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Vegan Guide to Chicago: The Best Plant-Based Restaurants in The Windy City

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Looking for the best vegan restaurants in Chicago, Illinois? Whether you’re visiting on vacation, traveling through town for work, or a longtime resident, this vegan Chicago guide will show you the best plant-based food options in the city. There are restaurants for every meal and interest—from brunch to dinner, from gourmet to casual comfort food, with plenty of gluten-free, raw, and ethnic options to choose from.

The Windy City, Chi-town, the City of Big Shoulders; Chicago, Illinois has more nicknames than a smalltown yearbook. Home to world-class museums, architecture that defined a movement, and Jazz greats that forever changed the American soundscape, it’s been a cultural epicenter since the early 1900’s. With great innovators and intellectuals comes great food, so it’s no surprise that there’s an incredible culinary scene to match.

Ready to Find The Best of Vegan in Chicago?

What began as a tiny dot on the map, shaped by the iron and steel industry, soon grew to be a destination-worthy metropolis. People of all nationalities and walks of life flocked to the burgeoning urban landscape, bringing with them a diverse array of unique cuisines. That influence is readily seen, and tasted, to this day. Most importantly, there’s a wealth of completely vegan restaurants with offerings that could easily rival Michelin-starred establishments. For every plant-based craving, there’s a place to find it in Chicago.

Like everything in these uncertain times, hours and availability may be up in the air. Some of the vegan restaurants in Chicago have temporarily closed or limited hours due to the pandemic. Double check, call ahead, and confirm with individual establishments before making the trip out.

Fanciful Fine Dining — Gourmet Vegan Restaurants in Chicago

For a special occasion, date night, or simply the desired to indulge in your foodie fantasies, you can get incredible gourmet meals from passionate chefs, elevating the craft to unimaginable heights. Fancy vegan restaurants in Chicago most definitely exist, and they’re calling your name!

Althea

Celebrity vegan chef Matthew Kenney is the mastermind behind this tome to healthy haute cuisine. The dishes are “raw,” or never heated above 104–118°F (40–48°C), making the flavors alive in more ways that one. Even the colors, despite being entirely natural, seem to vibrate off each immaculate plate.

creamy vegan kelp noodle dish from althea raw restaurant in chicago

Fancy Plants Kitchen and Cafe

What starts the day as a casual coffee and sandwich joint transforms into a foodie fantasy at night. These sporadic special event menus are more like intimate dinner parties than a conventional restaurant experience- If you best friend was a gourmet chef, of course. Themes from traditional Italian to whimsical 90’s throwbacks make every experience unique and unforgettable.

Alinea (Not all vegan—but they have a vegan pre-fix menu)

Ranked as one of the best restaurants in the entire world for many years running, it would be a grave injustice to overlook Chef Grant Achatz’s groundbreaking work in molecular gastronomy. Although the entire establishment is not plant-based, a completely vegan pre fixe is easily arranged upon request. When you really want to go all out, this is the place to do it; reservations can go skyward of $350 per person.

Vegan Comfort Food & Soul Food in Chicago

For a taste of home cooking served with a side of nostalgia, look no farther than these universally comforting, crowd-pleasing menus.

The Chicago Diner (Vegan Diner)

If you walk away from the table here hungry, you’ve done something terribly wrong. How could you pass up the opportunity to grab a vegan poutine, smothered in gravy and gooey cheese? Don’t forget the seitan Reuben while you’re at it because it is a classic, after all. Find a friend to try the Monte Cristo sandwich too, because how often can you pick up French toast with your hands and chow down on meatless ham, eggs, and cheese all at the same time? A food coma may follow that kind of feast, but you would only regret leaving without trying a bit of everything.

The Chicago Diner Vegan Milkshakes peanut butter chocolate strawberry
Chicago Diner’s Famous Vegan Milkshakes (photo source: @ChicagoDiner on Instagram)

Upton’s Breakroom

Brought to you by the same company putting out seitan specialties, canned soups, prepared meals, and so much more nationwide, you can expect great things in store. I’m talking about fried bacon mac and cheese, fully loaded nachos, and gut-busting sandwiches. Even if you go on your lunch break, you might need a break after indulging such a monster meal.

vegan mac and cheese takeout in a paper cup from uptons breakroom restaurant in chicago

Soul Veg City (Vegan Soul Food)

Loosen your belt, because you’re going to want to devour everything on the menu at Soul City Veg! From salads to smoothies to vegan pizza, mac and cheese, and their famous vegan shrimp po boy — there’s truly something for everyone here.

Soul Veg City Vegan Soul Food Restaurant in Chicago

Kitchen 17 (Vegan Deep Dish Pizza)

If there’s one food synonymous with Chicago, it’s deep dish pizza. This is the place to get your fill of massive slices loaded with marinara, cheese, and all the toppings you can fit on a pie. If you can’t make it in during your visit, they also sell frozen vegan pizzas online.

Plant Junkie

After just a single hit, you’ll be addicted to these comforting creations inspired by global flavors. Far more nutritious than your average junk food, this is a menu that will satisfy all cravings.

