where you can sit on a patio in the middle of a gorgeous garden, offers
upscale vegetarian cuisine. Need an energy boost from fresh fruits and
vegetables after your meal? Arden's Garden, which makes fresh
vegetarian juices and smoothies, has four locations in the Atlanta
Soul food is a must below the Mason-Dixon line. For cooking that's
better than your mama's, nobody is better than Soul Vegetarian, which
has two Atlanta locations. Gather your crew for vegan chocolate
milkshakes and a heap of onion rings. Café Sunflower, one of USA Today's
"10 Great Places to Eat With an Easy Conscience," has two locations in
Atlanta. The vegetarian-friendly menu includes Italian, Thai, Mexican,
Chinese, and American dishes (leave room for the vegan chocolate cake).
The Flying Biscuit Café also has two locations and serves several animal-friendly options,
including the Vegan Southern-Style Burrito, which is loaded with
barbecued tofu, collard greens, and mushrooms folded into a sun-dried
tomato tortilla that's topped with salsa verde.
Top Tip: No bones about it, Harmony makes the best
vegan sesame chicken anywhere. The chunks of "chicken" are dipped in a
sesame batter, fried, and served with a thick-and-sweet sesame sauce.
Republican, Democrat, Whig—who cares? We all need to eat, and
nothing hits the spot better than a healthy, hearty, humane meal—just
ask vegetarian "first niece" and model Lauren Bush, who takes her Texas
toast with soy sausage or fakin' bacon. It's no surprise that the
nation's capital is packed with vegetarians—it's the home of the first
American group for plant-eaters, the Vegetarian Society of the District of Columbia, which was founded in 1927.
The D.C.-metro area boasts numerous vegetarian-friendly restaurants
and 11 extra-vegetarian-friendly grocery stores. Right in the heart of
D.C., Java Green is completely vegan and completely delicious. We
recommend the "Turkey" Club Panini, the Chili-"Chicken" Wrap, or any
dish to which you can add Java Green's dreamy vegan whipped cream. Head
to The Vegetable Garden in Bethesda for a huge array of vegetarian cuisine. Both The Vegetable
Garden and Java Green hold regular fundraisers in support of the
terrific local animal-advocacy group Compassion Over Killing.
For more unique dishes, try the Peking "Duck" at Yuan Fu or the
Sunflower Satisfaction (a delightful combination of gourmet mushrooms,
snow peas, and chickpeas in a zesty orange sauce) at Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant.
The U.S. government just declared the all-vegan Sticky Fingers Bakery a national landmark. Well, not really, but just one bite of a Sticky
Fingers cinnamon bun will put you in a good mood for the rest of your
visit to the nation's capital. If you're more of a partier than a
sightseer, hole up at Asylum Bar and Lounge, where the waffle fries
swimming in melted soy cheese are the perfect companion for your spirit
of choice. It also serves a great vegan brunch on Saturdays and Sundays
from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. that's worth getting out of bed for. Try the
Chili-"Cheese" Tofu Scramble or the super-popular French Toast.
Top Tip: Want a run-down of the city's soy-cheese pizza selections or tasty mock meats? Check out VegDC.com, the definitive source on the vegetarian scene in the District of Columbia and outlying areas.
Minneapolis, the home of vegan rock star Prince, offers hungry
Midwesterners more than 200 vegetarian-friendly restaurants and grocery
stores and 16 health-food stores and natural-foods co-ops.
which has three locations in the Twin Cities, offers vegan cheese,
sausage, and pepperoni, along with an awesome variety of vegetarian
sandwiches, including its Special Spicy Mock Sausage Hoagie. The
all-vegan Ecopolitan sells upscale raw and organic foods and cruelty-free, nontoxic home and
body products. For something with a bit more edge, visit Triple Rock, a
grungy, greasy-spoon punk bar that welcomes everyone while offering
vegan White Russians, sloppy joes, and chili fries, plus fantastic
vegan pancakes and French toast on weekend mornings.
Café Brenda serves up the unique taste of mock duck in the Southwestern Mock Duck
Taco and Ginger-Glazed Mock Duck Salad. You can also opt for the savory
and good-for-you Brenda Burger, which is made with brown rice,
vegetables, and nuts. Loaf around at the French Meadow Bakery and Café,
where the bread is completely vegan and fresh-baked daily. Try the
Grilled Tempeh Reuben or the Winter Casserole With Alfredo Sauce. You
won't be able to resist its vegan cookies, muffins, and scones, and
kids will love the Vegan Brown-Rice Crispy. And for some amazing Indian
food, head to the all-vegetarian, award-winning Udupi Café in Columbia
For students who are interested in cruelty-free eating,
Compassionate Action for Animals, the University of Minnesota's
vegetarian-advocacy organization, has created ExploreVeg.org, a comprehensive resource for those who are looking for vegetarian options on campus. EarthSave Twin Cities also provides resources on local vegetarian eating and hosts regular outreach and dining events.
Top Tip: Calling itself "The ultimate restaurant and shopping guide for vegetarians and vegans," Minneapolis-based VegGuide.org really does have it all. In addition to having more than 250 restaurant listings for the Twin Cities alone, the site allows visitors to search more than 1,500 entries for
vegetarian-friendly eateries, hotels, and shops all over the world!
State capital Austin might be University of Texas Longhorn country,
but many folks in this vegetarian-friendly oasis would rather meet cows
than eat them. And whether you're a long-time devotee of vegan eating
or are just curious, meet up with Vegans Rock Austin, which provides a great way for animal-friendly folks to socialize and come together to do what vegans do best—eat!
