A collection of just some of the places to eat in just some of North America’s cities. As a herbivore this list does have a slight vegetarian focus, but in my very objective opinion as the writer of this blog, I believe it is relevant for all people that love good food, good coffee and good vibes. It is, of course, alphabetised by city.
In Boston I got lucky and booked a hostel right in Chinatown. With many restaurants right on my doorstep, it was hard to go wrong.
My Thai Vegan Cafe (3 Beach Street)
Don’t be put off by the creepy looking stairs you have to climb to get there, the vegan Pad Thai was delicious.
Dumpling Cafe (695 Washington Street)
This is just one of the many dumpling houses in Boston’s Chinatown. If dumplings is your thing, you will not be disappointed.
Quincy Market (Faneuil Hall, 4 South Market Street)
Quincy Market is a great place to stop for lunch. They have an enormous variety of foods from all around the world – it took me 15 minutes before deciding on a delicious Greek falafel wrap. Once you’ve made a decision, you can then take a seat in the central rotunda, which is particularly cosy on a cold and rainy day (a regular occurrence when in Boston).
Thinking Cup (165 Tremont Street)
Overlooking the Boston Common, this is the perfect place for a quick warm-me-up coffee before heading off on the Freedom Trail tourist walk.
Crema (27 Brattle Street, Cambridge)
The perfect coffee pitstop for anyone that ventures on over to have a look around Cambridge.
Exchequer Restaurant & Pub (226 S. Wabash Avenue)
Chicago is famous for its deep dish pizza. So when I found myself in this pretty low key pub I just had to order myself a deep dish pizza with mushrooms, spinach and feta. I was in pizza heaven. But you should be warned, it is certainly not a meal for one and, due to its size, cooking time can be upwards of 40 minutes. But if you love pizza, it is well worth the wait and will not disappoint.
Intelligentsia (53 W. Jackson Boulevard)
It didn’t take me long to track down Chicago’s best coffee. Intelligentsia is well-known in Chicago for serving up the city’s best coffee. With another six locations in Chicago and more around the country, I was lucky to stumble across this place on my first day in the city.
Caesars Palace Bacchanal Buffet (3570 Las Vegas Boulevard South)
If you’re awake early enough for brunch (that is, before 3pm), then this buffet at Caesars Palace is a must. First and foremost, they offer unlimited mimosas – very important. Second, they offer a range of different cuisines from all around the world – American, Mexican, Italian, Japanese, Chinese. There is also a bread bar with all kinds of different freshly baked breads and a seafood bar if lobster is your thing. And the best part of this buffet has to be the dessert bar. With crepes made-to-order, mini-desserts, limitless house-made ice-cream and mountains of macarons, I was in heaven.
In LA it is somewhat more of a challenge to find vegetarian-appropriate food. Mexican was my go-to cuisine in Los Angeles. Tip number one for being a vegetarian in America, when it all gets too hard, there is always Mexican.
Original Farmers Market (6333 W. 3rd Street, Hollywood)
I love a good Farmers Market and, if you do too, this place is well worth a visit. There are many food vendors selling all different foods and it is a great place for lunch. The market itself has a long and rich history and is an interesting place to visit even if you’re not hungry.
New Orleans is also not the most vegetarian-friendly city. Traditional New Orleans foods like gumbo or jambalaya almost always have some sort of meat included. While others were able to indulge in these southern delicacies, I stuck to the less traditional vegetarian pastas and the like.
Cafe du Monde (800 Decatur Street)
This New Orleans institution is famous for their beignets. Beignets are French-style square-shaped doughnuts covered in a mountain of icing sugar. A definite must when in the Big Easy.
New York City
Even after spending many a weekend in the city, I had barely scratched the surface of the NYC food scene. I was able to come to the conclusion, however, that New York City is spoilt for choice when it comes to good food. And a little research will get you very far here.
Brunch is a New York City institution and a must if you want to experience the city like a local. Here are my picks for the best brunch in NYC.
Good coffee in America is hard to find. So if coffee is your vice, then you will need to do some research and seek out the good stuff. Here my top picks for a good coffee in NYC.
Vinegar Hill House (72 Hudson Avenue, Brooklyn)
Brooklyn is a haven for foodies and Vinegar Hill House is just one of the great restaurants found in this area. It is pure decadence and while it may be a little on the expensive side, it is definitely worth it. With great food, great service and a great atmosphere, this place is perfect for a special night out.
Five Leaves (18 Bedford Avenue, Greenpoint, Brooklyn)
Also in Brooklyn, Five Leaves is well worth the extra effort it takes to get there. It is always bustling with the coolest humans and boasts some delicious food. Dinner can be expensive, but this place is also open for a more affordable breakfast and lunch.
