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30 Restaurants for Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians to Add to their Bucket Lists

A person may choose to become a vegetarian for any number of reasons—from limiting the animal abuse caused by the meat industry to a physical ailment that limits what they can eat. Regardless of the reason, more and more people are leaning into specialized diets like vegetarianism, veganism, or something less restrictive like lacto-ovo vegetarianism. Because of this, a greater number of restaurants in the USA are bringing fresh ideas to the plant-based culinary world. Utilizing classic food traditions from specific cultures, pushing cutting-edge culinary science, and so much more—these businesses are making some truly incredible food. However, some of these restaurants stand out from all the others due to their chefs' skills, unique qualities, or their ability to cater to diets like lacto-ovo vegetarianism.


01 Âu Lạc - Los Angeles, CA

Âu Lạc is a beautiful traditional Vietnamese restaurant that utilizes only plant-based and other health-conscious ingredients. The building sits in downtown LA, right across from the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Within the walls of Âu Lạc, you'll find a spacious restaurant that marries classic Vietnamese decor with the crisp, modern LA aesthetic. Food critics credit the founder, Mai Nguyen, and Chef Ito for helping fight the stigma of "cold blocks of tofu" that was so prevalent in the ‘90s and 2000s. You can enjoy vibrant, flavorful dishes like the Bird's Eye Tofu, which is sautéed with cilantro, bird's eye chili, and a side of lime-tamari sauce.

02 Aunts et Uncles - Brooklyn, New York

In the heart of Brooklyn, Aunts et Uncles offers a novel dining experience with its Caribbean-inspired vegan menu set in a café that mimics a cozy retail space. Here, you can enjoy plantain mofongo, sautéed greens, and inventive takes on lobster rolls and meat patties. The atmosphere is as inviting as the food, making it a must-visit for anyone looking for a distinctive vegan meal.

03 Bar Bombon - Philadelphia, PA

If you've ever wanted a restaurant featuring both tasty cocktails and innovative plant-based food, look no further than Bar Bombon. Every dish delivers punchy Puerto Rican flavors using only plant-based ingredients and proteins consisting of non-GMO soy and organic grains. Plus, the restaurant makes its tortillas in-house every day, the old-fashioned way. You can find Bar Bombon on S 18th Street in Philadelphia, right next to the historic Rittenhouse Square. Stop by for a salted grapefruit margarita and some smoked "pork" pernil and see why Food & Wine once named it the best restaurant for vegetarians in the US.

04 Bellagreen - Houston, Texas

Bellagreen makes it easy to eat ecologically without sacrificing flavor. Located in Houston, this restaurant delights with dishes like the paleo spaghetti squash bolognese and the signature kale and avocado-lemon salad. The chipotle-spiced sweet potatoes are a crowd-pleaser, perfect for diners looking to enjoy a saucy, creative meal that's as good for the planet as it is for the palate.

05 Bistro Aracosia - Washington, D.C.

You can find plenty of excellent chophouses and some incredible vegan restaurants, but it's rare that any one business manages to combine both specialties well. Bistro Aracosia is the exception to that rule thanks to its mouthwatering offerings of Afghan food that promises no GMOs, no preservatives, no hormones, and no microwave. The Bistro's chefs are proud to meet any dietary needs, whether that be paleo, gluten-free, or plant-based. Visitors have to try the Kichir-e-Quroot with eggplant qorma. Look for Bistro Aracosia's signature black awnings and vine-covered walls on MacArthur Boulevard.

06 BLACKOUT - Dining in the Dark - Las Vegas, NV

There is a theory that when you lose one of your senses, the others become far stronger in order to compensate for the lost sense. BLACKOUT uses that idea to create a completely unique experience: eating in complete darkness. The menu is always a mystery and changes regularly. Guests must place all light-emitting devices into lockers to ensure the room stays pitch black. Current prices sit at about $90 for admission and a seven-course prix-fixe dinner. The restaurant does offer meat dishes, so make sure to specify what kind of diet you follow.

07 Blossom - Multiple Locations

Just a few blocks from Central Park sits one of the most iconic vegetarian eateries in the USA. Blossom started as a small restaurant in Chelsea and grew into the spacious, innovative, and refined restaurant it is today. Now known as Blossom on Columbus, you can find incredible lacto-ovo options on the menu, such as the pesto pizza that combines arugula, basil pesto, sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, and tofu ricotta. You can even get a cheesesteak that uses seitan instead of meat. If you like Blossom's food, consider picking up the Blossom cookbook so you can make all of your faves at home.

