Enjoy the bounty of Chicago's vegetarian and vegan restaurant sceneEnjoy the bounty of Chicago’s vegetarian and vegan restaurant scene — Photo courtesy of hsyncoban / Getty Images

Menus and entire restaurants dedicated to plant-based, vegetarian and vegan cuisine are proliferating nationwide, and Chicago is no exception. Whether you want to improve your own health or get on board to build a healthier, more sustainable world, we’re spilling the beans about impressive plant-based, vegan, and vegetarian dining in the the city once known as “Hog Butcher for the World.”

Native Foods Cafe

Native Foods offers global flavors across its menu of 100% plant-based dishesNative Foods offers global flavors across its menu of 100% plant-based dishes — Photo courtesy of Jacky Runice

218 South Clark St. 60604 | (312) 332-6332

1023 West Belmont Ave. 60657 | (773) 549-4904

Since 1994, Native Foods has been dishing 100% plant-based, made-from-scratch meals that are so flavorful that vegans, vegetarians, veg-curious and “flexitarians” (those of us who want to eat less meat but can’t fully commit) can all say, “Ahh, this is great.” These vegan fast-casual cafes will make you forget about the “Bell” when you order a “Munchwrap Supreme” with plant-based taco meat and cheese sauce, avocado, salsa fresca, lettuce, and creamy chipotle sauce in a flour tortilla.

Leaning Middle Eastern today? Get shawarma-style chickpeas and cauliflower in a bowl or wrap, mixed with creamy tahini, quinoa, arugula, tomato-cuke salad, and herbs. The Chef’s Monthly Special could be a plant-based chicken Parm sandwich or a Banh Mi.

There are all-day breakfast options — like spicy chicken tenders, burgers, and bowls; lots of sides; and fabulous sweets, like beignets, peanut butter parfait, and an oatmeal creme pie cookie stack that will lure you back in for another go at vegan food.

Another plus? It’s reasonably priced. Visit in Lakeview or the Loop.

Don Bucio’s Taqueria

Enjoy asada, al pastor, chorizo con papa, and birria tacos – all plant-basedEnjoy asada, al pastor, chorizo con papa, and birria tacos – all plant-based — Photo courtesy of Don Bucio’s Taqueria

2763 N. Milwaukee Ave. 60647 | (773) 770-9239

Chicago has scads of Mexican eateries, but there’s a whole new way to enjoy the beloved cuisine at the 100% plant-based Don Bucio’s Taqueria, which opened in 2023. Executive Chef Gustavo Ocampo offers burritos, tortas, and tacos with classic and blue corn tortillas handmade to order. The Asada taco replaces beef with forest mushrooms and adds salsa macha, cilantro, onions, and radishes. The Trompo Al Pastor taco is a mix of root vegetables, legumes, onion, cilantro, and pineapple escabeche.

Other menu notables include the Nopal Milanesa Torta and plant-based chicharrones, traditionally made of pork! Stop in the Logan Square restaurant for Taco Tuesday, happy hour, and lunch specials and to peruse the tequila and mezcal list.

1308 Chicago

1308 Chicago features Southern-inspired comfort food with an emphasis on vegetarian cuisine1308 Chicago features Southern-inspired comfort food with an emphasis on vegetarian cuisine — Photo courtesy of 12.16 Photography & Concepts

1308 N. Elston Ave. 60642 | (773) 658-3139

If you’ve seen the ginormous Morton Salt sign from I-94, you know where the city’s emerging Salt District is located along the north branch of the Chicago River. When award-winning engineer Kimberly Moore moved her firm to the area from downtown, there was a dearth of food options for her employees so she and a handful of entrepreneurs opened a restaurant, 1308 Chicago, featuring Southern-inspired comfort grub with a hearty dose of vegetarian and vegan options.

The Black-owned and woman-owned restaurant features scratch-made food from buns to ketchup, with the menu changing seasonally under Chef Matt Condon. While meatheads can order crispy pork chop sandwiches, butter burgers, and miso-glazed roast chicken, their vegetarian pals can sup upon hot-water cornbread, fried Brussels sprouts with honey mustard, pea and cauliflower agnolotti, and carrots and grits with dukkah and sherry. Tasty cocktails, beer, and wine appeal to all palates.


Aba's muhammara manages to be smoky, spicy, slightly sweet, and very savoryAba’s muhammara manages to be smoky, spicy, slightly sweet, and very savory — Photo courtesy of Jeff Marini

302 N. Green St. 60607 | (773) 645-1400

Chef CJ Jacobson “sails” on the Mediterranean, stopping at Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, and Greece, to produce the menu at Aba. Make a meal of marinated olives and warm bread, with spreads made of whipped feta; charred eggplant enlivened with house yogurt and lemon; and smoky muhammara made with roasted peppers, isot chili, walnuts, and tart pomegranate molasses.

