Now more than ever, meat-free options are in demand, and restaurants are responding by giving their menus a meat-free makeover. Read on for all the tools and tips you need to make finding and ordering meat-free meals out a cinch.

How to Order

Everywhere you look, meat-free restaurants seem to be popping up. Whether it’s a chic New York City eatery with a completely meat-free menu like Candle Café or the Chinese place down the block that makes a great veggie stir-fry, you can find a meat-free meal just about anywhere you go!

  • Want to check out which restaurants in your neighborhood are serving meat-free meals? Visit http://www.vegguide.org/ and type in your city for a comprehensive list of restaurants in your area, complete with helpful descriptions, ratings, and reviews.
  • If you’re on the move, download the HappyCow app on your smartphone for instant info about meat-free restaurants near you.
  • Nothing exciting within driving distance? No problem! With the tips below, you can order a delicious, satisfying meat-free meal wherever you are.

Call Ahead

If you know which restaurant you’ll be eating at in advance, you can always call ahead and ask about their meat-free options. If they don’t have one on the menu, most chefs will be happy to whip up something special for you with a little advanced warning!

Ask Your Server

Chances are you’re not the first customer who has walked in asking about meat-free dishes. Even if there aren’t veg options on the menu, the server is likely to have some great suggestions. Start by asking “What do vegetarians normally order here?” and see what they have to offer. Leaving off the cheese is usually no problem either.

Mix Up the Menu

Even if there are no meat-free entrées listed, you can usually put together a totally satisfying meal by taking a closer look at the menu.  Look at the side dishes: Do they offer rice and beans? Roasted potatoes? Seasoned veggies?  Just ask the server to load up your plate with an assortment of side dishes for a tasty and filling meal.

Perhaps you’d like to order the spinach salad but don’t want to eat the chicken breast that comes on top. See if there’s anything else on the menu you can substitute. For example, many restaurants have Greek olives, sundried tomatoes, chickpeas, and other flavor-packed menu items that they will substitute for the meat, free of charge.