Food News

Miami Named Top Vegan City in America

Miami has risen to the top when it comes to vegan options.
Miami has risen to the top when it comes to vegan options. Photo courtesy of Planta South Beach

The Magic City, known for its nightlife, beaches, and Cuban sandwiches, is now famous for its plant-based cuisine.

Miami has just been named the top vegan hot spot in the United States.

The ranking comes from a study by Hayes & Jarvis, a U.K.-based travel company. Though Miami wins for most vegan-friendly city in America, Dublin was awarded most veg-friendly in the world — one-fifth of the Irish city's restaurants offer vegan options.

Initially, Hayes & Jarvis explored the 50 most visited cities in the world for its survey. The company then analyzed TripAdvisor data to search for restaurants by cuisine and ratings. To be eligible for the final ranking, each city needed to contain a minimum of 500 restaurants. According to its website, Hayes & Jarvis analyzed data "between July 30 2019 and August 1 2019 to find the cities with the highest proportion of a particular restaurant's cuisine." The result is based on which cities boast at least 100 vegan-friendly establishments and have the highest proportion of them. Dublin was found to be the top vegan-friendly city in the world.

Next, the company turned its attention to the United States to find the nation's best cities for vegan dining. According to Tonje Odegard of the content marketing agency Verve Search, a new survey, conducted last week, explored vegan options in 250 cities across America. As with the world survey, U.S. cities with at least 100 vegan-friendly restaurants were considered to be included in the Top 10.

Miami — with nearly a quarter of its eateries offering at least one vegan option on the menu — came out on top. Charleston, South Carolina; Scottsdale, Arizona; Savannah, Georgia; New York City; Washington, D.C.; Orlando; New Orleans; Las Vegas; and Salt Lake City round out the U.S. Top 10.

Planta South Beach's chef de cuisine, Benjamin Goldman, says he's known all along the Magic City's plant-based food scene is thriving. "It's not a surprise that Miami, considering how eclectic and open-minded the community is, has become the most vegan-friendly city."

Goldman says vegan dining has come a long way from the once-stereotypical wheatgrass shots and sprout sandwiches. "Chefs who have not always cooked vegan, like myself, are using their approaches from nonvegan restaurants to re-create really good food out of plants. This is not something the plant-based community was used to in the past, so it’s a huge advantage."

Goldman says a plant-based lifestyle can be both delicious and beneficial for people and the planet. "It's about eliminating the footprint and honoring the body."

He says Planta, which OpenTable named one of the Top 50 restaurants for vegans nationwide, appeals to both vegans and nonvegans. "Planta is at the apex of vegan dining because not only is it a great restaurant with awesome food, but it offers a fun ambiance and superior service."

Planta is only one of many innovative plant-based restaurants in town. Plant Miami at the Sacred Space in Wynwood specializes in dishes using local produce, and the VShops is a completely vegan food hall in Coconut Grove. Miami is also home to the Seed Food & Wine Festival, set to return for its sixth season November 7 through 10 with a host of dinners, a tasting village, and many other events.
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss