Updated June 2019. In much the same way that plant-based food has undergone image overhauls in recent years, so too has the vegan restaurant industry.
The Growth of the Vegan Restaurant Industry
As little as ten years ago, veganism was a niche lifestyle, plant-based eateries ranged from unimaginative to downright eccentric. However, in the last few years, the number of people following a vegan, flexitarian, or vegetarian diet has skyrocketed, with an estimated 3.5 million vegans in the UK alone.
Catering to this demand, there has been a global surge in the number of vegan fast-food eateries, with chains such as The Loving Hut opening branches all over the world. Singapore’s NomVNom serves up vegan pizzas and burgers, the Czech Republic enjoys vegan hot dogs and ribs from Forky’s, and London recently saw the opening of its first completely vegan fish and chip shop, Sutton’s and Sons’.
Plant-Based Fine Dining
As more and more people turn towards plants for their main meals, variety is in demand. Plant-based fine dining, in particular, is becoming ever more popular.
When fine dining, consumers expect a sophisticated setting with high-end cuisine. Gourmet dishes are elaborately styled and served in a formal manner, multiple courses are on offer, with different wines paired with each dish. In days of yore, expensive china and silverware were considered a key part of the fine dining experience, along with white tablecloths and highly attentive waiting staff. Presentation is also key; it’s important to please the eye as well as the pallet.
Wherever you are and whatever you’re celebrating, there is bound to be a vegan fine dining restaurant for you to indulge in.
16 Vegan Fine Dining Restaurants Around the World
1. Paperbark in Sydney, Australia
Found in the Casba building in Sydney’s bustling Waterloo, the vegan Paperbark restaurant specializes in creating dishes from native Australian ingredients such as wattleseeds and pepperberries. Launched in 2018, the fusion menu boasts innovative dishes such as lemon myrtle and eggplant bruschetta. The lavish establishment also offers a fully Australian wine list, stocked with minimum-intervention wines, including a manon pinot noir which complements the earthiness of the Paperbark mushrooms.
Other notable Sydney mentions for an upmarket vegan dining experience include Alibi restaurant, which is found in the 5-star hotel chain, Ovolo at its Ovolo Woolloomooloo branch. Aside from residing in a spectacularly named hotel, Alibi was founded by celebrity vegan chef, Matthew Kenney. While the menu includes elements of multiple cuisines, it can be loosely described as Pan-Asian fusion, with dishes like charcoal steamed buns and kimchi dumplings.
Sydney is also home to the vegetarian restaurant Yellow which serves up many vegan options from a menu designed by Brent Savage. The Potts Point based restaurant offers plant-based dishes such as Dutch Cream Potato with Fushimi.
2. Planta in Toronto, Canada
One of four restaurants run by chef David Lee, Planta serves up a vegan menu inspired by French and Italian cuisine, with dishes such as tuna tartare made from beetroot and served with avocado chutney. There’s no soy protein in sight as the menu replaces meat with appropriately textured vegetables, for instance, the “crab” cakes are made from palm hearts and the bolognese is crafted from mushrooms. The Toronto branch has a clean, modern feel and also serves up signature cocktails.
Other upscale Toronto eateries include Rosalinda, which offers high-end vegan Mexican cuisine with dishes such as coconut ceviche and jackfruit pibl tacos.
3. Original Sin in Singapore
Opened in 1997, this Italian and Mediterranean restaurant was vegetarian before it was cool, as it proudly states on its website. While not fully vegan, the menu is very vegan-friendly, with most dishes carrying the “V.O” stamp which means they can be made vegan. Opened by Michael Hadley and Marisa Bertocchi, Original Sin offers classic plates such as Broccolini Pesto and Mezze platters.
Singapore has over 100 vegan listings on Happy Cow, but many of these are juice and smoothie bars rather than restaurants. Those looking for upmarket vegan cuisine can try Joie by Dozo which is located on the picturesque rooftop gardens of the Orchard Central vertical mall. The meatless menu carries many vegan options such as the Japanese Kunbu Broth with hand-carved tofu.
Gourmets can also tickle their taste buds at the five-star Grand Hyatt Hotel where one of its nine restaurants Pete’s Place serves a vegan Italian lunch buffet and the vegan Beyond burger, JUST vegan egg is also on the menu.
4. The Ravens in California, USA
Situated on the idyllic Mendocino coast in California, the Ravens is the part of the Stanford Inn Eco-Resort and has a fully plant-based organic menu. Along with hand-rolled sushi and rustic flatbreads, the restaurant serves up signature dishes such as the Sea Palm & Root Vegetable Strudel. It also offers several sumptuous vegan desserts including a coconut-based creme brulee and a pecan torte. The Ravens — named after a pair of the Corvidae nesting in the trees when the current owners brought the resort in 1995 — also offers a fully organic wine list.
The restaurant says on its website, “In August, 2004, we received our first Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. We worked to achieve this award as an integral part of our efforts to make vegan dining a truly fine dining experience. Our wine list features outstanding wines most made with organic or traditionally produced grapes. We recently received our 11th wine list award.”
Another upscale California restaurant comes in the form of Crossroads Kitchen in Los Angeles. Founded in 2013 by plant-based chef Tal Ronnen, the wholesome menu includes hearty dishes such as lasagna made with almond ricotta and lentil tempeh piccata.
5. Växthuset in Stockholm, Sweden
This upmarket restaurant in Sweden’s capital makes all its vegan dishes from seasonal ingredients and all of its wines are handcrafted. Delights on offer include charred celeriac with herb emulsion and buckwheat or truffle croquettes with fermented onion marmalade. The restaurant has an understated sophistication with lots of polished wood and flickering candles; it’s ideally located next to the city’s popular nightclub Under Bron.
