Food

15 East Coast Vegan Dishes You Must Try

One intrepid cross-country traveler shares the best of the best in vegan food.

Eight months ago, I set out on an epic road trip across the US. The goal is to attempt to eat at all of the 100-percent plant-based restaurants that I can find, while spreading veganism, interviewing veg business owners and entrepreneurs, and volunteering at farm animal sanctuaries. I’ve only just finished covering the East Coast, and have fallen in love with the nomadic lifestyle—and all the vegan food, of course.

I’m also happy to report that the vegan community is as strong as ever, and is growing at an incredible rate across the country. I had no problem finding vegan food or people in each place I’ve visited. And of course, the food has been nothing short of amazing. Instead of just listing 10 great spots, here’s a rundown of restaurants that I’d like to see go head-to-head over specific meals. I couldn’t decide which restaurant had the better version, so I highly suggest taking on some of these matchups yourself the next time you’re hitting the road. Vacations are all about food anyway, right?

Chocolate Mousse Pie
Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro (Portland, ME)
Presented with a side of chocolate-dipped orange slices, and garnished with thinly sliced, dried orange strips, this deeply rich chocolate pie is worth traveling for.
vs.
Sprig & Vine (New Hope, PA)

Served with a side of ice cream, this pie is adorned with delicate morsels of shredded chocolate. I found myself slowly savoring each bite with purpose, as if it were my last.

Cake
One World Cafe (Baltimore, MD)

The Strawberry Orange Cake was the special of the day when I dined, and thank goodness. This scrumptious cake brought me right back to my Strawberry Shortcake (the cartoon) days, and was exactly like its dairy-laden counterpart with deliciously sugary, vanilla frosting, a pinkish-red cake filling, and a layer of strawberry jam in the middle.
vs.
Vegan Treats (Bethlehem, PA)

One of the most creatively decorated cakes I’ve had, Vegan Treats’ Death by Chocolate cake is tasty masterpiece glittered with golden-speckled chocolate flakes covering every surface.

Cheesecake
Wildflower Cafe (Millville, NJ)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake—need I say more? This slice puts Millville on the US foodie map with a thick, luscious layer of dark chocolate smothered in freshly melted peanut butter.
vs.
Vedge (Philadelphia, PA)

Unlike its competitors’ plates, Vedge’s Lemon Cheesecake is served in a perfectly cylindrical shape, adorned with lavender-lemon buttercream and toasted pistachios.

Philly Cheesesteak
Ethos Vegan Kitchen (Orlando, FL)

The zesty, creamy sauce that envelops Etho’s What’s The Dilly Philly—a sandwich of chunky seitan and sautéed veggies, hugged by wonderfully soft baguette—delivers a powerful one-two punch of flavor and satisfaction.
vs.
Imagine Vegan Cafe (Memphis, TN)

With the use of traditional-style sesame seed-speckled bread, Imagine’s veganized classic ups the ante in terms of greasy goodness.

Pizza
Blackbird Pizzeria (Philadelphia, PA)

Blackbird Pizzeria has uncommon flavor combinations down to a science; some of my favorites include the Nacho (avocado, caramelized onions, jalapeños, and cheddar) and the Fungi (mushrooms, thyme, garlic butter, truffle oil, and mozzarella).
vs.
Peace o’ Pie (Allston, MA)

Gourmet vegan pizza at its best, Peace o’ Pie specialty lies within their thick, fluffy crust, traditional toppings, and deliciously varied sauces.

Ice Cream
Lula’s Sweet Apothecary (New York, NY)

Unarguably the best 100-percent vegan ice cream storefront on the East Coast, Lula’s never lets me down, with an abundance of toppings including gummy bears, sprinkles, and whipped cream.
vs.
Cafe 118 Degrees (Winter Park, FL)

The homemade raw mint ice cream here is the best raw vegan ice cream I’ve had so far. The eatery has mastered “rich and creamy” while also offering classic flavors. If I had the option, I would consume this ice cream exclusively.

Kristin Lajeunesse is the founder Will Travel For Vegan Food and Rose Pedals Vegan Weddings. In addition to her current adventure, Kristin specializes out-of-the-box lifestyle and business consulting.

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