HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >


vegetarian friendly restaurants?

Hi! My husband and I are travelling to Chicago from Toronto- and we are both vegetarian- we tend to prefer veggie friendly places as opposed to all vegetarian places, because all veggies places often tend to be a bit bare bones, and non-gourmet for our liking!
i have heard that the Green Zebra is great, but any other suggestions would be welcome!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Chicago has several good Ethiopian options, all of which are very veggie friendly: Ethiopian Diamond (6120 N. Broadway), Ras Dashen (5846 N. Broadway), and Addis Abeba (1322 Chicago Ave., Evanston). Victory's Banner in Roscoe Village is a good choice for breakfast or lunch (2100 W. Roscoe); Lula in Logan Square (2537 N. Kedzie) is great for breakfast, lunch & dinner. There are also many excellent Thai restaurants (discussed extensively on this board) and Indian restaurants (most on Devon Ave.) that offer lots of vegetarian options. Enjoy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sbethp

      I'd also recommend the Handlebar Cafe in Bucktown/Wicker Park (2311 West North Avenue, http://www.handlebarchicago.com) for yummy, unique veggie fare. I don't think they're open for lunch or breakfast during the week. Leona's is good in a pinch. They are a chain but they do have a number of vegetarian options, can be found throughout the city and are open late (www.leonas.com). Heartland Cafe in Roger's Park has many vegetarian options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's very casual with live music on the weekends (www.heartlandcafe.com). Reza's has a few locations and has a lovely, relatively inexpensive lunch buffet with many options (www.rezasrestaurant.com).

    2. Don't rule out Frontera grill- they usually have a few vegetarian dishes - also one of my favorite appetizers they will make vegetarian - queso fundido - just ask the to hold the chorizo -

      1. Blind Faith Cafe in Evanston may be to your liking, it's completely vegetarian and though it's been a while since I've eaten there I remember it being pretty good: http://www.blindfaithcafe.com/

        Chicago Diner is also completely vegetarian, if you enjoy "mock meats" it may be worth trying. I personally like it but I can see why most meat eaters don't see the point.

        Russian Tea Time near the Art Institute/Symphony Center is outstanding...I was shocked at the number of options and how good they are.

        I second the Frontera Grill suggestion, but if you want something a bit more gourmet there's Topolobampo.

        People rave about Blackbird, but I've never been--they seem to have one veg option. If you're visiting after 9/15 I'm eating lunch there so I can give you some info, but I'm sure others will speak highly of it.

        There is an Indian neighborhood on Devon Avenue that has rows of restaurants. I've only been to four in that area, but my favorite is Tiffin which is at 2536 W. Devon Ave.

        There's a chain of places all over downtown called Cosi that is veg friendly, but the service there is consistently terrible, so I'd avoid it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chris

          I steered away from recommending Chicago Diner and Blind Faith but you are right both are excellent choices - providing unique and tasty vegetarian fair -

        2. Coco Pazzo (300 W. Hubbard) has excellant pastas and salads. They are also extremely friendly about substitutions, and have been willing to make many of their dishes for me without meat. Once when the chef didn't think that the dish would be good without meat, he sent the server out with samples of three other meatless dishes me to try, so I would have a good experience.

          Vermillion (Hubbard and State) is Indian-Latin fusion. There are some really interesting vegetarian options, including a plaintain burger (lunch only) that I LOVE. The food is great, but I've had some problems with service there.

          If you want straight-up Indian, but don't want to go all the way up to Devon, I really like Gaylord's (678 N. Clark).

          I also second the recommendation for Blind Faith. Their paella is the best vegetarian paella I've had.

          1. I recently went out with a couple veggie friends to May Street Market on the corner of Grand and May St. They had two good veggie entrees and a quite a few soups, appetizers, and salads, including the exceptional Maytag Blue Cheesecake appetizer. Everyone was pleasantly suprised. Service a little slow, but otherwise great, and a very interesting, well priced wine list.

            1 Reply
            1. re: wkaufmann

              wow- thanks for all your suggestions everyone- looks like we've got a lot of good eating ahead of us!
              I'll be sure to report back.
              Chris- re Blackbird, we are in town the weekend of the 15th- but perhaps we can compare reviews if we end up making it there
              SuzMico- wow- Vermillion sounds excellent- plaintain burger- yum. We'll have to make a point of going for lunch!
              thanks again all!

            2. Not sure how much you want to spend, but another great option is the vegetable tasting menu at Charlie Trotter's. Even though I am not a vegetarian, I have ordered this in the past as it is vegetable cooked to perfection!


              1. Most Middle-Eastern restaurants have a variety of meatless options. Persian restaurants especially seem to be pretty veggie friendly. My favorite is Cafe Suron, which has a large array of meatless appetizers and also a couple of meatless entrees (and it is BYOB). Cafe Suron is pretty far north, but there are dozens of other Middle-Eastern restaurants in Chicago with similar menus.


                1. I knew I was forgetting something and it just hit me.

                  Soul Vegetarian. It's on the south side and is a pain to get to now that the Dan Ryan is under construction but if you have time, it's worth the effort. Service is so incredibly bad that it crosses over into the realm of charming.

                  So why go? The food! Completely vegetarian (in fact, the only animal product they use is honey otherwise it would be 100% vegan) and as you may guess by the name, soul food. Sunday brunch is a fixed menu and excellent...grits, tofu scramble, homemade "sausage," etc. Otherwise they have a menu with various dinners and sandwiches.

                  If you're in the mood for Southern food but don't want to make the trip down there, Wishbone may be worth a stop: http://www.wishbonechicago.com/

                  And for something completely different:

                  As for the Trotters recommendation, I've been and I'd go again. Tru also has a vegetarian fixed menu but I haven't been.

                  1. A lot of my suggestions are seconds of what's already been said:

                    Blackbird - outstanding food and service! If you go just know you'll be sitting close to others and it can get a bit noisy, but I look at it as an opportunity to get a good look at the food!

                    Red Light - Asian fusion w/ many veg options

                    Coco Pazzo - delicious Italian, great service

                    Frontera/Topolobampo - Rick Bayless rocks!

                    Adobo Grill - great margaritas and guac and their vegetarian plate never disappoints

                    Chicago Diner - completely vegetarian, mostly comfort food, but if you want an amazing (hard to believe it's vegan) milkshake this is the place!

                    Russian Tea Time - This is more of a winter time place to me, but the food is great and the veg options are plentiful...also a great choice if you like vodka!

                    Ambria - I've only been once, but I really enjoyed the veg tasting menu

                    Arun's - While I haven't been in a couple years, some of the best meals I've ever had have been at Arun's. It's not in the most convenient area, but I think it's worth the trip and the $