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Tuesday, May 28

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Andrew / April 19, 2006 1:24 AM

Seemed like a good counterpoint to the Moo & Oink jingle contest.

I like the Handlebar. Best chili cheese fries in the city!

megan / April 19, 2006 7:08 AM

The Tasting Room at the Randolph Wine Cellar has lots of eggie options. And De Cero, just down the street, with all the different kinds of tacos.
And they are very yummy at both.

Veronica / April 19, 2006 7:39 AM

La Creperie. I'm a big meat eater, but I'll go there and have a veggie crepe and not even bat an eye. There's tomato, broccoli cheese, spinach creme, mushroom...lots to choose from and they're all good.

Also, Pick Me Up Cafe. They have the best chili cheese fries in the city!

x / April 19, 2006 7:41 AM

Moo and oink. I mean you can stuff animals with veggies right...

Joe Wroblewski / April 19, 2006 7:53 AM

Im pretty much a meat vacuum, with a heart that may even pump bacon but, once in a while, I like to give it all up for a few hours and enjoy the tasty treats at Alice & Friends. The Korean Barbecue is wonderful - best un-meat in town.

Oh, and the charming cult atmosphere also makes for a most entertaining outing.

MikeH / April 19, 2006 8:08 AM

How you say... veg... vegetarianism?

amyc / April 19, 2006 8:22 AM

Oh my gosh, so many to choose from! I like many of the all-veggie places, like Victory's Banner and Chicago Diner, but Brett's has my favorite veggie chili, Hot Doug's has both veggie dogs and veggie corndogs, Reza's has six vegetarian sampler platters (and the best babaghanoush in town), Kopi makes a mean tempeh burger, I go to New Rebozo in Oak Park for the cheese enchiladas mole, and Piazza Bella does a fabulous gnocchi pomodoro. Plus a good ovo-lacto vegetarian like myself can't go wrong with a plate of scrambled eggs, hash browns and toast at Hollywood Grill.

We non-carnivores are lucky to live in a city with so many options. Pretty much every ethnic restaurant has something meatless and tasty.

Brandy / April 19, 2006 8:32 AM

Ethiopian Diamond. The veggie stuff is mostly vegan and I think they're tastier than the meat dishes.

Naz / April 19, 2006 9:03 AM

The list is somewhat long and I'll echo Amyc's sentiments -- this is a pretty good city with good options that keep growing all the time.

Soul Vegetarian is tops. No doubt. I've only been there twice and I really should get out there more but wow.

Alice and Friends ranks pretty high for vegan food -- lots of fake meat dishes in various Asian cuisines and dishes.

Szechuan Garden does the only mock meat Chinese I know of and they're good.

The Chicago Diner I think has come back round to doing good food again after a brief few years or churning out some mediocre substandard fare.

Blind Faith in Evanston is a nice option -- some dishes I think fall a little short but most are pretty tasty and it''s nice to have that option out of the city.

Most, if not all Indian restaurants (as well as Mediterranean places) have great veggie options which makes heading to one a restaurant serving these cuisines a no-brainer since they actually cater to vegetarian palettes and dishes.

Wendy / April 19, 2006 9:38 AM

We went to Karyn's (the "cooked" place, on Wells) last night, and liked it a lot. The menu is pretty similiar to Chicago Diner but the atmosphere is a little fancier and makes for a good "nice date" kind of place.

Beyond that, the best fake meat I've ever had was at Alice and Friends, and the vegan french toast at Pick Me Up is awesome.

maire / April 19, 2006 9:43 AM

- Ethopoian Diamond
- Sultans Market
- Green Zebra
- Soul Vegetarian

maire / April 19, 2006 9:45 AM

oh no...sorry about the spelling, I meant "Ethiopian"

Naz / April 19, 2006 9:48 AM

Karyn's Cooked! How can I forget! Thanks for dropping that Wendy.

I've been there quite a few times now and it's so good. Certainly better than the Raw restaurant (just not my thing). The Cooked restaurant is in the vein of American comfort foods and the portions are filling but not overly large -- they're perfect.

