Just a few years ago, the idea of being vegan and dining out was enough to see you abort all plans in favour of Ottolenghi’s cookbook and another night in. Options were scarce, with vegan food outlets so few, the travel required to find one made the whole experience an ordeal. Sure, you could always ask a non-vegan restaurant for some iceberg lettuce in a bowl with beans, but when it came to wanting flavour, creativity on a plate, and some kind of originality from chefs – vegans found themselves wanting.
Of course, that’s all changed in recent years. Now, you’ll likely find a vegan eatery on every street corner, while certain suburbs are renowned for their vibrant pockets of vegan food options that attract even the most hardened meat-eaters. But if you were wondering just where in the world is the best place for a vegan, it turns out London is the city that’s most vegan-friendly, according to the annual 2022 Top 10 Vegan Friendly Cities list.
These rankings come from the plant-based restaurant platform, HappyCow, with the 2022 list the first to be released since before the Covid-19 pandemic. For the rankings, cities were considered against a number of criteria, such as number of vegan restaurants within 10km of the city centre, as well as the number of fully vegan businesses like shops and bakeries, along with perceived overall growth and just how active the plant-based communities in each city were.
Taking these into consideration, London came out on top with the English capital boasting more than 400 fully vegan establishments. In addition to the wide range of options available to those in London, there’s also been an explosion of new vegan shops, events and businesses, making it an excellent location for those wanting to commit to a vegan lifestyle. There, you’ll not only find some of the best vegan restaurants, but also things like nondairy cheesemakers and meat-free butchers.
Berlin came in second, largely due to a recent boost from Germany to lower meat consumption. Incredibly, since the country voiced desires to reduce overall meat consumption, the average yearly consumption has dropped from 138 pounds of animal protein to 121, reflecting a reduction of 12.3 per cent per person. Between 2016 and 2020, the number of vegans in Germany has also doubled.
In third place was New York, who is also looking to make veganism a more popular option. Just recently, it was announced that all New York hospitals will serve vegan food as the default option. But perhaps most surprising of all on the list was the inclusion of Melbourne – Australia’s only city that made it into the top 10 – at number four. Reflecting a mindset shift here in Australia towards meat-free products, the city is becoming known as a meat-focused location Down Under.
Speaking about the 2022 results, Eric Brent, HappyCow’s founder, said: “After a major drop in 2019-2021, the growth of vegan restaurants worldwide continues again at an even faster rate than we experienced in 2019.” He added, “I’m happy to see veganism boom, attracting more plant-forward people and businesses across the world to grow the movement together!”
See the full list of cities below.
The best cities in the world for vegans
- New York City
- Los Angeles