Food & Drinks

Vegetarian Restaurants in Chicago

Vegetarian Restaurants in Chicago

Being vegetarian no longer means that you have to sit in a restaurant and order plate of lettuce while your friends order lamb chops and bone-in rib-eyes. Restauranteurs have wised up the fact that a great many of their potential customers prefer not to eat meat, and in order to keep them as customers, they had better shape up and offer some tasty alternatives. Some places have simply offered vegetarian alternatives (like a burger joint offering veggie burgers), while others have done away with meat altogether and embraced the vegetarian age with open arms. The following restaurants are some of the more highly regarded places in the city to get your green fix.

Mana Food Bar

Mana Food Bar (1742 W Division St, Chicago IL) is more of a bar than it is a restaurant. The place is long and very lean, and can realistically only set a small amount of patrons at a time. The food served is on small plates, and while the meals offered on these plates are technically inspired by all kinds and cultures of food, the do tend to lean towards the more vegetarian customer. Mana Food Bar:

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The Loving Hut

The Loving Hut (5812 North Broadway, Chicago IL) is actually part of a larger chain, which currently sports over 200 stores worldwide. It was founded by Suma Ching Hai, a spiritual leader and entrepreneur, and all offer their own individual vegan fare. Try the spicy Run Away Potato. The Loving Hut:

Green Zebra

The Green Zebra ( 1460 W. Chicago Avenue, Chicago IL) is regularly regarded (and voted) as the best vegetarian restaurant in the city. It elevates the food experience into that of fine dining. Their menu changes seasonally, so each time you go there may be a completely different offering available. Plates and servings tend to be on the smaller side, so you’ll likely need to order a few plates per person, though the only challenge will be in deciding what to order from all of the delicious options. Green Zebra:

Victory’s Banner

Victory’s Banner (2100 W. Roscoe, Chicago IL) is a breakfast place that is a step above the rest. Completely vegetarian, it boasts that you “won’t miss the meat”, and they live up to their promise. There is something for every taste. The luxe peach-buttered french toast is a highlight, but there is also Egg and Sausage Bagel sandwiches, pesto and goat cheese omelets, and great piles of pancakes and waffles. For something you’ve never had before, try the uppama, India’s answer to cream-of-wheat. It’s a savory, hot cereal consisting of peas, tomatoes, and onions, and served with coconut chutney and yogurt.Victory’s Banner:

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Chicago Diner

It’s impossible not to include The Chicago Diner (3411 N Halsted St, Chicago IL) on this list. One of the pioneers of vegetarian fare in Chicago, the Diner hosts a huge diner-style menu, with everything you could want on it: breakfast, pasta, meatloaf, beans and rice, sandwiches, sweet potato fries, vegan baked goods, milkshakes, and much more. And everything is good. They’ve had a lot of time to practice.Chicago Diner:

With the growing popularity in vegetarian philosophy and lifestyle, it’s easy to see a trend forming in the growth of superb, high-quality plant-based restaurants. Trailblazers like the Chicago Diner and the Green Zebra helped clear the path for a new generation of restaurateurs, and as is the case with meat-restaurants, the more competition there is, the better the food will become. Chicago vegetarians should get used to having food their way from now on, and not settling for a plate of lettuce. INT

March 2016
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