I'll also agree on the vibe there, it's nice enough for a date or a nice dinner but casual enough for just jeans and a t-shirt as well.

katie / April 19, 2006 10:29 AM

I'm lucky enough to live really really close to 3 of my favorite vegetarian restaurants.

-Alice and Friends (Does anyone know if they have Korean Style BBQ? It has been off the menu for quite sometime.)
-Ras Dashen (I like this place better than Ethiopian Diamond)
-Udupi Palace

spiraljetty / April 19, 2006 10:38 AM

I've heard very good things about Amitabul, the vegan Korean restaurant on 6207 N Milwaukee Avenue. We Koreans love our meat, so I'm glad this place offers another choice.

By the way, the Live Comment Preview is pretty cool.

Naz / April 19, 2006 11:00 AM

The current Amitabul is pretty good --I've only been there once but I loved what I had.

When it was on Southport, I went there a few times hoping to like it with each successive visit but itnever quite hit the mark. I don't quite know what changed (the menu did somewhat) but it's a great option now.

Also on the out west note, Dharma Garden (Irving Park Rd.) for mock meat in your Thai, is pretty good. Tasty.

Naz / April 19, 2006 11:02 AM

P.S. Friend of GB, PJ Chmiel has an excellent Vegan Eating Guide for Chicago.

kate / April 19, 2006 11:28 AM

wow. not much said of Green Zebra....surprising.

eyc / April 19, 2006 11:28 AM

I couldn't resist giving a shameless plug to a couple of great resources for veg*n and veg*n friendly restaurants in Chicago:

and for all of Illinois:

Now for some of my personal faves...
Chicago Diner: philly steak, biscuits and hash plate for brunch
Karyn's Cooked: tofu jerk wrap
Soul Veg: sunday dinner, fried bits
Pick Me Up: french toast and enormous vegan sundaes
Handlebar: wasabi tofu
Amitabul: everything on the menu!
Arya Bhavan: all veg buffet
Ethiopian Diamond: chick pea fish, all the watts
Szechuan Garden: tofu bao, soy gluten chow fun, melody on river
Alice and Friends: kabob, stroganoff

i know i'm missing some but i'm getting too hungry to continue. i really think chicago is second only to nyc in veg restaurants!

Stephen / April 19, 2006 11:29 AM

I'm quite fond of the Chicago Diner and Karyn's Cooked. Handlebar also occupies a special place in my heart (see previous discussion on best sandwiches).

Blind Faith would also make my list but it seems to me that the cost of eating there is significantly higher than other restuarants of equal or better quality. But, their Mongolian Seitan is great!

Justin / April 19, 2006 11:37 AM

I'm going to bookmark this thread.

Sultan's Market, several times a week. Earwax, if only for the vegan cookies. Their Seitan Ruben's pretty good, too. I liked Rodan's rice pudding and whatever it was I ate at the Handlebar. Pacific Caf� has been quiet and friendly. Blind Faith for its generous Macrobiotic Plate. I overate at Chowpatti in Arlington Heights.

VegChicago could be so much better. As could Centerstage.

mike / April 19, 2006 11:51 AM

It's not a restaurant (the once-attached Olive Tree is long gone), but the Middle Eastern Bakery is wonderful and their falafel sandwiches rival the falafel wraps across the street at the wonderfully cheap Taste of Lebanon. I go to both at least once a week.

M. Henry up the street has some veg options, like the Dagwood sandwich. They recently doubled their size but lunch last Saturday still required a half-hour wait.

Leelah / April 19, 2006 11:57 AM

Green Zebra, hands down. It is expensive, but worth it. The menu changes, but there are always too many options.

Soul Veg is fantastic, too.

I once got really ill after eating at Amitabul on Southport.

eyc / April 19, 2006 12:03 PM

ps - is about to undergo an overhaul. Please make suggestions!

Leah W / April 19, 2006 12:04 PM

Soul Veg was great the few times I've been, but it's a ways without a car.

