Even meat eaters are raving about these plant-based hotspots
Blossom: New York
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While first and foremost compassionate about animals, the owners of Blossom also acknowledge that eating an organic vegan diet contributes to a healthy lifestyle. All organic ingredients come from local farms and small distribution companies.
What to order: Blossom's most popular dish; Port Wine Seitan (pictured), pan seared seitan cutlets with a port wine and mushroom sauce, accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes, tempura onion, and sautéed spinach.
Blossom, NYC; 187 9th Ave., NY, NY; 212-627-1144
Photo credit: Danny Rico
Karyn's On Green: Chicago
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With delicious food and a vibrant bar scene, Karyn's on Green is making vegan sexy in the midst of Chicago's West Loop neighborhood. "Serving lunch, dinner, and drinks in an atmosphere so chic you'll forget it's good for you… and the planet."
What to order: 'Chorizo' Sliders are the most popular item on the menu, but you can't go wrong with the Fried 'Chicken' Legs or ‘Crab Cakes' (pictured)—a wheat/soy protein combination, nori, lemon zest, shallots, garlic, sriracha, salt, and pepper.
Karyn's On Green, Chicago; 130 S. Green St., Chicago, IL
Candle 79: New York
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One of the "Grand Dames" in the upscale vegan dining community, Candle 79 offers delicious, creative farm to table cuisine and a selection of "Eco Cocktails" in elegant, candlelit surroundings.
What to order: The signature dish is Seitan Picatta (pictured), served with a potato cake, creamed (no dairy/no cream) spinach in a lemon caper sauce.
Candle 79, NYC; 154 E. 79 (at Lexington Ave.), NY, NY; 212-537-7179
Photo credit: Kate Mathis
Plum Bistro: Seattle
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Specializing in rustic Pacific Northwest cuisine, Plum Bistro has been listed as one of Seattle's Top 10 Vegetarian Restaurants.
What to order: Try the signature Mac N' Yease, (pictured), consisting of macaroni noodles, nutritional yeast, crushed chili flakes, soy milk, and a few secret spices. It's finished on a grill top to give it a nice crispy crown.
Plum Bistro, Seattle, WA; 1429 12th Ave, Seattle, WA; 206-838-5333
Pure Food and Wine: New York
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Dine on a inventive raw vegan menu (nothing is heated above 118 degrees to preserve vitamins, minerals, and enzymes) under the stars in one of Manhattan's most secluded, plush backyard gardens.
What to order: Order the popular Zucchini and Heirloom Tomato Lasagna, made with basil pistachio pesto, sun-dried tomato marinara, and macadamia pumpkin seed ricotta. And finish your meal with a creamy Mint Sundae (pictured), made with organic, raw coconut, cashew, and agave nectar—so good even non-vegans love it.
Pure Food and Wine, NYC; 54 Irving Place, New York, NY; 212-477-1010
Photo credit: Erica Graff
G-Zen: Branford, Conn.
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Opened in the fall of 2011, G-Zen, minutes from New Haven, CT, is the newest vegan restaurant on this list, but it has already won rave reviews from the NY Times. Chef/owners Mark Shadle and Ami Beach maintain a sustainable and organic farm from which they source ingredients for the restaurant's plant-based seasonal menu.
What to order: Popular menu items include Thimble Island Vegan Crab Cakes with tarter, Tofu Napoleon with grilled organic asparagus (pictured), Rock the Casbah Moroccan Stew, and Mayan Sun Sweet Potato Enchiladas.
G-Zen, Branford, CT; 2 East Main Street, Branford, CT; 203-208-0443
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With a 100-bottle wine list and a beautiful, sophisticated setting, Vedge has attracted a passel of non-vegan foodie fans. Chefs follow the seasons so closely, you won't even need a calendar to know what month it is; asparagus means May, tomatoes signify July, and November is all about the butternut squash.
What to order: Frequent diners love the Portobello Carpaccio (pictured), a roasted and smoked portobello mushroom shaved paper-thin and served with an arugula mustard.
Vedge, Philly; 1221 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA; 215-320-7500
Photo credit: www.vedgerestaurant.com
Real Food Daily: Los Angeles
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For two decades, Real Food Daily (RFD) has been the Los Angeles area's go-to organic vegan restaurant, and though a bit on the casual side, RFD still makes the list with its open, contemporary dining room and fun approach to eating strictly plant-based foods.
What to order: Order the visually delightful Polenta Veg Stack (pictured), a tower built of roasted polenta, portobello mushroom, homemade pesto flavored tofu cheese, and saffron tomato coulis surrounded by roasted seasonal baby vegetables.
Real Food Daily, Los Angeles, CA; three locations in Southern California
Millennium: San Francisco
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Like Candle 79 in New York, Millennium is one of the forerunners in the upscale vegan dining movement. With cuisine influenced by the flavors and styles of many cultures, Millennium uses only fresh, organically grown produce completely free of genetically modified foods.
What to order: Though menu items vary daily, be sure to ask for the Crusted Oyster Mushrooms (rice flour and coriander seed dredge, radish salad with kaffir lime and pickled ginger vinaigrette, tomato-black pepper-lemongrass sambal). They're so popular that they remain on the menu when all else changes.
Millennium, San Francisco; 580 Geary St. San Francisco, CA; 415-345-3900
True Bistro: Boston
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Michael and Linda Harrison, co-owners of True Bistro, believe that vegans in the greater Boston area deserve a restaurant where they feel good about bringing their veg and non-veg friends and family for a plant-based meal.
What to order: Be sure to order the pretty Boston Lettuce Salad (pictured) and signature Coconut Crème Pie, made with coconut milk, flaked coconut, and a plant-based thickener.
True Bistro, Boston; 1153 Broadway, Somerville, MA; 617-627-9000