Copenhagen, London, and New York City Are the World’s Best Food Cities. The Common Denominator: A Booming Vegan Food Scene

In the ever-expanding world of culinary exploration, finding the perfect dining spot while traveling can be overwhelming. To help narrow the selection, a recent culinary report has revealed that Copenhagen, London, and New York City top the list of the world’s best culinary destinations. And, not surprisingly, these cities also have booming vegan food scenes, too. 

In 2019, Finnish entrepreneur Saku Tuominen and food writer Kenneth Nars introduced World of Mouth, an independent restaurant guide app relying solely on personal recommendations from a curated group of trusted experts. 

Now, with over 13,200 recommendations spanning 2,200 destinations, the platform has revealed its top 10 culinary destinations in the 2023 Global Culinary Report.

Top best culinary cities

Topping the list is Copenhagen, hailed as the premier culinary destination. The Danish city, dubbed the “restaurant capital of the Nordics,” has undergone a culinary renaissance over the past 15 years, with influences from Noma—which offers vegan and vegetarian menus during the summer months—shaping its gastronomic landscape. 

Ark

Noma may have put both Copenhagen and Denmark on the gastronomic map, but a certain vegan restaurant has also defined the city’s vegan scene. Ark Restaurant, a vegan restaurant that opened in 2020, has since grown to be the Ark Collection comprising three plant-based restaurants—Ark, Bistro Lupa (both of which hold Michelin Green stars), and Beyla—as well as urban mushroom-growing operation Funga Farm, which supplies restaurants in the Danish capital.

Beyond vegan fine-dining, the vegan-friendly city also offers countless other vegan cafés and restaurants, such as Hope Bar, RizRaz, Souls, and SimpleRaw.

Securing the second spot is London, recognized by World of Mouth as “one of the world’s great taste-making cities” and a “melting pot and bastion of tradition.” London stands as a culinary hub with a perfect blend of tradition and innovation because you can find both traditional eateries and innovative young chefs experimenting with new techniques, combined with a range of ethnic cuisines represented in restaurants ranging from street food stalls to fine dining restaurants.

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Notably, London’s vegan food scene is like none other—mainly because of its variety of options. Across the city, you can also find vegan burgers, pizzas, pasta dishes, sushi, noodles, tacos, burritos, kebabs, and even fine dining options. In 2021, French Michelin-starred chef Alexis Gauthier turned his Soho restaurant, which is aptly named Gauthier Soho, totally vegan. The menu includes options like Tomato Ravioli, Risotto of Wild Mushroom, and Leek Terrine.

Other popular vegan-friendly restaurants include Temple of Seitan, Mildreds, Beza, Purezza, and City of Spice. 

New York City claims the third position, standing as the sole American city on the prestigious list. Described as “crowded, competitive, and challenging,” the city continues to lead the charge in restaurant culture. In fact, the report points out that food culture is as entrenched in the city as the subway system or the city grid.

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Vegan options abound in New York City, too. Even though the city’s vegan restaurant scene has changed in recent years, with several longtime establishments now closed, there’s never been a better time to find meatless meals. From fast-casual burger joints to top-notch dim sum, there’s something for everyone in New York City.

In fact, even the city’s top fine-dining restaurant, Eleven Madison Park, has transformed to a fully plant-based experience. 

Rounding out the top 10 are Tokyo, Bangkok, Paris, Barcelona, Dubai, Berlin, and Stockholm, showcasing the global diversity of culinary excellence. Each destination offers a unique gastronomic experience, contributing to the rich tapestry of the world’s culinary scene.

Tuominen and Nars, the co-founders of World of Mouth, expressed their commitment to maintaining a platform built on transparency and inclusivity. “From the very beginning, our mission has been to make a positive change in the static landscape of restaurant guides, and give great restaurants and eateries the visibility they deserve,” the co-founders said in the report. “As we look to the next year, we’re excited to continue this journey and sharing great eating experiences together.”

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