Your Guide to the Best Vegan Restaurants in Chicago

Ever since I wrote my guide to the best vegan restaurants in Las Vegas, I’ve been meaning to do a similar guide for a city that I know incredibly well — my hometown, Chicago!

In recent years, the vegan restaurant scene has really exploded here. From just a handful of restaurants to countless options (especially if you count restaurants that are not strictly vegan), we are spoiled for choice when it comes to vegan eats in the Windy City.

It was difficult deciding which restaurants would make it onto this list, but using the criteria of “vegan-ness” (the quantity of vegan offerings), taste, and price I narrowed the options down to this handy guide of drool-worthy vegan restaurants.

For easy reading, I’ve organized the restaurants below based on the kind of meal you’re looking for, whether it’s a quick bite, lunch, or dinner.

WARNING: do not read while hungry!

Best Vegan Restaurants in Chicago for a Quick Bite

Hi-Vibe Superfood Juicery

Hi-Vibe Acai Bowl Chicago
For vegans and non-vegans alike, this açai bowl from Hi-Vibe is the tastiest way to start your day!

Hi-Vibe Superfood Juicery has the absolute best açai bowl in Chicago (and that’s coming from an açai bowl connoisseur)! I have spent many years scouring Chicago for the best açai bowl, and this is it. 

High-Vibe is my go-to when I want something light yet filling for breakfast or between meals. Besides the açai bowls, High-Vibe offers a plethora of other vegan juices, smoothies, and snacks.

This place is on the pricey side (bowls are around $15 and juices / smoothies range from $11-13), but you are paying for quality. Their juices, for instance, are raw, 100% organic and cold-pressed. 

But back to that incredible açai bowl — the Cacao Açai bowl has an açaí, banana, raw cacao, and lemon chaga tea blended base and is topped with cacao granola, cacao nibs, coconut, bee pollen, seasonal fruit, and hazelnut cacao butter. 

The granola and the hazelnut cacao butter are made in-house and are the key to the yumminess that is this cacao-focused bowl. If you love Nutella, think of this as the healthy version of a Nutella-topped açai bowl! 

I can go on and on about the Cacao Açai bowl, but the smoothies and juices are equally fantastic. You really can’t go wrong. 

There is no healthier, tastier way to start your day than with the vegan offerings at Hi-Vibe!

  • Vegan-ness: 5/5
  • Taste: 5/5
  • Price: 3/5

Sol Cafe

I’ll admit that Sol Cafe first got onto my radar for its excellent coffee and gorgeous ambiance. But I was pleasantly surprised to see vegan food options on their menu, including some on their “specials” board. 

About half of the menu here is vegan or can be made vegan! 

The vegan breakfast sandwich with a vegan sausage, avocado smash, and hot pepper jelly really tempted me, but the veggie bowl on the “specials” board won me over. Guess I’m a sucker for sweet potatoes and “limited-time” offerings!

The bowl had all of my favorites like sautéed sweet potatoes, kale, and tofu which were topped with thinly-sliced radish for crunch and avocado for smooth deliciousness. 

Vegan Restaurants Chicago

I paired my vegan bowl with an oat milk latte and thoroughly enjoyed both in this lovely setting!

At around $10, Sol Cafe’s vegan menu items are a steal (especially by Chicago pricing standards). Your belly and your wallet will thank you for coming here.

  • Vegan-ness: 4/5
  • Taste: 4/5
  • Price: 5/5

Fancy Plants Cafe

Fancy Plants Cafe Chicago
The vegan chili battle continues with this contender from Fancy Plants Cafe!

I was lucky to stumble on Fancy Plants Cafe in East Lakeview a few years back. This 100% vegan cafe is just as adorable and homey as the name implies. 

It’s the kind of place where friendly service and ambiance make you feel like you’re eating at someone’s home (a home where they know how to throw down in the kitchen). Need more proof? Check out Chef Kevin Schuder’s bio; this guy has serious culinary chops.

Fancy Plants’ menu has a bit of everything — delicious soups, salads, sandwiches, and daily specials. But the menu is not overwhelming, which I appreciate. And their selection changes all the time, which I also appreciate since I like culinary surprises with each visit!

Last time I came in, I wanted something light so I ordered their featured soup: a bowl of chili with two generous slices of homemade bread. The chili was thick, well-seasoned, and topped with a scoop of rice which made it heartier than your average soup.

