First came vegan meat, which has all but taken over grocery store shelves. Then vegan cheese had its rising-star moment. So many people have gone vegan that companies are scrambling to offer vegan egg options, too. And now it’s vegan seafood’s turn, which Smithsonian said is “poised for a boom any minute.” News flash: That minute is now. The shift toward vegan living is so great that even these meat- and seafood-heavy restaurants knew they had to add vegan seafood dishes in order to stay relevant. Take a look at some of the most delectable animal-free seafood dishes in the U.S. (listed in no particular order):
Cavi-art at Blue Sushi Sake Grill
Locations in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Texas
There’s no such thing as cruelty-free caviar. But vegan seaweed-based Cavi-art is a sustainable, shelf-stable delicacy that looks and feel just like the real thing. You can find it at 14 Blue Sushi Sake Grill locations. Now you don’t have to feel guilty about going out for sushi—simply order an avocado, cucumber, or sweet potato roll topped with Cavi-art!
Vegan Fry Combo at Sea Ranger Seafood Station
Looking at Sea Ranger Seafood Station in sunny Ventura, you might not immediately realize that it’s a vegan-friendly spot—but 80% of the menu is animal-free. Among customers’ favorites is the vegan fry combo: two pieces of vegan fish, four crispy vegan shrimp, fresh-cut fries, and coleslaw, with tartar and Ranger sauces on the side. Yum!
O.D.V. Poke Bowl at Wikiwiki Poke Shop
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Think you can’t be vegan and order poke? Think again. Made using Ocean Hugger Foods’ Ahimi (the world’s first vegan alternative to raw tuna), the O.D.V. bowl at Grand Rapids’ Wikiwiki Poke Shop is a fan favorite—so much so that earlier this year, the eatery made the once-temporary menu item a permanent one. The house-made spicy mayo on top really seals the deal.
Vegan Tuna Salad Sandwich at Busboys and Poets
Our D.C. staffers are kind of obsessed with cultural hub Busboys and Poets, and its vegan tuna salad sandwich is certainly one of the reasons why. Chickpeas, relish, nori, carrots, celery, vegan mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions all come together on a French loaf to create one heck of a delicious hoagie.
Hearts-of-Palm Crab Cake at Crustacean
Beverly Hills, California
This restaurant offers vegan crab cakes made using hearts of palm, and the dish is as delicious as it is stunning. “I ordered the heart of palm ‘crabcake’ … even my famously veg adverse husband couldn’t believe it was vegan,” raved one satisfied customer, who also called the restaurant’s vegan options “amazingly innovative.”
Vegan Calamari at The Daily Kitchen & Bar
Actual calamari is pretty gross, not to mention cruel. Thank goodness, then, for places like The Daily Kitchen & Bar in Richmond, where you can order a vegan version of the dish made of hearts of palm, peppadews, and red onion. The chipotle lemon vinaigrette is the perfect dipping sauce for the “[s]weet find.”
Vegan Crab Cakes at Mad Batter Restaurant and Bar
Cape May, New Jersey
It has a really cool name, and the Mad Batter Restaurant and Bar in Cape May serves some really cool vegan fare, too. There are the vegan crab cakes, for instance, which are made of hearts of palm and chickpeas and served with vegan macaroni and cheese as well as grilled vegetables—all topped with a delicious vegan remoulade sauce.
Vegan Scallops at Mama’s & Cafe Baci
Hackettstown, New Jersey
Hackettstown hotspot Mama’s & Cafe Baci has a vegan menu, on which is a must-order appetizer: vegan scallops. Made using seared trumpet mushrooms, the “scallops” are served over a mixed green salad with citrus vinaigrette. No wonder this is considered the best Italian restaurant in Warren County.
Vegan Fish and Chips at Off the Hook
What list of vegan seafood dishes would be complete without fish and chips? Enter Off the Hook, a Las Vegas hotspot that’s serving up some seriously tasty animal-friendly grub. The vegan fish and chips entrée comes with three deep-fried pieces of “fish,” vegan tartar sauce, house-made coleslaw, and French fries. What happens in Vegas doesn’t always need to stay in Vegas—order yours to go!
Vegan Fish Tacos at Pelon’s Baja Grill
A must-have on any roundup of great vegan seafood dishes is vegan fish tacos. Luckily for the staffers at our Norfolk, Virginia, headquarters, Pelon’s Baja Grill has things covered. The eatery is famous for its fish tacos, and the vegan fish tacos are easily its best.
Vegan Shrimp Boil at Shrimp Heads
For a yummier, kinder version of a shrimp boil, head over to San Diego’s Shrimp Heads. The vegan shrimp boil isn’t on the menu, but it is available to order—the restaurant even gives the dish a shout-out on its homepage, calling it “finger lickin’ worthy.”
Just like the O.D.V. bowl from Wikiwiki Poke Shop, vegan seafood is here to stay. These restaurants may not be exclusively vegan, but they do offer options for kind diners, and we love that. All eateries should do the same if they hope to keep feeding future generations.
Every Fish Killed for Food Wanted to Live
Just like all animals, fish are unique individuals who feel pain. Do yourself, Mother Earth, and all sensitive living beings a favor—leave animals off your plate. Click the link below to help save lives.