Chicago has vegan options from all corners of the world.
Chicago is a city of diverse superlatives. One of the best skylines and some of the most revered architecture in the country are complemented by stunning parks and blue water beaches. Some of the world’s most renowned museums host masterpieces from all over the world, whilst a local art scene impresses on a global scale. Of all our boasts and sources of pride, however, few would dispute the prowess of Chicago’s vibrant food scene.
Our great metropolis is home to a wonderful amalgamation of international cuisines. Vegetarians and vegans have long been left 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 a curious carnivore, we’ve here compiled a list of the 10 best vegan restaurants in Chicago for brunches, snacking, and dining out, so you can cut to the chase and enjoy the very best vegan options in Chicago.
Ask any vegetarian or vegan in the city of their top restaurant choices and it’s likely Chicago Diner will be one of the first names on their lips. Whilst a motto boasts that The Chicago Diner has been “Meat free since ’83” its reputation is such that The Chicago Diner is loved by meat-eaters and vegans all over the city.
A large menu offers anything ranging from pancakes to black bean veggie burgers but it’s what they can do with seitan and tofu that will really blow your mind, and your taste buds. Thai Chilli Wings, Chicken Shawarma, Italian Beef, and Gyros, and all, believe it or not, just a few of the astounding vegan options over at the legendary Chicago Diner.
The Chicago Diner is located at 3411 N Halsted Street and at 2333 N Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square, Chicago.
The Chicago Diner vegan menu can be found here.
Previously known as Original Soul Vegetarian, Soul Veg City has been an outstanding vegan and vegetarian option in Chicago’s South Side since 1982. For nearly 40 years they have been serving healthy plant-based food options dating back to when food awareness and abstention were minimal. The family-owned staple is also one of the oldest black-owned vegan restaurants in the country and has become a cornerstone of Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood.
After undergoing renovations last year the iconic vegan restaurant now offers an expanded dining area, an expanded bakery section, a huge juice bar, a new pizza bar, and even more patio seating.
From the Zesty Cauliflower Wingz to the Vegan Shrimp Boat there are an array of mouthwatering meals of all sizes at this distinguished hub of plant-based soul food.
Soul Veg City is located at 201-209 East 75th Street, Chicago.
The Soul Veg City vegan menu can be found here.
Alice & Friends is another popular vegan restaurant with a wonderfully diverse menu. Their website reads that 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.
Founded in 2001, Alice & Friends offers a variety of Asian-style dishes as well as traditional American favorites like burgers and fries. Everything is made with fresh organic vegetables and spices and homemade dessert choices and soy ice cream are some of the best vegan options in the city.
Alice & Friends is located at 5812 N Broadway, Chicago.
The Alice & Friends vegan menu can be found here.
Amitabul, which means ‘awakening’, is a truly unique option 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 bouncing with flavor are created using Bill’s ancestral recipes without oils or salts.
Amitabul is located at 6207 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago.
The Amitabul vegan menu can be found here.
Althea is one of the younger options on this list of Chicago’s vegan dining options. Established in 2018, it has been offering a remarkable variety of globally-inspired meals within a sensational setting ever since. Located up on the seventh floor of Saks Fifth Avenue, the venue boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that swamp the restaurant with natural light and provide sublime views of Chicago’s skyline. But with the city views and the prismatic plates of vegan food, you won’t know where to look.
The menu, crafted by celebrity chef and plant-based pioneer, Matthew Kenny, offers a variety of unique dishes made using fresh, organic ingredients as well as some interesting interpretations of traditional dishes.
Althea is located at 700 N Michigan Avenue (7th floor of Saks Fifth Avenue), Chicago.
The Althea vegan menu can be found here.
Whilst up at Althea you’ll find a ritzy vegan dining experience, down at Handlebar in Wicker Park you’ll find a laid-back vegan retreat offering “food, booze, and good times.” Made-from-scratch vegetarian and vegan dishes have been surpassing customer expectations since 2003 and the small, casual neighborhood restaurant has become an authentic favorite with a beloved beer garden to boot.
To raise the bar even higher, Handlebar has teamed up with the popular vegan bakery Pie Pie My Darling to offer the bakery’s delectable vegan cake slices. Sourcing produce from local farms, brewing fair-trade coffee, and serving all organic eggs, you can’t fault anything about Wicker Park’s Handlebar, especially not the vibe.
Handlebar is located at 2311 W North Avenue, Chicago.
The Handlebar vegan menu can be found here.
Logan Square’s favorite vegetarian spot does not disappoint. Like Handlebar, it’s a relaxed space with a wealth of vegan options. It’s not lavish, it’s not luxurious, it’s laid-back and low-key, offering a down-to-earth vibe and more magical seitan-based creations.
Options like the Tofu Wings, BBQ Deluxe Sandwich, and Beet Burger 2.0 are standouts on an eclectic menu.
Ground Control is located at 3315 W Armitage Avenue, Chicago.
The Ground Control vegan menu can be found here.
8. Kale My Name
Another globally-inspired 100% plant-based restaurant and bar, Kale My Name has no shortage of fans in Chicago. Nominated for the best brunch in the country by VegOut Magazin, you’ll find both a main menu and a brunch menu offering a wide eclectic mix of mouth-watering options for all hours of the day including a huge selection of vegan burgers, tacos, wraps, soups, and salads.
From “Organic Hand Crafted Local Kombucha” and “Chaider, Spiced Chai Apple Cider” to a range of 16oz vegan smoothies and shakes named after countries around the world, there are some equally fantastic drinks on the menu too.
Kale My Name is located at 3300 W Montrose Avenue, Chicago.
Kale My Name’s vegan menu can be found here.
9. Urban Vegan
While there are a few places you’ll find a range of vegan burgers, tacos, wraps, and salads, at Urban Vegan in Ravenswood 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.
Urban Vegan is located at 1601 W Montrose Avenue, Chicago.
Urban Vegan’s vegan menu can be found here.
Many of you will likely be familiar with Beatrix. Since opening in 2013 they now have a small collection of well-located coffeehouses and restaurants in River North, Streeterville, Fulton Market, and Oak Brook.
For anybody meeting friends wanting a place that does a mix of things but guarantees a good spot for a vegan, the original Beatrix in River North offers incredible breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with exceptional coffee and an extensive variety of vegan options. It has a patio, a gluten-free menu, some unparalleled vegan risottos, and vegan homemade desserts that will have you coming back for more.
Beatrix in River North is located at 519 N Clark Street, Chicago.
Beatrix’s River North vegan menu can be found here.
Special mention: Native Foods
Though we prefer to highlight the more independent, family-owned vegan spots and neighborhood linchpins of Chicago, there’s no denying the reliability of Native Foods. The small chain of vegan restaurants originating from Southern California now has four different Chicago locations in Lakeview, Hyde Park, Wicker Park, and The Loop. Native Foods’ 27+ years of crafting 100% plant-based dishes and multiple locations together offer a fantastic and reliable vegan experience.
Native foods has several Chicago locations all of which can be found at nativefoods.com/locations.
The Native Foods vegan menu can be found here.
[Featured image from Unsplash]