Travel insights from Jenna Buege, associate editor of The Compass

6 of the Best Restaurants for Vegetarian Food in Hawaii

Accommodating to dietary restrictions while traveling can be difficult, luckily, with its abundant supply of fresh fruits and veggies, Hawaii is the land of plenty for vegetarians and vegans. Whether you’re an herbivore or an omnivore, there’s something on the menu for everyone to enjoy at these favorite Hawaiian vegetarian restaurants.

1. Simple Joy

It’s the little things in life, isn’t it? Simple Joy brings minimalism to the forefront with its clean-cut interior and uncomplicated recipes. But don’t underestimate this place for its lack of frills; the vegan food at Simple Joy packs a punch with rich flavors and crisp ingredients. While many of the entrees are southeast Asian-inspired, the menu is expansive with a full offering of pastas, sandwiches and the fan-favorite, Thai iced tea.

2. Umeke Market

Traditionally served with a side of salmon or pork, Umeke Market has created a meat-free twist to classic Hawaiian staples like poi and taro. In addition to local fare, Umeke Market offers food from around the globe such as gyros and falafel, Korean fried “chicken,” enchiladas (topped with homemade vegan queso), a variety of gluten-free baked goods and more.

3. Maui Kombucha

Visit a different kind of brewery at Maui Kombucha, Haiku’s popular vegan café and kombucha brewery. To those who haven’t heard, kombucha is a sparkly fermented tea with a bit of a sour kick similar to apple or pear cider, and Maui Kombucha has a variety of freshly brewed varieties on tap for your sampling pleasure all day, every day. As for the food, travelers can expect classics with a vegan twist such as salads, pizza and cheesecake to more creative specials crafted with the best local ingredients.

4. ‘Ai Love Nalo

Did someone say “vegan poke?” I’m listening. Named one of Honolulu’s best new restaurants for 2020 by EATER, ‘Ai Love Nalo is making a serious splash on the Hawaii food scene. Perhaps it’s because the food is, “filled with Aloha that helps you feel healthier and happier one taste at a time,” according to ‘Ai Love Nalo’s website, or perhaps it’s that vegan poke I mentioned earlier, but ‘Ai Love Nalo is definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for some veggie-friendly cuisine.

5. Farmacy Health Bar

With a motto like, “Let food be thy medicine, let medicine be thy food,” one can expect the dishes at Farmacy Health Bar to leave them feeling fit as a fiddle. The “medicine” at Farmacy Health Bar comes in all shapes and sizes ranging from breakfast plates and soups to fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies. However, for the best of the best, try Farmacy’s house specialty, acai.

6. Vegan Hills

For dishes inspired by some of the world’s oldest nutritional traditions such as Ayurveda, Buddhist cooking and Taoist medicine, check out Vegan Hills, a cheery establishment near Honolulu. Each meal at Vegan Hills is created with non-GMO plant-based ingredients to help fuel your body. Bonus, they have fruity vegan cocktails for a buzz you can feel good about.

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