The World's Best Cities for Vegan and Vegetarian Travelers

Berries for sale in Los Angeles William Felker on Unsplash

Long gone are the days when vacationing vegans and vegetarians had to resign themselves to poking at piles of iceberg lettuce and lukewarm wedges of tofu the consistency and flavor of makeup sponges. Restaurants and markets all over the world now happily cater to herbivores with healthy, hearty, and indulgent offerings that lose nothing from being made without meat. It wasn’t easy, but we narrowed down the world’s most veg-friendly cities to 10 favorites, from plant-pushing pioneers to fresh upstarts. Dig in!


Charis Atlas Heelan contributed to this report.

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Vegan barbecue from Homegrown Smoker in Portland, Oregon Tony Webster [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The forward-thinking, healthy-living, earth-protecting citizenry of Portland has turned Oregon’s largest city into the country’s capital of all things granola—sort of like what San Francisco used to be before all the techie types took over. Visitors who don’t eat animal products fit right in with Portland’s all-natural, cruelty-free ethos. In fact, mere vegetarians who still consume dairy and eggs are liable to feel downright old-fashioned. Vegans, for once, can experience the concept of culinary variety at restaurants and food stores offering vegan barbecue (pictured above from Homegrown Smoker, 8638 N. Lombard), vegan doughnuts (Doe Donuts, 8201 SE Powell), and, at the world’s first all-vegan mini mall (1217 SE Stark), cashew cheeses, coconut bacon, and milk-free soft serve.

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Vx shop in London George Rex / Flickr

Many of the factors that have combined to make London a gastronomic titan, particularly the city’s cosmopolitan character and local chefs’ fearless embrace of new ideas and international flavors, are also reflected in the abundant plant-based dining options here. Few cities can match the global range of London’s restaurants—sometimes on a single menu, as with The Gate’s all-veggie Indo-Euro-Mediterranean fare (there are three locations, but the original is at 51 Queen Caroline Street in Hammersmith). Too much fusion for your palate? Pop into a meatless pizzeria, sushi bar, burger joint, gastropub, or “junk food shop” (like Vx, at 73 Caledonian Road, pictured above). You don’t have to limit yourself to sit-down places, either. Take a stroll through the Broadway Vegan Market held every Saturday on Westgate Street south of London Fields, or take in the swirling ambience of street food stalls, DJs, and hip crowds at the monthly vegan night market in East London (check the event’s Facebook page for date, time, and location). 

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Vegan meal at Tel Aviv's CityTree Urban Ecology Center CityTree
Israel has more vegans per capita than any other nation. A good many of them seem to live in Tel Aviv, where farm-to-table dining and a Mediterranean diet were givens long before those practices became trendy elsewhere. Herbivorous travelers with a fondness for falafel will of course never go hungry in this youthful seaside city. But you don’t have to rule out cuisines beyond the region. Online vegan directory HappyCow has Tel Aviv listings for sushi (The Green Roll, Montefiore St. 30), authentic Ethiopian (Tenat, Chlenov St. 27), and a restaurant called Nanuchka (Lilienblum St. 30) that offers the world’s “only fully vegan Georgian” menu. (That's Georgia the Eurasian country, not the southeastern U.S. state.)

Photo: a vegan meal at Tel Aviv's CityTree Urban Ecology Center
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NYC's Gallow Green at the McKittrick Hotel, home of the immersive z'Sleep No More" production Conor Harrigan/Gallow Green

What makes New York City a great town for vegetarians is the same thing that makes it hard on singles swiping through Tinder: an overwhelming number of options. That green abundance led personal finance website WalletHub to name the Big Apple the best U.S. city for vegans and vegetarians in a 2017 study. New York’s meat-free food was also praised for its easy accessibility and high quality. Can you say the same about your Tinder matches? 

Whether you dine uptown, downtown, or in the boroughs, finding vegetarian options at meat-serving restaurants is as easy as (dairy-free) pie, while fully plant-based eateries run the gamut from fancy (Avant Garden, 130 E. 7th St. in the East Village and 188 Havemeyer St. in Brooklyn) to food truck (The Cinnamon Snail; track locations here). International cuisines likewise span the globe—you can sample vegan crepes and mushroom “escargot” at classically French Délice & Sarrasin in the West Village (20 Christopher St.) or taste a vegetarian spin on traditional Korean at Hangawi (12 E. 32nd St.).

Photo: the rooftop Gallow Green at the McKittrick Hotel (542 W. 27th St.), home of the immersive Sleep No More production 

