A selection of five vegan dishes on a table.
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The only 9 vegan restaurants in the US featured in the Michelin Guide

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January 24, 2024
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The only 9 vegan restaurants in the US featured in the Michelin Guide

New York City's Eleven Madison Park, named the World's Best Restaurant in 2017, shocked the culinary world in 2021 by making a massive switch to the menu. Gone are the imported caviar, Kobe beef, lavender-honey glazed duck, and any hint of butter or eggs.

Owner Chef Daniel Humm said that the restaurant's shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic gave him time to ponder his legacy and how this change could benefit the culinary world and society. "Guests have never come to us to just eat a piece of steak or lobster. They've always come to us to be on a journey," Humm told NPR.

Humm's decision could very well have long-lasting effects.

"A restaurant like Eleven Madison Park is basically a teaching institution," acclaimed food critic Ruth Reichl explained to The New York Times, likening the restaurant's role to that of Chez Panisse, which pioneered the farm-to-table movement diners see everywhere now.

Despite the massive change, Eleven Madison Park has been able to sustain three Michelin stars with an adventurous menu—and it's not the only vegan restaurant the culinary world is noticing. Numerous plant-based eateries within the United States have garnered coveted Michelin ratings for their innovative dishes—like plant-based sushi and vegan-inspired soul food.

So which plant-based eateries are worth a visit? Thistle looked through all vegan restaurants in the Michelin Guide and spotlighted the only nine in the U.S.

Fruits and vegetables in a restaurant kitchen.
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Avant Garden

Not only did co-founder Ravi Derossi open up Death & Co, named one of the World's 50 Best Bars, but the James Beard-nominated restaurateur also launched other plant-based eateries through his vegan dining group Overthrow Hospitality.

This collection includes Avant Garden, a vegan restaurant in New York City's East Village known for its deep-fried sushi rice and cremini mushroom toast with onion marmalade. Along with executive chef Juan Pajarito and Overthrow Hospitality wine director Drew Brady, each dish has fresh vegetables, and diners can enjoy a curated selection of natural wines.

Table setting in restaurant.
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Lion Dance Cafe

Chef C-Y Chia and Shane Stanbridge have made waves with their plant-based menu, starting with a pop-up S+M Vegan. Their venture eventually grew into a takeout spot and then a full-service restaurant in 2023.

Named after the "lion dance," a traditional Chinese art form meant for good luck, the cafe serves vegan-inspired Singaporean cuisine such as laksa (rice noodles in coconut broth with rotating vegetables and garnishes) and the golden milk bread service (turmeric and coconut milk-soaked bread served with slow-carmelized mushroom rendang pâté.

Shenarri Freeman poses for a photo.
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Cadence

Influenced by her Virginia upbringing and vegan cuisine, Cadence's executive chef Shenarri Freeman created a menu of plant-based soul food that earned her a nomination for a James Beard Award in 2022.

Dishes on the menu focus on seasonal vegetables, such as succotash-filled collard green wraps and a take on chicken and waffles swapped with fried oyster mushrooms and topped with lavender maple syrup.

Located in New York City and connected with Derossi's Overthrow Hospitality group, Freeman also looks to keep some of those Southern classics customers know and love, like fried green tomatoes, biscuits, and gravy made with porcini mushrooms, "jerk" mac and cheese, and of course, a fruit cobbler. Cadence also spotlights Black-owned wineries on the beverage menu.

Close up table setting.
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Soda Club

Soda Club, located in New York City, is a pasta and wine bar serving plant-based Italian-style dishes under the direction of chef Pedro Allende.

The restaurant serves a variety of fresh pasta; some of the most famous including tagliatelle served with nori "butter" sauce, Meyer lemon, capers, and celery root, and the ravioli served with vegan ricotta, chanterelles, and confit tomato. Michelin's guide also recommends the toasted focaccia bread served with a miso bagna cauda.

But it's not just the food but the ambiance that is sought after; the vibe of the pasta and wine bar has a nostalgic, Prohibition-era feel with velvet chairs and stained-glass lamps. Its wine list also features over 200 natural and organic wines from co-owner and wine director Drew Brady.