6. Chiodi Latini New Food in Turin, Italy
Named after its founder, Chef Antonio Chiodi Latini, this restaurant places a high emphasis on sourcing its ingredients locally. This not only guarantees freshness but also lessens the carbon footprint of the menu, with less transportation, refrigeration, preservatives, and packaging needed.
The constantly changing menu features Italian classics with a twist, such as green borage orecchiette, and Italian fried asparagus. As a restaurant focused on giving its diners an epicurean experience they’ll never forget, the menu items are not dishes, but “innovations.” Patrons can enjoy seven innovations on the taster menu for €55. As well as the Vin du Jour, Chiodi Latini New Food also serves chicory coffee and glasses of vegetable extract.
7. Gentle Gourmet in Paris, France
In a land where anything edible can be stuffed creme patisserie and garlic butter is considered a basic seasoning, it is a surprise to find a luxury vegan eatery in its capital. Opened in 2009, the Gentle Gourmet restaurant is only open at the weekends, but packs a startling amount of plant-based haute cuisine into those two days. The menu is constantly changing with the seasons but includes dishes such as tempeh tartare and teriyaki aubergine.
8. Pollen Street Social in London, England
While this Michelin-starred restaurant cannot be described as vegan, it does offer a dedicated vegan menu and even has an exclusive vegan tasting menu with a rather satisfactory eight-courses up for sampling. Chef Jason Atherton has created plant-based morsels such as roasted celeriac risotto with woodland mushrooms and truffle oil or Spanish pea sorbet with confit lemon. If you’re really in the mood to go full-on Downton Abbey, vegan high-tea is also served daily but must be booked in advance. Just remember your afternoon tiara.
People seeking high-end vegan cuisine in England’s capital can also try Vanilla Black in Chancery Lane. This vegetarian restaurant was opened by Andrew Dargue and Donna Conroy and has an entirely vegan menu with offerings such as Salted Caramel Beans and Black Olive Madeleine. Hidden gem St Luke’s Table could soon be another option, located in the LIBRARY hotel, the restaurant’s head chef is reportedly looking to introduce a fine dining plant-based menu; ingredients set to feature include edible flowers, walnut pesto, and pineapple carpaccio.
9. Bon in Tokyo, Japan
This restaurant, found in the Taito district, bases its vegan menu around the Japanese Buddhist cuisine called shojin ryori, which is prepared in accordance with the commandments of Buddhism. Bon serves a particular type of ryori — called Fucha Ryori –which is centered around communal eating and taking tea together. The vegan dishes are works of art, comprised of ingredients like tofu, miso, and sansai. They are assembled with painstaking attention to detail.
Although Japanese cuisine tends to be quite fish-heavy, veganism and plant-based eating are gradually gaining momentum. Happy Cow lists over 300 veg-friendly eateries in the country, while the international “Vegan Forest” festival was held in Yamanashi in 2018. When it comes to dining, most of the vegan eateries are geared around speed and desserts, such as Tokyo’s vegan bakery Go! Muffins Go!
10. Kopps in Berlin, Germany
Based in Germany’s capital, fully vegan Kopps offers an array of culinary masterpieces for diners’ delectation, including winter truffle, made with strozzapreti, pear, and walnuts or grilled artichoke with vegan caviar. The restaurant was voted one of the world’s 11 best vegetarian restaurants by CNN and ranked in Open Table’s Top 50 in 2015, thereby fulfilling its mission to “make vegetables sexy for you.”
Berlin was named Vegetarian Capital of the World in the 2015 Good Taste Awards and indeed the city is home to around 80,000 vegans. That’s a full 10 percent of the Berlin population. The city has over 50 vegan eateries, including the high-end Lucky Leek, which serves up potato ricotta crespelle or turnip schnitzel. There is also the Bistro Bardot located in the eco-hotel Almodóvar, which offers vegan tapas in luxurious surroundings.
11. The Allotment in Manchester, England
Opened in 2016, this modern vegan restaurant specializes in casual-fine-dining (essentially, quality food which you can enjoy while keeping your trainers on). Serving up meals such as Confit Aubergine with Puy Lentil & Red Wine Ragout, the gluten-free Allotment also offers a five or ten-course taster menu. Meals can be rounded off with a full vegan cheese-board for an extra classy evening.
12. Super Natural Kitchen in Dubai, UAE
Dubai’s only fully raw, vegan, gluten and sugar-free restaurant offers a mouthwatering menu devised by Chef Athena Matheou. The exclusive restaurant is based in the Dubai Mall and offers dishes such as truffle beetroot ravioli and vegan ricotta and fig salad as well as a variety of raw cheeses. As a modern establishment in the constantly developing Dubai, the Super Natural Kitchen has a more minimalist ambiance, but every attention to detail is paid to the superb quality and presentation of the dishes as well as the service.
13. Sprig and Vine in Pennsylvania, USA
This gourmet vegan restaurant was opened in 2010 by chef Ross Olchvary and has links with many of its organic suppliers including Roots to River Farm and Mainly Mushrooms. Using the freshest, organic ingredients the Sprig and Vine creates elaborate dishes such as edamame falafel with lemon kosho tahini or purple sweet potato ravioli.
14. Avant Garden in New York, USA
New York is one of the best places to look for vegan fine dining restaurants. If you’re after refined food and fine wines served in a snug setting, Avant Garden could be for you. Try the House Made Spaghetti with smoked mushrooms, or the paella, which is served with calasparra rice, merguez royal trumpet, red pepper cream, and almonds.