Thu. Dec 1st, 2022

Healthy, plant-based dining on vacation is no longer a mutually exclusive endeavor. Haute vegetables are here to stay as Michelin star-studded chefs and award-winning resorts lead the way out of the bland vegetarian wilderness with inspiring offerings. Think sophisticated vegan menus, dedicated vegan kitchens, and vegetarian/vegan cooking classes that feature farmed-on-site ingredients. Botany never tasted so good; here’s where to go now:

Alaska, Within the Wild: Owned and operated by the Dixon family, which boasts two trained chefs and cookbook authors, this collection of resorts specializes in locally-inspired cuisine. At their family’s Tutka Bay Lodge, nestled in a private cove within a rugged nine-mile ancient glacial fjord, you’ll find a cooking school and a menu featuring wild, foraged (from the lodge’s private old-growth forest) ingredients. Guests also enjoy personalized plant-based cooking classes where they’ll learn techniques, recipes, and seasonal flavor combinations.

India, Ananda In The Himalayas offers Ayurveda cuisine lessons (plant-based with use of dairy) for in-house guests twice in a week. Cooking classes focus on foods which are not processed or less processed, consumed closer to harvest, and grown organically or biodynamically. They also focus on the nutritional aspect of food, using plant-based ingredients to develop high protein, diabetic, and vegan menus, as well as menus for hypertension, and active fitness. According to the resort’s Chef Chef Diwaker Balodi, approximately 75 % of their offerings across different menus are plant based.

St. Lucia, Anse Chastanet is home to the popular Emeralds restaurant, a vegan eatery featuring cuisine made with ingredients from the resort’s on-site Emerald Estates Regenerative Farm. Chocolate lovers should note the farm is home to over 1000 cacao trees and guests are invited to participate in bean-to-bar harvesting where they’ll learn how to make vegan chocolates. Also, at the farm guests can participate in Rastafarian Vegan Creole cooking lessons led by the resort’s dedicated Vegan Chef de Cuisine Frank Faucher.

Thailand, Soneva Kiri, specializes in plant-based dining experiences that take inspiration from the resort’s sprawling organic garden. Chef Samantha Haeberli designed a menu that delivers diners nutrient-dense, colorful dishes that can be paired with natural wines. You can also join a Medicinal Mixology cocktail class with the Botanical Bartender for wellness-centered cocktails.

Georgia, The Four Seasons Atlanta Whether traveling for business or pleasure, this midtown hotel serves up an intriguing plant-based menu in their sumptuous Bar Margot restaurant and lounge. Executive Chef Edgar Kano and Sous Chef Chad “Sosa” Hester crafted the plant-based dining experience by drawing inspiration from Atlanta’s diverse cultural heritage. Offerings such as their spice-laced Vegan Jollof Rice garnished with grilled slices of king trumpet mushrooms or the Crispy Mushroom Sandwich with fried oyster mushrooms topped with a house-made vegan aioli make for satisfying dishes. Everything is house-made, from-scratch using non-processed ingredients and sourcing produce from regional Southeastern farms.

Mexico, Palmaïa – The House of AïA on the coast of Mexico’s Playa del Carmen, is a retreat that focuses on unique, immersive jungle and beach experiences. The founder, Alex Ferri, is a vegan and created the resort’s culinary program as well as the vegan-friendly suites and custom programming that invites guests to explore off-property vegan culinary agricultural practices. All guests enjoy complimentary access to 24-hour room service, unrestricted access to the four restaurants on propertyall of which offer 100% plant-based menus with optional protein add-ons.

Maldives, JOALI BEING opened this past November with a dedicated vegan kitchen, customized menus, and plant-based cooking classes. Guests can expect fresh, locally harvested food that supports small farms and is sustainably sourced, and all culinary offerings at the resort are crafted alongside the retreat’s nutrition experts. Plantae restaurant offers a full menu of vegetarian and vegan dishes centered around the four pillars of well-being: Mind, Skin, Microbiome and Energy. Interactive nutritional cooking classes at the retreat’s Culinary Learning Center are also an option if you want to take a deeper dive into plant-based cuisine.

Costa Rica, Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa is home to two restaurants that blend local flavors, traditional recipes, and international cuisines with plant-based ingredients. Both restaurants, Tucanes and AVE, include numerous vegan and vegetarian options on their menus and AVE offers an exclusive vegan and gluten free menu for guests with dietary restrictions. The resort also has Pura Vida cooking classes that can be customized to accommodate vegetarian diets.

Barbados, Sandals Royal Barbados opened The Greenhouse in 2021, a rustic farm-to-table eatery offering elegant cuisine prepared with locally sourced, farm-to-table foods that include several plant-based options. Better yet, guests can consult with the Sandals “Culinary Concierge” to create a specialized menu for any dietary needs—including vegan, halal, kosher and gluten-free diets.

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