Gone are the days of vegans only being able to order French fries and a bowl of lettuce at restaurants. The vegan dining scene has taken off around the world and restaurants, both vegan and non-vegan, are offering diverse and creative menu options made entirely of plants. The rising popularity of vegan food has seen the expansion of new places popping up and others making changes to out-of-date menus. There is a thriving community of plant-based restaurants in The Palm Beaches making it easy to travel as a vegan to the glorious sunshine state. So after a day of experiencing world class culture, shopping the latest fashionable trends, taking in outdoor festivals, or spending the day at the beach, you can dine at innovative and delicious vegan restaurants scattered throughout the county.
Darbster, located in West Palm Beach, is named in honor of Darby, the restaurant owners’ poodle rescued from a puppy mill. This delicious plant-based bistro offers a creative menu of organic old-time classics such as tasty chickn’ Pad Thai or barley risotto with cashew parmesan, in addition to new innovative dishes like pistachio crusted tofu or soba salad. They also serve raw living food dishes including avocado toast and a bacon cheeze burger using a healthy sunflower walnut herb patty and eggplant to replace the bacon. Sit outside on their deck along the water for peaceful and tranquil views. When dining at Darbster you are not only saving animals such as cows, pigs and chickens with vegan food choices, but saving cats and dogs too.
All their food profits go towards The Darbster Foundation, a charity actively working to reduce the number of animals euthanized in Palm Beach County. They sponsor spay and neuter surgeries, support medical care of community animals, rescue dogs from overcrowded shelters, and transport cats to partner shelters to be adopted into furever homes.
Must try dish: NY Pasta
Roots Vegan Kitchen – Delray Beach Market
Delray Beach Market is not your typical food court. This stylish and trendy food hall has large windows so the Florida sun shines in while you dine. There are unique pop-up kiosks selling cool products scattered throughout hall. The market is a reflection of the diverse population living in Delray Beach and offers coastal flavors for everyone. For me this means delicious comfort food at Roots Vegan Kitchen. This fully plant-based restaurant makes everything in house and puts a vegan spin on classic sandwiches like the Rueben and creamy Caesar salads (traditionally made with anchovy paste). Take a green smoothie to go and explore nearby bustling Atlantic Avenue.
Must try dish: Heart of Palm Tacos
Christopher’s Kitchen in Palm Beach Gardens serves high quality, certified organic plant-based food to hungry patrons. Sit inside in their modern and serene setting or outside with views of the plaza fountain and sip on a superfood smoothie, a carrot punch juice, or do wheatgrass shots with a friend. I have eaten at Christopher’s several times and each time try something new. Their weekend brunch is heavenly and includes waffles, southwest scramble, avocado toast, and fresh mouth-watering cinnamon rolls served with a scoop of ice cream.
Must try dish: Fettuccine Alfredo
Having eaten at Planta in both Miami and Toronto there is a certain expectation of excellence and Planta at The Square in West Palm Beach did not disappoint. Their fully plant-based restaurants opened in 2016 with a mission to reimagine, reinvent and revitalize the experience of eating plants. They offer a wide variety of vegan sushi such as unagi eggplant nigiri, dragon rolls, baked crab rolls (using hearts of palm) and ahi watermelon nigiri. If dining with a friend, consider sharing the steamed dumplings, spinach & artichoke dip or fully loaded nachos. Planta offers a selection of cold pressed juices and cocktails. After lunch shop at The Square, a dynamic open-air mall where you can browse among locals and enjoy a chilled coffee before exploring more of West Palm Beach.
Must try dish: Bianca Pizza
Playa Bowls – Delray Beach
While they are not totally vegan they certainly come close and can make most of their menu items entirely plant-based upon request. Playa Bowls started as a vision by two Jersey Shore surfers who traveled around the world on surfing trips discovering delicious açai and pitaya bowls. They decided to recreate their favorites and began with only a blender and a patio table. Their business is now flourishing with over 140 stores across the United States including Delray Beach – where I fell in love with their açai bowls and went daily to try new ones. They have a large assortment of healthy açai, pitaya and coconut bowls; refreshing juices, and nutritious smoothies. Playa Bowls is located steps away from the glorious Atlantic Ocean so take your bowl with you for a morning walk along the shore.
Must try dish: Hemp, Trail Blazer, or Coconut Power bowls (in other bowls such as Pink Power simply replace honey with agave to make it vegan and request gluten-free granola without bee pollen)