HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >


Vegan or Vegetarian in DC?

Will be in town this week with a car and Metro access.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There are always veggie options on menus throughout the city. However, if you want a vegetarian restaurant, Java Green downtown is highly recommended (tons of vegan options), and there is also Vegeate. Asylum in Adams Morgan has a vegan brunch. For sweets check out the vegan bakery, Sticky Fingers, in Columbia Heights. They are known for their vegan cinnamon buns.

    1. Nirvana on K St. near Farragut West (I think?) is great, completely vegetarian Indian food. Vegan/gluten free is marked separately on the menu. Pretty little space.

      Java Green also has a whole vegdc publication, which you should pick up while you're in town if you want to stay strictly vegetarian. But most places offer a vegetarian option, if you stay away from the obvious no-no's like BBQ/stolid steakhouses (well, some of those have vegetarian options too, they're just an afterthought and it's not a great test of the kitchen.) Have fun!

      1. There's Chinese vegetarian at Lotus Vegetarian in Chantilly, VA (www.lotusvegetarian.com) near Dulles Airport.

        1. Sticky Fingers also has food now. And, around the corner is a Julia's Empanada's which has great vegetarian empanadas. In adams morgan, amsterdam falafal is yummy - and Tryst has good vegetarian options. As does Open City in Woodley.

          Spices in Cleveland Park has great vegetarian options. Suicide Curry, if you dare.

          1. Spices is a good recommendation.

            My vegan officemate told me recently that he had a nice meal at Perry's in Adams Morgan where they had vegan and vegetarian options plus a lot of sushi and small plates for his meat-eating companions. I've personally never been there but it's another options.

            Also Heritage, a great Indian restaurants in Dupont Circle (and Glover Park), has vegetarian options.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Elyssa

              last visit to java green said they were switching to all raw, did that happen and is it good?

              1. re: Elyssa

                Java Green has wonderful food, but their service has gone south in the last 6 months, IMO. It's a madhouse at lunch, but has outdoor seating so dinners can be quite nice.

                For upscale, Nora's is expensive, but fantastic and a wonderful atmosphere. Not 100% veg, but much (all?) organic and several veg options.

                If you are outside the city, Sunflower Cafe (two locations: Vienna and Falls Church near 7 Corners) is wonderful and has a nice atmosphere.

                Lastly, I would also recommend Duangarat's in Falls Church/Bailey's Crossroads. It's a Thai and is not 100% veg, but has many veg options to choose from.

                1. re: miden6

                  I like Sunflower, too. I just tried the new Falls Church branch and like it much better than the Vienna one. Not better food but better ambiance.

                  1. re: chowser

                    I really like the FC Sunflower as well. I'm not used to having so many options to pick from!

                    Saran Indian Cuisine on Lee Highway in Arlington is very nice (though the last time I went was at least a year or two ago) and cheap, too.

                    1. re: chowser

                      Oh, one more thing in the Falls Church area is Happy Family on S Washington St in Falls Church city. It doesn't look like much-- just a crappy looking little Chinese takeout, but they have a really good selection of well made meat substitute dishes.

                2. Adding:

                  Juice Joint
                  Busboys and Poets (they have vegan stuff)

                  1. well it's not vegetarian but assuming you like Asian cuisine you may want to explore Eden Center in Falls Church, next community out from Arlington.


                    as well Teaism in either Dupont Circle or Penn Quarter

                    last, but not least, the Ethiopian restaurants should have great veggie options

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: 42duffy

                      I disagree about Ethiopian.

                      I've given it many chances at the typical recommended spots.

                      I find it limiting and they have frequently put the veggie food with the meat and i never know what's what.

                      1. re: Jeserf

                        I'll often order (with whoever I'm dining with) a platter of just vegetable dishes at Ethiopian restaurants -- I kind of enjoy them more than the meat dishes, anyway. I'm not vegetarian, so I'm not making sure they're actually vegetarian, but have you tried that? I guess Ethiopian wouldn't be good for vegan, but I would have thought great for vegetarian. I see if you're ordering with meat dishes that they could get mixed up, though -- if your dining companions insist on meat!

                        BTW, to the OP: the new Columbia Heights gastropub, Commonwealth, which has lots of very meat dishes on the menu, does have some vegetarian that sounds great, including a smoked tofu shephard's pie.

                        I went to Java Green a couple days ago and it had the same menu (not raw) as always. Service was slow, but I love the food.

                        And Sticky Fingers is great.

                        1. re: mselectra

                          I just ordered stuff I thought was vegetarian. It was indistinguishable from meat. I had no idea what I was eating.

                          I've tried it, I've disliked it, and tried it again.

                          It's just not tasty to me.

                          1. re: Jeserf

                            I understand -- if it's not to your taste it's not, but that doesn't seem to be a vegetarian issue. If it is to your taste, I think it would be a good vegetarian rec, if you see what I mean.

                            1. re: mselectra

                              It's also a vegetarian issue.

