Though Thanksgiving is almost upon us, don't forget it's more than halfway through World Vegan Month. While vegetarian food is easier to come by in Chicago, avoiding dairy can be hard. Here's a round up of a dozen of Chicago's independent meat-free restaurants where diners can find a hearty vegan meal. Each spot has multiple vegan options for those who are strict about their diets and those curious to try something new.Read More
Chicago Vegans Rejoice: Here's 12 Vegetarian Spots That Serve Hearty Vegan Meals
Whether it's fast food or fine dining, avoid dairy without worry.
Grab a group and head to Norwood Park for some vegan Korean. This BYO makes all of their sauces in house and has a great house-made kimchi that makes a cameo in many of their dishes. The list of Healing Soup’s are a feast in themselves and the spicy kimchi bi bim bop along with the dumplings and black pearl pancakes are a fun way to experience the menu. Don’t sweat; each table is set with a box of tissues to beat the heat.
Classic diner fare with a vegan-friendly makeover. The Radical Reuben is a signature item on the diner’s menu along with a host of veggie burgers, vegan shakes and even country fried “steak.” Prefer to eat light? Then opt for one of their hearty salads or a bowl of quinoa chili but definitely save room for dessert!
This 2015 Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient serves upscale vegetarian and vegan shareable plates with an optional tasting menu. Enjoy Chef Shawn McClain’s contemporary American creations in a chic environment with a bottle of wine.
Karyn's Raw Conscious Comfort Food
Though her Green and Wells streets locations have recently shuttered, those seeking raw, cooked and grab and go vegan grub should head over to her Halsted Street wellness oasis. Be sure to save room for house-made, cashew-based soft-serve ice cream.
A local favorite known for their signature Chicago style vegan deep dish on Wednesdays. This quaint vegan BYO has an eclectic menu with burgers, sandwiches, pizza and house-made desserts. Open Wednesday through Sunday, so plan accordingly.
Loving Heart Pure Vegan Cafe
Not to be confused with the Loving Hut franchise, this casual vegan café has a clean Korean inspired menu that is 80-percent organic. Staples such as the summer roll and green deva salad leave guests feeling light on their feet and warm in their hearts.
Mana Food Bar
Globally-inspired vegan and vegetarian sharable plates in a classy Wicker Park setting. A separate vegan menu awaits guests in search of dairy-free options. Don’t miss the avocado, arugula and tomato salad, Ma Po tofu or the seasonal cocktail list.
Quesadilla La Reyna del Sur
A non-descript authentic taqueria with two Chicago locations that serves vegan and vegetarian burritos bigger than your head. Quesadilla is BYO, with a juice and smoothie bar and homemade vegan desserts. We dare you to finish the super burrito in one sitting.
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Soul Vegetarian East
This South Side vegan oasis features sugar-free cooking, with a focus on wholesome plant-based comfort food. Noteworthy items include their Breakfast Sunday’s Cameo (pancakes or biscuits, fruit, scrambled tofu or sausage, grits) and the barbecue twist platter. A full juice bar and desserts are also available.
Upton's Breakroom is home of the acclaimed seitan factory and pumps out a white tablecloth-worthy vegan menu at affordable prices. Go for high-protein sandwiches, entrees, salads, sides, baked goods and brunch on the weekends. Don't skip the Fried Bacon Mac or the daily "Employee Meal." Finish your cruelty-free feast with a cup of rotating vegan soft serve or shake.
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You won’t find any fish sauce at this BYO featuring vegan Thai. The Urban Vegan Combination is an extreme value: entrée, steamed brown rice, spring rolls and salad for $9.95 lunch and $11.95 dinner. The veggie dumpling appetizer, green papaya salad, spicy eggplant and green curry are not to be missed.
Victory's Banner Restaurant
This vegetarian breakfast and lunch restaurant has plenty of vegan options. It features various veggie burgers, wraps, salads and a killer breakfast menu. Great for weekend brunch.
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