The 9 Best Chicago Restaurants If You’re Trying to Go Meatless
Sure, we were once kids who thought vegetables were "yucky." We've grown up, though, and now the thought of buttered Brussels sprouts gets our mouths watering. Enter: Chicago's best vegetarian restaurants.
Whoever invented the Reuben (we’re assuming his name was Reuben) could easily be fooled by the seitan variation at this decades-old vegan restaurant. It’s covered in sauerkraut and a vegan Thousand Island dressing whose creaminess is rivaled only by the vegan milkshakes.
Two locations; 773-935-6696 or veggiediner.com
Carrot sticks this is not. Green Zebra puts the spotlight on local, seasonal produce in elegant and innovative dishes like the fermented beet tartare with borscht yogurt, candied pistachios, dill pollen and raspberry pollen. The platings are a feast for your eyes almost too pretty to eat…almost.
1460 W. Chicago Ave.; 312-243-7100 or greenzebrachicago.com
MANA Food Bar
This intimate boîte serves up appropriately sized vegetarian fare. The small dishes run the gamut from mushroom sliders with spicy mayo to cauliflower curry with micro mint. Fortunately, most dishes are available in larger servings, too—trust us, you’ll want more.
1742 W. Division St.; 773-342-1742 or manafoodbar.com
House rules at this Wicker Park spot include, “We like loud music and cannot ‘turn it down.’” No worries. You’ll be too busy inhaling your made-from-scratch pulled-pork sandwich (with a side of mac and cheese) to make conversation, anyways.
2311 W. North Ave.; 773-384-9546 or handlebarchicago.com
This farm-to-table pioneer is one restaurant pretty much everyone can agree on. For the vegetarians, there’s roasted acorn squash with lentils and marinated escarole; for the meat eaters, dry-aged sirloin with crispy sunchokes and sheep’s-milk cheese. Not satisfied? The carrot cake is next-level.
2537 N. Kedzie Ave.; 773-489-9554 or lulacafe.com
Soul Vegetarian East
“You sure this is vegan?” is a common refrain of first-time visitors to this South Side institution. No wonder it’s been in business for 33 years. Northsiders can get their fix of plant-based ribs and mac and cheese at the outpost at Ogilvie’s French Market.
203 E. 75th St.; 773-224-0104 or originalsoulvegetarian.com
The owners of this 100-percent vegan and 80-percent certified organic spot are guided by a vision of peace on earth. If you’re just looking to chow down, try the heaven wrap. Its combination of raw red bell pepper hummus with organic veggies is pretty transcendent.
838 W. Montrose Ave.; 773-561-5399 or lovingheartvegan.com
All too often herbivores find themselves limited to one, maybe two, menu options. Not at Stephanie Izard's much beloved diner, where a secret vegan menu includes tostadas, fried rice and scallion pancakes. Plus, who doesn’t love ordering off a secret menu?
820 W. Randolph St.; 312-888-3455 or littlegoatchicago.com
Once you get over the clever name of this newly minted veg-friendly restaurant, you’ll swoon over the menu. It changes daily, but look out for butter dumplings with charred cabbage, shiitake mushroom, Asian pear and oyster kimchi as well as salmon kebabs and chicken thighs.
802 W. Randolph St.; 312-265-1745 or badhunter.com