                              Some people do not treat an order without meat as vegetarian food.

                              Example: Ethiopian comes in a big communal plate (or has every time I've been) with no way to keep the meat and veggies apart since it's all runny and eventually becomes one "dish".

                              If one is a real vegetarian, this could be an issue. But if someone is simply trying to avoid consuming meat, it wouldn't be as big of an issue.

                              1. re: Jeserf

                                That's why I suggested just ordering veg dishes, you see, which is what I often do and often prefer, but you're right that everyone in the dinner party would have to agree to go without meat, you're right. (The meat in my experience does always look clearly like meat, you wouldn't eat it by accident, but they might touch and would certainly be an issue for a real vegetarian). But it sounds like you don't like the veg dishes in the first place, so why bother and no worries.

                                1. re: mselectra

                                  When my vegetarian husband and I go for Ethiopian, he just asks when ordering that they put his entree on a separate plate. That way my meaty dish doesn't mix with his.. We always ask this whereever we go (Etete, Zed's, Skyline, Demera in the old days, and, other places in the area), and they've given us separate platters.

                                  1. re: mselectra

                                    Oh, I missed the "only order veg" part.

                                    My bad.

                                    And no, I think it's all pretty gross, which sucks because it's such a DC institution that I've tried so hard to like it. I guess you gotta thrown in the towel eventually.

                                    I like that bread though :)

                                    1. re: mselectra

                                      Oh, I missed the "only order veg" part.

                                      My bad.

                                      And no, I think it's all pretty gross, which sucks because it's such a DC institution that I've tried so hard to like it. I guess you gotta thrown in the towel eventually.

                                      I like that bread though :)

                                      1. re: Jeserf

                                        I think Ethiopian is one of those cuisines that just don't work for some people -- at least you gave it the old college try. I do think if someone has only tried it in one of the old places on 18th and think they don't like it, they should go to one of the 9th and U ones that get recommended here (like you have).

                                        You can buy injera bread in places around here (there's a little Ethiopian store/take-out next to Queen Makeda that's fun to go in), maybe you can invent something good with it!

                        2. Out Rockville Pike (Wisconsin Avenue extended) near White Flint Mall and really not too far from the city is the Vegetable Garden, www.thevegetablegarden.com, an excellent restaurant with vegetarian, vegan, organic, and macrobiotic cuisine. It is just across the street from the White Flint Metro station. Farther out is a very good chinese vegan restaurant, Yuan Fu Vegetarian, at 798 Rockville Pike, serving mainly "fake" meat and fish dishes.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Larry Miller

                            Yuan Fu is terrific and often is visited by people who keep kosher.

                            1. re: Larry Miller

                              Veggie Garden on 355 is wonderfu. It is just north of the beltway and is very good. They offer fake meat options which aren't really my fave but they have tons of veggie only stuff as well. I personally dislike Yuan Fu's food but have never been disappointed at Veggie Garden.

                              1. re: Transplanted Texan

                                What are the best things at The Vegetable Garden. I have been once, and had the Kung Pao Tofu and it was OK, but no spice whatsoever. However, traveling back that way for business and would love to know what to order! Not much in that general vicinity to eat (I'm not veggie, but enjoy veggie food).

                                I enjoy spicey flavorful dishes. Healthy is a bonus, as long as it tastes good!

                                1. re: jsaimd

                                  You have to tell them if you want it spicy. Like most Asian places, they never tend to believe customers when they say that. Veggie Garden is not the first place I'd go to for well-spiced Asian food, but for vegetarians or vegans who get thoroughly sick and tired of asking about every ingredient on a restaurant menu, it's a Godsend!

                            2. Went to Bar Pilar last night, on 14th street, and I think it would be wonderful for a vegetarian (maybe not vegan), if you like small plates. The menu last night had maybe a dozen or more vegetable dishes, all fresh and seasonal. We tried around six of them and all were great (imo) -- it seemed sort of like eating advice from a good chef about what to do with all the stuff you just got at the farmers market. Plus it's a nice place in a fun neighborhood.

                              Satay Club Asian Restaurant & Sushi Bar
                              Washington DC, Washington, DC

                              1. If it doesn't have to be a vegetarian-specific place, I'd head for Vidalia. I pulled these yummy sounding things from their website. Great room, great service.

                                roasted spring vidalia onions with braised apples 8.00

                                gratin of fava beans with spring peas and tarragon 8.25

                                “peas and carrots”
                                sweet pea agnolotti with path valley baby carrots,
                                madagascar vanilla essence and carrot emulsion 14.50

                                warm salad of path valley beets
                                with braised endive, bailey hazen blue cheese,
                                spiced pecans and pickled vidalia onions 23.00

                                roasted king trumpet mushrooms with yellowfin potato pavé, truffle emulsion
                                and fondue of nancy’s camembert 26.00

                                shaved globe artichokes
                                with sweet pepper salad, elephant garlic chips, estate
                                olive oil, meyer lemon and aged parmesan reggiano 12.75