08 Bouldin Creek Cafe - Austin, TX

Nature is bursting with vibrant colors that plant-based foods don't always manage to represent well. Bouldin Creek Cafe definitely changes that. From its windows covered in stickers to its eclectic interior decor and its gorgeous dishes, this cafe is one of the must-visit vegetarian spots if you're in Austin. With delicious but affordable dishes like the chorizo (pea protein) taco or the zucchini migas plate, Bouldin Creek Cafe is the vegetarian-friendly TexMex you've been dreaming of.

09 Brewery Bhavana - Raleigh, NC

If sitting beneath a statue of the female Buddha Guan Yin and hanging paper lanterns, eating mooncakes, and sipping on fine craft beers sounds like something you would enjoy, Brewery Bhavana is the place for you. This restaurant is famous for its inventive dim sum menu, but it's also a bar with incredible cocktails, craft brews, and wines—but it doesn't stop there. Brewery Bhavana is also a flower shop and bookstore. There truly is no other restaurant like this one, especially in Raleigh. Guests can find Brewery Bhavana right across from Moore Square GoRaleigh Station.

10 Candle - New York City, NY

When the original Candle Cafe and Candle 79 closed down after decades of serving cruelty-free meals to New Yorkers, the city was heartbroken. However, Chef Jorge Pineda—who worked at the restaurants for 26 years—retained many of the assets, an ownership stake, and classic recipes. He chose to relaunch the brand with a new 52-seat restaurant in Manhattan, simply named "Candle." Chef Pineda, along with longtime Candle 79 Chef Angel Ramos and a crew of Candle's best cooks and managers, has merged the menus of Candle Cafe and Candle 79 to offer the best of both worlds to guests. Enjoy some chimichurri skewers, seitan piccata, or some polenta fries. You can find Candle in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan—just look for the all-glass exterior.

11 Catch LA - West Hollywood, CA

The top lacto-ovo vegetarian dining spot in LA is Catch LA. This is a fine dining restaurant that offers high-quality and high-concept seafood, steak, and sushi. The menu includes delicious options for a variety of diets, including lacto-ovo vegetarians. The mushroom spaghetti is a great choice, but it's the truffle sashimi that you can't leave without trying. Catch LA sits on the corner of Melrose and San Vicente at the top of a building offering incredible views of the Hollywood Hills. The roof retracts to let in the beautiful night sky, and the entire restaurant is lined with gorgeous flowers and verdant greenery. Remember, there is a dress code, so wear fine, elegant clothes that don't reveal too much.

12 Charlie was a sinner. - Philadelphia, PA

To many people, plant-based foods aren't "sexy." Charlie was a sinner. wants to change that. This trendy cafe/bar in Midtown Village offers special vegan small plates and an extensive cocktail menu that is sure to enchant guests. The Done and Dusted is particularly great if you need a bit of a pick-me-up. While you sip on your drink and observe the dark, classy surroundings, snack on some potato croquettes or caramelized eggplant bao buns.

13 Delice & Sarrasin - New York City, NY

Want a French-inspired brunch before hitting the big city? Delice & Sarrasin is there to fill that need with its authentic French flavors, courtesy of head chef Yvette Caron. She mastered her cooking skills at Le Garenne, a renowned restaurant in the South of France. Though the dishes have prices to match their upscale quality, they are absolutely worth it. Expect classic French dishes with vegan and vegetarian twists, like the unforgettable escargot. You'll find this small restaurant's new location on West Houston in the West Village.

14 Departure Restaurant and Lounge - Portland, OR

Over the last several years, Portland has rapidly become one of the best metropolises in America when it comes to vegan food. The crown jewel of plant-based options, however, has to be Departure. Head downtown and climb to the top of The Nines Hotel to be greeted with a gorgeous view of Portland's cityscape and a menu full of Asian-inspired delights. While there are some meat dishes available, there are plenty of plant-based options—from edamame hummus to roasted squash and dan noodles.

