We’re not talking about just restaurants serving vegetarian and vegan options on the menu. We’re talking about straight-up only-vegan-fare served at these restaurants so no need to grill the waiters about what’s in each dish.
Whether you’re in the mood for Korean or Thai, or good old American comfort food, here are 10 restaurants in Chicago with menus that offer 100 percent vegan fare. We couldn’t pick our favorite (they’re all great), so we listed them in alphabetical order.
Interested in a side of zen with your Spicy Kimchi Bi Bim Bop? Amitabul is located on the far northwest side might deter some people from trekking to this Korean restaurant filled with Buddha statues, bamboo plants and calming chants usually reserved for yoga studios.
Chef Bill is always on-hand to both greet customers as they walk into his modest restaurant and offer recommendations based on food preferences. The vegan, organic Korean menu offers many noodle soups, tofu and bi bim bop dishes but also all-vegan pizza and pancakes.
For those nursing a cold, flu or hangover, a popular recommendation is Dr. K’s Cure All Noodle Soup, a spicy noodle soup filled with vegetables, seaweed and tofu and served with wheat or rice noodles.
Located on 57th Street and kitty-corner from Powell’s Books, B’Gabs offers Hyde Park residents soy-free, gluten-free, raw and cooked vegan breakfast and lunch, as well as juices and smoothies.
For those with a peanut allergy, there are peanut-free desserts made from scratch. The rotating menu changes by the season but staples include a breakfast burrito bowl and Marley’s Love, a specialty salad. Baked goods include muffins and baked hand pies, while raw treats include energy bites, lemon squares and uncheese cake.
3. Chicago Diner
Most vegans in Chicago have their favorites but Chicago Diner is often recommended because it’s Lincoln Park location on Halsted, complete with its old-time diner atmosphere, has been around for nearly four decades.
A second, and bigger location that can serve larger parties, now serves the Logan Square neighborhood and offers a full bar with nine beers on tap. Save room for their award-winning shakes, scooped by hand and blended to order, which include options such as cookie dough peanut butter, mint chocolate chip and carrot cake (that’s not a typo).
4. Chicago Raw
Source: Chicago Raw
As the name implies, it’s all raw at Chicago Raw at both their West Loop and Gold Coast locations. Stop by and enjoy fully uncooked, 100 percent plant-based dishes or grab some to go since they offer take-out options, too.
Menu options include cinnamon rolls, fresh spinach lasagna and even Chicago-style pizza.
5. Ground Control
Source: Ground Control
Colorful walls and an upbeat atmosphere set the mood at Ground Control in Logan Square. A full-service bar offers a rotating menu of draught beers and cocktails while pinball machines keep things fun.
To be fair, several of the items on this mostly-vegan menu are vegetarian but with the exception of one (the mac and cheese, which is served with smoked gouda), all can be made vegan by request. Options change regularly but the well-curated menu includes appetizers, salads and sandwiches.
6. Kitchen 17
Whether you’re in the mood for a Philly cheesesteak, gyro burger or pizza, Kitchen 17 in Lakeview specializes in these popular comfort foods and more. It offers up a variety of house-made “meats,” as well as cheeses and desserts, and available for either dine-in or carry out.
Check out the bakery’s dish deep cookie pie, 12-inch “pies” with cookie flavors, such as smores, sugar cookies and cherry crisp.
Majani is Swahili for “green” and a fitting name for Chef Nasya and Tsadakeeyah’s South Shore restaurant featuring vegan cuisine. Fans can’t get enough of the BBQ cauliflower and jerk tofu taco and brunch enthusiasts know they need to arrive early to get a seat on Sunday mornings.
The restaurant strives to use the freshest ingredients, often from local gardens and farms. The vegan restaurant is conveniently located near the South Shore Metra stop but it also offers online ordering for those who need their vegan fix.
8. The Original Soul Vegetarian Restaurant and The Eternity Juice Bar
The Original Soul Vegetarian Restaurant’s mantra for the past three decades it’s been in business has been to serve comfort food as medicine. It does so by serving everything from appetizers and salads to sandwiches to its Chatham neighborhood residents and those who trek from all over the city for its one-of-a-kind 100 percent plant-based, animal and chemical-free dishes.
A rotating menu offers lasagna, mac-n-cheese and corn bread. The Eternity Bar next door, also owned by the same family, offers guests juices, elixirs, deli-style salads and some grab-and-go vegan grocery staples.
9. Upton’s Naturals Breakroom
Make note of the address at this West Town fast-casual restaurant because it’s not really located on a heavy-pedestrian trafficked locale, even if it’s on busy Grand Avenue. Part of the reason is that it was originally designed to provide a free, vegan lunch to employees who worked at Upton’s Naturals seitan production facility.
Seitan production has since moved to the Austin neighborhood but the Upton’s Naturals Breakroom remains, still serving light vegan comfort good, including “Chicago-Style” Italian and friend bacon mac, as well as its famous soy-based soft serve to customers.
10. Vegan Plate
Source: Vegan Plate
Vegan Plate in Lincoln Park features traditional vegan Thai dishes such as gyoza and pad see-ew in their cozy restaurant or for delivery. Their extensive menu allows guests to try new dishes every time they visit.
Surprisingly, free street parking is available during the week, except from 4-6 p.m., and all day on weekends. Whether you’ll actually find a parking spot is a different story, however.
There’s more to Chicago than deep dish pizza and these vegan restaurants show us no matter what cuisine or meal you’re craving, there’s likely a great vegan spot to satisfy your taste buds. And don’t worry, several even offer vegan pizza options!