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Favorite Vegetarian Restaurant in Philadelphia

So, I'm an omnivore looking for a really good vegetarian restaurant in Philly, not Indian Cuisine as I've been to most of them in Philly.

I’m specifically looking for restaurants that serve “meat-like” dishes. I know that there are a number of vegetarian Chinese Restaurants in C-town but never been (Harmony, Shanghai Vegetarian)…

I have eaten “Chicken” nuggets and Orange “Beef” (Whole Foods prepared food counter). The texture was ok, semi-convincing, flavor bland to OK… Texture and flavor are the criteria

Will take all recommendations, non-vegetarian recommendation a plus as they would best describe what I’m looking for a convincing meat-like meal…OK, that sounds strange….but you know what I mean???!!

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  1. Horizons, 7th and Bainbridge, is the best vegetarian (vegan, actually) restaurant in the city without question.

    In Chinatown, try the dim sum at Kingdom of Vegetarians. If you get out to the northern burbs at all, the Blue Sage in Southampton is fantastic and vegetarian.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Buckethead

      Seconding Horizon's. I have a friend from out of town who I swear only visits me for access to their 'spare rib' appetizers.

      I am not a fan of any of the veg'n Chinese spots in town, but have had better luck at Su Xing, which is not in Chinatown, than the others. (It's a few blocks over from Chinatown on Sansom.)

      Tamarind (South St. & 2nd) has a mock duck dish that I like...

      I'm also a fan of Gianna's for a quick bite. (I like their 'sausage' and 'chicken' better than their 'cheesesteak', though -- the fighting dog is my go-to sandwich from them, and you can feed two people with it.)

    2. Gianna's Grill is more of a takeout place with a few tables, but they have yummy vegan (and meat too) cheesesteaks. www.giannasgrille.com

      1. I'm partial to Singapore for my fake meat, though I haven't honestly gotten to Kingdom of Vegetarians or Cherry Street (two other vegi-centric places in Chinatown) so I can't compare them to Singapore. I will say, though, that my dining partners at Singapore have pretty much all been meat eaters, and all have enjoyed the food there. I even have one who considers Singapore to be the best Chinese he has ever had. The menu is huge, and it is really cheap, so you can feel free to try lots of different kinds of meat without breaking the bank. Sorry I don't have any non-Chinatown suggestions, though I will say that if you find yourself at Citizen's Bank Park the fake meat cheesesteak at Rick's is pretty good. The veggie cheesesteaks at Abbaye and Copa Banana are pretty good too, though I'm not sure I would consider them to be fake meat/meat-like.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Laura D.

          Sad to report (like, really, really, really sad) that Cherry Street has been closed for awhile now. Used to be my go-to place for veg-kosher / fake meat Chinese (even had a very accurate-looking shrimp dish that kind of weirded me out), but no more... Now I travel out to Malvern for Su Tao for their buffet, which has a lot of meat analogues.

          1. re: spyturtle008

            Guess I should have tried it before, huh? Now I'll definitely make it a point to get to Kingdom of Vegetarians, lest they go out of business too!

            I tried Su Tao once while living out in Paoli and it was very good for that neck of the woods, but I did find it to be a bit pricey when ordering off of the menu (I never got a chance to try the buffet which I think I probably would have enjoyed and would have found to be a better value).

            1. re: Laura D.

              don't bother with kingdom if you already like singapore. i am very unimpressed with kingdom. singapore on the other hand i love! their chicken 'drumstick' appetizer had a wooden dowel in it, which i find hysterical. the tofu dishes at susanna foo's and morimoto are also excellent, though not 'meaty' in the way that you want.

              dag, i know that there are more places to recommend, but i am totally blanking. i keep dwelling on one of the few good things about boston, a restaurant called grasshopper that was awesome for the fake meat. yes, i am very helpful, i know. ;)

              fyi, i am a full on omnivore.

          2. re: Laura D.

            CORRECTION: I meant Singapore Vegetarian not Shanghai! Sorry!

            I would like to check out Singapore Vegetarian, I've heard really good things about this place. Wow, didn't know that Ricks served a fake meat Cheesesteak. that's great to know!

          3. All of the places listed above serve fake meat. If it really frightens you but you still want the best, order of the menu at Horizons. Some of their dishes are not mock meat and all will blow you away.

            2 Replies
            1. re: saturninus

              How about that Soy Cafe place (never been, though.) Tria does have a lot of non-meat items on their menu, albeit not in the faux-meat vein.

              1. re: bluehensfan

                Haven't been to Soy Cafe but love Tria.