Daniel Humm poses in the Eleven Madison Park Restaurant kitchen.
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Eleven Madison Park

Eleven Madison Park has been one of New York City's top fine-dining institutions for years. It has held three Michelin stars since 2012 and was named one of the World's Best Restaurants in 2017. After taking over ownership of the restaurant in 2011 with then-business partner Will Guidara and transforming it into a dining destination, chef Daniel Humm decided to completely change direction by unveiling an entirely plant-based menu in May 2021.

Eleven Madison Park serves a nine- to 10-course main dining room tasting menu at $365 per person or a shorter-course bar tasting menu at $195 per person, with the price of the meal going toward the 500 meals the chefs provide a day to New York City's food security program.

Michelin says Eleven Madison Park is bringing "luxury dining" to unparalleled heights in the plant-based space, with dishes such as quenelle of tonburi to mimic caviar, braised seitan wrapped in spinach, and a frozen cherry blossom dessert with rose confection dressed with strawberries.

Colorful vegetables seen through an empty wine glass.
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Bloom Plant Based Kitchen

From the creators of the Latin American eatery Amaru, Bloom started as a meatless ghost kitchen, which later blossomed into a full-blown restaurant.

Chef Rodolfo Cuadros incorporates sustainable practices and eco-friendly solutions with environmental impacts like using clean energy, composting food waste, and growing microgreens in-house.

Michelin calls Bloom a "breezy retreat" featuring a flavorful Latin- and Indian-inspired menu, including items like Baja tacos made with hemp seed and fried banana blossom, kelp noodles with acorn squash velouté and pumpkin seeds, and an avocado-key lime "ice cream" with ginger crumbles.

Eater Chicago calls Bloom a "daring" plant-based eatery with reasonable prices in the heart of Chicago's Wicker Park. Its main dishes hover around $20 or $30, with the chateaubriand made out of lion's mane mushroom at $42.

Matthew Kenney poses with his book Plant Lab: Crafting The Future Of Food.
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Plant Food + Wine

Located inside the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, this plant-based eatery offers a variety of small and big plates, as well as their recent signature dish—avocado tikka with curry yogurt, potato flatbread, and herbs.

Matthew Kenney, a plant-based celebrity chef known for his cookbooks, wellness retreats, and plant-based cooking school, Food Future Institute, developed the experience at the eatery.

Some menu highlights have included an heirloom tomato and zucchini lasagna with macadamia nut "ricotta." Plant Food + Wine also offers a breakfast and lunch menu with hearty items like a cornmeal waffle with fried maitake, a smoked tofu benedict with turmeric hollandaise, and a summer potato and Just Egg frittata.

Two chefs preparing salads in a restaurant kitchen.
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Millennium

Located in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 20 years, owner and executive chef Eric Tucker offers a rotating menu of dishes based on what ingredients are locally and readily available, as well as what's in season, such as an allspice and pimenton roasted honeynut squash and a pumpkin masa chalupa. Tucker is known for showcasing a four-course "Taste of Millennium" prix-fixe dinner at just $70 per person.

Now located in Oakland, Michelin points out how this "rustic-chic space is laid back and unfussy" and is welcoming for crowds of all kinds, including young families.

Tucker advocates for agriculture and sustainability. He also chairs CHEFS, which stands for Conquering Homelessness through Employment in Food Service.

Restaurant table with vegan sushi.
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Shizen

Founded by two nonvegetarians in the heart of San Francisco, Shizen is a dining experience designed to kickstart conversations on the sushi industry's effects on ocean life.

In partnership with environmental activist Casson Trenor, founders Ray Wang and Kin Lui created California- and Japanese-inspired vegan sushi menu with items made from skillfully manipulated vegetables like eggplant, asparagus, gobo, tofu, shiitake, and green mango.

Their specialty rolls have fillings such as pumpkin tempura, marinated eryngii (aka king oyster) mushrooms, and spicy tofu. Michelin highlights the tofuna rolls made with chili-inflected minced tofu and cucumber, a yuba salad with miso dressing, as well as tempura-battered shiitake mushrooms with faux crab.

Editor's note: Prices and menu items mentioned in this story are subject to change.

Story editing by Carren Jao. Copy editing by Kristen Wegrzyn.

This story originally appeared on Thistle and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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