Eating Vegan while traveling is never easy, but visiting my home turf of Massachusetts in the summer proves especially challenging. Something about all that ice cream, seafood dripping in butter, Fenway Franks, and just a general lack of vegan compassion (or awareness for that matter) makes dining out challenging. And Nantucket was no exception since every establishment on the island basically only serves fish, fish, fish or fish. But with a little trial and error and a lot of research, we faired rather well in piecing together a week of vegan feasting. 🙂
This post was originally published June 2018 and updated July 2020. If you’re on Nantucket island looking for a private yoga teacher or vegan chef, message me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dune. Winner Winner Chick’n Dinner. Most friendly vegan restaurant we found on island! The chef will prepare a vegan tasting upon request. It will differ depending on seasonal vegetables, but I can just about guarantee you will be blown away by the creativity of the 6 differing dishes. The plate is quite large and good for sharing if you’re not starving. Bonus points that Dune is lively and romantic.
Sea Grille. Again, you’re going to have to go off menu here, but the chef is very hospitable to vegan and vegetarians. Our waitress suggested the gluten free pasta with farm fresh veggies & one of the specialty salads. Both were pretty good. Really, the complimentary cranberry walnut bread with the most scrumptious olive oil was the real standout from this meal. Was I impressed with the cuisine? Nope. Did I enjoy the atmosphere? Not particularly. Do I appreciate the hospitality? you bet. An accommodating chef always gets a nod of approval from me.
Lola 41. The atmosphere oozes romance. I love the intimate seating and dim lighting. While this is most definitely a sushi restaurant first and foremost, you could get by with ordering any combination of the following: truffle fries (TO DIE FOR), miso soup, edamame, seaweed salad, pickled vegetables, crispy zucchini (hold the yogurt sauce), any salad (hold the cheese), the Oishii roll of mushroom, daikon, scallion, avo, squash & miso.
Station 21. Another swoon-worthy atmosphere, dining here is like stepping into a chic wine cellar. The menu isn’t exactly catering to vegans, but we still managed to leave happy. What’s on the menu: Mediterranean mixed olives, house-made ciabatta, hummus with sweet potato crisps, romaine and radiccio salad, watermelon salad (hold feta), cheese-less vegetable pizza, pasta with tomato sauce, garlic spinach, french fries.
Galley Beach. The holy grail in atmosphere goes to Galley and their elegant beach side restaurant. There are no vegan friendly entree options, but you could make do with a variety of apps and sides: Autumn vegetable tasting, roasted eggplant (hold yogurt), sauteed sweet breads (hold butter), grilled flatbread, grilled squash (hold yogurt + cheese)
Nautilus. The new tapas restaurant in town. We didn’t try it out on this trip, but I did take a look at their menu and think you could have a nice meal here with the following: spring salad, shishito peppers, chickpea and naan (hold the yogurt), scallion pancakes, mushrooms, and perhaps asking for one of the the udon noodles or fried rice entrees sans meat. If you go and it works out, let me know! 🙂
Town. I was delighted to find Bibimbap on the sushi heavy menu at Town. And it was absolutely delicious! For those unfamiliar, bibimbap is a Korean dish with rice, veggies like edamame and bok choy, cucumber, kimchi, soy sauce, spicy gochujang (fermented red chili paste) and usually a fried egg and bbq pork or beef. The town version had the option to add meat, or (obvious choice) avocado.
Millies. Fun and lively taco spot with great margaritas and delicious guacamole. Two of the sandwiches are vegetarian – sub cheese and you’ve got vegan. There are also two vegan salad options (one has honey in the dressing). It would be really wonderful if they offered a vegan taco option too though – maybe a mushroom taco? Sweet potato?
GRAB & GO & Breakfast:
Lemon Press. Everything I could ever want in a brunch spot. Perfectly curated and every inch decorated, this is a place you want to savor your golden latte. There are plenty of vegan options – like the smoothies, avocado toast, vegan sandwich, salads + bowls, coconut chia pudding, and acai bowl. There is also dairy-free milk alternatives available for all of the specialty lattes.
Nativ Made. Delightful. Smoothies, juices, premade salads, energy balls, veggie chips, homemade hummus. They are a fully stocked Vegan paradise located right in town. There’s no seating, so this is more of a stocking the rental house or preparing a beach picnic, but the quality is superb. I looooooved the kale tahini salad. mmm.
Oath Pizza. Build your own pizza bar with vegan cheese! It was actually out of stock believe it or not when we went, so we opted for a fresh veggie pizza on gluten free crust, but I imagine the vegan cheese would have been a nice touch. They have a few outdoor tables on the dock, but this is definitely more of a quick eats place than a sit down meal.
The Green. All smoothies can be made with vegan protein powder instead of whey upon request.
Juice Bar. Juice bar always has 1-2 vegan ice cream flavors made with almond milk! And of course, they have fresh juice too – but this place really should be re-named ice cream bar, as I’ve never actually seen anyone walk out of there with anything else.
When you find yourself at Cisco Brewery, the oyster bar has pretty phenomenal fresh guacamole and chips for sale!
Bartlett’s Farm. OMG that beet hummus. I think about it the entire year between my island visits. Bartletts has a wide array of vegan friendly delicious fresh spreads, dips, chips, fruits, grains and veggies to choose from!
Also notable mention to Roastd, for serving up pretty spiffy tea and coffee elixers with homemade macadamia nut mylk. Their baked goods aren’t vegan (yet – hint, hint), but they do have a few vegan packaged snacks, like those yummy Dosha bars that are designed with each specific ayurvedic diet in mind. *2020 Update: Vegan baked goods and whipped coffee has arrived!
But before you go, I have a confession I have to get off my chest:
Full Disclosure, we broke veganism on Nantucket for oysters, crab cocktail & lobster rolls at Cru. They’re just too good to pass up, I couldn’t resist one of my favorite restaurants in the world. The atmosphere is unrivaled, the scene perfectly boujee and the lobster roll? Best I have ever had. It would be tough to go as a vegan, as the only things on the menu that could pass are the dainty spring salad and grilled asparagus. If you went for brunch, you could get by with the farro bowl, hold the egg, assuming the green harissa sauce is dairy-free.
Being vegan in Los Angeles or Bali? Couldn’t be easier. Vegan on vacation in the Cape? Couldn’t be harder. But as you already know, it can be done. Just with a little extra diligence. Stumbling upon my blog doesn’t hurt either :). Let me know if you discover any new vegan gem on your trip, I’ll check it out next time I’m back in paradise.
PS. Spoiler alert: those infamous mudslides at the Gazebo? Definitely not vegan!