Best Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurants in Charlotte, NC

Best Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurants in Charlotte, NC

Looking for the most delicious and best vegan restaurants in Charlotte? Our guide has you covered! From top notch Mexican restaurants in Charlotte NC to the dearly beloved Sanctuary Bistro. Whether you’re just looking for a quick food truck meal or you’re craving a more elegant experience, Charlotte has it all!

A big city with a small-town vibe, Charlotte, North Carolina will make you feel right at home. Originally named after Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III, this bustling city with over 2.5 million people also features plenty of vegan eats. From dedicated 100% plant-based restaurants to mainstream eateries offering an abundance of alternative options, finding great vegan restaurants in Charlotte is as easy as 1-2-3!

Visit during the summer to take advantage of the mild weather, ideal for exploring the brilliant botanical gardens and public parks that color the urban landscape with lush blossoms and verdant foliage. It’s also the place to go for sports fans to cheer on their favorite teams, including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. Step outside of the stands to take in the beautiful, historical architecture, some of which has been meticulously preserved since the founding of the city in 1768. All that exploration is bound to leave you awed, inspired, and probably more than a little bit hungry. With Charlotte’s booming culinary scene, you’ll find a wide range of dining experiences to satisfy every possible craving. These are the best of the bunch, serving up dishes truly fit for a queen.

Vegan Soul Food & Comfort Food

You can’t spell vegan restaurants in Charlotte without vegan comfort food! These time-honored classics that evoke cravings for nostalgia define the American culinary landscape.

  • Oh My Soul: Ask locals about their favorite restaurants, and Oh My Soul is likely to come up as a top recommendation. It’s hard to categorize for the incredibly diverse, daunting menu that spans from French toast to mozzarella “stix,” nachos to BBQ seitan ribs, and even boozy milkshakes to wash it all down. There’s always room for more in the bright patio space, so invite your friends or make new ones there to get a taste of everything. Don’t miss the South African specials that homage to owner Tallulah Duffin’s homeland, too.
  • Bean Vegan Cuisine: As one of the oldest vegan restaurants in Charlotte, Bean has truly stood the test of time. Visitors and regulars alike swoon over the wide range of comfort foods, including BBQ, bratwurst, Reuben sandwiches, meatloaf, crab cakes, and even pimento cheese. If you are in the mood for breakfast, drop by on Saturday or Sunday for crisp waffles and rich tofu scrambles. You can even do some grocery shopping in their quaint market for one-stop satisfaction.
  • Eastside Local: Take a step inside this cozy café and you’ll instantly feel at home. Soups, salads, burgers, and biscuits are all easy to love, with a variety of healthy and hearty options to perfectly suit your mood. Relax on the garden patio while sipping on some locally roasted coffee to fully take in the scene.
  • The Wicked Vegans: Grab a wicked good sandwich from this women-owned food truck that doesn’t mess around when it comes to their meatless mains. Cheezeburgers, buffalo wings, and BBQ keep customers coming back for more, in addition to their “crack mac,” described by many fervent fans as the best vegan mac and cheeze ever.
  • The Best of Both Souls: For the best fried chicken in town, you must visit The Best of Both Souls. Even omnivores are shocked to learn that these crispy tenders, patties, and nuggets are completely meatless. These wings really were made for frying!
  • Soul Miner’s Garden: Roaming the streets of the Queen City and surrounding areas in a modest food truck, everyone from near and far can take comfort in these elevated comfort foods. You can often find them parked nearby wine bars, so the fresh fair naturally pairs beautifully with a glass of vino- Or a mocktail. Indulge in loaded nachos, chickenless salad wraps, and “Shroomin’ Philly” sandwiches.
  • Vegan Eats CLT: This all-vegan ghost kitchen is for pickup and delivery only. On a nice day, take your wangz and thangz out to the park and savor every bite. Don’t forget a glass of sweet tea to beat the heat.
oh my soul south african vegan soul food restaurant in charlotte north carolina
Oh My Soul food photo source: @OhMySoulUSA on Instagram

Black-Owned Restaurants in Charlotte, NC

Home to a large population of Black chefs from various diaspora, you’re not going to want to miss out on these highly esteemed eateries!

