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12 of our Favorite Vegetarian Restaurants in Chicago

Chicago Diner
Kitchen 17
Kal'ish
Handlebar
ALTHEA
Beatrix
Native Foods Café
Daisies
Paulie Gee's
Rangoli Indian Cuisine
El Faro
River Roast
Chicago Diner
Kitchen 17
Kal'ish
Handlebar
ALTHEA
Beatrix
Native Foods Café
Daisies
Paulie Gee's
Rangoli Indian Cuisine
El Faro
River Roast

Chicago is renowned for its heaping helpings of Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches, but we eat our vegetables, too. Indeed, the healthiest and most indulgent vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Chicago can be found in all sizes and shapes. Some are all-raw and organic, while others feature more indulgent animal-derived dishes.

Ten years ago, a new wave of vegetable-forward restaurants began to provide a new “happy middle ground” for people of all diverse upbringings to enjoy. Whatever kind of vegan or vegetarian meal you’re looking for, there’s a restaurant on this list that will satisfy your needs. Here’s a list of our favorite vegetarian restaurants in Chicago.

Photo Credit: Facebook

1. Chicago Diner

3411 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 935-6696

The menu at this Chicago restaurant is entirely vegan, but menu can easily be modified to suit a vegan guest’s dietary needs if need be. You will hear about how innovative and forward-thinking this place is from their motto, “Meat-free since ’83.”
Guests will enjoy a wide range of veggie burgers, including sweet potato, tofu, and other mushroom and black bean-based burgers. If you ever visit the place, make sure to try one of their delicious vegan milkshakes in multiple flavors, like vanilla chai or carrot cake.

 

Photo Credit: Facebook

2. Kitchen 17

613 W Briar Pl, Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 661-1757

Fancy Plants Cafe was founded by Kevin Schuder, who started as Kitchen 17’s coffee-and-pastry barista. He found Fancy Plants Cafe, which offers coffee, tea, pastries, gluten-free pastries, sauces, greens, and a fancy five-course dinner option on weekends (Saturday and Sunday).

Kitchen 17 is a BYOB eatery where guests can enjoy a vegetarian dessert of Middle Eastern and American dishes. The founder made various delicious food creations, including smoky seitan bacon, pot-baked cauliflower, and a pan-seared polenta cake. Customers have the opportunity to enjoy delicious classic choices like gyros and shawarma prepared from homemade seitan, as well as a delectable vegetable burger made from ground zucchini, onion, carrot, and rosemary.

 

Photo Credit: Facebook

3. Kal’ish

1313 W Wilson Ave. Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 293-7768

Notably, Kal’ish offers a fully vegan breakfast that might be the best the city provides for vegetarians and vegans. Kal’ish is an excellent place to visit if you’re in the mood for breakfast all day or want to try one of their veggie burgers. It’s just a short distance away from Wrigley Field and the bar scene. Therefore, if you’re looking for vegetarian variants of your favorite American classics, this location is fantastic. This beautiful and clean atmosphere offers a pleasant feeling of well-being where you can relax, talk with the warm and welcoming staff, and enjoy delicious food.

 

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4. Handlebar

2311 W North Ave, Chicago IL 60647
(773)384-9546

Another great vegan/vegetarian spot to check out is Handlebar in Wicker Park. They’re serving up fresh and delicious comfort food everyday of the week. Some of their menu options include the vegan chili mac attack, a buffalo chicken wrap, fried avocado grilled cheese, black bean tostadas, and there are so many more great items to pick from. They also have daily specials so be sure to check those out. Aside from the wonderful food, the also have a rockin’ atmosphere with a beer garden and a full service bar. Come for the food and drink, stay for the good times. 

 

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5. ALTHEA

700 N Michigan Ave 7th floor, Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 525-3400

Are you looking for an elevated, plant-forward food experience? Althea has you covered. Stunning views, ample natural light, and vibrant fresh produce are made possible by the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows. The menu, created by renowned chef Matthew Kenney, utilizes fresh, organic ingredients in carefully considered interpretations of foreign cuisines.

Every vegan dish is an art form like their kimchi dumplings, heirloom tomato + zucchini “lasagna,” and macadamia nut ricotta-topped macaroni and cheese, to name a few. This is your place if you want a fine dining plant-based experience. Don’t focus on your surroundings; just try to forget you’re sitting next to the men’s clothing section.

