Pound-for-pound and per capita, it’s hard to beat New Orleans for restaurants. But in this city of buttery excess and po’boy sandwiches, things can get quite lonely for a vegetarian, let alone a vegan. Yet conditions on this front are improving, and those who opt for a plant-based diet are finding more options in the Crescent City. Here’s our favorite vegan, or at least vegetarian, restaurants in the city.

A plate of medallion-cut plantains are topped with a dark-colored sauce, shredded carrots, radishes, bok choy and green herbs.
The Max Well menu is filled with tasty-planted based fare © Courtesy of Max Well

Max Well

Max Well brings tasty plant-based fare to the upriver side of Magazine Street, itself one of the city’s best drags for dining, shopping and going out. 

Max Well boasts an airy interior and a menu with some innovative entrees, including avocados stuffed with chickpeas, protein-packed bowls (the Banh Mi bowl, laced with brown rice, tofu, almonds and mung bean sprouts is a winner), and a sweet potato lasagna layered with cashew cheese that hits a lot of satisfying savory notes.

Sweet Soulfood

This spot isn’t just an actual dedicated vegan restaurant – it’s darn tasty and located in a non-touristy part of the city where you’ll be rubbing elbows with locals. Speaking of local: one nice thing about Sweet Soulfood is the cuisine represents the overlap of veganism and New Orleans cooking, so some of the mains on the menu include okra gumbo, barbecue cauliflower, vegan jambalaya, mushrooms and bread pudding with rum sauce. The almond pralines will transport you.

Carmo

Contemporary cuisine from the tropics is the name of the game at this colorful restaurant, located in the Warehouse District. The menu has an international bend, presenting dishes from  West Africa (sweet potato fritters), Southeast Asia (broken noodle salad, or Burmese tea leaf salad), South Asia (Kottu Roti) and other regions.

The owners and chefs are dedicated to sustainable sourcing that goes far beyond lip service. They use all bio-degradable containers, cutlery and cups and use sustainably sourced seafood. You’ll find fish, vegetarian and vegan entrees on the menu.

Related article: Best cities for vegans 

A closeup of vegan spaghetti and meat sauce sprinkled with green herbs on a white plate
Sample traditional New Orleans meals with none of the meat © Courtesy of Vegan Wit a Twist

Vegan Wit a Twist

It’s not every day you get a new vegan restaurant in New Orleans, much less one opened by three barbers, but that’s the pedigree at Vegan Wit a Twist, located on a stretch of St Bernard Ave where you’ll rarely find a tourist. 

These folks are bringing the heat with vegan versions of traditional New Orleans meals – how they pulled off a vegan-based hot sausage is a secret for the ages. The herbivore-friendly tacos served on Tuesdays are as pretty as they are delicious.

Sneaky Pickle

There’s always meat on the menu for the one carnivore in your group (aside: said meat is usually excellent), but beyond that, the Sneaky Pickle is one of the city’s finest vegetarian options. Vegan dishes make up a good portion of the menu, and include mac & cheese slathered in squash sauce and a cashew-chorizo crumble, or the famous, filling tempeh reuben, a vegan sandwich for the ages. Sneaky Pickle is operating on abbreviated hours after a fire in March 2019. Visit the restaurant’s Instagram for news and hours of operation.  

Related article: Best vegan restaurants in Miami 

1000 Figs

The small dining room at 1000 Figs can feel a little crowded, but there’s an intimacy to sitting here that makes this one of the more romantic restaurants on this list. While there is some meat on the menu, the real draw is a vegan-friendly menu of contemporary Middle Eastern cuisine, which includes some very fine falafel and a whole range of fresh dips for their warm, fluffy pita bread.

Side dishes like the brussel sprouts and beet and carrot slaw can potentially be combined into a very respectable vegan feast.

Related article: Best vegan restaurants in NYC 

Medallion-sized trumpet mushrooms lay on a bed of hummus and cauliflower and topped with asparagus and tomatoes
The food looks almost too good to eat at Bearcat Cafe © Courtesy of Bearcat Cafe

Bearcat Cafe

This coffee shop slings some of the best liquid caffeine on the burgeoning Freret Street corridor. But the draw for many vegan and vegetarian eaters is a menu that knows how to cater to a lot of tastes from morning through lunchtime. 

Those who appreciate some very flavorful vegan fare will want to sample a breakfast tofu scramble, purple sweet potato noodles and a farro bowl with carrots, almonds and oyster mushrooms and found on the “good cat” half of the menu. “Bad cats” are welcome to get meat dishes aplenty, which makes this a nice spot if you’ve got dining compromises to work out.

Green Goddess

Green Goddess is located down a pretty alleyway in the heart of one of the most heavily touristed parts of the French Quarter, yet it always feels like you’re discovering a little gem. The Green Goddess is willing to go there in terms of creativity, and thus remains one of the more refreshingly original options in the French Quarter, an area deeply steeped in the city’s culinary traditions. 

Yes, there’s meat on the menu, but the playful chefs here also dish out some gorgeous vegan dishes. Your choices include including vegan queso croquetas and uttapam, an Indian lentil pancake stuffed with all kinds of yum – vegan curry with tamarind chutney and kimchi slaw.

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