Let’s Veg(an) Out!

How to navigate the Vegan World

by @veryvivaciousvegan

Yes, going out to eat as a vegan (or vegetarian) can be challenging at times. Good news is, I’m here to give you some great tips about how to navigate it all! 

As someone who’s been vegan for almost three years now, I’ve become quite the expert on how to find great places to eat and have better experiences at restaurants that don’t exclusively serve plant-based food (I love going out to vegan-only places but they’re hard to come by). 

So, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, or just curious about how vegans deal with one of the major hurdles that come with the lifestyle – here’s the best way to dine out on a vegan diet, especially when going out with others. 


1. Look up vegan restaurants – this may seem pretty obvious but when searching for somewhere to eat, save yourself some time by limiting your search and including to keywords like “vegan restaurants,” “vegetarian restaurants,” and “plant-based restaurants.” Some results may restaurants that aren’t 100% plant-based, but there will be at least have one option that you can enjoy. Also, download apps that help narrow down a list of great vegan restaurants near you: Free: Vegan NYC and Vegan Maps; Not free but wildly popular: Happy Cow (One-time payment of $3.99) 

jars with various pickled vegetables on shelf in cafe
Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

2. Be the one to suggest places to eat – Going out to eat is a go-to social “event” for many. When planning to hang out with others over a meal, take the initiative to list out some restaurant options that are either 100% vegan or vegan-friendly. You can’t assume that people will be considerate about your diet limitations. So, make the choice about where to eat (or present different possibilities). If not, you may find yourself at a steakhouse and the only thing you can eat are a boring salad or some fries. The most vegan-friendly cuisines are Mexican, Thai, Chinese, and Indian!  

appetizing assorted hummus served with mixed salad in cafe
Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

3. Check the menu before going – So, you’ve been invited somewhere, and you weren’t able to choose the restaurant. Maybe it’s someone’s birthday or your friend really had their heart set on trying some place. I hate to break it to you, but this is a common scenario. Not to worry though, just see what options are available so you know what you’re getting into before you arrive. Who knows, *maybe* if you find out there’s nothing you can eat, the person who picked the restaurant will reconsider. 

4. Call ahead/ get confirmation – You’ve checked the menu, and hey, there seems to be a few options that are vegan-friendly! You may still want to call before you get there to confirm that it will be available. Some restaurants don’t keep certain ingredients stocked up if they’re not really known for their vegan options. It’s likely that a restaurant will have items that *might* be vegan, but aren’t indicated that way on the menu or it’s mislabeled as only vegetarian. This is a case where you definitely want to call ahead to double check or if you happen to visit a restaurant on a whim – double check with the waiter. The worst thing ever is being disappointed by unavailability or mistakenly eating something that isn’t vegan. 

three black handset toys
Photo by Alex Andrews on Pexels.com

5. Create your own meal – If all else fails, and you find yourself at restaurant that isn’t particularly vegan-friendly, check out the sides and create a meal from there. Options like rice and vegetables are typically available and fine to eat. Another vegan staple are fries – can’t really go wrong there.   

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