Since Dark Matter is one of my favorite coffee roasters in Chicago, I couldn’t resist ordering an oat milk latte! If you’re more of a tea person, Fancy Plants has a great selection of Rishi teas.

Nearly all menu items are $10 or less making Fancy Plants a very budget-friendly vegan spot!

Pro Tip: Fancy Plants Cafe offers 5-course dinners by reservation only on Saturday and Sunday evenings. If you and your partner are vegan (or want to dabble in vegan-ness) this would make for a perfect date night in Chicago!

  • Vegan-ness: 5/5
  • Taste: 4/5
  • Price: 5/5

Best Vegan Restaurants in Chicago for Lunch

Native Foods

Native Foods Vegan Restaurant

Talk to a vegan in Chicago and chances are they’ve been to Native Foods (many times). There are several Native Foods in Chicago including locations in the Loop, Wicker Park, Lakeview, and Hyde Park so you are never too far from a tasty vegan meal.

I love that Native Foods is truly dedicated to serving delicious vegan food — their motto is “100% plant-based, 100% yummy!” They specialize in revamping familiar comfort foods like burgers, subs, and wings without sacrificing flavor.

The food here is accessible, familiar, and delicious. I bring my meat-eating friends and family to Native Foods all the time.

Native Foods Vegan Bowl
Pictured: Buddha Bowl, best enjoyed alfresco on the lovely patio in Wicker Park!

My favorite dishes include the Buddha Bowl, the seasonal soups, and the taco salad. The entrees are really filling so I usually skip ordering appetizers. But the next time I come with a group, I really want to try the Spicy Cauliflower Dipper.  It look soooo good (yes, I stalk other people’s plates and make plans for future eating)!

Most dishes are $10-12 so you won’t be breaking the “eating out budget” by coming here. A bowl of chili is a great value at $5 and comes with a side of cornbread!

Native Foods Vegan Chili
Just look at this hearty bowl of vegan chili goodness — it’s delicious, nutritious, and filling!

Another reason I’m such a fan of Native Foods when it comes to vegan restaurants: their commitment to sustainability both in the food they serve and the way they build their stores.

Native Foods is a restaurant you can feel really good about patronizing:

“We’ve built LEED certified stores, use biodegradable and recyclable packaging, and furnish with eco-friendly fixtures, that include repurposed cardboard boxes, and hand-crafted community tables out of reclaimed Oak trees.”

When it comes to ethical eating and delicious vegan comfort-food, it’s hard to beat Native Foods!

  • Vegan-ness: 5/5
  • Taste: 4/5
  • Price: 5/5

No Bones Beach Club

As far as vegan restaurants in Chicago go, it’s hard to top the atmosphere at No Bones Beach Club.

The moment I stepped inside, the surfboards, palm trees, and tropical colors transported me to Hawaii. The tropical cocktails and mocktails may have had a hand in that as well!

When it’s dark and dreary in Chicago, the bright, cheery colors at No Bones are an instant mood-lift. The vibes here make this the perfect spot for a brunch or lunch date with friends, a romantic dinner with a significant other, or a quick solo bite.

“When you’re craving fresh, plant-based gluten-free and soy-free food + drinks, we’ve got you covered. Rain or shine, our vegan dishes and tropical atmosphere will instantly transport you (and your tastebuds) to paradise.”

Bold promises, but No Bones Beach Club delivers! 

The Amazeballs (crispy panko-breaded macaroni and cheese balls with crumbled tempeh bacon, charred jalapeños, and a ranch drizzle), Beer Battered Avocado Tacos, and the Poke Bowl are menu standouts. 

But the pièce de résistance is the Northwest Nachos. These vegan nachos are ridiculously delicious and HUGE.

Vegan Nachos Chicago

The secret is a base of house-made tortilla chips smothered in poblano cashew queso, grilled black bean and corn salsa, cilantro crema, fresh tomatoes, charred jalapeños and cilantro. I added guac because mo guac mo better!

There are definite advantages to coming to No Bones Beach Club with a group and trying as much of the menu as possible.

Appetizers are on the pricy side, but (as I mentioned above) they are massive. And when you split apps between a few people, they’re a good value.

If you’re on the fence about eating vegan (or know someone who thinks vegan food tastes like cardboard), go here and you’ll be converted!

  • Vegan-ness: 5/5
  • Taste: 4.5/5
  • Price: 4/5

Covid Update: No Bones is not open at this time, but they hope to have takeout available soon.

