How to Order at a Restaurant as a Vegan

One of the most challenging aspects of following a vegan diet is knowing how and what to order eating out at restaurants with friends. Here's some guidance that will smooth the process.
ordering vegan food at a restaurant


Are you a vegan who is nervous about what to order when on a night out with friends? Here are a few tips to follow that can help ease the restaurant ordering process while sticking to your vegan diet.

It’s Friday night, and after a long day of being locked away at the office, it’s time to retreat.

As the only vegan going out amongst your pescatarian or carnivorous friends, times can get tough. You may face harsh judgment or the side eye of your girls, but they’re understanding regardless. As the waiter comes with the menu, they know that when it comes to your deciding, it’s going to take more than a few extra minutes.

Does this dilemma sounds familiar?! As a vegan, you should wear that label loud and proud.

Today, we’re sharing 5 tips on how to order at a restaurant as a vegan. This ought to help make the ordering process flow more seamlessly.

Don’t be afraid to micro-manage the waiter or chef.

This may come off as obnoxious, but it’s really not because it’s all in your delivery. As a restaurant in business, they almost expect to receive customers with different dietary needs and restrictions. Next time you’re out, you can kindly ask your waiter for the vegan-friendly substitute, instead. This may entail adding a side note when placing your order, like cooking your veggies plain instead of soaked in butter.

These days, plenty of restaurants have labels for the vegan entrees on their menus, so keep an eye out for those!

Ask the hard-hitting questions.

You may think that you come off as a snob as you ask a dozen questions about the menu with your resting B-face, but when it comes to your dieting needs, it’s okay to be shameless! When it comes to ordering food, now’s not the time to be passive. If you don’t want a boring or flavorless salad, try making modifications. Take an extra moment to ask questions like, “Is there fish in the sauce?” or “Can I substitute tofu instead of chicken or steak?” You’re not being extra by any means.

Try asking if dairy, egg, or fish sauce can be removed from your meal to make it vegan-appropriate.

Unleash your inner OCD-self and plan ahead.

That’s right. We’re giving you permission to be your natural OCD/perfectionist/au naturale self. There’s absolutely no shame in calling ahead to ask the restaurant if there are any vegan-friendly options or scour the menu beforehand so that you can plan accordingly. In fact, you can cut your time spent being indecisive at the restaurant in front of your judgmental friends if you walked in already knowing what you wanted to get. In addition, they may be impressed by your confidence, and hop on the vegan train, also!

Try downloading apps onto your phone like Happy Cow or Vegan Xpress that show restaurants that are friendly for vegans.

Smuggle your own ingredients inside your handbag.

Are you still #withher?! Maybe it’s time to channel your inner Hillary Clinton and start carrying your favorite items in your bag. In case you don’t get this reference, Clinton is known to carry her own hot sauce in her purse. If anything, this is legendary and a sign of preparedness.

Bring your own vegan pita bread, nuts, sunflower seeds, or whatever you need to have a good meal.

As a bonus, here are some life-saving examples of vegan dishes that you can ask for at restaurants specializing in international cuisine.


Vegetable curry, samosas, pakoras, dhal and papadums

Specify no butter or ghee (traditional Indian clarified butter)


Pad Thai without egg and shrimp, coconut curry, rice wraps, and sticky rice with mango

Specify no fish or oyster sauce


Stir-fried vegetables, noodle dishes, fried tofu, and vegetable soups

Specify no meat or fish in the sauces and stock


Pasta with tomato sauce or pizza without cheese

Specify no egg in the pasta


Bean burritos, fajitas, and corn chips & salsa

Specify no cheese, beans cooked with meat, guacamole made with sour cream, or tortillas made with animal products

Almost Any Restaurant

Salad without meat or cheese, sandwich with vegetables, soup with vegetable stock, and vegetables and rice (not cooked with meat stock)

What are the best tips you have up your sleeve when it comes to eating out as a vegan? Share them below in the comments!

Fresh N Lean is the nation’s largest organic meal delivery service. Our tasty, chef-prepared cuisine is always fresh and never frozen, and we offer convenient meal plans like Protein+, Keto, Paleo, Standard Vegan and Mediterranean. Choose Fresh N Lean for affordable nutrition, delivered to your doorstep.

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