How to Dine Out When You’re Vegan

Grilled vegetables on a restaurant table

I often get asked how to dine out when you’re vegan, and I’m not going to lie. Eating out can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you get hangry (hungry + angry).

But it’s not impossible! There are lots of great options if you know where to look. I’m sharing a dozen tips with you that will help when you’re dining out with friends or family or are just looking for a quick bite on the go.

A dozen tips on how to dine out when you’re vegan

Check out these tips for dining out when you’re vegan and enjoy your meal!

  1. One of the best ways to find vegan dining options is to search online for vegan-friendly restaurants in your area.
  2. Check out YELP.com to look for reviews on various restaurants and check for their recommendations for restaurants serving vegan foods
  3. HappyCow.net is an excellent app you can download to find vegan and vegetarian options. And they cover restaurants in over 180 countries!
  4. Look for buffet restaurants and call ahead to see if they offer vegan options
  5. Find small coffee shops or cafes – they often have a variety of vegan foods
  6. Excite your taste buds and experience ethnic restaurants! Many serve vegan dishes, and it’s a good way to learn about different cultures, spices, and types of foods
  7. Find fast food chains with vegan items on the menu. They may not be the healthiest choice, but it’s better than starving or going off your diet. KFC and Wienerschnitzel recently introduced vegan options for chicken and hot dogs in selected locations. Other fast-food places may have French fries or onion rings, or salads.
  8. If you didn’t select the restaurant, try to find a copy of the menu before arriving. This gives you time to review any vegan options. If there are none, place a call to the establishment to see if they can prepare a vegan dish for you. Most chefs are happy to do this for you!
  9. Don’t be afraid to bring your food with you to the restaurant. Most places will heat it for you if you ask them.
  10. Look to other vegans or online groups to share their recommendations for a local, vegan-friendly restaurant that offers a wide variety of dishes.
  11. If you have them, check out the local food truck offerings. Most of these owner-operated businesses want to succeed, so they try to cater to everybody. This means they usually have at least one vegan item on their menu, and many offer more.
  12. When all else fails, try to be patient and understanding. Unfortunately, not all restaurants will be able to accommodate your dietary restrictions. This is happening less frequently as more establishments become aware of the demand for plant-forward options. But if you do find yourself in that predicament, try to handle the matter with dignity and grace. And if necessary, take your business elsewhere.

Ethnic Restaurants & How to Dine Out if You’re Vegan

If you’re looking for ethnic restaurants that offer vegan food, there are so many good options. One choice is Vietnamese cuisine, which typically includes lots of traditional plant-based ingredients such as rice and fresh herbs.

Another excellent choice is Indian cuisine. It offers savory curries and tangy chutneys – all made with plenty of fresh veggies and legumes.

Other ethnic cuisines that cater well to vegans include Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean fare. You can even find vegan items at French and Jewish restaurants!

So whether you’re craving comfort food classics or exotic new flavors, you’re sure to find something delicious at an ethnic restaurant – especially those that cater to vegans.

How to Dine Out When You're Vegan - icon with ethnic foods including pasta with vegetables, burritos, tofu and chana masala

Location, Location, Location

One of the most important things to consider when looking for vegan foods is your location. Vegan dining options will naturally be more abundant in urban and even suburban areas.

But don’t let this discourage you from searching in more rural areas! Smaller towns and communities often have hidden gems that big cities don’t offer. Rural areas often have wineries or organic cafes – and they tend to feature fresh, locally-grown ingredients.

Check out these amazing ethnic cuisine recipe books!

Ultimately, choose any restaurant that emphasizes wholesome, natural ingredients. It is sure to be a great choice for anyone seeking vegan food.

With a little bit of planning, the “how to dine out when you’re vegan” dilemma is moot. If you find there are no options, then make and bring your food to the restaurant. Here is a couple of easy to cook & carry options you might like to consider:

Vegan Lemon Pasta or Cucumber Gazpacho

So the next time someone you knows is wondering how to dine out when you’re vegan, be sure to share some of these tips with them.

And remember, if you keep an open mind, you’re sure to have a great dining experience – animal products are not required!

person holding a menu at a restaurant

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