Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Chicago

Published by: Bounce14 September, 2022

With more and more demand for vegetarian and entirely plant-based cuisine, Chicago’s restaurant scene has stepped up its game and there are several fantastic options for vegetarian restaurants. Chi-Town is still predominantly a meat-eaters delight, but the number of meat-free alternatives is growing.

Check out interesting places such as Yvolina’s Tamales, Ground Control, the Chicago Diner, or Kal’ish diner among others where you can travel around the world without ever leaving Chicago. You will find more than just Midwestern favorites that have been transformed into delicious vegan and vegetarian specialties.

When searching for the best vegetarian restaurants in Chicago, you will want to check out a few listed here where you can kick back and relax with family or friends. Whether you are in the mood for good ole American cuisine or Indian or Thai you will find something that makes your mouth water. Drop off extra bags and belongings with Chicago luggage storage and go discover your next favorite place to eat!

Kal’ish

What's it like:

One of the most popular plant-based diners in Chicago, Kal’ish offers creative and delicious dishes that are bursting with flavor including their most popular dish Clucker Crisps made using garbanzo beans and seitan mixed with onion, garlic, and paprika. You can order the Clucker Crisps in a sandwich or in a basket.

Our recommendation:

The diner does get pretty busy so you will want to get there early for lunch or dinner to ensure you get a table. Or you can order takeout and have an impromptu picnic in a nearby park. Check out their cooler and freezer section for pre-made dishes you can take home and savor later. You will also want to order one of their vegan desserts for a sweet finish to your meal.

Location:

1313 W. Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL

Lula Café

What’s it like:

One of the original vegetarian farm-to-table restaurants in the Chicago area, Lula Café is dedicated to showcasing plant-based dishes using only locally grown produce. Visit for dinner and dine on a six-course vegetarian tasting menu filled with interesting and enjoyable dishes that change seasonally.

Our recommendation:

Dishes we recommend you sample during the dinner tasting menu include beet dashi with mushroom and risotto dumplings, buckwheat gnudi, or cauliflower with a brown butter hollandaise. Even meat-eaters will enjoy dining at Lula Café where the fresh ingredients are used to create memorable vegetarian food.

Location:

2537 N. Kedzie Blvd, Chicago

The Chicago Diner

What’s it like:

One of the first meat-free diners in Chicago, this vegetarian-friendly diner dropped meat from its menu in 1983. The comfort food served here is just as good as the original dishes these dishes expertly mimic. Each dish can also be made vegan for those looking for 100% plant-based. Many dishes are also gluten-free.

As far as vegan diners go, the Chicago Diner is one of the best at serving several different meat alternatives including soy chicken. The vegan mac n cheese is delish and one of the best on the vegetarian food scene.

Our recommendation:

The signature dish, and the most popular, is their Radical Reuben. The Radical Reuben is made with corned beef seitan, grilled peppers and onions, sauerkraut, cheese, and vegan thousand island dressing served on marbled rye bread.

The menu is filled with classics such as wings, poutine, nachos, spinach artichoke dip, veggie burgers, and country-fried steak. Order one of their vegan milkshakes. We suggest peanut butter or vanilla chai shakes. They are wonderful.

Location:

3411 N. Halsted St, Chicago

Paulie Gee’s

What’s it like:

Located in Logan Square, Paulie Gee’s is the place to go for some of the best vegetarian pies in Chicago. You do not want to miss sampling any of the vegetarian and vegan pizza options that they are famous for. They offer vegan cheese on both vegetarian and vegan pizza.

Our recommendation:

Give the Greenpointer a try, which is mozzarella, baby arugula, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. Loc The Cream of Some Fungi is popular pizza and is made with gorgonzola, fresh mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, sliced cremini mushrooms, and sliced garlic.

But the So Fresh and So Green, Green pie is probably the freshest vegetarian pizza and is made with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, seared grape tomatoes, red onions, baby arugula, pickled cherry peppers, togarashi spice, sesame seeds, and Parmiggiano Reggiano.

Location:

2451 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago

Arya Bhavan

What’s it like:

Sometimes you just have a craving for Indian food with its fragrant spices and unique flavors. Finding an Indian restaurant that specializes in plant-based foods is absolutely amazing. Arya Bhavan is a rare gem in the West Ridge neighborhood of Chicago. Many of the vegetarian dishes offered can also be made gluten-free.

Our recommendation:

Order the tofu tikka masala, or maybe the samosas are more to your liking. Arya Bhavan also serves amazing vegan biryani, lentil soup, and dosa. Grab your friends when you are craving a little spice in your life and spend time on West Devon Avenue.

Location:

2508 W Devon Ave, Chicago

Alice & Friends Vegan Kitchen

What’s it like:

Finding yummy vegan Asian food can sometimes be a bit difficult, but when you head to North Broadway Street, you will find the best vegan Asian food that is healthy, filled with flavor, and actually pretty to look at before you dive in. You don’t even have to be a vegan to appreciate the goodness that comes out of this kitchen.

Our recommendation:

The extensive menu includes several noodle dishes such as chow Mein, chana masala poke bowl, miso ramen, and bibimbap with smoked tofu. Save plenty of room for one or two of the house-made desserts. Their baked goods are baked daily including the zucchini bread, and the soy ice cream is the perfect way to finish any meal at Alice & Friends Vegan Kitchen.

