Best Vegan-Friendly Restaurants In Chicago

July 30, 2014 6:00 AM

When done right, vegan meals can be both healthy and delicious. That’s because those who partake in a vegan lifestyle are often eating vegetables and in turn getting loads of fiber, folic acid, vitamin C and a plethora of other vitamins. And those vegetables — particularly when sourced from local farms and cooked well — can still make a feast, even without any meat. Discover delicious vegan eating at these five Chicago establishments.

(Photo Credit: Chicago Diner's Facebook)

(Photo Credit: Chicago Diner’s Facebook)

The Chicago Diner
3411 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 935-6696
www.veggiediner.com
 
The Chicago Diner isn’t the best place for vegan dishes just because it’s received numerous accolades over the years, from Chicago Reader Readers’ Choice awards to Michelin Guide recommendations. Rather, it is often the go-to recommended vegan restaurant because it has figured out how to serve stellar vegan dishes, and it has been doing it since 1983, long before it became popular. This is comfort vegan food at its best; savor the flavor of everything from seitan “wings” to the reuben, made with corned beef seitan as well as peppers, sauerkraut, grilled onions, cheese and vegan thousand island dressing. This is the kind of place that even a meat lover can enjoy.
Karyn’s on Green
130 S. Green St.
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 226-6155
www.karynsongreen.com
 
All of Karyn’s restaurants aren’t just trendy, they also all offer quality, earth-friendly vegan food. Karyn’s on Green, in particular, is an unexpected gem in the middle of Greektown. The dinner menu features classic dishes with a vegan twist — such as the “chicken” legs which are served with Southern sides like collard greens — as well as classic cocktails and sustainable wines. Karyn’s also offers a raw menu and a gluten-free menu.
Sunda
110 W. Illinois St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 644-0500
www.sundachicago.com
 
This River North hotspot is known for its New Asian cuisine — which is often considered to be heavily meat and seafood focused — but that doesn’t stop it from offering a tempting vegan menu. The vegan menu, like the lunch and dinner menu, is packed full of exotic flavors. Choose from items like a shiitake edamame dumpling to specialty cut rolls, such as the sweet potato caterpillar. A specific vegan brunch menu is even available.
 
Related: Best Spots For A Vegetarian Or Vegan iIn Chicago
Pick Me Up Cafe
3408 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 248-6613
www.facebook.com/Pick-Me-Up-Cafe

For an extensive menu and great late-night vegan eats, look no further than this Lakeview cafe. On weekends, this trendy restaurant is open all around the clock, making it a perfect go-to spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Other nights of the week, it’s open until 3 a.m. With such a large menu, you can dine on everything from chocolate chip vegan pancakes, to a vegan — and extraordinarily popular — bowl of chili.
Amitabul
6207 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60646
(773) 774-0276
www.amitabulvegan.com

For something different, check out Amitabul, where Chef David Choi cooks up Korean vegan-fusion. Every dish in this Norwood Park restaurant is made with vegetables sourced right from the local farmers’ markets, so you know you’re getting quality ingredients. You’ll also be entertained when reading the descriptions of some of the entrees. For one, if you order the green and greener Nirvana, you’ll be getting “Heavenly green veggies, chunks of tofu and seaweed tumbled with a mellow mild every green in your heart!” Dr. K’s Cure-All soup is also a favorite, especially when you’re battling a head cold.
 
Related: Best Vegetarian Burgers In Chicago
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.