Green Zebra is fab, but it's more special-occasion. I like Lula's for everyday veggie options.

I'd go to Chicago Diner and Blind Faith (I live near the first, work near the second) if not for my general distaste for unmeat.

Oh, and the one time I went to Charlie Trotter's, I got the veggie menu... oh man. Needless to say, it was great, and he's a genius. I still dream of one of the salads, and it was almost two years ago.

Dunl / April 19, 2006 12:08 PM

Handlebar, yeah, definitely; Soul Vegetarian East; Chicago Diner, of course -- though they seem even less consistent since being outed to the non-veggie set on Check, Please! -- but they're still really good when they're good. I've been to Green Zebra once, and I do need to go back: a really good experience, but definitely not a "favorite" in my usual sense (which also involves comfort/familiarity).

Bill / April 19, 2006 12:15 PM

blind faith is great, as well as pick me up, and sultans market, and, as a committed carnivore, i LOVE alice and friends...thats some damn good fake meat.

ill never get why people like handlebar.

and as an interesting note, the BBQ restaurant/bar Horseshoe up on lincoln in ravenswood has a pretty tasty seitan sandwich. its a great way to get your meat on while not feeling guilty about dragging your veggie/vegan friends along...until they watch you rip some flesh off some bone, of course...

Justin / April 19, 2006 12:28 PM

eyc, mix in Centerstage's database magic (neighborhood views, hours, mapping, etc.) and you've got it.

List the venues (dynamically -- let me filter results), show me what they serve, tell me what you think, whether they're open right now, and whether I can walk from the El.

Justin / April 19, 2006 12:29 PM

You list hours. Nevermind. :)

eyc / April 19, 2006 12:53 PM has a google maps mashup of retaurants/grocery stores here.

we're working on the database thing for vegchicago... eventually we should have all that good stuff dynamic and sortable.

thanks for the suggestions!

annie / April 19, 2006 1:34 PM

I can't believe Heartland Cafe wasn't mentioned. I used to live next door and I lived on their veggie chili with brown rice and avocado.

Leo / April 19, 2006 1:41 PM

Y'all have mentioned most of my favorites, but I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Heartland Cafe up in Rogers Park. Great veggie chili (which can be piled on a veggie dog) and BBQ

Mike: the Dagwood sandwich at M. Henry is awesomely delectable. I am now craving one hardcore.

Leo / April 19, 2006 1:45 PM

Y'all have mentioned most of my favorites, but I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Heartland Cafe up in Rogers Park. It's primarily veggie (I think) with some meat options. Great veggie chili (which can be piled on a veggie dog) and BBQ Seitan sandwiches. You do have to put up with some elitist hippies sometimes, who seem to think you're a narc if you're wearing a polo shirt. Little do they know that vegetarians are allowed to shave and shower.

Mike: the Dagwood sandwich at M. Henry is awesomely delectable. I am now craving one hardcore.

Leo / April 19, 2006 1:45 PM

Sorry 'bout the double post.

ben / April 19, 2006 2:01 PM

Lula in Logan Square has a lot of veggie options, and plenty of goodness for us carnivores, too!

Naz / April 19, 2006 2:19 PM

I hear that Schwa (where Lovitt used to be on Ashland) has an all veggie tasting menu, but I haven't tried or been yet. That's high on the list.

I'll also note that The Horseshoe has the best BBQ brunch on Sundays ever (though that is quite the meat extravaganza).

eyc / April 19, 2006 2:42 PM

The former Vegetarian Express Gourmet has re-opened as Veggie Bite, 3031 W. 111th st.

some photos here

the vegan fast food place i've been waiting for: burgers, dogs, nuggets, hot wings, vegan desserts, oh my!

Marc / April 19, 2006 2:44 PM

Also Green Zebra - hands-down.

I'm a fan of Handlebar for their blending of delicious veg food and bike culture.

*drools at the thought of their bbq seitan sandwich

Not a huge fan of Chicago Diner. Both times I've been the food has been kind of bland and crappy.