Location:

5812 N Broadway St, Chicago

Chicago Raw

What’s it like:

With three locations throughout Chicago, you will definitely want to check out this plant-based restaurant that takes the grab-and-go concept to the next level. The concept behind Chicago Raw is to bring uncooked, or raw, plant-based foods including desserts and even drinks. The menu is filled with healthy, amazing options that will make your mouth water.

Our recommendation:

Be sure to order one of their nutrient-rich superfood smoothies that are made fresh and to order. You will also want to grab dessert to savor later. The pizza with cashew cheese on wheat berry crust or the falafel patties served on onion bread are great choices, but the zucchini spaghetti with seed-based meatless meatballs is one of their best menu items.

Location:

51 W Huron St, Chicago, 131 N Clinton St, Chicago, 325 N Hoyne Ave, Unit #323, Chicago

Daisies

What’s it like:

Chef Joe Frillman opened Daisies with the idea of creating quality dishes from mostly locally sourced ingredients from his brother’s farm. The simplicity of the menu is what makes this eatery so interesting and delightful.

Our recommendation:

Creating a menu that caters to both vegetarians and meat eaters may seem challenging, but Chef Frillman was up to the test. The pasta dishes are full of flavor including the spaghetti squash casserole; the chitarra is exceptional and is made with pecorino, sun gold tomatoes, and drizzled with olive oil.

Location:

2523 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago

Ground Control

What’s it like:

While Ground Control is not as popular as other Chicago vegan and vegetarian restaurants, it offers a food hall feel filled with comfort food that is meat-free. Located in Logan Square, it is one of the few places in the area to get seitan that is made in-house.

Our recommendation:

They make a Puerto Rican sandwich with seitan instead of the traditional meat and top it with grilled onions, collard greens, garlic, poblano peppers, tomato, American cheese, and garlic mayo, all squished between a crispy, deep-fried plantain.

The roasted sweet potato tacos, fried avocado tacos, blackened tofu po boy, and beet veggie burger are also great choices if the Puerto Rican sandwich is a little much for you. Sweet potato fries make an excellent snack or side to any of the sandwiches offered.

Location:

3315 W Armitage Ave, Chicago

Beatrix

What’s it like:

Described as a coffeehouse and restaurant, Beatrix offers tasty vegetarian dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Brunch is available each weekend. The atmosphere is relaxing and it is the type of place you want to pull out your laptop and spend the day working and visiting as you take in the flair of the neighborhood.

Our recommendation:

The mushroom and quinoa burger served with baby kale and Swiss cheese is a favorite at Beatrix. The lemon pancakes will make your mouth water and the chia cereal bowl is filling and flavorful. They have a pastry case filled with delicacies with vegan and vegetarian options clearly marked.

Location:

519 N. Clark St., Chicago

Handlebar

What’s it like:

Specializing in comfort food classics made with meat alternatives is what makes the Handlebar so unique. Head to Chicago’s west side and feast on delicious food that is healthy and guilt-free for vegetarians. There are several vegan options on the menu as well.

Our recommendation:

Stuff yourself full of fried avocado tacos which are overflowing with avocado, cabbage slaw, refried beans, brown rice, and tomatoes, and served with a house-made ranch dressing and salsa Verde. Vegan nachos are a solid choice and go great with one of the beers your order from the beer garden.

Location:

2311 W. North Ave., Chicago

Original Soul Vegetarian

What’s it like:

When in Chicago, you have to pay a visit to this legendary vegan restaurant located on the South Side. Original Soul Vegetarian is a favorite spot for both tourists and locals, so don't miss it. The meatless BBQ is one of the best in the city. All their dishes are animal-free and have people coming back for more.

Our recommendation:

The BBQ Twist is made with soybean seitan and smothered in their special tangy sauce. You will need extra napkins for this BBQ. The spicy faux chicken served with vegan mac n cheese is another favorite, but people really seem to go crazy for the black-eyed pea veggie burger served with onion rings.

Location:

203 E. 75th St., Chicago

River Roast

What’s it like:

While River Roast is not strictly a vegetarian restaurant, it needed to be included on the list for its inclusion of vegetarian food as well as several menu choices that vegans can enjoy. Many menu items are also gluten-free. Their menu has the different dietary accommodations clearly marked or you can ask your server to point them out.

Our recommendation:

The most popular vegetarian dish at River Roast is the Boatload of Veggies which is an entrée that features a rather large poblano pepper that has been stuffed with a variety of roasted seasonal vegetables. The roasted veggies temper the heat from the pepper so even those who are not fans of spicy food will really enjoy this dish.

Location:

315 N. LaSalle Dr., Chicago

Vegan and vegetarian restaurants sure to please

 Finding vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Chicago is not as difficult as it was even ten years ago. As more and more people turn to a cleaner lifestyle and embrace meat-free diets, restaurants in Chicago have had to shift their focus and become more inclusive. So, even if an eatery is not 100% vegan or vegetarian, they most likely offer items that are.

Whether searching for comfort food classics or Thai food, Chicago has you covered with a wide variety of places offering delicious vegetarian food, and yes, even vegan options. Enjoy your plant-based diet and the freedom to dine out and find tasty dishes that fit perfectly into your eating style.

Did you enjoy this article? Check out these other guides about Chicago:

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The Best Time to Visit Chicago 2022: the Ultimate Guide
Unmissable Things To Do In Chicago At Night

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