You’ll Never Believe These Incredible New Restaurants are 100% Vegan
If you’ve ever thought that you could never make it as a vegan (hello, cheese), you’re not alone—vegan food has been misconceptualized for decades. But it seems like veganism has finally turned a corner in the public eye. The Economist recently declared 2019 “the year of the vegan,” while Uber Eats predicted that plant-based foods will be this year's top food trend. Here, eight cool new vegan restaurants that’ll have even the most carnivorous reaching for seconds.
Verdura, Phoenix, AZ
Verdura is all about two things: veggies and vinyl. The Phoenix spot, which just opened March 1, combines plant-based food with cool neighborhood hangout vibes helped by recycled records covering the walls and ‘70s rock music wafting over the loudspeakers. This edgy sensibility extends to cleverly named dishes that spotlight seasonal, local ingredients—just take it from "The Salad Formerly Known as Taco Salad" and the "Anarchy Burger," which includes a walnut-lentil patty and chipotle aioli on a whole-grain bun. During “Hipster Hour” (3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday), pair your PBR with discounted apps like "Beets by Jicama"; during Band Tee Brunch (weekends only), buckle up for some "Goth Waffles," which are mixed with activated charcoal coloring.
Koocha Mezze Bar, Bristol, UK
Bristol earned the title of the most popular city in the world for veganism in 2018—probably because of how many restaurants and cafés keep sprouting up in the area. Our pick of the bunch is Koocha, a Persian-style mezze bar where friends go to share small plates like koopa (deep-fried rice balls covered in Persian spices), gaymeh (a tomato-based aubergine and lentil stew), and eggless kookoo (spinach balls with cranberries, walnuts, and tahini yogurt dressing) alongside pita bread and four variations of gin and tonic. We especially love the outdoor terrace lined with bright-blue picnic tables—a perfect spot to hit in the spring.
The Slutty Vegan, Atlanta, GA
It’s hard to imagine over 1,200 people waiting hours in line on the street to taste a vegan burger, but that’s exactly what happened this past January when The Slutty Vegan opened its first full-service restaurant in Atlanta only six months after its founding as a food truck. The menu is simple—just cheekily-named burgers and fries. If you’re feeling shy about the veggie burger trend, start with the PLT, which is made with grilled sweet jerk plantains on a vegan Hawaiian bun. Ready to go all the way? The Ménage à Trois features the Impossible Burger patty with vegan bacon, shrimp, cheese, and more.
Seed Cafe, Minneapolis, MN
It doesn’t get much healthier than Seed Café—all food is 100% plant-based, nothing is deep-fried, high-quality ingredients are nutrient-dense, and every sauce is made in-house—and that’s no surprise, given that the co-owners also opened the yoga studio right next door. A twelve-year dream in progress, the café finally came to life last summer and is now a Minneapolis gathering spot thanks to trivia nights and kid-friendly activities and games curated by the co-owners’ daughter. Menu standouts include the Chickpea Frittata from the all-day breakfast list and, for lunch, the Grown-Up Grilled Cheese made with spicy kimchi and fermented chili sauce.
Weirdoughs, Melbourne, AUS
For vegan sweets, you'll have a hard time finding anything as yummy (or as quirky) as Weirdoughs in Melbourne. As if the psychedelic aesthetic and décor weren’t unique enough, the bakery takes every treat to the next level, from shaping croissants into perfect cubes to inventing the wackiest plant-based ice cream flavors you could imagine (like eggplant lavender and espresso martini). All the weirdness is achieved totally sustainably, with a basis of macadamia, cashew, and coconut oil butter replacing animal products.
Sweet Soulfood, New Orleans, LA
Opened last April, Sweet Soulfood is the spot for vegan soul food in NOLA. The six-day menu features entrées and sides that rotate daily, including Southern favorites like potato salad, mac ‘n’ cheese, jambalaya, and bread pudding in shareable portions. The establishment isn’t fancy—food is served cafeteria-style—but if you’re looking for incredible bites in a welcoming environment, you’ll be more than impressed.
RELATED: America’s Coolest Southern Towns
Celesta, Milwaukee, WI
Celesta describes itself as “otherworldly,” which makes sense given its fusion menu includes a wide variety of cuisine types, from a Middle Eastern sweet potato shawarma dip appetizer to main dishes like Neapolitan lasagna (with basil béchamel and almond ricotta) and Asian-influenced ramen (with sunflower seed broth and house-made five spice tofu). The restaurant first found success as a vegan catering business and pop-up called Beatrix Foods before planting roots on Milwaukee’s East Side in June 2018. Today, it offers a globally-minded perspective on the city’s growing vegan scene.
Tendresse, Montreal, QC
Having only soft opened in February, vegan bistro Tendresse is just getting started (the menu’s not even online yet), but it’s already poised to become a serious hot spot for Montréal. For starters, its seasoned co-owners also own Bar Palco and Bar Renard—both trendy, chic establishments that have proven their formula a success. Other standout details will be its focus on multicultural flavors and its weekly boozy brunch accompanied by a ‘90s hits sing-along (which, if we're honest, is enough to make us believe wholeheartedly in the vision).
- The 9 Best New Nashville Restaurants to Try Now
- JS Editors’ Favorite Affordable Vacation Spots
- 19 Hot Tables to Book in 2019