Been meaning to take a trip to Soul Veg for years now.

jen / April 19, 2006 3:49 PM

the one time i've been to both lula and handlebar have been great, and sultan's is great for the price and proximity to home. ditto earwax, yum!

however, the heartland is overrated. everything i've ever had there is bland, and i've had a bit considering a friend used to waitress there.

and one day i will make it all the way down to soul veg.... one day.
(though the brief time one was open in cleveland i went, and it was just ok.)

and why has no one mentioned joy's noodles in this thread? i pretty much exclusively get tofu at any thai place i go to (also thai eatery and sai mai).

matty / April 19, 2006 4:59 PM

Philly's Best

Carlotta / April 19, 2006 8:20 PM

I may be the only one here who likes Karyn's Bistro, the one on Halsted featuring raw foods. It confounds one's expectations about food. Pricey, but the salad bar, although on the small side, is usually worth it -- esp. if they have almond pate. A luxurious dining room, too.

Speaking of salad bars, might as well mention the venerable RJ Grunts; I wish there were more of them around as there were in the 70's and early 80's.

Lori / April 19, 2006 9:08 PM

Chowpatti International Vegetarian is amazing, way out near Arlington Park, but very much worth the drive.

The menu is HUGE and the indian food I ate was the best I've had. They have a page on their menu specifically devoted to their heat scale. You will feel good having eaten there.

d4ve / April 20, 2006 2:07 AM

With so many options it's hard to choose a favorite!
If i had to absolutely pick one i'd say Chicago Diner because they've come a long way and their food has gotten alot better. The menu has gone from mostly ovo-lacto-vegetarian to mostly vegan and also much more delish. They also reprazent with their support of local groups and community. Oh and they have a cute patio, serve booze, great desserts and the staff is killer. What else do ya need?

jaye / April 20, 2006 9:29 AM

I haven't really found one here that compares to Uptown Juice Bar in NYC - which I completely miss!! But of course Chicago Diner is a staple.

VanMoxie / April 20, 2006 9:52 AM

I was at Chowpatti just a few weeks ago, and it was as good as I remember. Maybe better. I don't go in for fake meats too often, but their veg burger on pita is excellent. No soy or fillers, just vegetables, and they make it there. The veg burrito was peas and spinach and carrots and green beans - not just lettuce and tomato. Wonderful, tasty and fresh food, slow but friendly service, and a huge menu.

amyc / April 20, 2006 10:02 AM

How could I forget Earwax? Their black bean-quinoa burger is the cat's pajamas.

After reading this thread, I'm now curious to try Karyn's Cooked. I had an unpleasant meal at her Raw place (sun-dried tomatoes piled on "bread" that tastes like asphalt is not pizza) several years ago, but I keep hearing good things about the new place.

dave / April 20, 2006 11:09 AM

in no particular order: soul veg, green zebra, chicago diner, blind faith cafe. yum.

alice / April 20, 2006 11:27 AM

I'm surprised no one mentioned uncommon ground- best veggie burger I have ever tasted made from scratch......mmmmmm.

semiriffic! / April 20, 2006 11:37 AM

My fav is Semiramis (Kedzie & Leland), for the tasty, tasty fries and falafel sandwiches. :-)

Naz / April 20, 2006 12:46 PM

Amyc - go to Karyn's Cooked. It's like night and day between the Raw and Cooked. While the Raw restaurant was memorable for other reasons, the food wasn't. The Cooked restaurant is just good, good, good. Be sure to have dessert.

eyc / April 20, 2006 1:58 PM

i have to echo Naz's comment and add that the chef at Karyn's Cooked is/was the head chef at Soul Veg... although Karyn's is pricier you can see the similarities. The tofu jerk wrap and vegan pizza are a couple of my favorites. So for those of you who might have trouble making it out to Soul Veg i think Karyn's Cooked is a pretty good alternate.

