A plate of tacos, rice and beans
Photograph: Courtesy of Kinship

The 22 best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Chicago

Our favorite meat-free spots in the city serve veggie-based sushi, banana blossom tacos, vegan pizzas and much more.

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Chicagoans love their steakhouses, but that doesn’t mean that vegetarians and vegans are relegated to side salads when dining out. The city has a rich history of plant-based dining, with decades-old iconic restaurants showing off creative ways to use Midwestern produce, and it’s only gotten more welcoming in recent years with the addition of a Michelin-starred restaurant serving vegetarian and vegan tasting menus, a slick Asian fusion spot dishing out watermelon nigiri and a vegan food hall. You won’t miss the meat when you head to one of the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Discover the best vegan breakfast and brunch spots

Vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Chicago

  • Vegetarian
  • Boystown
  • price 1 of 4

Even non-vegetarians know Chicago Diner. The vibe is that of a normal, everyday diner, albeit with soy whip, tofu and tempeh on the giant menu. And since the concept has been serving Chicagoans since 1983, you better believe they've got some tried-and-true eats on offer. The nachos are loaded with chorizo-style seitan, spiced black beans and guacamole, while the Thai chili wings are coated in a chili-lime marinade and served with Sriracha ranch dipping sauce. It doesn't matter what time of day it is—a vegan milkshake is always in order at Chicago Diner.

  • Vegan
  • Wicker Park
  • price 2 of 4

Chef Rodolfo Cuadros started Bloom as a virtual restaurant operating out of Amaru before turning it into a full-service concept. Guests who stop into the bright and airy spot are treated to creative originals like miso guava eggplant, banana blossom tacos and daikon bulgogi with pickled cucumbers. The accommodating food lineup is 100 percent gluten-free as well.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Vegan
  • River North
  • price 2 of 4

Part of a chain that originated in Canada, Planta Queen is perhaps Chicago’s swankiest plant-forward restaurant. The menu, crafted by executive chef David Lee, is home to Asian fusion delights, such as crispy gyoza filled with cabbage, carrots and mushrooms; udon noodles with truffle mushroom cream; and dehydrated watermelon nigiri. Not sure if a dish is suitable for your diet? There’s a handy allergen guide you can check so there are no unwelcome surprises. Fun cocktails, like the Sake to Me (sake, orange liqueur, watermelon, lime), complement the food. For vegans who want an upscale and trendy scene, there’s no better choice than Planta Queen.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago

4. Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat

When you see the food coming out of the kitchen, the name of this Hyde Park restaurant makes perfect sense. The "flexitarian" menu puts plant-based products on a pedestal, forging a delectable path ahead for those who are transitioning to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. The loaded Philly cheesesteak and the meatless Chicago dog might distract you, but you're here for the "Who Betta" burger, which finds a quarter-pound Impossible patty dressed up with fresh greens, tomato, pickles, grilled red onions, Epitome sauce and cheese (go vegan or dairy).

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  • Beer bars
  • Wicker Park
  • price 1 of 4

A cast of fiercely loyal regulars and out-of-towners have been gathering at this casual restaurant for 20 years to enjoy tasty meat-free fare like fried avocado tacos, sambal tofu and something called Vegan Chili Mac Attack (just trust us on this one). When the weather’s nice, you can park your bike in front of the restaurant and head to the shady beer garden to enjoy some of the diverse brews on draft. Just be warned they don’t take reservations and lines can stretch out the door.

  • Food court
  • Uptown

The new XMarket Food Hall features outposts of some of the city’s top plant-based spots like Kale My Name and Bloom Sushi alongside new vendors like El Hongo Magico Plant-Based Taqueria, offering diners plenty of variety. Visit for a meat- and cheese-free version of Italian beef, sushi or pizza along with a glass of vegan wine or a cocktail made from small-batch spirits. The space also features a small bodega-style grocery store.

