The global increase in the consumption of meat and fish is harming ecosystems and depleting natural resources. But opting for a plant-based diet using local seasonal products would contribute greatly to protecting the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15%.
In light of these facts, Relais & Châteaux decided to take action. Some properties are touting the virtues of vegetarian or vegan fare in their restaurants to advocate for sustainable clean cuisine.
Whether serving up menus in an English manor, on the shores of an idyllic beach, in the middle of a Costa Rican forest or in a New York dining room, these chefs have set out to reinvent vegetarian cuisine with delectable dishes that are a pleasure to share.
The French Laundry, Yountville (United States)
Founder of New York restaurant Per Se, Thomas Keller also opened The French Laundry in Napa Country, California. Anecdotally, the food here is so popular that Pixar Studios hired them to create a ratatouille served at the end of the animated film by the same name. At The French Laundry, he works closely with chef David Breeden to offer minimalist cuisine made with aromatic herbs and vegetables from the garden. True to his values, his two 9-course vegetarian menus never use the same ingredient twice.
Del Posto, New York (United States)
Del Posto’s vegan menu is the result of months of collaborative research on behalf of Chef and our culinary team. The dishes were carefully conceived to provide the full breadth of flavor, texture, and variety that a typical tasting menu at Del Posto would have.
Many restaurants are able to provide vegetarian options to their guests, but Del Posto’s team is proud to offer this menu for those guests with more specific dietary needs. Their philosophy is that the highest luxuries should be inclusive, which allows them to share their hospitality to a broad audience. Most of the products used are made entirely in-house, like the whipped pine-nut butter or the seeded cracker they serve with the menu as an amuse-bouche.
El Silencio Lodge & Spa, Bajos del Toro (Costa Rica)
In the middle of a lush forest in the Central Mountains of Costa Rica lies the El Silencio eco-lodge that offers a totally new world and a place to commune with nature. Chef Carlos Andres Melendez delights guests with gluten-free vegetarian dishes created from the abundance of tropical products in the region. He loves reinterpreting traditional recipes that accentuate the pure flavors, eye-popping colors and extremely unique textures of local ingredients.
The icing on the cake is that these delicious healthy dishes are made from products grown on the property’s small sustainable farm.
Sol y Luna, Urubamba (Peru)
Sol y Luna sits at 2,800 meters in altitude in the Sacred Valley of the Incas as a tribute to the beauty and heritage of a lost civilization. To this end, the hotel serves food that features local traditional ingredients.
Chef Nacho Selis has created a menu with sophisticated vegetarian dishes like cream soup with pumpkin, fava beans and mint, or potato salad with crispy mushrooms, marinated artichokes and wild tomato vinaigrette, or black quinoa chupe garnished with cream cheese and locally grown mint. Another world entirely.
Txai Resort Itacaré, Itacaré (Brazil)
On the shores of an idyllic beach, Txai Resort pays tribute to the cuisine and traditions of the Bahia region. Run by French chef Aurélien Roche, the restaurant offers five vegetarian tasting menus that heavily feature local cuisine. Travelers can sample fruit ceviche with cocoa honey garnished with coconut, leafy greens and banana, mushroom risotto with parmesan, and homemade salted granola with cocoa, or even caponata– style stuffed heart of palm seasoned with a dash of cocoa and okra chips.
Hacienda Hotel Vira Vira, Pucon (Chile)
A sprawling farm and hotel rolled into one, the Vira Vira property guarantees visitors an experience described as “the elegance of adventure.” Needless to say, it begins with the dream location amid the Cordillère des Andes, but it also has a lot to do with the premium cuisine served up by chef Alberto Damian Fernandez Dupouy. The menu mostly includes Chilean vegetarian dishes like microgreen salad garnished with seasonal vegetables and garden-fresh herbs or carrot soup with turmeric foam made from almond milk and edible flowers.
Cliveden House, Berkshire (United Kingdom)
Once frequented by illustrious figures like Clinton and Churchill, Cliveden House is a gorgeous typically English-style building that now serves top-quality cuisine created by Andre Garrett. The starred chef loves cooking with seasonal vegetables, so it did not take him long to start offering vegetarian and vegan tasting menus. “You have to be ultra-seasonal when cooking vegetables and to think about the importance of flavor, contrasts and textures. That’s a really interesting challenge.”
Gravetye Manor, West Hoathly (United Kingdom)
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of London, Gravetye Manor rises out of flowerbeds and winding pathways designed by William Robinson, who created the English garden and is the former landowner. In this idyllic setting, chef George Blogg has chosen to create a vegetarian menu that changes every month. Taking inspiration and guidance from the fruits and vegetables that grow year-round in the on-site kitchen garden, the chef has become the ambassador of a cuisine that is both healthy and delicious.
Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa & Island, Oban (United Kingdom)
On the private Isle of Eriska lies a stunning Scottish castle with views of Loch Linnhe and the Morvern Mountains. Located in a secluded natural environment, it has its pick of top-quality local ingredients that the property’s chef Paul Leonard turns into wonderful dishes for his fall tasting menu.