15 Dirt Candy - New York City, NY

Whatever image pops into your head when you think of Dirt Candy does not do justice to the actual restaurant. Few places are able to marry plant-based menu options and fine-dining the way that Dirt Candy does. Visitors to this cozy but modern restaurant in the Lower East Side will be treated to multiple courses highlighting specific plants and their culinary properties. Expect a new menu with each visit—and you will want to make return visits. Of the restaurant's many innovative dishes, one of the most famous is the Tower of Terroir, which deconstructs a salad—turning the lettuce into soup and using foraged greens and edible flowers.

16 Divya's Kitchen - New York City, NY

Divya's Kitchen is a one-of-a-kind spot and easily earns a spot among the most iconic vegetarian eateries in the USA. The restaurant's menu inspirations range from Italian and Mediterranean to Indian and Asian, using Ayurvedic culinary principles to seamlessly merge those inspirations and promote digestion. Even the drinks are all handmade every day. Try the vegetarian lasagna or the soothing mung soup to get a real taste of what Divya's Kitchen has to offer.

17 Double Zero - New York City, NY

When it comes to New York, you can't leave the city without trying some pizza. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find a great plant-based pizza. Double Zero easily fills that need with its wood-fired pizzas utilizing chef Matthew Kenney's signature nut cheeses—such as the delicious cashew mozzarella—and a variety of classic and novel ingredients. The cozy restaurant is a bit unassuming at first, with simple wooden tables and an industrial flair, but the menu is sure to impress. Even if you're not in the mood for some ‘za, order off of the "Not Pizza" section and grab a fantastic eggplant parm or a sunflower Caesar salad you will never forget. Most of the pizzas can be made gluten-free and with a rice-based cheese if you'd rather avoid nuts. Travel to the East Village between 3rd and 4th Street to try some Double Zero.

18 Ēma - Chicago, IL

With natural walls of real wood and hanging vines above you, Ēma feels like the perfect vegetarian restaurant the minute you step through the threshold. This restaurant in the River North area has a Mediterranean-style menu that showcases Chef CJ Jacboson's lighter California style of cooking. The core of the menu is small plates like spreads, dips, and mezze meant for sharing. Dip into some "Bhel" Hummus or share some spicy tomato campanelle.

19 Eleven Madison Park - New York City, NY

Eleven Madison Park is a truly legendary restaurant in the culinary world. Chef Daniel Humm chose to take animal products off its menu several years ago—a move that many critics said would jeopardize its Michelin stars. However, Chef Humm proved them wrong, and Eleven Madison Park became the first plant-based restaurant in the world with three Michelin stars. By working with biotech companies and other cutting-edge businesses, Eleven Madison Park keeps its vegan menu fresh and exciting. This is fine dining excellence, so make a reservation and dress the part.

20 Equinox - DC - Washington, D.C.

Five-time James Beard Award nominee for Best Chef Todd Gray and his wife and business partner, Ellen Kassoff, opened Equinox with the goal of providing meals using sustainable farming and local, seasonal ingredients. The menu is vegetable-forward, including a plant-based tasting menu with dishes like Creamy Jerusalem Artichoke Soup and Housemade Fusilli Pasta. Sit near a gorgeous brick fireplace and look out over 19th Street, taking in those D.C. views.

21 Farmer's Table - Boca Raton, FL

Farmer's Table provides its guests with "feel-good food." The meals are good for you, thanks to the high-quality ingredients and the restaurant's "never-ever" promise—you will never find any antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, or chemicals in the food. The food is good for the planet, using cleanly sourced ingredients and environmentally-friendly kitchen practices. Lacto-ovo vegetarians will particularly enjoy the Vegan quinoa meatballs with fresh, homemade mozzarella. You can find this spacious restaurant and its green offerings at the corner of 19th and North Military Trail.

22 Founding Farmers Fishers & Bakers - Washington, D.C.

Head down to Georgetown's Washington Harbor on the Potomac to find the lively dining room and covered patio of Founding Farmers Fishers & Bakers. This farmer-owned restaurant is all about scratch cooking with simple, high-quality ingredients from trusted farmers and suppliers. Enjoy a menu covering everything from seafood to pizzas. Because of its expansive menu, every guest can find something they will love, whether they follow a specialized diet or not. Lacto-ovo vegetarians should definitely try the brick oven pretzels with pimento cheese.

