The features and qualities that contribute to creating a superior dining experience for vegans is no different than those found within more mainstream, meat-serving dining establishments. Everybody wants their dining-out bucks to buy them some delicious food they can select from a menu that is as expansive as practicality allows. We all want to find the atmosphere to be uplifting, comforting, appealing, nicely layered (Not dull or too plain,) and clean. We want to feel welcome and appreciated by the staff, and to receive excellent service that is well-timed and not overly-extended or invasive. It’s always nice when the accouterments are aesthetically distinctive and sophisticated, and additional forms of art, such as paintings and sculptures improve our overall experience. Well-chosen music that complements the atmosphere is nice, whether live or recorded, and sometimes performance art is a good match. Comfortable seating, a relative sense of privacy and a nice view are all welcome, too. Still, it’s the food that will be why we designate any restaurant among the very best, regardless of the type food served there.

Nothing Exclusive Outside of a Vegan Menu
While for many decades, vegetarians of all classifications were seen as offbeat and peculiar by most, modern veganism conveys a certain glam distinction, probably from so many celebs who practice. While the all-vested vegans are certainly happy to find such a nice range of dining-out choices, the surge in vegan restaurants has come from more omnivores who are recognizing the health benefits attributed to vegan diets and/or are enjoying the adventurous departure from the same-old. Take a look at these highly praised vegan restaurants for some of the most sumptuous dining fare–from comfort foods to haute cuisine– to be found anywhere that food’s being served.

Lovin’ Spoonfuls, Tucson, AZ
Now in its tenth year of operation, Lovin’ Spoonfuls has been the recipient of numerous awards at both local and nation levels of all the leading vegan-industry leaders and publications, and rightly so. Their exceptionally extensive menu includes numerous specialties from their “soda fountain-inspired” treats, awesome bakery, and whether you’re there for breakfast, lunch or dinner, here you can order from their fat-free, gluten-free and soy-free menus. Completely delish kid’s menu is a family favorite, with the kiddos actually eating the food! Gracious atmosphere and all plant-based cuisine and a full bar.

Candle 79, NYC
This NYC hot spot may require reservations, it’s so popular. Dine vegan in a deluxe, eclectic ambiance on amazing dishes created from organic produce and served with charm and elegance. This premiere dining establishment for vegan dishes features all fresh, Farm to Table foods and a full, elegant eco-bar with organic wine. Green, welcoming oasis where organic and elegance merge in sustainable ambiance to love. A two-story dining offshoot from the original, more casual, Candle Cafe, Candle 79 combines delicious, beautiful, creative and healthy food presentation with excellent service in a gorgeous dining atmosphere. Integrating elegance with vegan cuisine.

Millennium, Oakland CA
Since 1994, Millennium’s commitment to offering globally-inspired plant-based foods in a sublime, sophisticated and elegant setting has made this vegan restaurant the success it is today. Their full bar features sumptuous infusions from the freshest juices, craft beers and internationally-recognized wines. With a spacious and delightful outdoor patio, the upscale interior features rustic woods and metal floor tiles. Elegantly plated concoctions include Polenta Croutons on Pickled Carrot Salad, Warm Roasted Turnip and Brussels Sprout Salad and Sesame & Arborio Crusted King Trumpet Mushrooms.

Plant, Asheville, NC
Chef Jason Sellers incidentally worked at NYC’s Candle 79 after attending culinary school at the Natural Gourmet in Manhattan. Located in the vibrantly vegan-supportive community of Asheville, this vegan utopia makes all the dishes as entirely plant-based and no dairy. Among local favorites are the Bok Choy, Grilled Beets, or their Uttapam, with onion and avocado, peanut-sesame dukka, soy-ginger syrup, coconut moss and cabbage, or the “Cheese” aged Cashew Farmer’s Involtini, with rosemary amber and fruit, pickled vegetables, black garlic oil and focaccia. Their full bar features a wonderful menagerie of wines, beers and house concoctions infused from sustainable, organic and bio-dynamic methods and sources.