On the grapevine

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The Best Vegan (and Vegan-friendly) Restaurants in All 50 States

Let’s admit it: despite a proliferation of vegetable-forward restaurants in the past two decades, it can still be hard to be vegan. While vegetarian plates are usually very similar to their meat-based analogs (just add extra cheese and put an egg on it), vegan dining is a whole other beast. It doesn’t work to just subtract the meat and dairy; sometimes you don’t just want a salad with balsamic and olive oil. Fortunately for vegan and vegetable-loving meat eaters alike, plant-based options are getting more exciting—and extensive—every day. Yet starting an all vegan-restaurant is still an ambitious endeavor—and scary because it relies on the strong support of a still small (but growing) demographic. Wherever possible, we’ve tried to spotlight exclusively vegan businesses; however, you’ll also find many vegetarian restaurants, and even ones that serve meat. Why? Sometimes, the best plant-based dishes are served at traditional restaurants—and we count this as progress. We’ve also tried to choose restaurants that really capture the spirit of their locale, as too often, vegans can feel excluded from truly sampling the culinary culture of a place. We’ve also chosen restaurants that embody many different schools of vegan cooking. Some channel the earnest sprouts-nostalgia of the ‘60s; others rely heavily on vegan-friendly global cuisines; still others are more contemporary and vegetable-centric, à la Alice Waters. Our list culls from all of the above, with a primary barometer being taste. In sum, we’ve culled the best of the best–and are happy to report that it’s been a difficult process. We hope it gets even harder in years to come, as vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants proliferate.


Florida: The Farmer’s Table

We’ll cut to the chase: like many places on this list, The Farmer’s Table does serve meat. But why, you ask? Why pick a restaurant that serves meat when there are so many other great ones that don’t, like Miami’s Eden in Eden or Plant Food + Wine? Well, it’s a rare thing for a traditional restaurant to have dedicated vegan options that don’t involve just subtracting meat and dairy, and a rarer thing still to execute them flawlessly with equal care and attention. But The Farmer’s Table does it. They have a stand-out spaghetti squash pasta with quinoa meatballs that straddles the line between comforting and modern. The sweetness of the marinara and squash shine brightly, livened with basil from the restaurant’s garden out back. There’s a vegan shepard’s pie that’s satiating in the most profound way, overflowing with lentils and root veggies, topped with savory Daiya. While there are appearances of plant-based meats on the menu, they’re mostly grain-forward, unprocessed and largely gluten-free; still, they manage to satisfy that meaty craving. Whatever you choose, wash it all down with a garden to glass cocktail; the Spa-Day with organic cucumber vodka, smashed mint, and coconut water is not to be missed, especially for those who gravitate towards savory drinks. We could write a book about this place, but in sum: The Farmer’s Table is one of the best restaurants in Palm Beach, and you must go. farmerstableboca.com


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