In Austin's world of cafés, there are many great choices. Bouldin
Creek Café offers scrumptious vegan chocolate triangles—a variation of
chocolate cake drizzled with chocolate sauce. It also serves up the
city's best scrambled tofu and will substitute it for any scrambled-egg
dish. Everyone raves about the NuAge Café's Shiitake Taro Bowl, a
savory dish made of tender soy cutlets mixed with sautéed shiitake
mushrooms and vegetables in a slightly crisp taro bowl. Don't leave
until you try its excellent vegan desserts, including cake and an array
of fruit sorbets. Mother's Café is perhaps the city's most popular all-vegetarian establishment,
catering to a wide-and-loyal customer base. It's easy to understand why
when you try the Spicy Tempeh Enchiladas, which come drenched in a
to-die-for creamy chipotle sauce.
There's a nice array of vegetarian-friendly Mexican and Southwestern restaurants in these parts. Leading the way is Mr. Natural,
where the whole menu of traditional favorites is meatless and the cakes
and pies are irresistible. At the organic vegan restaurant Casa de Luz, a set meal with a different theme is offered each night. The Kerbey Lane Café, with four locations, has an extensive vegetarian selection and is open 24 hours a day.
Shanghai River, an unheralded Austin gem, has a sizeable animal-free
selection on its daily lunch buffet and delectable, made-from-scratch
soy soft serve. Thundercloud Subs,
another city highlight with more than 20 locations, serves up lots of
vegetarian options, including its Nada "Chicken" and Veggie Burger
sandwiches. And for those who aspire to go to Veggie Heaven, you can.
It's an all-vegetarian Chinese restaurant located right next to the
University of Texas campus.
Top Tip: Austin is the home of the first Whole Foods store and is also the home of its vegan founder, animal welfare
advocate John Mackey. Whole Foods' massive flagship store in Central
Austin is a must-visit, with tons of great food and an entire "beer
alley." But don't forget the little guy—Wheatsville Co-Op has a very vegan-friendly deli.
Ah, Philadelphia—the City of Brotherly Love and home of the Philly
cheesesteak. Vegetarians, rejoice, for we, too, can be part of the
"cheesy" embrace without supporting the cruel dairy industry. Indulge in the tastes-so-heavenly goodness of the vegan Philly cheesesteaks at Gianna's Grille and Basic Four. Gianna's, known by vegetarians nationwide, is also
popular for its vegan pizza and its piled-high mock-meat hoagies.
If you're up for a taste of the Far East, then you're in
luck—Philadelphia has several all-vegetarian Asian restaurants. Kingdom
of Vegetarians, New Harmony, Singapore, and 1010 Cherry are all
definitely worth visiting. Or fill yourself with Philly falafel at Maoz Vegetarian, where you can create your own meal one ingredient at a time. For night owls, Maoz serves food into the early morning.
Heading to a Phillies game? Citizens Bank Park serves veggie dogs
and other meat-free ballpark snacks, earning it a spot on PETA's "Top
10 Vegetarian-Friendly Ballparks." If you're in Philly or State College
(the home of Penn State), check out Mad Mex for tofu and bean burritos or quesadillas made with soy cheese and
vegan sour cream. Govinda's offers a wide variety of tasty cuisine,
including an Indian buffet and terrific desserts. The highly regarded,
upscale Horizon's Café rocks even the most hardcore meat-eater's world. For more information on the best vegetarian eating in town, check out VegPhilly.com, which includes restaurant reviews and information on local vegetarian-friendly events.
Top Tip: A visit to Philly just wouldn't be
complete without stopping at Gianna's Grille for the GG Special—the
restaurant's vegan version of the Philly cheesesteak.
Sure, Chicago was built on the slaughter industry, but we try not to
let sordid pasts get in the way of bright futures. After all, the Windy
City has come a long way since Upton Sinclair's bloody butcherfest, The Jungle. These days, Chi-town boasts more than 20 vegetarian restaurants, including the famous "Meat-Free Since '83" Chicago Diner,
perhaps the best homestyle-vegetarian restaurant in North America.
You'll have to go there more than once, because there's no way you can
miss the Bayou Tofish, BBQ Seitan Wings, or Lentil-Tempeh Shepherd's
For vegetables gone ultra-gourmet, we hear that Charlie Trotter's $115-a-person vegetarian menu is a tantalizing experience—if you can
handle the price tag. The Green Zebra was rated one of Chicago's best
new restaurants and called "the hottest reservation in town" by The New York Times.
If you're looking for something that's lighter on the pocketbook,
Irazu's is the best place for a $5 lunch Costa Rican-style—try the
veggie burrito or vegetarian plate, which changes daily, with a side of tostones. The thick, rich chocolate soy milkshake at Earwax Café is delicious, as are the vegan sloppy joes, Reubens, and cakes.
Soul Vegetarian East features super-savory choices, such as
barbecued seitan, veggie burgers, vegan gyros, and a fantastic macaroni
and "cheese." Try the breaded, fried seitan with corn and mashed
potatoes and gravy. Karyn's Raw offers an exotic array of upscale, uncooked dishes. Its sister restaurant, Karyn's Cooked,
offers jerk tofu, seitan steak, and the very popular "Slab of Ribs,"
which is 100 percent pig-free but doesn't taste like it. Although many
mock meats are made with soy or wheat protein, Karyn's tasty "meatball"
sandwich is made using lentils, one of the healthiest foods around.
For the full scoop on vegetarian eating in Chicago, grab a copy of Veg Out! Vegetarian Guide to Chicago. If you prefer to stick to the Internet, visit VegGuide.org or VegChicago.com.
Top Tip: It's worth taking a road trip to the Windy
City just for the Chicago Diner. And if you have some spare time, buy
some extra Diner food and drive it down to PETA's office in Virginia!
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.