Following a vegetarian diet can be challenging while traveling if your destination does not cater to dietary restrictions. However, there are many places around the world where plant-based diets are common among locals or where restaurants have innovative options that make vegetarian food easily accessible. So, to have an unforgettable culinary experience on your next vacation, head to any of these 5 extremely vegetarian-friendly cities.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Falafel pita is a must-try in Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv is a paradise for vegetarian travelers, with chickpeas and tahini as the foundation for many popular local dishes. Many vegetarian staples have their roots in the Middle East, and the falafel and hummus in Israel will be some of the tastiest you’ve ever had. Served warm and fresh with a crispy slice of onion, this dish is unmatched in flavor and just one bowl with soft pita bread is a nourishing and satisfying meal. Israel also has a higher percentage of vegetarians than any other country, so plant-based travelers will find plenty of options to suit their tastes. Anastasia Cafe is one of the first vegetarian restaurants in Tel Aviv, where they make their own soy milk, almond milk, and rice milk. The Green Cat restaurant is proud to be the first fully vegetarian pizza shop in Tel Aviv (their cheese is made from cashews). The Norman Tel Aviv is a boutique hotel with restaurants serving delicious and beautifully presented vegetarian dishes.
Try some street food like stinky tofu.
Taiwan is a true foodie paradise, but it is also particularly friendly to vegetarian diners. The limited use of dairy products and the large Buddhist population make vegetarianism a popular choice. In the capital city of Taipei, vegetarian street food is easy to find and delicious – must-try dishes include hot and crispy scallion pancakes, steamed fresh dumplings, rich miso noodle soup, or the famous “stinky tofu” of the region. Mandarin Oriental Taipei serves a rich variety of vegetarian dishes including porridge and dim sum with delicious, savory mushroom flavors.
London, United Kingdom
Try Pithivier Medoc at Gauthier.
London’s multicultural and eclectic food scene always leaves a lasting impression on everyone, including vegetarian diners. Plant-based eateries are becoming increasingly popular in this international capital city and come in a variety of styles from high-end dining to street food vendors serving delicious vegetarian options. There is the Hackney Downs vegan market, the Broadway vegan market, Brixton vegan market, and the meat-free Kerb market in Devonshire Square where you can enjoy international vegetarian cuisine like Mexican fried chickpea cakes, cashew ricotta, and blue pumpkin pizza. For fine dining, Michelin-starred restaurants such as Gauthier in Soho will amaze you with vegetarian dishes like harissa glazed cauliflower or tortellini with truffle and golden chanterelle mushrooms. Book and stay at the vegetarian suite of Hilton London Bankside, where everything from breakfast to bedding and stationery is entirely animal-free.
Los Angeles, USA
Relax at the rooftop restaurant and bar at Mama Shelter.
Famous for its green juices and salads, Los Angeles emphasizes a healthy lifestyle and love for yoga, making it the most vegetarian-friendly city in the US. There are plenty of vegetarian restaurants in this plant-based culinary destination, from high-end restaurants to fast food trucks, offering a diverse range of international flavors. Try Shojin, a pure vegan Japanese restaurant, serving dishes made with vegetables, rice, tofu, and tempeh, including crispy mushroom tempura with truffle salt and of course, sushi. In addition, there are countless vegetarian Thai, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Italian, and Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles, and even vegetarian versions of classic Cajun dishes like gumbo. For fast and pure vegetarian food, try the burger chains Monty’s and VowBurger, or sweet treats without animal products at bakeries like Erin McKenna’s Bakery. Stay at the stylish Mama Shelter and dine at the rooftop restaurant, which has won awards for its vegetarian-friendly cuisine.
Savor the cauliflower burger.
Australia not only has barbecues and meat pies, but vegetarian travelers visiting Sydney will also have countless options to experience unique vegetarian cuisine. The food here is diverse and heavily influenced by Asian, Mediterranean, and African cuisine, from vegetarian Greek-style stuffed pita bread to matcha green tea steamed buns, or rich and creamy vegan tonkotsu ramen with sunflower seeds and sesame oil at the vegan ramen shop, Lonely Mouth. The best suburban area for vegetarian foodies is Newtown (just outside the city center), where you’ll find countless plant-based options including vegetarian specialties and cafes serving sourdough donuts and crispy cauliflower burgers, Chinese vegetarian buffets, and – in the nearby suburb of Marrickville – Sydney’s first vegetarian pub, The Green Lion. Stay at The Urban Newtown to be within walking distance of all the city’s vegetarian food destinations.