23 Farmhouse at Roger's Gardens - Corona Del Mar, CA

Some of the best things about California are its gorgeous sun and those lovely nighttime sea breezes. Farmhouse at Roger's Gardens features an open-air, outdoor dining room right in Newport Beach. Even in winter, you can dine in comfort thanks to the heated areas and covered awnings. The restaurant promises the freshest farm-to-table cuisine, as well as fine wines and craft beers and cocktails. Dine with a group and share the incredible farmhouse cheese board with fresh fruit, jam, and honey-roasted walnuts.

24 Full Bloom Vegan - Miami, FL

Miami is famous for its perfect beaches and fantastic weather, but it's also rapidly gaining fame for a new quality: its vegan food scene. The spread of cruelty-free cuisine has brought many incredible restaurants to Miami, including Full Bloom Vegan. Featuring elevated vegan dining, Full Bloom Vegan provides health-conscious meals and a range of creative cocktails, beers, and wines. The ravioli della casa might be the best vegan dish in Miami. The restaurant can accommodate many specialized diets, so bring friends for a great experience without worrying about everyone's needs.

25 Gracias Madre - Multiple Locations in California

Demand for plant-based foods in California has never been higher. Already, iconic eateries like Gracias Madre have opened multiple locations and massively expanded existing ones to meet that demand. The team behind Gracias Madre wanted to serve organic Mexican food to the community while honoring the mothers who work tirelessly in the kitchen. With offerings like soy chorizo empanadas or the enchiladas de calabaza and porcini mushroom sauce, it's easy to see why many consider Gracias Madre to be the best Mexican restaurant in California.

26 Lovina - Calistoga, CA

Housed in a 120-year-old historic craftsman home, Lovina is a truly unique restaurant. The team behind the eatery strictly follows the idea of promoting health in all aspects. Because of this, Lovina is tip-free because its pricing provides staff with a living wage, a 401k, sick leave, vacation, and benefits. Of course, this motivation extends to the food. Lovina has many vegan and gluten-free options, but lacto-ovo vegetarians will definitely love the millionaire's deviled eggs or the impossible sausage lasagna.

27 P.S. Kitchen - New York City, NY

Vegetarianism, in all its forms, is ultimately about the health of our planet—this includes its populace. PS Kitchen is an upscale vegan restaurant in New York that uses environmentally friendly food sources and kitchen practices. However, its founder, April Tam Smith, donates profits to charities fighting against poverty and aims to provide meaningful employment to better the planet as a whole. Nothing is better than eating an impossibly delicious vegetarian crabby cake and knowing that your money is helping the world change. Guests can find this small cafe in the Theater District of Midtown West and enjoy indoor or outdoor seating.

28 Plant Vegan Restaurant - Asheville, NC

With a name as simple as "Plant," you know the food is sure to impress. The restaurant's interior is as simple as its name—a few tables, a small bar, a patio, and some subtle decor. But Chef Jason Sellers crafts dishes that are as much art as food, weaving intricate flavors together to create warm and intimate dishes. The tofu bibimbap with pickled shiitakes and purple cabbage is otherworldly. Even the vegan desserts are incredible, especially the peanut butter cheesecake with its cocoa-almond crust. The menu changes decently often, so every visit offers a new experience. You can find Plant directly at the corner of Merrimon and Broad, though you might mistake it for a florist thanks to the lush greenery in the windows.

29 The Cafe - Key West, FL

Drive down Southard Street to find a cozy little restaurant that has been redefining plant-based cuisine for over a decade. Named simply "The Cafe," the building's warm Bohemian decor and expansive menu make for a lovely lunch or a dinner that will fill your heart and stomach. Indulge in some craft beer or homemade sangria and dig into a falafel with bean salad. The best part? For as good as the food is, it is extremely affordable.

30 The Studio - Hilton Head, SC

Do you love art? What about fine food? The Studio has everything you could ask for. Fill your belly with decadent vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options while you sit in the middle of an actual art gallery. Some nights, you might even enjoy your meal with some live music, or you can watch as artists paint on their easels right in front of you. Cut into some "steak" and mushroom crepes, and let yourself sink into the art around you. Plus, if you love a particular piece, you might even be able to buy it and take it home.


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