 

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6. Beatrix

519 North Clark Street, River North, Chicago, Illinois, 60654, USA
(312) 284-1377

Beatrix provides stellar breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner choices, and it is hard to leave this café for the rest of the day. Eat the light and fluffy lemon pancakes or the chia cereal bowl in the morning, as both will help you start your day on the right foot. During dinner, you’ll discover some dishes where vegetables are the main ingredient, such as the farro and pea risotto cooked with asparagus or the eggplant steak that features as one of its components. They have three locales around the area and four market places where you can get your food on the go.

 

Photo Credit: Facebook

7. Native Foods Café

1484 N Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 489-8480

When you think of vegetarian restaurants in Chicago, there is no doubt about one spot that will come to mind: Native Foods Cafe. They offer fast, inexpensive meal options such as Thai chili Brussel sprouts and full entrees such as orange cauliflower with fried brown rice. The restaurant has you covered if you want to order nachos or tacos, or if you’d like something smaller, like soup or chili. No matter what you eat here, the food always tastes fresh and flavorful. You will enjoy the atmosphere and decor at this completely vegan restaurant chain.

 

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8. Daisies

2523 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
773-661-1671

Daisies is a vegetable-focused and pasta-driven restaurant that has been dominating the Chicago vegetarian scene since 2017. They utilize seasonal and farm-fresh ingredients all across the board so every bite feels healthy and fulfilling. You can get the beet salad with roasted shallot, blue cheese, and hazelnut butter. Or go more robust and get gnocchi with pickled cherries, burnt cabbage, pistachio, and fontina cheese. 

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9. Paulie Gee’s

2451 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
773-360-1072

Everybody enjoys a slice of pizza. Paulie Gee’s has so many vegetarian options and even a few specialized vegan ones. The Lady Lola Light fuses Asian and Italian cuisine and has Italian tomatoes, vegan kimchi, serrano peppers, green onions, black and white sesame seeds, and soy chili glaze to add an Asian kick. The In Ricotta Da Vegan has Italian tomatoes, house made vegan fennel sausage, post-oven house-made cashew ricotta dollops, baby arugula, and extra-virgin olive oil. If you want something on the lighter side, get The Gates of Eden salad with seasonal greens, gorgonzola cheese, house candied pecans, sliced red onions, dried cranberries, bosc pear, red wine vinaigrette.

Photo Credit: Nice Local

10. Rangoli Indian Cuisine

2421 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 697-7114

Rangoli brings a modern interpretation to classic Indian dishes thanks to their insistence on only using high quality fresh ingredients. Indian cuisine already has so many vegetarian options, so you have plenty to order. The Gobi Manchurian is a favorite: cauliflower florets golden fried and sauteed with garlic, ginger, and spring onions with a hint of soy sauce. Or you can munch on a classic veggie samosa filled with mashed potatoes and peas. Once you’re ready for your entree, enjoy the Bagara Baingan: hot and spicy eggplant cooked with peanuts, sesame, tempered with curry leaves, mustard seeds and whole red chillies.

Photo Credit: Enjoy Illinois

11. El Faro

3936 W. 31st St Chicago, IL 60623
(773) 277-1155

Mexican food is the ultimate comfort food, so meat eaters and vegetarians alike can find dishes for them at El Faro. You can get staples like veggie tortas and chile relleno (a poblano pepper stuffed with cheese and rice) as well as a veggie burger and their wholesome juices. 

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12. River Roast

315 N LaSalle St, Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 822-0100

River Roast puts a spin on British food with a ton of tasty veggie options. Everything is so fresh and delicious you’re best off going family style so you can split several things. Start with the mushroom toast, topped with roasted Shimeji mushrooms, scallions, and herb aioli. Then get the cheese board loaded with nuts, your choice of either three or five cheeses, honey, and fruit preserves. After that, check out the Delicata Squash roast, also including roasted seasonal vegetables, wild rice, and pepitas. 

 

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on March 11, 2021 and last updated on December 24, 2021. Please refer to restaurant websites and social media pages for the most up-to-date information.