Plant Junkie USA vegan mac cheese broccoli veggie bowl
Photo source: @PlantJunkieUSA via @catchflightseatfeelings on Instagram

The Black Vegan Company (Vegan Soul Food)

For soul food made with heart, look no further than these portobello wings, tangy chicken wraps, and saucy tofu ribs.

Vegan World Cafe

Serving up a heaping helping of soul, ribs, country-fried steak, and meatloaf are just a few of the proteins turning heads and converting omnivores since this cozy, homespun restaurant opened its doors in Cook County. Come hungry and leave room for seconds.

Majani (African & Southern Comfort Food)

Meaning “green leaf” in Swahili, Manjani is a fast-casual homage to African and Southern comfort food. Three locations throughout the city offer the same incredibly hearty plates with jerk tofu, collard greens, mac and cheese, and all the sorrel you can drink.

Sam & Gertie’s (Vegan Jewish Deli)

Matzo ball soup is also know as Jewish penicillin, and they definitely have something to cure what ails you at this New York-style deli. Load up on Eastern European Jewish classics such as knishes, chopped liver, smoked whitefish salad, babka, bagel sandwiches, and latke, all without any animal products.

Wholesome & Healthy Vegan (and Raw) Restaurants in Chicago

Eating well shouldn’t mean sacrificing on great taste. These restaurants know how to serve up whole foods that will make your stomach and tastebuds happy.

Loving Heart Café

You’ll love this compact café known for avocado toasts, buddha bowls, and fruity blends for a quick pick-me-up. It’s a lunchtime hot spot revered for their lighter American and fusion foods.

Loving Heart Cafe Chicago Vegetarian Wraps
Photo source: @LovingHeartChicago

Healthy Substance

Satisfying and substantial, this casual café specializes in Latin staples made from scratch with plant-based whole foods. The tamales are not to be missed, but you can’t go wrong with an oversized burrito any day of the week.

Kale My Name

Kale yeah! There are plenty of green goodies as the name might suggest, but this is no spartan fare. Beyond the salads and soup, their brunch menu has won accolades and awards as the best in town.

Conscious Plates (Alkaline Food)

Beginning life as a pop-up that proved to have staying power, emphasis is placed on alkalizing foods and a more holistic approach to wellness overall. Fajita fries and oyster “wings” make the path to health a delicious one, indeed.

B’Gabs Goodies

From life coach to caterer and now restauranteur, Chef Gabrielle Darvassy approaches food with health in mind. Emphasizing fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, and seeds, everything is minimally processed to stay as nutritious as possible.

Chicago Raw (Vegan Raw Food Restaurant)

Hold the heat! Living plant-based foods designed to nourish the body and feed the soul are ready to grab-and-go. You can also pre-order weekly meal plans to put healthy eating on autopilot.

Zest Raw Vegan Eats (Raw)

Both a café and culinary school, you can get an education on raw foods just by enjoying an uncooked meal on site. Look into getting certified as a raw vegan chef with their in-depth curriculum if you’re hungry to learn more.

Uncooked (Raw Vegan Restaurant)

Bright, bold, raw superfoods star on this fresh menu. Five different pickup spots make it easy to stay fueled and revived throughout a busy day of work, play, or eating well.

City Press Juice

Good to the last drop, recharge with cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and acai bowls. Enjoy blends inspired by classic cocktails to detox without drinking alcohol in the first place.

Vegan Fast Food Restaurants in Chicago

Hungry and in a hurry? No worries! You can quickly grab a vegetarian bite to eat that’s sure to satisfy. You can also visit our vegan fast food restaurant guide to see your vegan options at generic fast food and chain restaurants in the US.

Stand-Up Burgers

Grab a burger, fries, and milkshake without any delay from one of two locations within the city. Created by the same masterminds behind Veggie Grill, you can rest assured that everything really does taste as good as it looks.

Kal’ish

Fried chicken seems to be having a moment, and these “clucker” sandwiches, nuggets, and strips are all serious contenders. Go “naked” with just a dipping sauce or dress up your chick with a leafy green salad; there’s no wrong way to chicken out.

Native Foods

Imported from Southern California, this small chain has taken root in four different Chicago locations. Grab a burger, sandwich, or bowl while you’re on the go; there’s something for the whole family here.

Fry Like an Eagle

Spread your [cauliflower] wings and fry! Roosting inside of Logan Arcade, this fun snack stand focuses on meatless hot dogs and, of course, all sorts of extra-crispy deep-fried delights.

The Updog Stand (Vegan Hot Dog Stand)

Hidden as a pickup and delivery outpost only, you might glance over the menu without realizing these are completely plant-based hot dogs, along with all the fixings. Get the classic “dragged through the garden” or go wild with creamy corn elote as a topper for only $6 each.

International Attractions

The word “melting pot” could be used to describe the diverse flavors found within the city proper, but that does a disservice to the distinct individual cultures celebrated in their own rights. Get a taste of the world without leaving city limits thanks to these establishments that pay homage to manifold origins.