Chelsea Market (75 9th Avenue, between 15th and 16th Streets)
Located in the trendy Meatpacking District, the Chelsea Market is one of my favourite places to go in Manhattan. With a variety of different food to choose from, this market is a great place to sit, have lunch and people watch.
Magnolia Bakery (401 Bleecker Street and W. 11th Street)
Made famous by appearing in just one episode of Sex in the City, the Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker Street is always full of people. And their cupcakes do not fail to live up to their fame. With numerous locations around the city, I kept going back for more almost every time I went to the city.
Orlando is an unusual city – it seems to be inhabited solely by tourists and as a result, the cuisine on offer is fairly limited. Theme parks and unhealthy food always seem to go hand in hand, so finding anything healthy is almost impossible, let alone finding anything for vegetarians. “I’ll have a chicken burger with no chicken, thanks!” If you’re a vegetarian like me my advice here is to suck it up and make it work. After all, you’re not in Orlando for the food.
Franklin Fountain (116 Market Street)
An old fashioned ice-creamery, Franklin Fountain is located in the Old City of Philadelphia. Well worth a visit if you like baseball-sized scoops of home-made ice-cream served up by cute humans wearing bow-ties and hats.
Reading Terminal Market (12 & Arch Streets)
This market is a great place to grab lunch. The markets are huge and home to heaps of market vendors, including those run by the Armish community. I ate at the all-vegetarian place, the Basic Four Vegetarian Snack Bar. This place is worth a walk around even if you aren’t hungry. The market has a vibrant atmosphere with a number of quirky vendors selling weird and wonderful food items – I found some ear-shaped chocolates aptly named after the famous lover of ears, Mike Tyson.
There are many places to eat in San Diego. Little Italy is a great spot for a quiet and authentic Italian meal. The Gaslamp Quarter is a bit more lively, with two streets lined with a variety of bars and restaurants. After dark the atmosphere in this area is great. I’d suggest having a wander through before choosing from one of the many restaurants on offer.
The Mission District is the place for good food in San Fran.
Gracias Madre (2211 Mission Street)
I had a delicious meal at this Mexican restaurant on Mission Street. All organic, all vegan, and all yummy. It made for a great hangover cure, sans the grease and fat.
Tartine Bakery & Cafe (600 Guerrero Street)
Also in the Mission District, this bakery is super popular and always busy. I indulged in a delicious frangipane tart and wish I’d had more time in San Fran to keep going back to this place.
Santa Monica was where I arrived for my first day in America and where I had my first taste of American food. And to my surprise, it was really good.
Interim Cafe (530 Wilshire Boulevard)
This place serves up amazing burgers, both meat and non-meat, as well as delicious smoothies. Well worth a visit for a more healthy option in Santa Monica.
South Beach, Miami
South Beach at Miami does not offer a lot of variety in terms of dining. There is restaurant after restaurant on Ocean Drive all offering very similar and unfortunately usually quite tacky tourist menus. Offering a bit more variety and a somewhat nicer atmosphere, Lincoln Road might be a better choice for dinner. Miami isn’t cheap though, but you can however eat at almost any time you like. Most people have dinner around 9 or 10pm – I even had dinner after 11pm one night.
With 9 days spent in Toronto (thanks to Hurricane Sandy) I was able to get a good feel for the city’s food scene.
O.NOIR (620 Church Street)
A restaurant like no other, this place was by far the highlight for me in Toronto. The twist – you eat in complete darkness. It is such an incredible concept and made for an incredible experience. I would recommend O.NOIR to anyone visiting Toronto.
Kensington Market is well worth a look for any visitor to Toronto. Good shopping, decent coffee and some great places to eat. I stopped in at Urban Herbivore for a fresh juice and salad sandwich.
Bull Dog Coffee (89 Granby Street)
Located just around the corner from where I was staying, this place quickly became my regular hang out. Perhaps hard to believe when I only spent nine days in Toronto, but they serve a decent coffee and often had delicious pastries on offer for when I felt like something sweet.
Dark Horse Espresso Bar (125 John Street; 684 Queen Street West; 682 Queen Street East; and, 215 Spadina Avenue)
I did manage to branch out and try some of the other coffee on offer in Toronto. With four locations around the city and a reputation for serving up a mean espresso, Dark Horse Espresso Bar was possibly the best. This is my number one recommendation if you are looking for a good coffee in Toronto.
Busboys & Poets (2021 14th St NW. & 1025 5th Street NW.)
I loved this restaurant so much I went back every night I was in town. They have a great selection for vegetarians and the place has so much character. There a two locations, but I spent my nights at the one on 14th and V. With a bookstore inside specialising in books on activism and the occasional poetry slam, this place was great for the atmosphere alone. If you are keen on hearing some poetry, make sure you get in early, it was booked out on all the nights I was in town.