The 7 Best Places to Eat Vegan in Chicago, Illinois
The Windy City is known for many things: World-class museums, all the dive bars, dedicated sports fans, a certain Great Lake, deep-dish pizza, and so much more. Surprisingly, this Midwestern gem also deserves some accolades for its plant-based food scene. Below we've rounded up our seven of our favorite spots that boast the best of the best veggie-forward fare to try out next time you're in Chicago.
1. Sunda, 110 W. Illinois St
Calling all: Asian food enthusiasts, as Sunda provides a unique fusion of dishes from all over the continent. From Japan to Thailand, China to the Philippines, and more, this eatery takes its inspiration from multiple food traditions and brings them into the contemporary dining sphere.
Plant Yourself: Since Sunda is located in the hopping River North enclave, it’s best to make a reservation ahead of time. Simply use the Open Table widget on the restaurant’s website. Groups of four or less just miiiight be able to nab a table, but anything larger than that should be sure to get a reservation.
Don’t Miss: Most of the dishes on the Vegan Menu, which changes seasonally, are knockouts. Most noteworthy, however, are the Dim Sum Shitake Edamame Dumplings full of umami goodness, the Sweet Potato Caterpillar sushi offering featuring funky fermented black garlic, and the ever-satisfying Green Curry Squash.
Order for the Table: The Burmese Tea Salad is a fun way to share an early course with your dining partners. Puffed rice and crispy shallots offer a delightful crunchy texture, and pickled beet strings provide briny goodness, and it’s all tossed in a homemade oolong-Tea dressing.
Leave Room For: The After Dinner Libations, which include a dessert-style wine or a coconut sake offering. Cheers!
2. The Chicago Diner, 2333 N Milwaukee Ave and 3411 N Halsted St
Calling All: brunch enthusiasts and anyone interested in a non-stuffy, veggie-forward meal. With a tagline of “meat-free since ‘83”, this old school, approachable haunt is perfect for a multigenerational dining experience or a catch-up meal with old friends.
Plant Yourself: With two convenient locations, Halsted and Logan Square, small groups can generally walk in with a short-ish wait time. (Please note, there’s only street parking at Logan Square but a dedicated lot at Halsted.)
Don’t Miss: You can’t go wrong with two show-stopping sandos, The Radical Reuben and the Spicy Crispy “Chicken” Sandwich. They both offer stick-to-your-ribs comfort food goodness.
Order for the Table: Thai Chili Wings, the king of appetizers at The Chicago Diner, are seitan “wings” with a lime and chili marinade, sesame garnish, and spicy dipping sauce.
Leave Room For: Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake (or the vegan shake of your preference). They. Are. So. Good.
3. Raw, 51 W Huron St and 131 N Clinton St, #7
Calling All: Goop-enthusiasts aka Gwyneth Paltrow devotees (she was on a raw diet for years) and anyone looking for a dietary reset or healthy boost. Raw’s premise is that the high-quality ingredients aren’t heated over 118 degrees which helps retain all their nutritional benefits.
Plant Yourself: On a nearby park bench or on a walk with friends, because this establishment uses a grab and go model.
Don’t Miss: The Golden Milk Latte is a warm and tasty winner, perfect for battling the cold season in Chicago. Or, when you need a great way to get your greens, get the Grateful Greens juice under the “Juices & Elixirs” menu.
Order for the Table: Their spreads...sprouted hummus, hazelnut pesto, cashew sour cream, oh my!
Leave Room For: Any of the many desserts. It’s not often that a vegan spot can boast over ten dessert options!
4. Urban Vegan, 1601-1603 W Montrose Ave
Calling All: Lovers of Thai food, mom and pop ambiance, and discounts when you pay in cash. Urban Vegan is a Ravenswood area eatery that specializes in traditional Thai cuisine, the plant-based way.
Plant Yourself: It’s relatively easy to walk in here, so no need to make a reservation. Expect attentive, friendly service.
Don’t Miss: The Jungle Noodle is a super popular entree, and the Panang Curry is well-reviewed also.
Order for the Table: Veggie Puffs are reminiscent of the classic Indian Samosa and come with a cooling cucumber salad. Yum!
Leave Room For: Mango with Sweet Sticky Rice, a classic Thai dessert, sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
5. No Bones Beach Club, 1943 W North Ave
Calling All: who love a good beach hang, as the name rightfully implies. This tropical bar, a Seattle transplant, boasts a creative all-vegan menu with quirky cocktails. And, you can feel good about supporting this business that regularly donates and volunteers with our fine furry friends at local animal shelters.
Plant Yourself: Walk-in for a breezy good time, no reservations needed. Weekends can get crowded, so don’t be surprised if there’s a wait.
Don’t Miss: Menu standouts include the Pineapple Teriyaki Drumsticks Jackfruit Flautas, and Buffalo Tofu Salad. Also, a full-on 100% vegan brunch menu will not disappoint.
Order for the Table: Dranks is the name of the alcohol menu section. Sample winners like the coconut mojito with friends.
Leave Room For: Who says brunch can’t end with dessert? The Tropical French Toast is a fun way to end a solid brunch, or really any meal.
6. Alice & Friend’s Vegan Kitchen, 5812 N Broadway
Calling All: Vegans and non-vegans alike. Founded in 2001 by Alice Lee, this all-vegan spot makes it easy to love plant-based living. The restauranteur’s goal was to create a laid back, vegan wonderland, and she certainly delivered.
Plant Yourself: Anywhere in this cozy eatery, no reservation needed. Please note that the small size means there may be a wait for tables.
Don’t Miss: The Walnut “Shrimp” is creamy and inventive, the Golden Breeze is a yummy twist on classic Vietnamese vermicelli, and the Korean-inspired Run Away Potato soup is charmingly served in a hot stone bowl.
Order for the Table: Fried Rice makes for an easy side dish to share with your dining partners and goes well with many of the main entrees.
Leave Room For: Their huge menu of sweets rotates with the seasons, but some excellent dessert choices are the Green Tea Cheesecake, Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse Bar, Raw Tiramisu, and Cookie Dough Soy Ice Cream.
7. Pick Me Up Cafe, 4882 N Clark St
Calling All: who crave vegan comfort food classics. This longtime favorite spot has been serving up veggie-forward food since 1997 and has still got it.
Plant Yourself: Post up anywhere in this bright, funky space, just be aware that they don’t take reservations, so plan on waiting during peak brunch time.
Don’t Miss: For appetizers (called “Munchies” on the menu), Vegan Nachos hit the spot and Fried Pickles are sure to delight. In the entree realm, the Vegan Moo Free Pizza is tasty and also has a cutesy name. For weekend brunchers, the Vegan Benedict is a home run.
Order for the Table: The ooey, gooey decadence of the Vegan Mac and Cheeze should be shared with your group.
Leave Room For: The shakes, all of which can be made vegan for a small upcharge. There’s a full coffee bar available too, for those who need a pick me up.