  • Dees Vegan To Go Café: Family owned and operated with focus on locally sourced fresh ingredients, Dee’s will happily feed you from breakfast to dinner, with plenty of snacks in between. Enjoy hot pasta, cool salads, and thick sandwiches on site or on your way out the door. These meals were made to travel.
  • Exposed Vegan: Dedicated to exposing vegan myths, like the tired trope that vegans only eat salads, this takeout-only restaurant leads by example with fresh, wholesome, and accessible foods to feed a diverse community. While that may sound austere, the gooey vegan chocolate chip cookies, nacho bowl, and loaded sweet potatoes beg to differ.
  • Romeo’s Vegan Burgers: For a classic lineup of burgers, fries, and milkshakes, look no further than Romeo’s. If food is your love language, these thick, meatless patties are pure romance.
  • Sun Burger Vegan Cuisine: Despite the name, burgers aren’t the stars on this menu. Rather, the plantain panini, Rasta Reuben, and BBQ jerk jackfruit sliders tend to steal the show. Offerings change frequently which makes it tough to describe exactly what to expect. Come hungry and with an open mind; you won’t be disappointed.
  • Ve-Go: “Ve-Go” means vegan food on the go. Best known for their skills in large-scale catering, they also provide personal meal prep, and most importantly, pop up at various events for everyone to get a taste of their culinary creations. Follow their social media to see where they’re stopping next.
  • Veltree: On a mission to provide plant-based food that feeds not only the body, but also the soul, Veltree is accomplishing that goal with chic’n drumsticks, ribz, jerk chic’n, and mac n’ cheeze. It’s been so successful that a sister restaurant, Vtree, has since opened in Hollywood, CA.
  • Zizi’s Vegan Food Truck: Reimagining comfort food as healthier options with the same bold, savory flavors, this mobile vender pops up at events across the city and is also available for private parties. Beyond the usual sandwiches and salads, you can try something more adventurous like jerk jackfruit, eggplant curry, and spicy creamed spinach for a delicious change of pace.
veltree vegan fried chicken in charlotte
Veltree Vegan Fried Chicken (photo credit: Veltree on Facebook)

Upscale Eateries

Pack your good shoes and hit the scene in style! These are the best vegan restaurants in Charlotte for a fancy celebration, romantic date, or greater culinary inspiration.

  • Sanctuary Bistro: Berkeley, CA lost a legend when this Bay Area native picked up and move to the opposite coast. Now this bangin’ bistro is regarded as one of the best vegan restaurants in Ballantyne, an upscale Charlotte neighborhood. Gourmet delicacies like elaborate charcuterie boards, broccoli and bacon soufflés, eggplant cannelloni, and portobello Rockefeller defy the boundaries for conventional plant-based cuisine.
  • Fern: Meat-eaters and vegans alike are drawn to this chef-driven menu of new American classics and international cuisine. The dining room, patio, and full bar provide the perfect environment for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Still as popular as when it first hit the scene in 2011, reservations are recommended to save your seat during prime time.
  • Living Kitchen: This hot spot for raw and lightly cooked cuisine offers a little bit of everything, both traditional and avant-garde, from pizza to burgers, pad Thai to sushi. Visit at any time of day for a deeply nourishing meal or check out the grab-and-go options to take with you to enjoy later.
  • Plant Joy: Sprouting from what was originally a meal delivery service, this fresh Mediterranean fare will have you jumping for joy. Each order looks like a rainbow on a plate, putting vegetables first to celebrate their naturally rich flavors. That means falafel nachos, meatless gyro, and veggie kabobs that are as beautiful as they are delicious.
sanctuary bistro fried mushrooms dish
Sanctaury Bistro’s Fried Mushroom Dish (photo credit: @SanctuaryBistro on instagram)

Spice Up Your Life

There’s a whole world of flavors packed inside these city limits, guaranteed to satisfy your wanderlust without even booking a plane ticket. From the simmer sauces of India to the curries of Thailand, mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns of Chinese stir-fries and subtle seasoning in Vietnamese pho, heat up your next meal with some global cuisine.

  • Ma Ma Wok: At a glance, the menu looks pretty standard for most Chinese restaurants; lo mein, sweet and sour fish, steak with broccoli, sesame chicken, and all the other staples. Look closer, though, and you’ll see that all these meats are plant-based, offering a rare taste of these savory delights. There are easily 100 or more unique entrees to chose from, and nothing is off limits.
  • Loving Hut: One of the fastest-growing International vegan fast-food chains with over 200 branches worldwide, this outpost is located inside the Golden Green Hotel. You’ll find a mixture of American and Asian-fusion dishes to satisfy a wide range of cravings. Want vegan pizza with a side of spring rolls and cheesecake for dessert? No problem! Just say the word, and you’ll get speedy service with a smile.
  • Jyoti’s World Cuisine: When you can’t decide what to eat for dinner, pull up a chair at Jyoti’s table, and you’re bound to find something delicious. Dishes span the globe, including Indian baingan bartha, Indonesian Laksa with jackfruit, the North African stew with vegan sausage and the Korean Japchae with tofu. No matter what you have for your main course, do NOT leave without trying dessert. Where else can you find vegan halo halo and tres leches, all under one roof?
  • Chaat ‘N’ Dosa: For a hearty snack or satisfying meal, you can’t beat this incredibly affordable Indian street food. Few dishes ring up over $7, and almost everything can be made vegan on request. When in doubt, order another plate. No one will regret having leftovers for tomorrow.
  • Be Vegan: This ghost kitchen is delivering the goods on Italian-Indian fusion. That means tikka masala penne, plus more traditional offerings from each unique cuisine.

Light, Living, and Healthy Foods

Eating fresh, whole foods doesn’t have to be a raw deal—unless that’s what you’re looking for in the first place! These are some of the freshest vegan restaurants in Charlotte!

