Perhaps you have been thinking about going vegan, but you are also a foodie and thinking of giving up all meat and dairy seems sacrilegious. Well, Chicago has great options for those who want to venture into vegetarian or vegan territory without compromising flavor and yumminess!
Karyn’s on Green
Founded by local holistic living guru Karyn Calabrese and located in Greektown, this restaurants has all the American classics without any of the meat, chicken, fish or dairy. This place has a contemporary, chic atmosphere without being pretentious. You will find everything from a black bean burger for lunch to a scrumptious plate of “crab” cakes with garlic roasted spinach for dinner. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Friday for lunch and dinner, and serves brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
If you are looking for a healthy fast-food type restaurant but without the grease, Native Foods is an excellent option. The chain was born in California in the ’90s and currently has locations in five states. Chicago currently has four locations, with a fifth opening this month. All their food is cooked from scratch and features vegetarian and vegan options. A personal favorite is their Rockin’ Moroccan Bowl, with marinated seitan, Moroccan sauce, grilled veggies and quinoa. Do not forget to try one of their made from scratch drinks, especially their watermelon fresca.
The Chicago Diner
The original Chicago Diner opened in the 80’s and is located on Halsted in the heart of Boystown. The diner serves the traditional comfort foods but with a vegetarian or vegan twist. The diner serves one of the best reuben sandwiches in the city, vegetarian or not. The food is all organic, fresh and there are gluten free options on the menu. Also, if you are looking for a great vegan bakery, this is the place for you. The bakery’s cupcakes and cakes are delicious, you will not miss the eggs or milk!
La Reina del Sur
Located in Bucktown, La Reina del Sur serves vegetarian and vegan Mexican food. Yes, this restaurant makes it possible! The restaurant is small, hole in the wall type of place, but the staff is friendly and the food is very good. You will be able to find great vegetarian alternatives to Mexican food staples such as chorizo, chicharron and carnitas tacos. It is worth trying their desserts, including their vegan banana ice cream and also their juices and smoothies.
Whether you call Chicago home or are just visiting, these are great options for the vegan or vegetarian foodie. What are your recommendations?