Sunday, December 7, 2008

Chicago Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurants

I've compiled a list of my top 10 favorite vegetarian & vegan restaurants in the city, some more veggie restaurants that are pretty good but did not quite make my top 10, and a few more that I'm dying to try out! A couple of the places on the list aren't completely vegetarian/vegan, but they do have a menu that's at least 50(ish)% vegetarian, so there's no lack of choices at those places! . . . Also, pardon the picture above; I didn't have a very good picture that captured fine vegetarian dining, but I liked this view of Castaways Restaurant and downtown behind it. Reminds me of the summer ;-)

The Best (IMO) Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurants in Chicago
Here's a top 10 list of my favorite veg/veg-friendly restaurants in the Chicagoland area!
  1. Alice & Friends Vegetarian Cafe, 5812 N Broadway Street.
    Mostly Asian food, and completely vegan. I have not had one thing there that I did not like, and I've had most of the things on their menu! It's one of my favorite places to go in the city.
  2. Karyn's Cooked, 738 N Wells Street.
    All-American vegan comfort food. I'm a huge fan of their appetizer pizza, jerk tofu, taco salad, and banana cake (among other things).
  3. Chicago Diner, 3411 N Halsted Street.
    Who says vegans can't enjoy greasy diner food? Of course they can - at Chicago Diner! I love their shakes, reubens, gyros, cheeze fries. . . mmmm!
  4. Mana Food Bar, 1742 W Division Street.
    A tapas style restaurant, it had many Asian, Italian, and Mediterranean-inspired mini-plates. Quite a fusion!
  5. Cousin's Middle Eastern & Mediterranean Restaurant, 2833 N Broadway Street.
    Not specifically vegetarian/vegan, Cousins serves traditional Middle Eastern & Mediterranean dishes, many of which are veggie!
  6. Ping Pong, 3322 N Broadway Street.
    Very delicious! This is a cute, chic Pan-Asian place in Boystown. I love the food and the ambiance here.
  7. Ethiopian Diamond, 6120 N Broadway Street.
    This traditional Ethiopian restaurant brings your dishes out to you together on one large platter atop an edible tablecloth. So if you have meat-eaters & veggies at the same table, remember to tell them to put the veggie & meat dishes on separate platters!! I highly recommend their honey wine ;-)
  8. Chowpatti, 1035 S Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights, IL.
    Touting itself as International Vegetarian Cuisinse, Chowpatti offers American, Mexican, and Mediterranean dishes, though it focuses of Indian cuisine. I love the number of choices on the menu; in fact, this restaurant is probably the primary reason my parents realized I wasn't going to starve on a vegetarian diet!
  9. Pick Me Up Cafe, 3408 N Clark Street.
    A quirky little vegetarian/vegan coffeehouse/diner in the heart of Wrigleyville. Open 24 hours on the weekends.
  10. Earwax Cafe, 1561 N Milwaukee Ave.
    I've only been here a handful of times, but from what I can tell, it's a pretty cool place! They aren't vegetarian/vegan, either. It's strange, but their eclectic-ness can be summed up nicely by their burger menu: veggie burger, blackbean/quinoa burger (served 3 different ways), tempeh burger, regular (beef?) burger, turkey burger, and a buffalo burger (wtf?!).
More Veggie Restaurants!
Here are some more restaurants that I've tried out. They're pretty good, but not my favorite. I'll eat there again from time to time, but in general I usually can think of some place I'd rather go. But if they seem interesting to you, try them out!
  1. Yummy Yummy, 2901 N Broadway Street.
    Great Asian take-out place. They have separate meat & vegan menus so it's good for mixed crowds. It's really small, so it's not a great place for dining in. If they'd just expand their dining room, this place would DEFINITELY make my top 10 list!
  2. Green Zebra, 1460 W Chicago Avenue.
    The food was good, but a little pricey. It's also not completely vegetarian, since they serve fish, but there are some vegan options on the menu.
  3. Karyn's Raw, 1901 N Halsted Street.
    Owned by the same person as Karyn's Cooked, except that everything is raw.
  4. Cousin's Incredible Vitality, 3038 W Irving Park Road.
    Another raw vegan restaurant.
Restaurants I Still Need to Try Out
  • Soul Vegetarian East, 205 E 75th Street.
    A vegan soul food place deep in the South Side. This place comes highly recommended to me from several sources. I just need to figure out a way to get there!
  • Blind Faith Cafe, 525 Dempster Street, Evanston.
    Also highly recommended to me. The menu looks pretty good, with plenty of American & ethnic options.
  • Veggie Bite, 1300 N Milwaukee Avenue.
    A vegan fast food restaurant!? How have I not gone there yet! This I need to check out ;-)
  • Amitabul, 6207 N Milwaukee Avenue.
    A Korean/Buddhist restaurant on the far Northwest side of the city. Judging from the online reviews, this place looks pretty good!
  • Heartland Cafe, 7000 N Glenwood Avenue.
    The reviews on this place seem pretty mixed. It seems that the food caters to vegans, veggies, and omnis alike, and it looks like a cute little neighborhood spot.
  • Lakeside Cafe, 1418 W Howard Street.
    Here's yet another vegan/vegetarian neighborhood cafe with pretty good reviews!
  • Balanced Kitchen, 6263 N McCormick Road.
    I only just found out about this place from a friend. It seems really good, judging from my friend's raves about it, as well as online reviews!

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