  • Green Brothers Juice Company: Refreshing cold-pressed juices make it easy to stay hydrated and happy while you’re out sightseeing, working, or simply treating yourself. Each blend of whole fruits and vegetables is surprisingly low calorie, making it a smart way to stave off sweet cravings.
  • Living Kitchen: Proving that you don’t have to be vegan to eat vegan, people from all walks of life gather in this modern, clean dining room to dig into sweet potato sushi, nacho burgers, and cauliflower masala with relish. It makes eating healthy second nature, because it tastes so good that you wouldn’t want it any other way.
  • Smooth Monkey: If you’re not the type to money with your health, you’ll probably go ape for this smooth primate. Of course, no one would give you the side eye if you wanted to throw some Oreos or chocolate chips into your blend. Everything starts with fresh fruits, whether you want a creamy drink or spoonable açai bowl. Just be aware that not everything is vegan, so you’ll want to select non-dairy milks and steer clear of honey, conventional dairy milk, and bacon.
  • Frutta Bowls: Think beyond açai; build your own bowl with a base of the classic Brazilian fruit, pitaya (dragon fruit), or kale at this rapidly expanding chain. Vegan options are clearly marked, so you can mix and match your favorite fresh topping to make it your own.

Coffee Break

Whether you want to relax or recharge, coffee is the answer. Never worry about finding dairy-free alternatives to lighten your latte again because there are robust vegan options brewing across the city. 

  • Queen City Grounds: Rise and shine like royalty with more than your average cup of Joe. Beyond the hand-crafted drinks, you’ll find a wealth of vegan eats that include avocado toast, breakfast sandwiches, burritos, and bagels.
  • Smelly Cat: The quirky name belies the serious approach to meticulously harvesting and roasting coffee, treating every cup as both an art and a science. Even if you’re not big on the beans, you should still stop by for a vegan cookie or bagel. Ask for help picking out the plant-based treats, since not everything here follows suit.
  • Rosie’s Coffee & Wine Garden: There’s no shortage of non-dairy milk options to lighten your latte, and the bakery case is well-stocked with treats specifically marked as vegan, such as muffins and scones

Vegan Bakeries, Donuts, Ice Cream, & Desserts in Charlotte

Don’t just save the best for last; take a bite out of life and indulge your cravings when they hit! You won’t regret a single sugar-coated, sprinkle-covered, or chocolate-dipped bite from these sweet spots.

  • Pepperbox Doughnuts: It takes hard work and dedication to raise these yeasted babies every day, starting at 2am for each fresh batch. Go early and often to get your hands on these dangerously light, chewy treats because they DO sell out regularly. With creative flavors like mango habanero, baklava, and Oreo cheesecake, it’s not hard to understand the craze.
  • Suarez Bakery: Baking from scratch since 1992, there’s always a short but sweet selection of vegan treats, especially when it comes to the doughnuts, from apple fritters to pretzel twists.
  • Sugar Donuts: Voted the #1 donuts in Charlotte, you can choose from an assortment of vegan flavors by the dozen, or grab one on the go that can even be topped with dairy-free gelato.
  • Cinnaholic: Roll on over to craft your own vegan cinnamon roll, complete with all the frosting flavors and sweet toppings you can dream of. This national chain has been winning over sweet teeth everywhere with tender spiced spirals and decadent adornments like cookie dough, vegan brownie pieces, vegan marshmallows, and candied nuts.
  • Sunflower Baking Company: Four convenient locations provide a wholly separate vegan menu of small batch, homemade pastries and breads. The cupcakes especially get rave reviews, with regularly rotating flavors, so every visit is a different taste adventure.
Vegan Cinnaholic Rolls Photo with frosting cookie dough and chocolate chipsVegan Cinnaholic Rolls Photo with frosting cookie dough and chocolate chips
Cinnaholic Cinnamon Rolls With Frosting, Vegan Cookie Dough, and Chocolate Chips (photo by Michelle Cehn)

Dairy-Free & Vegan Ice Cream in Charlotte

  • Artisen Gelato: Scooping up super-premium gelato like you’ve only dreamed of before, you may need to pinch yourself because these ultra-creamy, decadent flavors are all dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, and nut-free. If you can only get one dessert… Get a triple scoop. You’ll only regret not getting more.
  • Title Belt Frozen Desserts: This all-vegan ice cream pop-up is knocking out the competition with bold, oat-based frozen treats that are inspired by the seasons.
Artisan Vegan Ice Cream Birthday Cake in Charlotte
Artisan Gelato Vegan Ice Cream Cake (photo credit Artisan Gelato on Facebook)

When you are considering where to go on your next vacation, don’t forget to include Charlotte, North Carolina, in your itinerary. This city in the South has plenty of charm, word-class restaurants, sports to watch and play, and historic attractions, all of which make it well worth a visit.

More Vegan City Guides:

We hope you enjoyed this guide sharing the best vegan restaurants in Charlotte, North Carolina! If we missed any of your favorite Charlotte vegetarian restaurants, we invite you to highlight them in the comments below. Many thanks to Hannah Kaminsky for her help with this article. This article may contain affiliate links that support our work at World of Vegan at no extra cost to you. Thanks for stopping by, and we hope to see you again!

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