Cafe 53

Cafe 53 Vegan Sandwich
Pictured: Vegan Artichoke Eggplant Sandwich

I discovered Cafe 53 when I made it my mission to explore Hyde Park, a neighborhood full of history and delicious restaurants. 

Sometimes I like to go fancy, but other times a girl just wants a sandwich. Yet so many sandwich shops have mediocre vegan options.

I’ve lost track of the times I regretted ordering a vegan sandwich. Why do places insist on making vegan sandwiches with a couple of vegetables between two slices of sad bread??

But this is NOT the case at Cafe 53.

Cafe 53’s menu has a long list of vegan sandwiches, panninis, and wraps. I counted 18 vegan options — that’s more than most vegan-only places!

I was spoiled for choice and had a really hard time choosing, but I ultimately landed on the Vegan Artichoke Eggplant Sandwich. I love vegan sandwiches that are brimming with interesting veggies, and this one didn’t disappoint. 

The vegan house dressing, which is equal parts tangy and herby, really pulled all the flavors together!

I got my sandwich to go so I could eat it at Harold Washington Park (a short walk away). If you’re in Hyde Park when the weather is nice, I really recommend doing the same.

All the vegan sandwiches are under $10 and are so hearty that you may end up saving 1/2 for a second meal!

  • Vegan-ness: 4/5
  • Taste: 4/5
  • Price: 5/5

Yvolina’s Tamales

Yvolinas Tamales Chicago

Yvolina’s Tamales is my most recent vegan restaurant “hidden gem” discovery in Chicago! I love tamales, but I have the hardest time finding restaurants that serve vegan tamales. 

Little did I know, there was a place right in my hometown, in Pilsen. That’s why it is so important to venture out and explore new neighborhoods in Chicago. Some of the best dining is NOT in central downtown!

Marcella Hernandez, the owner, named this restaurant by combining her name with her daughter’s (Yvonney) to create “Yvolina’s.” If you want to support local, women-led small businesses, Yvolina’s is right up your alley.

Yvolina’s Tamales is dedicated to unique tamales made with olive oil rather than the traditional lard and steamed in banana leaves rather than corn husks (for added moisture).

Yvolina’s has perfected these innovative tamale techniques, garnering accolades from the likes of Chicago Magazine and Eater.

Yvolina’s typically has three different vegan tamales available — kale in mole, spinach with mushroom, and quinoa with lentils. I ordered the quinoa with lentils and added mole sauce (just $1.50 more). 

I really recommend that you do the same. The mole is like a hot, delicious blanket covering the tamale. I loved every saucy bite!

Vegan Tamales Chicago

I also added a side of beans and rice to my tamale. At $10.50 the combo is a great value, and the sides pair so well with the tamale.

Pro Tip: Yvolina’s sells vegan moles and salsas so you can create your own vegan Mexican food experience at home!

  • Vegan-ness: 3.5/5
  • Taste: 5/5
  • Price: 5/5

Best Vegan Restaurants in Chicago for Dinner

Chicago Diner

Vegan Restaurants Chicago Diner
Pictured: the Buddha Karma Burger that surpassed all other burgers!

Meat free since ’83,” Chicago Diner is a pioneer in the Chicago vegan restaurant scene with two locations in Lakeview and Logan Square.

The ambiance is casual and the service is friendly, but the food coming out of Chicago Diner is absolute FIRE!! From the moment I tasted the Buddha Karma Burger made with a curried sweet potato / tofu patty and topped with a grilled pineapple ring (genius!), I was hooked.

I’ve slowly been making my way through Chicago Diner’s menu and everything has been delicious. The Soul Bowl, Thai Basil Stir-Fry, Nachos, and Quinoa Chili are my favorites so far.

I have yet to try Chicago Diner’s award-winning vegan shakes (gasp), but I hope to remedy this very soon. Don’t be like me, leave room for dessert!

Entrees range between $10-15 — very reasonable for the quality and portion sizes.

Chicago Diner is cute enough for a date night yet casual enough for a lunch with friends. Plus, the incredible food coming out of the kitchen will please vegans and non-vegans alike!

  • Vegan-ness: 5/5
  • Taste: 5/5
  • Price: 5/5

Vegan Plate

Vegan Plate Chicago
Pictured: the notoriously delectable, addictive vegan Pad Thai at Vegan Plate.

Vegan Plate is an unassuming family-run vegan restaurant nestled on the western edge of Lincoln Park. But don’t judge this place by the facade (or the generic branding) because Vegan Plate serves up the best vegan Thai food in Chicago!

