Up until 2011, I thought Bama was hick, ignorant, conservative, filled with white supremacists, and close-minded. That would’ve been me that was close-minded. Since then, I’ve visited Bama a few times a year and have to say this state has won me over. The Eastern Shore of Alabama blew me away, in its beauty, in its friendliness, in its arts scene, in its love of seniors, and in its fresh foods. I haven’t been to a single restaurant yet that has a set vegan option on its menu, but every place I’ve been to will create something fresh for you. Alabama is surrounded by farmland and the vegetables in this state are some of the best I have ever tasted. Many of the local chefs moved here after Hurricane Katrina, so the foods are heavily inspired by the best of Nawlins as well, so spice and flavor are plentiful.
Camellia Cafe – this small, modern restaurant in the heart of downtown Fairhope has a few excellent options for vegan eaters. Their friendly chef will meet your requests with a vegan tomato, corn and asparagus stack to start, followed by a wonderful vegetable plate for dinner. The vegetables here are so fresh so don’t roll your eyes at the standard vegetable plate like most restaurants offer vegans. This food is fresh, seasonal, from a local farm, and delicious. I promise you’ll be pleased.
Wash House – the Wash House is a rustic restaurant not far from the Fairhope pier with great service and a romantic atmosphere. They’ll make a delicious vegan vegetable plate for you if you ask, complete with your choice of seasonal vegetables. I’ve had this with succotash, asparagus, grilled tomatoes, seasoned squash, portobello mushrooms, you name it. Their vegetables are fresh and delicious.
Dragonfly – this small little bar/eatery in downtown Fairhope has a huge patio and always a wait so get here early. They’ll make you a vegetable-broth based vegetable noodle bowl that has a hint of spice and will certainly full you up. They also will make you a few tapas-style tacos city vegetables if you ask. Service is quick here and the food is fresh and satisfying. It’s a fun place to come with friends or coworkers or to meet some new friends at the bar.
Bangkok Thai Cuisine – I’ve been to both Bangkok Thai and the Teak House Thai in Daphne, and Bangkok is by far the better option for vegans and for great service. I like my food really spicy, and they are always hesitant to make my dish spicy, so they’ll bring me spices on the side to add in. The service is really great here, the owners are friendly, and it’s a great place to come to after a long day of work if you just want to be alone and read. They won’t rush you and they’ll keep your tea full, and their vegetable dishes are delicious, especially with the added spice. I highly recommend this family-owned eatery in Daphne!
Master Joe’s – also a great place to come to if you don’t want to be rushed and with a great bar for meeting new and old friends, this sushi restaurant in downtown Fairhope has an excellent seaweed salad, tofu rolls and tofu vegetable dishes to choose from.