Alice and Friends’ Vegan Kitchen

Don’t be thrown off by the wonderland theme; you won’t fall down any rabbit holes while perusing the extensive menu of pan-Asian options. Only someone mad as a hatter would leave without a bowl of wonton soup, but it’s hard to resist the satay skewers, curries, noodles, and more.

Fons Empanadas (America’s 1st Vegan Empanada Shop)

Brightly colored pastry wraps each of these handmade vegan empanadas, stuffed with everything from sweet potato chili to margarita pizza ingredients. Don’t forget to snag a sweet apple cinnamon or chocolate and banana empanada for dessert before you go.

Amitabul (Vegan Korean Buddhist Restaurant)

A rare opportunity to taste authentic Buddhist Korean cuisine, there’s simply no better choice for bi bim bop, tofu mandoo, or a diverse range of savory vegetable pancakes. Pro tip: Ask for extra kimchi with everything, which they make from scratch and ferment in-house.

Vegan Plate and Urban Vegan (Vegan Thai Food)

Thai it, you’ll like it! Enjoy classic Pad Thai and spring rolls with peanut sauce with upscale ambiance for an affordable night on the town. Traditional tofu is always available, but you can splurge on more exciting proteins like soy shrimp, soy pepper steak, or soy chicken nuggets, too.

Vegan Plate Chicago Food photo
Photo source: @VeganPlate_Chicago

Art of Dosa (Vegan Indian Restaurant)

Impossibly thin, crisp, and visually stunning, properly made dosa really are works of art. True masters of their craft, cooks at this humble stall located in Revival Food Hall wrap and roll incredible combinations featuring this classic flatbread every day of the week.

Arya Bhavan (Vegan Indian Food)

Enjoy aromatic tikka masala, palak paneer, and mango lassi without worrying about accidental dairy or meat. These Indian staples are all guaranteed vegan! Double up on the garlic naan, because you’ll want extra to soak up every drop of those rich sauces.

Bloom

Flourishing in Wicker Park, raw, cooked, and allergy-aware options invite eaters of all stripes to get a bite from across the globe. Start with choux au poivre and end with flan; you’ll get a world tour without ever leaving your seat.

I’m Vegan (Vegan Thai Restaurant)

They tell it to you upfront in the name, but you still might be surprised that such rich Thai dishes are truly plant-based. Never fear, there’s no fish sauce in the curry nor egg in the fried noodles here!

Sugar Rush: Vegan Bakeries & Ice Cream Shops in Chicago

Go ahead: eat dessert before dinner. When faced with so many irresistible sweet choices, it’s really the only rational thing to do. If you can’t make it to one of these sweet spots, check out these vegan bakeries that will ship to your doorstep!

Liberation Donuts (Vegan Donut Shop)

Free your tastebuds at Chicago’s first vegan-owned donut shop. Slinging fried rings since 2020, 50% of sales benefit Shelter Farm Sanctuary, so you might as well go in for at least a dozen. It’s for a good cause!

Sweet Vegan Bakes (Vegan Bakery & Quick Serve Lunch Spot)

Cakes, cookies, and donuts are just the cherry on top of Chef Cheryl’s edible empire. Though best known for all things frosted and sugar-coated, there are wraps, sandwiches, and other healthy meals to savor here too.

Vaca’s Creamery (Vegan Ice Cream Shop in Chicago)

Don’t have a cow! These frozen treats are all dairy-free and include a wide variety of fun toppings to chose from. Get soft serve ice cream in a cup, cone, or spun into a shake, but don’t forget to add extras like peanut butter magic shell, toasted marshmallows, or confetti cookie dough to make it special.

Ingrained (Gluten-Free Vegan Bakery)

It’s hard to believe, but all the mouthwatering cinnamon rolls, bars, truffles, and more are vegan, gluten-free, AND refined sugar-free. Now that’s a mouthful of guilt-free indulgence!

Ready to Plan A Vegan Chicago Adventure?

Come to Chicago for the sights and sounds but stay for the food. There’s so much to eat, it’s worth a trip for the incredible culinary creations alone.

More Vegan City Guides:

We hope you enjoyed this guide sharing the best vegan restaurants Chicago, Illinois has to offer! If we missed any of your favorite vegan Chicago restaurants, please do show them some love in the comments below.

Many thanks to Hannah Kaminsky for her tremendous research and help with this article. Many of the plant-based restaurant photos in this city guide were taken by Hannah. This article may contain affiliate links that support our work at World of Vegan.

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9 comments
  1. Can’t wait to try some of these places when I get the chance to visit Chicago

    • Excellent! When you visit, make sure to let us know which places were your favorites or if you found anything new!

  2. Need to travel to Chicago ASAP! So many yummy places to try out!

  3. I love these guides! It definitely gives me more motivation to travel in the future. So many restaurants to add to my list! Yay!

  4. Can’t wait to go to Chicago and try some of these spots, esp Chicago Diner and Urban Vegan! YUM!!

  5. Try 100% Naturalisimo in Berwyn

  6. You missed so many others.
    Casa Yari – Latin Fusion
    Forastero Restaurant – Korean Mexican Fusion
    Quesadilla Reyna Del Sur -Mexican
    True Foods- American
    And so many others than are way better than some on your list!