When it comes to dining out, vegetarians are often left with limited options. Not in Chicago. The city has always been known for its diverse dining scene, including an array of places that embrace a more plant-powered philosophy. You’ll find vegan diners touting comfort food classics, elevated vegetable-forward tasting menus, and piles of international food without a piece of meat in sight. Here are just a few of our favorite vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Chicago.
Bloom Plant Based Kitchen
Veggie lovers rejoice! This 100% plant-based and gluten-free restaurant in Wicker Park, a Michelin Bib Gourmand winner, is serving fresh and creative dishes like ceviche, braised jackfruit, plantain lasagna, and kelp noodles with cashew crema. The menu at Bloom Plant Based Kitchen appeals to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, with an array of health-conscious and comfort food-inspired items.
The Chicago Diner
One of the city’s classic veg-friendly establishments, The Chicago Diner is proudly “meat free since ‘83”. The entire menu is full of comfort food classics, like poutine, spinach artichoke dip, wings, nachos, country fried steak, and burgers — but every single item is meat-free and can be made vegan (and many of them gluten-free, too). Their flagship sandwich is the “radical reuben” made with corned beef seitan, grilled onions, peppers, sauerkraut, vegan Thousand Islands dressing, and vegan cheese on marbled rye. And their vegan shakes, with flavors like cookie dough peanut butter and vanilla chai, are well worth a pilgrimage to their Lakeview or Logan Square location.
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In West Ridge, Arya Bhavan is a welcoming Indian restaurant that specializes in vegan dishes made with whole foods and plant-based ingredients. Choose from traditional dishes like samosas, lentil soup, biryani, dosa, tofu tikka masala, and more. Plus, most dishes can be made gluten-free.
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Kale My Name
In Irving Park, Kale My Name is a casual smoothie bar and restaurant with a globally inspired and plant-based menu. Diners will find vegetarian renditions of American classics (like homemade veggie burgers, buffalo tofu wraps, and cauliflower wings), plus international influences like traditional Balkan spreads, empanadas, and jackfruit tacos. In the summer, their patio is a popular place to be.
Urban Vegan Thai Cuisine
This Ravenswood gem takes traditional Thai dishes and remakes them using seitan and other meat substitutes. The result is the Asian flavors you love, with none of the meat products. At Urban Vegan, you’ll find almost everything you could order at a typical Thai restaurant: chicken satay (made with soy chicken), steamed dumplings (packed with vegetables), tons of flavorful curries, noodle dishes, stir-fried veggies with rice, and more. Bonus: they deliver.
This coffeehouse and restaurant has such stellar options for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner that it’s tempting to spend the whole day at Beatrix. In the morning, order the chia cereal bowl, the light and fluffy lemon pancakes, or opt for something in their tempting pastry case. During dinner, you’ll find plenty of options where vegetables are the star of the show, like the asparagus and pea risotto made with farro or the eggplant steak. They have three locations throughout the city, plus four market locations with grab-and-go options.
India House Restaurant
In River North, India House Restaurant is a long-time local favorite for authentic Indian cuisine. First opened in 1993, India House has become a favorite of vegetarian diners. Their extensive menu of meat-free entrees includes aloo gobi, chana masala, saag paneer, dal banjara, and more. Can’t decide what to try? Opt for their lunch buffet when you can get a bit of everything.
Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
The folks at Demera prides themselves on making authentic Ethiopian food made from scratch, including an extensive vegetarian and vegan menu. If you’re new to the cuisine, ask for the vegetarian messob. Your waiter will bring out four of the restaurant’s most popular veg-friendly dishes, all perfectly portioned for one. Fan favorite dishes include gomen (collard greens sauteed with onions, garlic, and ginger and topped with jalapeno) and the lentil sambussas (fried dumpling served with a side of sweet and spicy honey sauce).
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Soul Veg City
At Soul Veg City, food is the best kind of medicine. The family-owned spot has been serving up 100% animal-free dishes in the city’s Chatham neighborhood for more than 40 years. The menu features comfort food staples, without any meat or dairy — you’ll find sandwiches, pasta, soups, salads, desserts, and more. Make sure to try a fresh juice and check what’s in the popular hot bar.
True Food Kitchen
Bring your meat-loving and veggie-obsessed friends together at True Food Kitchen. The airy downtown space has a thoughtful menu built around seasonality, with options for every type of diet. Even carnivores will love the edamame dumplings with white truffle oil, the spinach and mushroom pizza with caramelized onions and almond-milk ricotta, and the spaghetti squash casserole. Or they can opt for the grass-fed burger, steak tacos, or grilled salmon — there’s something for everyone.
The mantra at Handlebar is “food, booze, and good times” — and it delivers on all three. The menu at this bustling Wicker Park spot reads like a typical tavern menu (think nachos, buffalo chicken wrap, grilled cheese, and sloppy joes), but everything is made-from-scratch vegan or vegetarian. The food is made with farm-fresh, locally sourced ingredients, there’s a full service bar and beer garden, and the regular crowd of locals keep the good times going.
Alice & Friends Vegan Kitchen
Vegans rejoice — you’ll be able to satisfy all your cravings for Asian flavors at Alice & Friends Vegan Kitchen. This “wonderland for vegans” is dedicated to crafting flavorful, healthy 100% vegan dishes that change how diners think about a plant-based diet. Choose from an extensive list of entrees, including miso ramen, chow mein, bibimbap with smoked tofu, chana masala poke bowl, and so much more. House-made desserts, like zucchini bread and soy ice cream, make a sweet end to the meal.
Take your veggie devotion one step further at Chicago Raw. The grab-and-go concept is dedicated to serving only uncooked, 100% plant-based foods, drinks, and desserts. Visit their Gold Coast storefront to stock up on their fresh and tasty options, like falafel patties on onion bread, pizza with wheat berry crust and cashew cheese, and zucchini “spaghetti” with seed-based meatballs. Or order a superfood-packed smoothie, made fresh on the spot.