Morgan / April 20, 2006 2:10 PM

I eat sultans a few times a week. Earwax is ok, but pretty hit or miss. Everything I've ever had at the Handlebar is amazing.

I miss Watercourse foods in Denver. And Veggie Green Chile. After some searching, I don't think it exists in this city

marge / April 20, 2006 2:17 PM

The deli side of Kaufman's in Skokie makes the best veggie burgers I've ever had! I recommend them highly. Their bagels are pretty good, too.

Chris / April 20, 2006 2:36 PM

It's pretty far south...south of Soul Veg, even, but for vegan fast-food, you gotta check out Vegetarian Fun Food Supreme (1702 E 87th St)! Fake taco bell tacos, burgers, spinach pizza with soy cheese, honey lemonade, honey-peach cobbler, all tremendously yummy and affordable.

It's a long way from the north side (and not in the nicest area of town), so take a friend who has a car.

Last year, they had a booth at the Lincoln Square sidewalk sales...if they come back, go say hi! Really REALLY nice people!

d4ve / April 20, 2006 2:43 PM

Word has it that Tsadakeeah has left Karyn's Cooked and the food is going downhill.

erika / April 20, 2006 4:03 PM

Ras Dashen.
Alice and Friends.
Chicago Diner

flips / April 20, 2006 9:20 PM

I heard that Cousins' on Irving Park is now a raw restaurant and that it's really good. Apparently they have yoga classes there as well... ?

I second (third? fourth?) Dharma Garden but a friend did have a not-so-great experience there.

d4ve / April 20, 2006 10:36 PM

Yo flips,
indeed cousins is vegan and raw now. It's a whole community there now including potlucks, speakers, classes of all types etc. Mehmet, the proprietor is goin crazy over there. Big raw scene building around that place.
Dharma Garden is close to my heart. The service and food are not always consistent but the last time i went we had the best meal ever! I'm a thai food junkie and even though they aren't my fave i still visit often. The menu is freaking HUGE!

PJ Chmiel / April 23, 2006 10:03 AM

Most of the restaurants here are hit or miss, at least with some dishes. I've had great meals and disappointing meals from them all. The ones I go to the most are:

Middle East Bakery (for lunch takeout, much better than the rubbish falafel across the street at Taste of Lebanon)

Ras Dashen (veggie combo, #s 5, 6, 8, 10, 11 and sambusa). Better than Ethio Diamond IMO.

Alice and Friends (Kabob [inexplicably no longer on the menu], Korean BBQ, Donkatsu, etc.

Karyn's Cooked (I like the atmosphere better than Chicago Diner, similar food and prices).

Dharma Garden (great when it's not totally over-sauced, which is too often. Also pushy, weird service here).

Szechuan Garden (tasty, but overpriced for what it is, I rarely go there).

Soul Vegetarian (almost always excellent, service can be good or really bad. BBQ Twist!)

El Faro (great Mexican food with some fake meat options, worth the drive).

I miss: Ethio Cafe (great food, awesome buffet!) and Lucky Kabab (best cheap Indian I've ever had, now of course a condo development).

And I'll never miss an opportunity to say what a pile of crap Victory's Banner is, weird cult atmosphere, mediocre food and next to zero interesting vegan options for a "veg" restaurant.

I have photos and captions for scores of vegan Chicago meals on my website, but it is rarely updated and hasn't had much attention in a year or so (I have about 200 "pending" entries that I've been too lazy/busy to do).

Tiva / April 27, 2006 3:04 PM

If you don't mind travelling to Wisconsin, the dining room at Little Sugar River Farm has great organic meals made with veggies from the farm (and organic meats from off the farm if you're willing to count dead cows as veggies). L'Etoile
is also amazing for locally grown food--some vegetarian, some not.

Paula / July 27, 2006 4:42 PM

Tiva (is that a reference to Frank's farm dog?) - LSFR does have great meals, but they're for guests only, they don't function as a restaurant. Pretty much all of the veggies & fruits are grown at the farm but the meats come from another local farm that raises cows, pigs & sheep.

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