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  • Vegan
  • Suburbs

Aiming to ease diners into the idea of plant-based eating, Spirit Elephant offers creative spins on favorite meat and seafood dishes like calamari made from king oyster mushrooms; a tower of spicy watermelon tuna; and a black bean burger with orange-bourbon sauce, a giant onion ring and mushroom bacon. Stop in for happy hour from 4:30-6:30pm Tuesday through Friday for a discounted taste of their most popular bites along with $7 margaritas and palomas.

  • Mexican
  • Logan Square

James Beard Award-nominated chef Rodolfo Cuadros of Amaru and Bloom opened this casual Logan Square restaurant to satisfy vegans craving Mexican favorites. Legumes and root vegetables are molded into a trompo and sliced into al pastor burritos with black beans and rice, or quesadillas with coconut mozzarella and guacamole, while birria tacos are made with guajillo-braised jackfruit. Don Bucio's recently switched to carryout- and delivery-only.

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  • Indian
  • River North
  • price 3 of 4

Tasting menus are rarely worth the price if you’re not eating the prime meats and seafood, but the vegetarian and vegan versions at Indienne are so good even omnivores should consider splitting their order to try more of chef Sujan Sarkar’s inventive spins on Indian cuisine and the different wine pairings chosen for each dish. The Michelin-starred restaurant’s offerings change seasonally, but you can always expect gorgeous presentations that use smoke and edible flowers to enhance the experience.

  • Pizza
  • Logan Square
  • price 2 of 4

Not only is Brooklyn export Paulie Gee’s one of the best pizzerias in Chicago, it’s also full of options for non-meat eaters. There’s a dedicated vegan section on the menu, where you’ll find Neapolitan-style, thin-crust pies topped with vegan mozzarella and fennel sausage plus cashew ricotta. We’re also big fans of the Detroit-style slices, which are only available at the Logan Square location.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Chinese
  • Armour Square
  • price 2 of 4

Chinatown’s sole vegan restaurant offers fresh and healthy takes on Chinese staples. That means diners can expect orange “chicken” featuring fried king mushrooms in a sweet glaze, Mongolian “beef” made with plant-based strips and salt-and-pepper soy shrimp. Even staunch carnivores will be impressed by the imaginative plates coming out of the kitchen at Veggie House.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
  • Vegetarian
  • Albany Park

We mean it when we say there’s something for nearly everyone at this globally-inspired eatery in Albany Park. Whether it’s fried oyster mushrooms, jackfruit tacos or potato-and-veggies empanadas, Kale My Name’s eclectic menu is not short on delicious options. Save space for a slice of homemade cheesecake, too.

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Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago
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  • Vegan
  • Uptown
  • price 1 of 4

Once a Wrigleyville institution, this veggie alternative to late-night grease moved a couple blocks up Clark Street to Uptown in 2020, bringing some of its vintage hodgepodge decor and Haight-Ashbury vibes along with it. Thankfully, Pick Me Up Café remains a place where you'll find vegetarian- and vegan-friendly fare alongside diner grub made with meat. Start out with a bowl of vegan mac and cheeze or some vegan mozzarella stix and then dig into an eggplant grinder or tostadas topped with tofu. And if you need a real pick me up, you can grab coffee and espresso drinks made with oat, soy and almond milk.

  • Korean
  • Norwood Park
  • price 1 of 4

Amitabul has been curing whatever ails you for 30 years, drawing on Korean Buddhist traditions for its vegan dishes. The restaurant serves a variety of noodle soups loaded with veggies and tofu that can bring comfort, whether you have the flu or a hangover. The menu also features energizing shakes, spicy kimchi bibimbop, and maki made with cucumber, avocado and spinach. Order delivery or visit the zen-like space where you’ll find an affirmation at your table, chanting on the stereo and quotes from the Buddha on the walls.

