The Best Vegan-Friendly Restaurants In Chicago
By Chicagoist_Guest in Food on Sep 26, 2017 6:35PM
So you're trying to be healthier. Or maybe you just feel ready to make a dietary change, or you have ethical reasons for going vegan. Either way, switching to a meat, dairy and even egg-free diet doesn't have to be about deprivation. Whether you prefer inventive menus that turn you favorite meat and cheese dishes vegan with the help of seitan and cashew cheese, ethnic spots that happen to offer vegan dishes, or inventive, catch-all eateries that dedicate menu space to the cause, there’s something for all tastes. In tandem with our list of the Best Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants, we've rounded up nine of our favorite vegan-friendly restaurants around the city.
By Jennifer Olvera
It’s hold the meat, egg and dairy at this feel-good vegan Korean eatery, known for its numbingly spicy Dr. K’s Cure-All soup. Chock-full of noodles, veggies, seaweed and tofu, it’s just the ticket when you’re feeling hungover or cold and flu-like. Other faves include Tibetan High Noon, a spicy veggie curry, as well as one of the best bi bim bop preps in the city.
Amitabul is located at 6207 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Set aside any preconceived notions about raw, plant-focused food—Chicago Raw serves straight-up appealing eats. Whether you settle on cashew cheese-filled turnip ravioli, zucchini ribbon spaghetti and “meatballs” blanketed in green olive marinara or a collard burrito enveloping pumpkin seed pate, everything on the menu feels a touch gourmet.
Chicago Raw is located at 51 W. Huron St. and in The French Market, 131 N. Clinton St.
Paulie Gee's ovens.
There’s a whole vegan pizza section on the menu at this rustic-chic pie hole in Logan Square. And while you may find it hard to choose, top props go to the Greenpointer, made with baby arugula, olive oil, nutritional yeast and fresh lemon juice for brightness. Looking for something with a more is more approach? Try the Rabbit Pie, featuring Italian tomatoes, garlic, baby arugula, baby spinach, house-made vegan fennel sausage, red onions, pickled pineapples and soy chile glaze.
Paulie Gee’s is located at 2451 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Soy, meat and gluten-free, Hyde Park’s B’Gabs is also raw. That means the hearty burgers are made with healthy sprouted seeds and topped with a garden’s worth of greens and other fresh veggies. It’s joined by the likes of nut-veggie “meat” sloppy joes and a seed-made refried bean burrito with sunflower cheese. What’s more, dessert-lovers can indulge in raw, fresh fruit-topped “cheesecakes” made with coconut and cashews with an almond-date crust.
B’Gabs is located at 1450 E. 57th St.
Bright, modern and affordable, this casual café attached to Upton's Naturals seitan factory showcases its wheat-based protein. Try it made into a smoky bacon ranch cheeseburger or herbed, giardiniera-topped Italian sub. If you aren’t in the mood for seitan, try the tofu breakfast tacos, loaded, togarashi-seasoned tofu bowl or something sweet, like vegan soft serve ice cream.
Upton’s Natural is located at 2054 W. Grand Ave.
Come for the coffee, stay for the vegan pastries. There’s also a memorable T.B.L.T. sandwich made with mayo, greens, tempeh bacon and tomato on wheat. Not your style? Go for the vegan patty Shots Fired burger at this artsy North Center café. Just feel like a quick something, something? There’s a nice selection of smoothies, including the Sunrise made with mangoes, strawberries, coconut milk and orange juice, which even non-vegans can love.
Delicious Cafe is located at 3827 N. Lincoln Ave.
Photo via Chicago Diner's Facebook page.
The Chicago Diner
The original Halsted Street location and its Logan Square sister restaurant offers the same smoky waffle fries and credible vegan cheeses, in the case of the former there’s also a full bar serving signature cocktails, like the Daymaker with Journeyman coffee, liqueur, bourbon, iced coffee and coconut milk. Expect the likes of truffle to add richness to veggie dishes. Meanwhile, oldies but goodies like the Dagwood sandwich with Italian beef, bacon-style seitan, lettuce, tomato, onion, pepperoncini and vegan or dairy cheese and Sriracha-inflected sauce promise to steal your heart. Brunch is also worthwhile—especially when it comes to the cinnamon roll French toast. Save room for one of its lauded vegan milkshakes.
The Chicago Diner is located at 2333 N. Milwaukee Ave. and 3411 N. Halsted St.
Original Soul Vegetarian
Taking its inspiration from the African Hebrew Israelite beliefs of owner Prince Asiel Ben-Israel, this joint proves soul food can, in fact, be virtuous. The globetrotting menu ranges from Mediterranean to Asian, Southern and comfort food-driven American fare. Even omnivores will appreciate the seitan sloppy Joe and steamed vegetables and tofu served many.
Original Soul Vegetarian is located at 203 E. 75th St.
Devon Avenue brims with destination-worthy Indian restaurants, and this colorful South Indian spot is definitely among them. Fortunately, many of the dosas, umpas and vadas are completely vegan, too. And because the bulk of the remaining menu can be prepared for those who keep vegan, it offers a welcome break from the seitan-centric norm.
Uru Swati is located at 2629 W. Devon Ave.