Vegan dining in St. Louis

St. Louis, Missouri, may not seem like a vegan haven, but like any big city, it has an abundance of vegan options … and even a vegan restaurant or two.

We visited over a long weekend, and while we couldn’t go to every vegan place we wanted to, we did find a few gems. One of them is the restaurant at the magnificent St. Louis Art Museum, Panorama.

Panorama offers several lunch items clearly labeled vegan; one of them is the delicious Tempeh Reuben, with seeded rye, vegan Swiss cheese, kraut, and vegan thousand-island dressing. Accompanied by the house-made potato chips, this was basically a perfect lunch.

Almost as perfect is the Toasted Grain Salad, made with barley, farro, couscous, puffed quinoa, an assortment of vegetables, and a vegan yogurt dressing. Our only complaint about this gorgeous, healthy, and flavorful salad is that it contained a lot of oil.

For dinner, we visited Tree House, an all-veg restaurant in the Tower Grove neighborhood. This charming little restaurant shows just how easy it is for any restaurant to make dishes vegan; the restaurant uses plenty of readily available items, such as Follow Your Heart parmesan and other vegan cheeses, and the menu features such naturally vegan items as tortilla chips and fried potatoes.

For appetizers, we had the Queso Fundido, a smoked cheddar and chorizo fondue along with tortilla chips. which was nice, but the real standout was the “Krab Cakes,” crispy faux crab cakes with a lovely, creamy house remoulade.

The main dishes were just as good: the Fried Chikn Sandwich came with a spicy sauce and home fries (there was a choice of a side salad, but who are we kidding?).

The pastas were lovely as well … we sampled the Wild Mushroom Stuffed Ravioli with roasted garlic cashew cream sauce and flash-fried Brussels sprouts…

… and the Pasta Florentine, comprised of rotini pasta, Beyond Italian sausage, garlic cashew Alfredo sauce, organic greens, and chili oil. Both dishes were buried in Follow Your Heart parmesan cheese (and I mean this in the best way).

We went to many other restaurants that weren’t quite as veg-centric, but we found that nearly everywhere, Beyond or Impossible meats were on the menu, making it fairly easy to order vegan at places like bars and pubs.

Here’s to big-city restaurants making the effort to include vegans … and here’s to restaurants everywhere doing the same!