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<div>Germany might be a <a href="https://www.frommers.com/trip-ideas/food-and-drink/bavarian-vegetarian-meatless-dining-in-germanys-sausage-central" target="_blank">land of sausage and schnitzel</a>, but the country&rsquo;s capital is a veggie bastion. In fact, <a href="https://www.frommers.com/destinations/berlin" target="_blank">Berlin</a> is the &ldquo;world&rsquo;s most vegan-friendly city,&rdquo; <a href="https://www.happycow.net/vegtopics/travel/top-vegan-friendly-cities" target="_blank">according to HappyCow</a>, the meatless eater&rsquo;s answer to Yelp. Search for Berlin on HappyCow&rsquo;s website, and you&rsquo;ll get more than 500 results. The standard-bearer among those restaurants would have to be <a href="http://www.kopps-berlin.de/de/" target="_blank"><strong>Kopps</strong></a> (Linienstrasse 94), known for its elegant setting and five-course tasting menu. For a far more relaxed alternative, head to an outpost of the city&rsquo;s <a href="https://veganz.de/en/" target="_blank"><strong>Veganz</strong></a> grocery store chain and assemble the ingredients for a picnic in the <a href="https://www.frommers.com/destinations/berlin/attractions/tiergarten" target="_blank">Tiergarten</a>&nbsp;(pictured above). In the hip&nbsp;<a href="https://www.frommers.com/destinations/berlin/neighborhoods-in-brief" target="_blank"><strong>Prenzlauer Berg</strong></a> neighborhood in the northeastern part of the city, you&rsquo;ll find more than a dozen restaurants, markets, clothing boutiques, and bars peddling animal-free goods along a single stretch of <strong>Schivelbeiner Strasse</strong>, otherwise known as &ldquo;vegan avenue.&rdquo;</div>
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<div>&nbsp;</div> Gregor Zielke
Germany might be a land of sausage and schnitzel, but the country’s capital is a veggie bastion. In fact, Berlin is the “world’s most vegan-friendly city,” according to HappyCow, the meatless eater’s answer to Yelp. Search for Berlin on HappyCow’s website, and you’ll get more than 500 results. The standard-bearer among those restaurants would have to be Kopps (Linienstrasse 94), known for its elegant setting and five-course tasting menu. For a far more relaxed alternative, head to an outpost of the city’s Veganz grocery store chain and assemble the ingredients for a picnic in the Tiergarten (pictured above). In the hip Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood in the northeastern part of the city, you’ll find more than a dozen restaurants, markets, clothing boutiques, and bars peddling animal-free goods along a single stretch of Schivelbeiner Strasse, otherwise known as “vegan avenue.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Fruit stand in Mumbai carol mitchell / Flickr

India has the largest vegetarian population in the world, so it stands to reason that the country’s most populous city, Mumbai, would have a seemingly incalculable number of vegetarian restaurants and food stalls. And it does—though you should keep in mind that many who practice Hinduism (and 80% of Indians do) are lacto-vegetarians, meaning that they avoid meat, fish, and eggs, but they do eat dairy products. In other words, visiting vegans beware.

Trend-seekers and -setters will want to head to spots like the “wilderness-to-table” foraging restaurant Masque (Gala 3, Laxmi Woollen Mill), which has a vegetarian tasting menu. But it might be more rewarding to explore the city’s scores of small cafes, markets, and food stalls selling chutneys, Parsi-style scrambled eggs, papayas, toasted buns, flattened rice, and much more. 

 
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Grand Central Market in Los Angeles Ian White
Twin commitments to healthy living and animal advocacy—espoused by everybody from Hollywood stars to a growing number of public schools that offer vegan lunch menus—propelled Los Angeles to first place in PETA’s 2018 ranking of the most vegan-friendly U.S. cities. Plant-based eaters don’t have to spend a lot of money, either, though there might be more high-end vegetarian restaurants here than in any other spot on earth (after all, Natalie Portman has to eat somewhere). More affordable flavors include meatless Mexican from the Cena Vegan food cart (track locations here), all-veg noodles at Top Chef winner Ilan Hall’s Ramen Hood in Grand Central Market (pictured above; 317 S. Broadway), and vegan Cajun, which almost sounds like an oxymoron, at Krimsey’s in North Hollywood (12900 Victory Blvd.). 
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Piazza Vittorio Veneto in Turin, Italy Pixabay

Turin mayor Chiara Appendino has said she’d like to see her northern Italian city go vegetarian—which might be a tall order for a town of nearly 900,000 people with a long tradition of eating beef-heavy Piedmontese cuisine. But the city has made a good start: There are already more than 30 vegan and vegetarian restaurants here. Many of them, such as Coox (on the Piazza Vittorio Veneto, pictured above) and Il Gusto di Carmilla (Via S. Donato 29), put a fresh spin on Italian classics, serving mushroom pastas and gelato made with rice, soy, or almond milk. One thing's for sure: If anybody can make pizza taste good even when the cheese isn’t cheese, it’s an Italian.

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Lau Pa Sat market in Singapore Allie_Caulfield / Flickr

Singapore is a prime destination for food no matter what your dietary habits are. Filling up on pan-Asian fare at markets, “hawker centers”, and food courts is something of a local obsession, and vegetarians are by no means left out. At temples to gluttony such as Lau Pa Sat (pictured above; 18 Raffles Quay) and the multilevel Fortune Centre (190 Middle Rd.), it’s ridiculously easy to find stalls selling meatless noodle, rice, curry, and faux seafood dishes packed with Singapore’s distinct combo of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Western flavors. Leaving hungry is not an option.

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Walt Disney World's Epcot in Orlando, Florida Pixabay

Surprised to find the world’s capital of theme parks and chain restaurants on this list? Then you haven’t been paying close enough attention to Orlando’s burgeoning food scene, which includes an impressive bounty of vegan and vegetarian offerings. As a matter of fact, WalletHub’s 2017 roundup of vegan-friendly U.S. cities ranked Orlando third, behind only New York and Portland, Oregon. What’s more, the study found that the central Florida city has the highest percentage of restaurants serving vegan options—around 31%, nearly nine times higher than last-place finisher Chicago. That means green-based diners should have no trouble finding tasty menu items at top restaurants like Black Rooster Taqueria (1323 N. Mills Ave.) and ramen hotspot Domu, attached to the artisanal-everything East End Market (3201 Corrine Dr.). Theme parks do their best to cater to dietary needs as well. There are meatless options, for instance, at each of the 11 pavilions in the World Showcase at Walt Disney World’s Epcot

 

 

 
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