700 S. Rosemary Ave., Suite 142, West Palm Beach; 561/208-5222
For those who savor every juicy, tender and flavorful bite of a well-prepared burger, patronizing a vegan establishment may seem like a sacrilegious act. Plus, perhaps you’re not ready to venture down the path of faux meat. But what if a restaurant served up plant-based dishes that woke up your senses, surprised your taste buds with exploding flavors, and delighted your eyes with vibrant plate presentations? Planta is bringing just that to West Palm Beach’s Rosemary Square.
Taking over the former Panera Bread space, Planta sits on that sizable corner bookended by shaded al fresco banquettes and a swanky outdoor bar with plush courtyard seating. Regardless of your choice ofspirit, you’ll find a cocktail on the menu to suit your craving. The Charcoal Bourbon Sour ($12), made with lemon, activated by charcoal syrup and topped with a thin layer of fluffy aquafaba, had a balanced smoky and sweet flavor. If you enjoy a little kick in a cocktail, try the Herb Your Enthusiasm ($12), the Thai chili-infused tequila perfectly matched with orange liqueur, lime, pineapple and herb syrup.
Our plant-based journey began with the Dragon Roll ($15.75), sans fish, of course. In my first bite, my mind and eyes fought to understand: It looked like sushi, and it tasted like some sort of tempura protein topped with thinly sliced avocado, but from reading the menu I knew it was broccoli and spinach instead. It was cheeky to try, but the entrées were the true headliners of this expedition.
This West Palm Beach location is the seventh in Planta’s upscale vegan empire, and its signature burger ($19.95) explained the restaurant’s popularity in one bite. Once again, Executive Chef David Lee’s visual presentation of the dish made me think twice about whether there really wasn’t animal protein in it. A combination of mushrooms, brown rice, lentils, black beans, oats, tempeh and a few other seasonings, this burger had a suitable consistency and a powerful flavor accentuated by its stack of trimmings. Plus it came with crunchy truffle fries.
For even more truffle delights, we ordered the udon noodles ($24.50) in a creamy mushroom sauce made from coconut cream and sprinkled with a generous amount of shaved truffles. It was our table’s favorite. If you also order a pizza, make sure to dip your crust into the noodle sauce for a special indulgence. The Hawaiian pizza ($19.50) was both savory and sweet. The barbecue sauce and sliced jalapeños added a spicy undertone, while the big pieces of pineapple and ranch dressing drizzle balanced it out.
Make sure to save room for dessert. The maple custard is small but packs a sweet punch. But the brownie sundae took the spotlight away with its warm gooeyness.
For those who choose to eat vegan, Planta serves elevated dishes where you don’t have to worry about the ingredients. And for those who love meat, Planta offers approachable and appetizing plant-based dishes that don’t make us yearn for a steak.
IF YOU GO
HOURS: Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (brunch until 4 p.m.)
PRICES: Entrees $18.25- $24.50