Finding plant-based food options can be a challenge, even though the number of people adopting a meat-free diet has grown exponentially over the last decade.
While some cities have not yet caught on to the growing demand for vegan and vegetarian eats, others have fully embraced it. These cities are the most likely to have a wider array of affordable, plant-focused restaurants and grocers for this ever-expanding demographic!
The key to the abundance of vegan and vegetarian foods in Portland is the availability of fresh, local ingredients.
The Portland Farmers Market sells seasonal produce, along with cheeses, baked goods, and an assortment of herbivore-friendly cuisine. Local restaurants serve a wide variety of plant-based sandwiches, soy- and seitan-based entrees, international dishes, and other meatless choices.
Finding vegan and vegetarian foods at local grocers is easy here, too, though they can be a bit pricier than meat-centric options.
Los Angeles, California
Given the vibrance of this coastal metropolis, it’s not surprising that Los Angeles makes it easy to adopt a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle due to the availability and quality of dining and grocery businesses.
Chances are, if a new trend emerges from meatless communities, it will show up in the City of Angels first. Plant-based eating has become a staple here. Most local restaurants that once offered meat-based menu items have added vegan and vegetarian entrees to their menus to meet the growing desire for alternatives.
San Francisco, California
Each year, San Francisco and its metro area rank high on the list among the most hospitable cities for vegan and vegetarian diners. Farmers’ markets remain open through rain or shine, ensuring a constant supply of fresh, locally grown produce as well as plant-based and vegan delicacies.
The demand for meatless, organic dining options is so high in San Francisco, that some restaurants have gone completely meat-free. Polls show San Francisco sits at the top of the list for diversity, accessibility, and quality of meat-free foods.
Affordable vegan menus and top-rated chefs focusing on plant-centric meals have brought Orlando to the forefront when it comes to vegan/vegetarian-friendly hubs. Many of these restaurants are locally owned.
While some cities have an abundance of fast food spots, Orlando’s focus in recent years has been on slow food. The movement, which dates back to the late 1980s, supports local businesses serving sustainable foods using ingredients grown in the area.
The birthplace of grunge, Starbucks, Cinnabon, and the electric bass guitar is also home to Vegfest, a celebration of the meat-free lifestyle.
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Seattle is a diverse city with an array of vegan and vegetarian restaurants, caterers, and grocers to choose from. From faux meat-and-cheese pub grub to meatless international cuisine, this city has it all.
Seattle Pacific University may not have a designated plant-based-food-only kitchen, but it observes Meatless Mondays and offers a designated vegan station in its dining hall.
While vegetarian and vegan meals may be more costly in Miami, the city ranks high for its diverse menu selections, quality, and accessibility of meatless foods. The city also has an impressive number of farmers markets and community-supported agriculture programs (CSAs), which ensure consumers can buy seasonally fresh, local ingredients directly from the people who grow them.
Local eateries, as well as chain restaurants, offer clean-eating and organic menu items and favorites from Cuban, Dominican, Colombian, and Mexican vegan cuisines.
The capital city of Idaho is also among the top 10 ideal states for vegans and vegetarians. The variety of unique, plant-based eating establishments in Boise may surprise people.
Popular establishments include a food truck-turned-restaurant that serves smoked vegan fare and an award-winning vegan soul food eatery. Vegetarians and vegans can even take their love of vegetables to a new level by booking a night in a cozy, potato-shaped hotel in South Boise.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Cost is a major factor when it comes to adopting a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, but according to a recent study, Fort Wayne tops the list for lowest prices and ranks fourth for overall affordability of plant-based foods.
This midwestern city has only a few eating establishments catering to the meatless crowd. However, local groups host meetups and potlucks, as well as public events to highlight the growing vegan community and the many benefits of a plant-based or vegan diet. This fast-expanding community adds to Fort Wayne’s vegan-vegetarian friendliness factor.
Vegan and vegetarian foods here are expensive, but Oakland earned high scores for diversity, quality, and accessibility of meatless cuisine choices due to the number of plant-focused eateries across the city.
People here are more likely to order vegetarian or vegan when ordering delivery food. They also eat more vegetables and fruit in Oakland than in any other city on the list and have more social gatherings for like-minded foodies.
This metro area in the Lone Star State closed out the top ten list of cities because of its accessibility and healthy selection of vegan and vegetarian food alternatives.
Increasing numbers of Americans are filling up their shopping carts with plant-based milk and meat alternatives, and Austin— a well-established foodie paradise—has plenty of local businesses catering to the demand. Diners will find a unique mixture of casual and upscale restaurants serving meatless cuisine, but they will also discover an excellent selection of grocers who specialize in affordable ingredients.
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