Dining Vegan in Non-Vegetarian Restaurants

dish of boiled potatoes sprinkled with herbs

If you are not near any vegan restaurants, here are some tips for dining out.

Go International

It is usually easy to find vegan selections in restaurants offering international cuisines, such as Indian, Ethiopian, Greek, Italian, Middle Eastern, Mexican, and Asian (Thai, Cambodian, Chinese, Vietnamese). Please note that in some Asian restaurants, dishes listed under the vegetarian section may contain fish sauce. Ask your server, and see which dishes can substitute soy sauce.

Simple Sides

Most restaurants in urban areas now have at least one vegan selection. If not, they usually can accommodate a request to make something nice for you, such as sautéed or steamed vegetables over rice or pasta, baked potato with a mixed veggie salad, or a roasted vegetable platter. Often these impromptu dishes can be surprisingly wonderful!

Call Ahead

If you are not certain that a restaurant has vegan selections, check their menu online and/or call ahead and ask if they can provide a vegan meal. This will help them to be prepared and ensure a smooth dinner, especially if you are dining with others.

Before Ordering

Ask questions of your server before ordering, and politely make your wishes to avoid certain foods and ingredients clear when ordering. We cannot expect that all servers and kitchen staff are experts in vegan criteria, so some friendly clarification in advance should avoid misunderstandings. Sending back food already delivered to the table because of insufficient advance clarifications contributes to stressed feelings towards vegan diners, and to food waste and its negative consequences to the environment, climate change, and food security.

Express Your Appreciation

If the restaurant staff has served you an excellent meal and/or has made a special effort to accommodate your requests, express appreciation for their job well done. This can encourage good feelings about providing for vegan guests.

Bon Appetit!