I tried many vegan restaurants and dishes while I traveled through Thailand, but my mind (and my stomach) drifted back to Vegan Plate, namely their Pad Thai.

Now I don’t know what kind of umami-laced crack they’re putting in the Pad Thai at Vegan Plate, but it is so crave-able and delicious that you’ll find yourself thinking about it mere hours after you’ve had it. 

Their menu says that they fry their rice noodles in their “exclusive sauce.” I have no idea what’s in it, but I do know that I want to bathe in it.

You also can’t go wrong with the rest of the menu, including the tasty curry dishes and the other noodle dishes. 

I should warn you at this point that the portions are enormous; I typically end up with two meals for the price of one. Most dishes range from $12-14, a steal for the quality and quantity!

  • Vegan-ness: 5/5
  • Taste: 5/5
  • Price: 5/5

Amitabul

Amitabul Vegan Chicago
Korean plant-based cuisine soars to new heights at Amitabul!

Amitabul means “awakening,” a perfect name for a vegan restaurant where the flavors and spices are designed to awaken your taste buds!

Amitabul’s Chef and owner, Bill Choi, is a Chicago treasure who has been delighting locals and visitors to Chicago with his take on vegan Korean cuisine. Chef Choi uses traditional Korean fermentation techniques, which he learned from his mother and grandmother in Seoul, to novel ends.

The menu at Amitabul reflects Chef Choi’s heritage and focuses on “a vegan merging of traditional Korean preparation and Western taste.”

The soy sauce, miso, hot sauce and Kimchi are all fermented using Chef Choi’s ancestral recipes. You can truly taste the love and care that goes into each dish here!

Although Amitabul is famous for the Spicy Kimchi Bi Bim Bop and Dr. K’s Cure All Noodle Soup, my favorite dish is the Zesty Noodle.

The Zesty Noodle is spicy and tangy with the citrus notes in perfectly harmony with the rice noodles and veggies.

And speaking of veggies… I LOVE that this place does not skimp on the veggies. My bowl was overflowing with zucchini, cabbage, broccoli, peppers, and carrots!

Entrees are sizable and hover around $14; Amitabul is a great value for a vegan restaurant in Chicago.

  • Vegan-ness: 5/5
  • Taste: 4.5/5
  • Price: 4.5/5

Smack Dab

Smack Dab Chicago

Although Smack Dab is not 100% vegan, the vegan options are so delicious here that I had to include it on this list of the best vegan restaurants in Chicago.

Food is our love language” is the motto at Smack Dab, and the food here lives up to it.

Smack Dab offers many delicious and nutritious vegan options ranging from vegan sandwiches and lunch bowls to build-your-own vegan pizzas. They also have a selection of tempting vegan pastries and DONUTS (yes, vegan donuts)!

The first time I visited Smack Dab, a helpful employee took me through the menu, highlighting the vegan options. When he found out that it was my first time at Smack Dab, he gave me a free vegan donut. That’s apparently a thing here.

Vegan Donut Chicago
I was so excited about the donut I ate it before my food arrived. #NoRegrets.

For my “real food,” I ordered a vegan stir-fry rice bowl with a zesty vegan cashew sauce. The rice had those crisp bits that I like so much and the veggies had a nice bite to them. The execution on this dish was near perfection. 

Although I probably sound like a broken record when it comes to the generous portions at the vegan restaurants on this list, again, this bowl was HUGE. I took half of it home and ate it for lunch the next day.

And not that you need more reasons to eat here, but when you eat at Smack Dab, you also do good.

I love supporting restaurants that are helping the community in Chicago and beyond, and Smack Dab is leading the pack — they donate a percentage of revenue to amazing organizations like Girl Forward, Black Lives Matter, One Tail at a Time, and Global Giving and they host free monthly community dinners!

Menu items range between $7-13 which is extremely reasonable (especially considering that a portion of their revenue goes to giving back). 

  • Vegan-ness: 3.5/5
  • Taste: 4/5
  • Price: 4.5/5

Phew!! 11 delectable vegan restaurants later and now I’m hungry (again)!

Chicago is already regarded as a dining mecca, but I’d argue that it is specifically fantastic for vegan restaurants.

Whether you’re vegan, vegan-curious, or just want some ideas for meatless Monday, try one of the places above. You just might discover a new favorite!

Have you been to any of the restaurants on this list? Have I missed any of your favorites?

If I missed a restaurant that you think I should try, drop it in the comments below. I’m always looking for new options!


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