Chicago is a city of diverse superlatives but of all our boasts and sources of pride, few would dispute the prowess of Chicago’s vibrant food scene. Our great metropolis is home to a wonderful amalgamation of international cuisines ranging from sensational sushi to top-notch tacos.
Vegetarians and vegans, however, have long been left somewhat bereft of options but now through the combination of a flourishing vegan community and Chicago’s great cultural diversity, there are a plethora of plant-based dining options all across the city.
Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or curious carnivore attempting veganuary, we’ve here compiled a list of the best vegan restaurants in Chicago for snacking, brunching, or dining out with delicious plant-based options.
1. The Chicago Diner, Various Locations
Ask any vegetarian or vegan in the city about their top vegan restaurant choices, and it’s likely the Chicago Diner will be one of the first names on their lips. A sign stating “Meat free since ’83” greets you before walking in, a reminder that a splendid meal doesn’t have to include meat.
Their extensive menu offers a variety of items, ranging from pancakes to black bean veggie burgers, but it’s what they can do with seitan and tofu that will blow your mind—and your taste buds too. Order our favorites, such as the Thai Chilli Wings and the Portabella Truffle Melt.
📍2333 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
📍3411 N Halsted St, Chicago
Amitabul, which means ‘awakening’, is a truly unique vegan restaurant in a sea of extraordinary dining options. A menu of vegan Buddhist Korean cuisine offers bright and nutritious dishes in a tranquil setting but it is the backstory that will captivate you before you’ve even tasted their divine creations.
Every dish cooked up by Chef Bill Choi brings with it a little bit of his history. Raised in Seoul, South Korea, Chef Bill would watch and learn traditional Korean fermentation techniques from his mother and grandmother.
Bill and his brother later moved to Chicago and ran Jim’s Grill on Chicago’s north side using vegetables that monks would bring from the brothers’ Buddhist temple. With these, they would make a vegan Bi Bim Bop. The dish was such a hit that they honed in on a vegan merging of traditional Korean preparation and Western taste setting up Amitabul in 1995.
Today vegan dishes are created using Bill’s ancestral recipes without oils or salts but bouncing with flavors.
📍 6207 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
3. Kale My Name, Irving Park
Kale My Name is a popular 100% plant-based restaurant and bar with plenty of fans in Chicago. Nominated for the best brunch in the country by VegOut Magazine, you’ll find both the main and brunch menus offering a broad, eclectic mix of mouth-watering options for all hours of the day.
From Tequeños and a Buffalo Tofu Wrap to a Brunch Burger and Cauliflower Wings and Waffles, there is no shortage in this vast selection of burgers, tacos, wraps, soups, salads, and drinks.
📍 3300 W Montrose Avenue, Chicago
4. Planta Queen, River North
Already a staple restaurant in South Beach, New York City, and various other cities, Planta Queen has finally made its way to the Windy City. After walking into the upscale culinary utopia, it’s easy to see why.
The venue celebrates the power of plants with its stunning decor and luscious, floor-to-ceiling greenery. While it’s the nigiri that is often name-dropped at Planta, other menu items such as the Unagi Eggplant Nirigi with caramelized miso truffle and the Ahi Watermelon Nigiri with ginger and citrus soy are two unexpected flavorful options.
📍413 N Clark St, Chicago
5. Soul Veg City, Greater Grand Crossing
Photo: Alice and Friends Vegan Kitchen[/caption]
Alice & Friends is another popular vegan restaurant in Chicago with a wonderfully diverse menu. They proudly celebrate “the flavors, beauty, and diversity of vegan cuisine from all over,” but they also pride themselves on wowing non-vegans with their tasty dishes.
Everything is made with fresh organic vegetables and spices, plus the homemade dessert and soy ice cream are some of the best vegan options in the city.
📍5812 N Broadway, Chicago
7. Penelope’s Vegan Taqueria, Various Locations
incredible taquerias[/trackLink] all over the city. Though many now offer vegan and vegetarian substitutes, there are usually few vegan options.
Luckily for those with weekly taco cravings to fill (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love tacos), there is Penelope’s Vegan Taqueria, which happens to be Chicago’s first plant-based taqueria in the north side neighborhood.
They offer authentic plant-based Mexican cuisine alongside a fantastic variety of Mexican beers, mezcal, and tequila cocktails.
📍 230 W Chicago Ave, Chicago
📍5204 N Clark St, Chicago
8. Handlebar, Wicker Park
Handlebar offers a wonderfully laid-back vegan retreat offering food, booze, and splendid times. Made-from-scratch, vegetarian, and vegan dishes have surpassed customer expectations since the small, casual neighborhood restaurant opened in 2003, becoming an authentic favorite with a beloved beer garden.
From Vegan Diablos for brunch to a Buffalo ‘Chicken’ Wrap for dinner, the menu might take a couple of minutes to gaze over because all their options are too delicious.
📍2311 W North Avenue, Chicago
9. Urban Vegan Thai Cusine, Ravenswood
There are a few places where you’ll find a range of vegan burgers, tacos, wraps, and salads. At Urban Vegan, however, you’ll find a fantastic menu of vegan Thai and Asian food.
Thai food is mostly vegan-friendly, but dishes traditionally often contain fish sauce, oyster sauce, and other non-vegan ingredients, which Urban Vegan has effectively managed to eradicate from their sensational creations.
It’s considered one of the best Thai restaurants in town, and you’ll struggle to find a better vegan Thai curry anywhere else in Chicago.
📍 1601-1603 W Montrose Ave, Chicago
10. Bloom Plant-Based Kitchen, Wicker Park
As soon as you walk into Bloom Plant-Based Kitchen, you’re greeted with an airy, open-concept tinted virescent from the glassware to the wallpaper. Their menu will surely please, from quick bites like the Cultured Cheese Board and spring dumplings to larger entrees such as Yuca Gnocci and Tacu Taci. The restaurant inspires to bring flavorful, healthy, and affordable plant-based food to everyone, and they do just that.
📍1559 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
11. Pick Me Up Cafe, Ravenswood
Whenever you’re feeling down or in your hangry phase, Pick Me Up Cafe awaits you on the north side. Founded in 1997, Pick Me Up Cafe was one the first restaurants in the windy city to offer vegan and vegetarian fare.
They pride themselves on creating delicious food for any consumer, from serving all-day breakfast, including the vegan french toast and tofu scram, to having a whole munchies menu, including vegan mac and cheese and vegan nachos.
📍4882 N Clark St, Chicago
12. Kitchen 17, Avondale
There’s Lou Malnatis, Pequods, Giordarnos, and then there’s Kitchen 17—home of the original 100% deep-dish vegan pizza.
This fully vegan restaurant offers the comfort of carbs without any meat or dairy. They have various pizza styles, whether you like deep dish, pan pizza, or classic New York slice.
You won’t even be able to tell the difference between real house-made meats and cheese. Choose your favorite and prepare for a 48-hour food coma.
📍2554 W Diversey Ave, Chicago