Vegan Guide to Living in Chicago
Living in Chicago has its perks, and one of the best for me is how many amazing vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants there are in the city. Here are a few to add to your list:
1. The Chicago Diner
This is my personal favorite and often where I drag my friends from out of town. It’s known for having the best vegan milkshakes in the entire country which I can highly attest to. With tons of comfort food and American classics, some of which even offer your non-vegan friends the option of adding regular cheese or eggs, the Chicago Diner has it all. There are even two locations, one in Boystown and one in Logan Square.
2. Pick Me Up Cafe
PMU is a close second and located not far from the Chicago Diner. The best part about this place is it’s open and serving breakfast until 2am- perfect for your late night cravings. PMU also has plenty of non-vegan and gluten-free dishes, suitable for a wide variety of people. For my fellow vegans I’d suggest either the dark chocolate chip pancakes, macaroni and cheese, or the Santa Fe scram (pictured to the left).
3. Earth’s Kitchen
While not advertised as a vegan restaurant, Earth’s Kitchen has a few great options. There are vegetable sushi rolls, vegetable gyoza, and different types of noodle and rice dishes that are all vegan. I usually split the vegetable gyoza appetizer with a friend and order the yakisoba noodles with a side of miso soup for those chilly winter nights. One of my favorite things about Earth’s Kitchen is that it’s BYOB, which means we usually end up grabbing a cheap bottle of wine from the 7/11 on the corner to enjoy with our dinner.
4. Kitchen 17
This is my go-to spot for vegan deep dish pizza. When I initially came to Chicago I figured deep dish was just not something I would ever try since its loaded with an array of non-vegan ingredients, but Kitchen 17 has managed to create a truly delicious option for vegans. The restaurant itself is also filled with free games to play with your friends like Jenga and Candyland that add to the relaxed vibe.
Kal’ish offers one of the best vegan burgers I’ve ever had. It’s a family-owned 100% plant-based restaurant located slightly north of campus in Uptown. Along with their burgers, Kal’ish serves all-day breakfast and weekend brunch.
6. Sultan’s Market
This is my favorite spot in the city for falafel. The best deal is the vegetarian combo which includes falafel, hummus, pita, and your choice of rice and salad all for $7.
7. Mild 2 Spicy
They offer not only delicious food but fantastic customer service as well. The people who run this restaurant are so hospitable and always go the extra mile to ensure you enjoy your meal. My favorite menu items are the vegetable biryani and vegetable samosas, and they also offer a monthly vegan buffet night.
Dimo’s is another great option for vegan pizza and is located in a few neighborhoods throughout the city. It’s slightly cheaper than Kitchen 17 with one (very large) slice costing only $4. A must-have from Dimo’s is the Vegan Mac (pictured above), but the menu features a variety of options that make choosing just one pretty difficult. If you’re still hungry, they also offer vegan cheesy bread and homemade vegan brownies.
9. Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
Demera’s is slightly out of the way and a little bit pricey but well worth the extra trip and expense. The owners of Demera strive to create an extremely authentic experience for customers and it shows. The food is served on Ethiopian flatbread and you’re encouraged to eat with your hands using the bread as a utensil of sorts to soak up sauces and flavors. This was hands down one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten, and Demera offers a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian options.
10. LYFE Kitchen
LYFE has multiple locations throughout Chicago making it easily accessible no matter where you are in the city. LYFE stands for Love Your Food Everyday, indicative of their commitment to healthy eating and well-being. Don’t forget to ask for their vegan menu as they have a few different menu options.