Have you heard the phrase “will travel for vegan food?” Well, I tend to take this quite literally and make it a point to research and visit vegan restaurants around the globe. To me, it is fascinating to see how plant-based cuisine is interpreted and implemented in different parts of the world. Vegan dining may not be the main reason for my travels, but it certainly is something that I incorporate into each trip that I take, whether it’s across town or across the ocean. Here are my top 5 favorites, in no particular order (because it’s hard for me to decide as they’re all so fantastic!).
1. Crossroads – Los Angeles, CA, USA
Crossroads is located on Melrose in West Hollywood, a place where you probably would not be surprised to see a trendy vegan restaurant. However, Crossroads is so much more than that, delivering on not only food and ambiance but service as well. They do upscale, vegan dining and do it right. All of their menu items are flavorful and inventive, and the menu offers certain dishes that I have never seen repeated anywhere else, such as their artichoke oysters. This is probably due to the talent behind the menu dishes, Tal Ronnen. His artfully crafted plant-based food has been recognized nationally, and he has catered several high profile events, such as a celebrity wedding and a US Senate dinner. When out in LA, dining at Crossroads is an experience not to be missed.
2. Moment – Prague, Czech Republic
Having been recently recognized as one of the most vegan-friendly cities in Europe, there was no shortage of plant-based restaurants in Prague, but Moment stood out as my favorite. The place itself is quaint and makes you feel instantly comfortable when you walk in. The mismatched chairs, bookshelves full of books and quiet nooks make for a perfect place to relax for a bit, all while tasting some delicious plant-based food. Their menu is 100% vegan, and they are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The location is in a quieter part of town, right next to a park and away from the business of the major tourist attractions. It is a refreshing change from the meat-heavy dishes that tend to dominate Czech cuisine. Be sure to add Moment to your dining selections if you find yourself in Prague.
3. Grassy Hopper – Valletta, Malta
In a country covering just 316 km2 with a population of just under 450,000, the Mediterranean island of Malta is home to one of my favorite plant-based restaurants. What started as a vegetarian kiosk has grown itself into two brick and mortar locations on the island. It’s newest one, in the capital city of Valletta, was the one I was lucky enough to visit. Their menu features nutrient-dense dishes featuring local, seasonal ingredients. GH focuses on sustainable farming through their use of compostable packaging and their partnership with an organization that turns their organic waste into usable compost. With the belief that “Food is the basis for us to live to our full potential,” they promote a healthy lifestyle in their blog and podcast.
4. Greenspace Cafe – Ferndale, MI USA
Recognized cardiologist and author Dr. Joel Kahn holds the belief that food can heal and understands that a plant-based diet is important to that healing. With the help of his family and a talented team, he opened Greenspace Café in a trendy metro Detroit neighborhood. Greenspace blends style and substance with a cleverly designed interior serving artisanal dishes crafted with locally grown ingredients. It’s a casual but elegant eatery equipped with a full bar and skillfully crafted cocktails. You can join them for lunch, dinner, or brunch on Sunday. Their latest addition to the Greenspace name is a food truck which provides tasty plant-based food to summer events and festivals.
5. Grassroots Pantry – Hong Kong, China
This was actually a last minute addition to my list. Just last week I was in Hong Kong and discovered this wonderful gem. Since its original founding in 2012, Grassroots has grown from a cozy restaurant and a beautiful location in the Soho area of Hong Kong that also offers catering. The restaurant itself is aesthetically pleasing, and the service is top notch. However, none of that holds a candle to the delectable dishes that they create. With an aim to educate the community on the importance of sustainable food practices, they set an example by sourcing their ingredients from local farms. I can definitely see another trip to Hong Kong in the near future, if not for the sole reason of eating at Grassroots Pantry again!
Now get out there, travel the world and eat some vegan food! What are your favorite vegan restaurants across the world?
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Photo: Respective Restaurants