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Plant-Based Pioneers: Vegan Restaurants Around the World

2019 is the year vegan properly went mainstream with all manner of restaurants, cafes and old-school fast-food joints jumping on the plant-based bandwagon. 

In an electro-shock to the traditional dining world, even 150-year-old blue-blooded French patisserie Ladurée announced that its pic-pretty Beverly Hills outpost was a temple of animal and dairy-free sweet treats. Whether you’re a committed carrot-cruncher, planning for Veganuary 2020 or simply veg-curious, here are the meat-free restaurants leading the way in Los Angeles, New York, London, Tokyo and Paris.

Los Angeles: Plant Food + Wine 

Away from revamping the menu at Ladurée, LA’s beloved Matthew Kenney steers this sleek, fine-dine plant-based supster in fashionable Abbot Kinney Blvd. Graze amid the beautiful people on sensational mushroom tartare, heirloom tomato and zucchini lasagne, washed down with tasty wine cocktails.

New York: Dirt Candy

This much-lauded Lower East Side counter is the frontrunner of the meat-free trend in NYC. Now in its second locale, Dirt Candy continues to chart an original course with its forward-leaning set menus (choose from 5 or 9-10 courses) and no-tip and profit share policies. The first ever vegetarian panhandler to appear on Iron Chef, Canadian owner Amanda Cohen has earned her stripes with original dishes such as brussels sprouts tacos and portobello mushroom mousse with sauteed Asian pears. Be sure to save room for one of the heavenly desserts.

London: Mildreds 

Repping four branches around London, bright, friendly Mildreds is verging on claiming chain status. But Pret this is not, as each restaurant has individual style and character, from Soho’s elegant C.18th townhouse to the modern, colour-pop canteen at King’s Cross. Food cites Asian and Middle Eastern influence, think: gyoza dumplings, Sri Lankan curry and spiced chickpeas with persian limes and harissa, with meals available to take away too. There’s a handy list of allergens and divine vegan-friendly puds while the list of craft ‘tails and organic pours keeps it lively. Mildreds Soho is the go-to to spy Voguistas actually eating; head to Dalston for more edge.

Tokyo: Tofuya Ukai

Sitting under Tokyo Tower, this former sake brewery turned temple of tofu is one of the most serene restaurants to be found in the city.  Lacquered pillars, tatami floors and a pic-perfect rock garden backdrop refined seasonal kaiseki-style menus which star the humble soybean in meals made with spring water, seasonal vegetables and flip-fresh fish. Go at dusk to soak up the sunset and quintessential Japanese ambiance; take drinks in the romantic art nouveau-style lounge afterwards.

Paris: Le Potager de Charlotte

With four wildly successful years under its toque, Le Potager de Charlotte was one of the first restaurants to make waves in Paris’ then-nascent vegan scene. Slide into an emerald-green velvet chair, crowned with Edison-bulb lighting, to indulge in a surprising vegan feast for the senses, drawing on rare, market-fresh, seasonal and local produce. A veritable garden on the plate.

Hero Image:Plant Food + Wine, L.A., Matthew Kenney Cuisine

Travelling with an appetite? 

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