When it comes to dining out, vegans and vegetarians often feel left out with very limited options. Over the last few years, Chicago restaurants have embraced the plant-powered lifestyle and have expanded their menus to include our plant-lovers. From comfort food classics to elevated plant-forward menus, to international dishes without a piece of meat in sight, these 5 vegan and vegetarian restaurants know what they’re talking about.
700 N Michigan Ave 7th floor, Chicago, IL 60611
Located on the 7th floor of Saks Fifth Ave, Althea offers an elevated plant-forward menu. With floor-to-ceiling windows, you truly feel like you’re part of nature. The menu, crafted by renowned chef Matthew Kenney, includes various interpretations of international cuisines using fresh, organic ingredients. Some of their dishes include the “barbacoa” tacos made with maitake and oyster mushrooms, pepita cream, avocado puree, and toasted pepitas, the zucchini lasagna, consisting of sun-dried tomato marinara, basil pistachio pesto, macadamia ricotta, and herb oil, and the sweet pea flatbread made with green goddess, leeks, macadamia ricotta, picked radish and pistachio. And if you’re a Gluten-Free guy or gal, most of their menu is also catered to you so you won’t feel left out.
Make reservations here.
2311 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
The mantra at Handlebar is “food, booze, and good times” — and it delivers on all three. The menu at this bustling Wicker Park spot reads like a typical tavern menu (think nachos, buffalo chicken wrap, grilled cheese, and sloppy joes), but everything is made-from-scratch vegan or vegetarian. The food is made with farm-fresh, locally sourced ingredients, there’s a full-service bar and beer garden, and the regular crowd of locals keeps the good times going. Keep in mind that as of right now, their indoor dining is not open, but their patio is available on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Alice & Friends Vegan Kitchen
5812 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60660
Alice & Friends’ was founded by Alice Lee in 2001. Their lifestyle flows out of sincere respect for all living things and a desire to make as little impact as possible on the ecosystem. Their goal is to create a wonderland for vegans and those who want to adopt a plant-based diet. They want everyone to be able to enjoy flavorful, healthy, 100% vegan dishes. Choose from an extensive list of entrees, including miso ramen, chow mein, bibimbap with smoked tofu, chana masala poke bowl, and so much more. House-made desserts, like zucchini bread and soy ice cream, make a sweet end to the meal.
See their full menu for takeout here.
519 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
Beatrix is a neighborhood coffeehouse, restaurant, and meeting place in Chicago’s River North, Streeterville, Fulton Market, and Oak Brook neighborhoods. The restaurant is the brainchild of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ Founder Rich Melman, Executive Partner, and Divisional President Marc Jacobs and Chef Partners John Chiakulas, Rita Dever, and Susan Weaver. The menu features healthy meets delicious options and is known for its iconic coffee and bakery counter, including signature cookies and in-house pastry favorites. You’ll find plenty of options where vegetables are the star of the show, like the asparagus and pea risotto made with farro or the eggplant steak.
Make reservations for the River North location here.
Make reservations for the Streeterville location here.
Make reservations for the Fulton Market location here.
The Chicago Diner
2333 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
The Chicago Diner offers an atmosphere as American as mini-malls by decorating the place with vintage ads and neon lights and serving up heaping helpings of comfort food, but without the meat. “Instead of burgers, we have veggie burgers,” “instead of french fries we serve home fries.” They also offer vegan milkshakes, a Radical Reuben with homemade seitan in place of corned beef, biscuits & vegetarian gravy, and Chick’n Fingers for the kids. And guys, you really need to try their vegan milkshakes, not only are they delicious, but they are vegan, and some even Gluten Free!
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