Top 10 Chicago Vegetarian Restaurants – Eliminate Meat, Not Flavor

Green Zebra vegetarian restaurant dishes in Chicago

banditob / Flickr CC

Chicago vegetarian restaurants offer many forms of cuisine– from takes on meat dishes to full blown Mexican food and so much more in-between. Being a vegetarian doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor and only eating celery– which seems to be a common misconception. In fact, many vegetarian dishes can be made in a form to satisfy even the most hardcore of carnivores. I once fell into that hardcore carnivore category, but after having vegetarian and even vegan dishes introduced to me, I seem to substitute these meatless meals into my diet more and more frequently. The vegan and vegetarian restaurants Chicago has in its foodie roster makes the transition so much easier as well.

For even more delicious options view our list of
The 10 Best Vegan Restaurants Chicago Has To Offer

Top 10 Chicago Vegetarian Restaurants :

Amazing Kale Burger

$
741 Howard St, Evanston, IL 60202

(773) 992-8411

This quaint storefront serves up one of the best Vegan burgers in the entirety of Chicagoland. Their patties are made in-house with ingredients sourced from nearby Illinois and Wisconsin farms. They also have a brunch menu that transforms their burgers into phenomenal breakfast dishes.
(Full Vegan)

Green Zebra

$$$
1460 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

(312) 243-7100

Green Zebra has a high-end take on vegetarian dishes. They treat dining as a full on experience– which is why they focus on small plate service. There is also the option for a Chef’s Tasting Menu that can be paired with wines.

Handlebar

tofu scramble at Chicago vegetarian restaurants

Stephanie / Flickr CC

$$
2311 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

(773) 384-9546

Handlebar is a Chicago vegetarian restaurant that can appeal to the masses. Their menu is very diverse and has something to satisfy any craving. This place is suitable for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even just appetizers and drinks. Avocado Tacos and Gouda Mac are always a sure bet– but I’m confident that you’ll be satisfied with whatever you order. In the summer, there is a cozy outdoor patio that effectively doubles the seating capacity.

LYFE Kitchen

$$
Multiple Locations

LYFE Kitchen is another restaurant that has mass appeal because of their wide variety of offerings. They do also serve up some chicken, fish and beef– so if you are with someone that refuses to eat only plants, then this is a perfect compromise. The menu is made up of dishes to suite all meal times, as well as inspiration from all over the globe. Definitely worth stopping in to experience.

Mana Food Bar

$$
1742 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622

(773) 342-1742

This Michelin Bib Gourmand Winner 2014 and 2015 is set in a cozy atmosphere and a very welcoming patio space. The menu is taken over by small plates– which is perfect for tasting the most out of each visit. Fear not, they offer large plates as well if you can’t get enough of a certain dish. This is another one of the Chicago vegetarian restaurants that can appeal to everyone. They stay true to tapas menus and offer a respectable variety of dishes.

Native Foods

$-$$
Multiple Locations

Native Foods vegetarian Chicken Sandwich in Chicago

Connie Ma / Flickr CC

Picture all of the different fast food establishments under one roof– variety, decent price, quick and convenient. But, it still remains the fact that quality is seriously lacking. Now, imagine that place serving only 100% plant based food that is sourced from quality locations and tastes fantastic– you now have Native Foods. This is Vegan / Vegetarian food for quick lunches and on the go– although, I’m not opposed to dining in. A diverse menu includes sandwiches, soups, burgers, wraps, salads, tacos and more.

Nhu Lan Bakery

$
Multiple Locations

Nhu Lan Bakery serves up a unique take on sub sandwiches. It is a fusion of perfectly baked French-style bread loafs, then packed full of Vietnamese-style ingredients. They have tofu offerings, as well as a full veggie sub with noodles mixed in there. Meat options are also available if required. If you are looking to expand your tastes a little– this should be on your radar.

Northdown Cafe & Taproom

$$
3244 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

(773) 697-7578

Northdown is the spot for when you are craving bar-like food. To start off– their beer list is phenomenal and for a throwback comfort food, we did include them on our Best Grilled Cheeses in Chicago list. Their menu expands over vegan, vegetarian and meat dishes– so round up your pals and go out for dinner and drinks.
(Anything with Seitan is a solid choice.)

Pick Me Up Cafe

$$
3408 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60657

(773) 248-6613

cheese fries at the Chicago vegetarian restaurants

Photographer / Flickr CC

Come hungry, possibly hungover, and looking for a pick me up. The Vegan French Toast and Veggie Benedict are absolutely superb, but breakfast is not required to leave here satisfied. How about vegan cheese fries finished off with vegan ice cream and brownies? Their menu boasts vegetarian items that are suitable for all meals and sweet toothes, alike.

Quesadilla La Reina del Sur

$
2235 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

(773) 235-8807

Depending on what mood you are in– this can be Heaven. This Mexican restaurant is completely vegetarian friendly– that’s not a typo. Quesadillas, Tacos, Tortas, Burritos and the list goes on. They have meat substitutes for all of your favorites. No more must you settle for bean and cheese burritos from Taco Bell!
(Insert applause here.)
One more thing to sweeten the ante.. they are BYOB.


Which of these Chicago Vegetarian Restaurants do you find yourself at the most?
Is there somewhere else that we should be taking our tastebuds?
Find out comment box below!

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Ross Perkins

Ross Perkins is the Executive Editor & a connoisseur of all things enjoyable– at least in his mind. He is an avid traveler in the name of inspiring sights, music, food & cars. He is a published photographer & writer that is looking for any reason to get out and explore his surroundings.

5 Comments

  1. Drew Drew
    September 15, 2015    

    Where the heck is The Chicago Diner?! So much better than the likes of Native Foods.

    • The Wanderluster The Wanderluster
      September 15, 2015    

      We have included The Chicago Diner in our Best Vegan list, which is linked in the beginning of the article. (We realize that some overlap between the two.)
      This time around we wanted to focus mainly on places that are vegetarian based or have a plethora of veggie options (some people still like eggs & cheese)– with the exception of Amazing Kale Burger being fully Vegan.

  2. ChiVegan ChiVegan
    September 18, 2015    

    I’m pretty sure that Native Foods is completely Vegan, and Quesadilla is completely Vegetarian (and about 90% of the menu is completely Vegan,) as opposed to being “vegetarian friendly.”

  3. Qiana Butler Qiana Butler
    March 14, 2016    

    What happened to soul vegetarian resturant on the southside?

  4. Emily Emily
    September 7, 2016    

    The title is misleading. A list called “top ten vegetarian restaurants” shouldn’t include restaurants that serve meat, right? It would be great to put the spotlight on actual vegetarian restaurants. And if that wasn’t your intention, then have the title reflect that.

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