The fully vegetarian menu includes flavorful and delectable fare like salt-baked Pink Fir Apple potatoes, pan-roasted Tweed Swede rutabagas and orchard apple pie.
Hostellerie de Levernois, Beaune (France)
Hostellerie de Levernois is innovating inside a prestigious Burgundy vineyard. Under the auspices of starred chef Philippe Augé, the property’s restaurant recently unveiled its Garden Menu primarily featuring seasonal products. The chef takes vegetables, which are mostly harvested in the on-site organic kitchen garden, and deftly transforms them into dishes like endives with walnuts, caramelized onions and potato chips, pumpkin risotto with chestnuts, artichokes, salsifies and parmesan.
The dinner climaxes in a poached chestnut baba cake with walnut wine syrup and whipped cream that every gourmet is sure to love.
Château de Locguénolé, Kervignac (France)
“At Locguénolé, vegetarian and vegan customers should be able to enjoy our wonderful restaurant and culinary expertise the same as any other customer.”
A vegetarian for 15 years and advocate of short supply channels, the chef buys ingredients from small producers within a 30 km radius of the property. Some of these ardent artisans are certified organic growers while others curate heirloom varieties or forage wild herbs. The chef also doesn’t miss a chance to season his creations with seaweed to enhance the flavor of his dishes.
Vegetarian cuisine is a new form of self-expression with plants and a reaction to a range of scandals that have rattled society.
Coquillade Provence Village, Gargas (France)
A quintessentially provincial hamlet, Coquillade has opted to focus on food made from fruits, vegetables and herbs grown in the property’s kitchen garden or handpicked from local producers. Restaurant chef Christophe Renaud wanted to showcase the abundance of seasonal vegetables by flavoring them with herbs, spices and flowers in delicious colorful dishes while taking his cues from flowers in bloom and the harvest cycles.
Hotel Stadt Hamburg, Westerland/Sylt (Germany)
Hotel Stadt Hamburg sits in the small Westerland beach resort in a charming 19th- century building surrounded by heavenly scenery. In the restaurant, chef Ulrich Person has built a reputation for light, regionally sourced cuisine. The cook now includes vegetarian options and a vegan menu, serving dishes like vegetable curry with shiitake mushrooms and black rice, beet soup with cilantro pesto, chili crisp and cashews or black radish risotto with braised pumpkin and herbs.
Enough to reach his goal of “making happiness taste good” for his guests, as he likes to call it.
Restaurant Lafleur, Frankfurt (Germany)
In a Bauhaus-style building overlooking the Frankfurt Palm Garden, chef Andreas Krolik works wonders at Lafleur Restaurant. The winner of two Michelin-stars serves up contemporary cuisine that fuses regional products with Mediterranean influences. While he’s a master at cooking fish, he also successfully tried his hand at creating a vegetarian menu.
His dishes include sesame-roasted pumpkin tofu garnished with stuffed sweet-and- sour cabbage, smoked pepper and mirepoix jus chutney, and a dish of fennel, carrots and parsnips in a carrot broth with oranges, chervil, fermented yuzu and crunchy quinoa.
Hotel Raphaël, Rome (Italy)
Hotel Raphaël may feature a rooftop garden overlooking the city, but it has much more to offer than a stunning view of Rome. On warm days, fine diners flock to the patio to sample the vegetarian and vegan dishes dreamed up in the kitchen.
Specialties include homemade eggless tagliatelle with roasted mushrooms, pine nuts, grapes and shaved Pecorino, seitan with Milanese vegetables and chickpea pie with broccolini and roasted hazelnuts.
The menus crafted from the best ingredients in Italy are a blend of contemporary cuisine, healthy living and environmental consciousness.
Hikariya-Nishi, Matsumoto (Japan)
At the helm of this traditional spot steeped in history is chef Masahiro, who earned his stripes at world-class European restaurants. His property is housed in a 19th- century warehouse and focuses on a macrobiotic vegetarian menu with seven dishes that have sealed his reputation.
On order are Bavarian onion cream garnished with pea sauce, shiitake mushroom terrine and seaweed soup with truffles, and even textured soy in a bowl of steamed turnips with balsamic sauce.
Shreyas Retreat, Bangalore (India)
Shreyas offers guests a relaxing peaceful retreat as well as a little pampering. The chefs serve gourmet vegetarian cuisine and draw inspiration from around the globe to offer menus that are customized for each visitor. After a consultation with an in-house naturopath or specialist in Ayurveda medicine, they compile and target your needs and then prioritize dishes with non-caloric vitamin-packed seasonal ingredients with antioxidants.
A word to detox connoisseurs: Shreyas is the only Relais & Châteaux property that is 100% vegetarian and does not serve any alcohol.
Spicers Peak Lodge, Maryvale (Australia)
Perched on the Cedar Mountain plateau, Spicers Peak Lodge features breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and wilderness. A secluded hideaway to say the least, it gives customers a tour of Australia through food options that focus on locally grown ingredients. They include vegetarian, vegan and pescatarian menus that change daily, all made from local products. The resident chef has a habit of playing with cauliflower, jalapeño peppers, kumquats, parsnips, wakame, beets and figs in dishes that are as mouthwatering as they are delicious.