fine food - Vegetarian
Written by Craig Butcher
Gone are the days when vegetarians did without. From Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurants to chefs who simply adore cooking with vegetables, diners – regardless of predilection – can delight their palates at any of these three.
Le Potager du Marais
The French penchant for foie gras, oysters, and saucisson means that travellers to the world’s most visited city may find that perfect vegetarian menu somewhat elusive. Take a bow, Le Potager, in the lively Marais district of central Paris. The menu focuses on classic, French country fare that may include celeriac bisque or a mashed-mushroom stack over a saffron crème with pine-nut pesto, while the cosy and informal atmosphere at this vegetarian, organic, and vegan spot completes this surprising, bijou package. Paris. Tel: +33 1 57 40 98 57
Owned by a former Buddhist monk whose life’s work has been to chronicle and share temple cuisine, Sanchon in the South Korean capital of Seoul is among the best vegetarian restaurants in Asia. Meaning ‘mountain village’, Sanchon focuses on green vegetables across more than 20 set menus, all underpinned by a harmony and balance of flavours. Dishes are served in traditional wooden surroundings on low-slung tables with cushions. Try typical dishes including wild sesame and rice porridge, tofu made with pure seawater, and seven mountain vegetable kimchi. Seoul. Tel: +82 2 735 0312
Pied à Terre
Opt for the 10-course vegetarian tasting menu at this Michelin-starred venue in London’s Fitzrovia, and they’ll take you on an idyllic journey. With a deep respect for vegetarian ingredients paired with the technique and creativity to make the most of them to surprising and sublime effect, this classy space plays host to dishes such as chestnut and juniper gnocchi with chanterelles, chestnut and truffle velouté; and avocado crème fraîche with compressed cucumber, samphire, grated horseradish, and breakfast radishes. London. Tel: +44 20 7324 4466
Mainstream may be the answer
Be open to mainstream restaurants with a creative understanding of vegetables, not just vegetarian-only venues – the former have seriously upped their game. If you’re feeling trapped by the traditional vegetarian dishes of pulses or tofu, you may enjoy the variety offered by restaurants thinking a little outside the meat-defined box.
Top tips for vegetarian dining abroad
Asia is a wondrous place for the vegetarian traveller, with both India and Thailand offering an array of dishes and flavours without the use of meat. Parts of Africa and South America can present more of a challenge. Be clear in your discussions when ordering, alert when plates arrive, and trust your instincts.