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  • Vegan
  • Greater Grand Crossing
  • price 1 of 4

Located in Chatham, Soul Veg City has been serving plant-based foods to Chicagoans for more than 40 years. For vegans looking to escape boring lentil hell, the combo basket with battered steak, tofu, cauliflower, mushrooms and onion rings is simply scrumptious, and somehow the fried cauliflower tastes like chicken. The vegan pies that follow may not be conventionally healthy, but that's never the point of soul food.

  • Indian
  • West Ridge
  • price 1 of 4

Carnivores seem to think that without meat on their plates they’d starve. But this 100 percent vegetarian South Indian spot puts an end to that theory with all-you-can-eat dosai and uthappam—rice and lentil crepes or pancakes served with sambar and coconut chutney and grilled with tomatoes and peas or filled with savory potatoes, onions and herbs. Other good bets include baingan bharta (a roasted eggplant rice dish) and the potato and cauliflower curry.

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  • Vegan
  • River West/West Town

House-made seitan is the base for most menu items at Liberation Kitchen, a bright little café operated by Upton’s Naturals, a company that makes seitan and sells it in stores across the country. The café has a plentiful menu, including a tofu-seitan banh mi, an Italian "beef" and a nacho plate with chorizo seitan. For dessert, choose from the chocolate chip cookies, crafted with oats, sunflower seeds and cacao nibs, soft serve, or eight to 12 varieties of vegan doughnuts.

  • American
  • Wicker Park
  • price 2 of 4

With three locations around Chicago, plus one in O’Hare Airport, The Goddess & Grocer offers grab-and-go meals that serve all dietary needs, from vegan Thai corn chowder to a vegetarian bagel sandwich to a vegan- and gluten-free chopped salad. Swing by in the morning for coffee drinks made with a variety of alternative milks or pick up dinner with a bottle of wine. The restaurant also offers catering and seasonal meal packages, including vegan feasts.

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  • Vegan
  • Lake View
  • price 1 of 4

Vegans and vegetarians who love Thai food can breathe a sigh of relief. This may look like every other neighborhood joint, but there is no fish sauce hiding in the peanut satay nor egg wash coating the spring rolls: Everything on the menu is 100 percent vegan. Omnivores won’t notice a difference in dishes like a fragrant green curry rife with Japanese eggplant or curried tofu skewers with chunky peanut sauce. If you need a “meat” fix, they offer soy pepper steak and tom yum soup with Impossible meat.

  • Bakeries
  • East Village
  • price 1 of 4

While West Town Bakery offers plenty of dishes loaded with bacon, ham, eggs and butter, they’re also very sensitive to the needs of vegan and vegetarians. Sit down for breakfast at the diner and have some Dark Matter coffee with a plate of vegan biscuits topped with tofu chorizo and mushroom gravy or oatmeal made with soy milk, brown sugar and maple syrup. Finish on a sweet note by swinging by the counter for a vegan cakeball or chocolate chip cookie.

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  • Vegan
  • South Shore

What started as a private catering company has become a beacon for Chicago's vegan community. Majani keeps our mouths watering with meat-defying creations like the gyro sandwich, which is slathered in tzatziki sauce, or tacos filled with lightly battered and fried cauliflower covered in bold barbecue sauce and guacamole. Be sure to save room for dessert: The homemade vegan cupcakes are not to be missed.

  • Vegan
  • Avondale

This vegan restaurant and bar in Avondale is best known for the deep dish pizza it ships nationwide, with varieties including the Plant Eater loaded with artichoke, spinach, green pepper, onion and minced garlic, and the Jalapeno Popper filled with seitan bacon and faux cheddar. Stop in for a slice and an equally decadent treat from the bakery, which offers cakes, brownies and cookies. You can also catch live music most nights at the Fallen Log at Kitchen 17.

Dig into more local eats

Like most great food cities, Chicago is a veritable melting pot of cultures. The metro area is home to strong, vibrant immigrant communities that have not only shaped the city's neighborhoods but have also infused the food scene with rich, traditional eats. Check out the most iconic Chicago foods you have to try.

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