No eggs, no cheese, no butter, no seafood, no meat—no problem? Then you’re probably a vegan. Across the country, the lean toward a plant-based diet is a growing trend. Whether chosen as a matter of health, conscience or both, it’s a lifestyle that requires a modicum of research and inquiry to ensure a truly vegan experience when patronizing South Carolina’s restaurants. After all, you’re in the land of barbecue, macaroni and cheese, shrimp and grits, fried chicken and biscuits, which can pose more than a few dining challenges.
But there’s another reason people sit down to a meal devoid of meat, dairy and such: taste. If you are vegan, you get it. If you aren’t, treat yourself to the amazing variety and fresh flavors embodied in plant-based eating. Many vegan and vegan-friendly restaurant owners not only use locally sourced ingredients but report a diverse clientele, with herbivores and omnivores finding common ground over chicken-less chicken sandwiches and kale salads washed down with cold-pressed juices.
Afraid you’ll feel deprived? Forget about it. Vegan chefs are notoriously skilled in cooking up dishes that capture the texture, flavor and look of favorite carnivorous eats as well as crafting plant-based dishes so flavorful and colorful you’ll forget your meat and dairy cravings altogether. You also won’t be shortchanged nutritionally, as a vegan diet can deliver all the protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals you need for prime health.
As one of the state’s culinary hotspots, Greenville is brimming with vegan-friendly restaurants waiting to exceed your expectations. While plenty of menus offer vegan options, there are some that demonstrate a strong focus on plant-based foods. Here are five where you will find an impressive lineup of dishes to meet your vegan needs.
Chase a delicious vegan meal or dessert with a pot of delicious tea at this boho tearoom. The gluten-free menu is primarily vegan and features more than 100 select teas, including chai and bubble tea. Savory rice bowls, ramen bowls, soups, salads, sandwiches and more will please the palate and appeal to your vegan sensibilities, as will their lineup of sweet treats.
Vegan raves: Yam & Cheez, Spicy Tan Tan Ramen, fresh spring rolls, matcha cheesecake
Farm Fresh Fast
Fresh from local farms and never frozen, ingredients that go into creating dishes at Farm Fresh Fast are of the highest quality, guaranteed. That includes vegan dishes on its “No Kill” menu, described as “thoughtfully sourced and plant-based.” Burgers, wraps and grain dishes offer variety to satisfy your vegan cravings.
Vegan raves: Beyond bacon cheeseburger, chicken bacon ranch wrap, vegan jambalaya
LTO Burger Bar
This is a burger bar that aims to please a diverse customer base—and that includes vegans. The plant-based eats on the meat-centric menu should never be mistaken for token offerings. Vegan dishes here are crafted with as much care and inspiration as any of the others. These pure intentions have translated into high quality and garnered LTO a dedicated vegan fan base.
Vegan raves: Cheeseburger in Paradox (Beyond burger, tempeh bacon, steak sauce, vegan cheese), vegan power salad (kale, black beans, veggies with a turmeric citrus dressing), sweet potato fries with blueberry ketchup
Saffron Indian Cuisine
Fans of all eating persuasions will swoon over the menu at Saffron, one of Greenville’s most popular Indian restaurants. Colorful, spicy notes infuse all the dishes, including the many vegan offerings. From samosas to curries to roti, there’s plenty to appreciate when it comes to plant-based options.
Vegan raves: Mulligatawny soup, eggplant bhartha, vegetable coconut curry, dal tarka
Sun Belly Café
Healthy and fresh—that’s the way it’s done at this bustling cafe where deliciously catering to dietary needs is job 1. Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan figure prominently here. Salads, soups, sandwiches and more are made fresh daily with a menu that changes weekly according to the availability of ingredients. Vegetables, legumes, fruits and grains are the foundation of beautiful dishes any health- or flavor-conscious diner will appreciate.
Vegan raves: Vegan chili, vegan spiced chocolate, vegan lasagna, vegan Bolognese