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Dutchess_III's avatar

What are some restaurants where it isn't possible to order a totally vegan meal?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42453points) November 24th, 2014

I’m not a vegan so it’s not anything I have to deal with. I’m trying to understand how there could be some places a vegan couldn’t order a strictly vegan meal. It may not be listed as a vegan meal, but surely a person could cobble a lunch or dinner together at any restaurant….?

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17 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

It is rare for me to order a meal straight up from the menu, without tweaking it in some way to reflect my personal preferences.

Buttonstc's avatar

There are lots of places where a vegetarian can find sustenance but Vegan is an entirely different matter altogether. It’s definitely not the same as vegetarian.

I would have an easier time answering this question if it were turned around to ask where a vegan could find appropriate food but I’ll answer it as is.

Vegan is different from vegetarian because vegan excludes not just meat, but all products obtained from animals (at least that’s my understanding).

So that means, no dairy, eggs, etc. So there are tons of restaurants where it would be extremely difficult to find decent vegan food to eat.

You talk about “cobbling something together” so I guess they could get by with French fries and maybe vegetables (as long as they aren’t prepared with butter) but that’s a long way from a satisfying meal.

Even salads might be off limits if they contain eggs in any form (even mayonnaise or other types of salad dressings)

It’s a whole whole lot easier for a non vegan person to find a delicious and satisfying meal at a vegan restaurant because they expend great efforts to make delicious substitutions for dairy products. Their livelihood depends upon it if they’re a restaurant.

If I were vegan, I’d be very hard pressed to find a decent meal at McDonalds or any other fast food place. I’d also have a hard time at a lot of traditional restaurants with a classically trained chef due to the French influence of sauces and prevalence of butter.

Could a vegan make do with a simple baked potato with nothing on it and some steamed veggies (also unadorned)? I guess but that’s hardly what I’d consider to be a satisfying meal, would you ?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I often have nothing but a baked potato for dinner. I’m not a vegan so I put stuff on it, including salsa. Yeah. a big baked potato would be very satisfying.
When I was in college my lunch usually consisted of a small bowl mashed potatoes.

tinyfaery's avatar

PETA is not really my thing, but here is a great list.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wow. That’s a list @tinyfaery!

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dutchess_IIIYeah. a big baked potato would be very satisfying.”

When was the last time you went to a restaurant and said to yourself, “Yum, I hope I can order a plain baked potato!” People go to restaurants because they want a nice meal. That is where the problem lies.

As @Buttonstc pointed out, it’s not so much that vegans can’t eat meat, it’s that they can’t eat any animal-related products, like butter, cheese, cream, egg, or chicken or fish stock. Most restaurants put at least one of these ingredients into every dish, without explicitly saying so on the menu. So, a vegan must always ask, “Is X in this dish?” and hope that the waiter (a) knows the answer and (b) is honest about the answer.

Buttonstc's avatar


Yeah, the b.) part of that is what concerns me. It’s quite easy to hide animal derived products like stocks etc. and so difficult for a standard restaurants to substitute for them.

Altho I’m not Vegan, I have several vegan cookbooks because they contain some really novel ideas.

For instance, one frequent substitute for cream is to take plain cashew nuts, soak them in water overnight and then put blend to a creamy consistency. Used properly, one would be hard pressed to know that a sauce made with this has no cream.

But it’s also not something any conventional restaurant just happens to have handy.

But my vegan friend and I would often search out new vegetarian restaurants of different ethnic groups where it’s more common for a vegetarian diet. Indian and various Asian restaurants have some really delicious vegetarian food.

And from there it’s a half step away from vegan. Plus, they understand the ethical concerns for vegans and I’d be far more inclined to take a vegetarian waiter’s word for it that a given dish can also be made vegan.


I have certainly made a meal put of a baked potato at home but I certainly wouldn’t want to pay restaurant prices for a usually far inferior restaurant baked potato.

I don’t know how often you’ve been able to find a decent baked potato at a restaurant but I’ve basically given up on the endeavor (when ordering it as a side) because they have invariably been sitting way too long from when first cooked. That just wreaks havoc on both the texture and taste of baked potatoes.

They cannot be cooked to order like pasta or rice because no one wants to wait an hour for it to bake. And a microwave potato is not baked. It’s microwaved. Totally different.

Perhaps my standards for a proper bakes potato are too high but I want one that’s light and fluffy rather than sitting in tinfoil for hours or all dried up from being too long in the oven.

As I said, I’ve given up trying to get a decent bakes potato in any restaurant. I’ll opt for mashed or fried instead.

But when I’m paying to eat out, a potato just doesn’t cut it as a meal for me. And i think most people would feel the same.

And when two people with different dietary styles are dining out anywhere it’s FAR FAR EASIER for a non-vegan (or non-kosher) person to find a multitude of delicious options in a restaurant which is either vegan or kosher than it is for a vegan to find really satisfying and delicious choices in a standard restaurant.

Of course, any restaurant can always steam some veggies but who wants to be relegated to that as the primary alternative?

Trust me when I say that vegans have any number of delicious sauces and other additions to totally transform bland steamed veggies.

Any meat eater can more than survive a meatless meal when it’s prepared as deliciously as most successful vegetarian restaurants, especially if it’s also Indian or Chinese. They literally can’t afford to serve bland tasteless vegetarian fare or they’ll go out of business.

I always looked at it like an adventure and an opportunity to try something new.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But if all you order is a baked potato you don’t pay that much. More than the potato is worth, of course, but that can be said of any restaurant meal.

I eat at restaurants because I don’t want to cook and clean. With a few exceptions, I don’t go there for the food itself.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dutchess_III “I eat at restaurants because I don’t want to cook and clean. With a few exceptions, I don’t go there for the food itself.”

This may come as a surprise to you, but other people go to restaurants for different reasons than you do. My reasons are different from yours.

And, of course, you can pay even less than the cost of a baked potato by just staying home. Where, presumably, one knows how to cook a much nicer meal.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think most people are waaaaay too focused on food.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dutchess_III You want people to go to a restaurant and not be focused on food? I guess I’m confused.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Food just isn’t that important to me. I eat because I have to to live. So, since I have to eat sometimes I go to a restaurant.

tinyfaery's avatar

^^ Maybe you should think about your food. Do you know what you consume? Do you know the torture and suffering of sentient beings that become just something you eat to live. You kill to live.

You are willfully ignorant. It’s easy to say I just don’t think about food that much and feel like you are above the issue.

Learn about what you put in your mouth. I’d post some pictures, but no one wants to see the truth.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, this is ridiculous! We ALL eat! And I do think about what I put in my mouth. Just because eating is a pain in the butt, IMO, it doesn’t automatically follow that I don’t think about what I’m eating. (‘Scuse me for talking with my mouth full. My grand daughter and I are sharing a banana.)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Fact, I’m thinking about it right now. I’ve been hungry since last night. It’s 2:00 today and I haven’t eaten yet (well, except for a couple of bites of banana.) I’ve got the fixings to make one of my favorite meals: A burrito with beans, cheese, lettuce, tomato, green onions and salsa. Smothered in cheese. Just waiting for the grand baby to go down for a nap so I can eat in peace.

tinyfaery's avatar

Whatever you need to tell yourself.

Dutchess_III's avatar

People think to MUCH about food. Then they end up eating above and beyond what they need to sustain themselves. Then they get fat. And then they post shit to make themselves feel better about being fat.

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