            2. This is great all, thanks for your recommendations! I'll try my best to check them out!

              1. The Royal Tavern makes a few vegan meals. I've had their vegan sloppy joe (and I'm a big meat eater) and it was pretty good.

                1. Horizons is good but pretty expensive. I am going to second Royal Tavern. Their vegan beef nachos are probably the best vegetarian dish in the city. Also check out Belgian Cafe as they have a few good veggie options

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: HeavyEater

                    I believe all the entrees are under $20 and if you are looking for "the best" it's the best deal in town. Nothing else comes close.

                    I haven't been to Royal Tavern in about 2 years - how is the current chef? The one I really like left.

                  2. It's known as a beer bar, but there's a vegan-inspired flare to the menu at the Belgian Cafe (21st and Green) that specializes in making non-meat products look like a non-veggie meal. Examples: Cream chipped "beef" and vegan meatloaf. Not a huge selection, but the veggie burgers are delectable and the beer is delicious.

                    1. i know this is an older thread, but i figured i'd pass it along - i just read on mealticket that kingdom of vegetarians has changed owners (same menu) for the former owner to focus on new harmony. apparently they (new harmony) are getting new dishes and going a little yakitori-boy with a karaoke room as well. :) anyway, it reminded me i haven't been to this place in ages, and last time i thought it was pretty good.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: rabidog

                        Rabidog, which place did you think was pretty good? KofV, or New Harmony? I ask because I'm craving some Chinese vegetarian food, and have kind of fallen out of the loop of knowing which places are best. Thanks!

                        1. re: kagoo

                          honestly i have not been to either in ages, and neither was anything out of the ordinary, but new harmony was my favorite of the two last time i was there. had a general tso's with tofu which was good - though i'd like to go back and try the fake meats, since i'm growing less apprehensive about them every day.

                          if you have a chance, a fun chinese vegan excursions is to su tao out in malvern, which i learned about from this board. it's buffet-style and huuuuge which is really great to compare dishes side-by-side. they do a lot of average dishes, but couple really great dishes, which of course aren't coming to mind right now :) also, their food's not too greasy, so you can try a lot, and leave not feeling disgusting!

                          1. re: rabidog

                            just was there on Sunday. Got there at 12:30 as they were just opening. It was a little cold inside and some people were waiting for the crew to setup the buffet. I'm a semi veggie, I don't eat any meat but still have fish. I tried most of the offerings and enjoyed the fake duck, lemon chicken and eggplant. Did not like the Miso soup, which I love anywhere else. Very bland, in my opinion. The dumplings had a funny taste to them and the hot and sour soup I did not like at all. All in all, it was average, don't think I'll be going back, however.

                      2. Just to add another vote for Horizons - it is a little on the pricier side but it's not only the best in the city but PETA also just mentioned in top 8 veg restaurants in the country.

                        I also really liked Mi Lah on 16th just north of Locust. I've only been once but with a group who all ordered different things and everyone was really happy (only one true vegetarian in that group)

                        1. I was just at Horizon's on Tuesday and had the vegetarian tasting menu. Divine and a great bargain at 45.00 for 5 courses. The reuban sliders were also amazing. I'm always stunned when I eat there. I've been there several times and have never left dissappointed. I also don't think it's too expensive for the great quality. The entrees are all right around 20.00.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: restless

                            Last night ate in the bar area at Horizons which was so noisy I couldn't hear the person sitting next to me. I'm wondering if the upstairs restaurant has better acoustics or is more sedate. Guess avoiding a Saturday night would be a good idea, too. The food was amazing and definitely worth a return trip.

                            1. re: Seeker19104

                              I was at Horizons last night as well - my first trip, after wanting to go for quite a while. I was upstairs and it definately wasn't too noisy - it was early, but the restaurant was already pretty full.

                              The food was amazing. I would recommend it to anyone, vegetarian or not (I'm not a vegetarian, but I do enjoy vegetarian meals a lot of the time). It was unique and absolutely delicious.

                              1. re: PhillyA

                                Another plug for Horizons. I am a through and through meat & dairy lover but their wizardy with fresh veggies won me over as few vegetarian places have. I've spent many a fancy dinner and a couple birthdays there. There are ample mock meat as well as simply meaty veg dishes. And to boot the service is stellar, the drinks inventive and fresh (try the La Playa w/tamaraind and nutmeg and pretend it's not January).
                                Also, I would add that while a dinner here CAN add up, it can also be an inexpensive psuedo-tapas affair at the the downstairs bar/lounge. My only gripe is that the decor looks like some tacky suburb joint.
                                Also sorta on topic, has anyone tried the new Mi Lah Veggy place in CC?