There’s plenty for meat and seafood eaters, but you can enjoy a feast of flavor via healthy veggie options, like heirloom tomato orzo with roasted eggplant; grilled cauliflower kebabs, festooned with medjool dates, red onion, turmeric, and tzatziki; and Brussels sprouts, elevated by almond and cashew dukkah and harissa honey.

Find impressive vegetarian choices at sister restaurant Ēma in River North, another Mediterranean spot that’ll have the meat eaters at the table eyeing plant-based plates with envy. Hot mezze is a carnival of voluptuous vegetarian options: crispy potatoes, spiked with Greek cheese and rosemary; green falafel with beet tzatziki; smoky carrots roasted with garlic and dukkah; pan-roasted Romanesque cauliflower; and asparagus farro warmed with brown butter and showered with Parmesan and chives. Consider Ēma and Aba for brunch too.

Bloom Plant Based Kitchen

The space at Bloom is as sunny as the foodThe space at Bloom is as sunny as the food — Photo courtesy of Kinship

1559 N. Milwaukee Ave. 60622 | (312) 363-3110

As the name indicates, the entire menu at Bloom Plant Based Kitchen in Wicker Park is plant-based — and gluten-free! Chef Rodolfo Cuadros infuses the sunny flavors of Latin America into Bloom’s menu. He wrangles cashews into a cultured “cheese” board with papadum crackers and house pickles; transforms daikon into zesty bulgogi; and performs some chef sorcery on banana blossoms, turning them into “crab” cakes. Dessert interpretations like matcha cheesecake and tiramisu are transformative. If not, there are cocktails, ciders, kombuchas, and wine that’ll do the trick.

Planta Queen

Kitchen wizards at Planta Queen prepare beautiful, flavorful vegan foodKitchen wizards at Planta Queen prepare beautiful, flavorful vegan food — Photo courtesy of Harold Rail

413 N. Clark St. 60654 | (630) 691-7238

You don’t have to settle for a sad salad or the ubiquitous pasta primavera at Planta Queen, which offers an artfully creative plant-based menu that is so tempting even meat eaters put this restaurant on their usual rotation. Focusing on Asian-inspired cuisine from sushi to dumplings and noodles, the River North restaurant also wows in decor, ambience, and expert service. Truffle Fried Rice, Dan Dan Noodles, Mapo Mushroom, Bang Bang Broccoli and Cauliflower Tots are certifiable flavor bombs. And what the kitchen does with sushi might be magic. Specials include Maki Mondays, half-price bottles of wine on Wednesdays, and endless mimosas during weekend brunch.

80 Proof

A fun bar with a dedicated vegan menu? Get it at 80 ProofA fun bar with a dedicated vegan menu? Get it at 80 Proof — Photo courtesy of Four Corners

1500 N. Wells St. 60610 | (773) 966-0404

Your friends want drinks and bar food, so you’ll be eating sweet potato fries yet again unless you make it over to Old Town’s 80 Proof. Expect classics for omnivores like smash burgers, wings, and fish tacos and a separate menu of vegan bar food. Highlights include mac ‘n’ cheese made with cashew cheddar, nachos with carnitas jackfruit and feisty vegan toppings, burritos, tacos, “meatball” subs, banh mi sandwiches, and a double chocolate brownie. Hang out on the outdoor patio or any of three full bars and return for weekend brunch.


Morel (malai) with parmesan yakhni, asparagus, walnut and bianchetti truffleMorel (malai) with parmesan yakhni, asparagus, walnut and bianchetti truffle — Photo courtesy of Kristen Mendiola

217 W. Huron St. 60654 | (312) 291-9427

Indian restaurants are an easy go-to for vegetarians with so many starters, snacks, and main dishes that star vegetables. For an elegant, sensual Indian cuisine dining experience, make a reservation at Indienne, where Chef Sujan Sarkar has devised progressive, multicourse tasting menus, as well as à la carte options for meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans. You’ll be amazed at the culinary alchemy of vegetables like parsnips, peas, and sweet potatoes made into delicious works of art. Don’t forget sides, such as fragrant garlic nan and saffron rice. Opt for the wine pairing and feast like a maharaja.


Count all the kinds of plant goodness in Beatrix' mushroom teriyaki bowlCount all the kinds of plant goodness in Beatrix’ mushroom teriyaki bowl — Photo courtesy of Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants

834 West Fulton Market 60607 | (312) 733-0370 (multiple locations)

The coffeehouse-meets-restaurant concept is a sure thing for its healthy menu, fresh-squeezed juices, and inviting coffee and pastry counter. Discover freshly made items, like Apple Vegan Spoon Muffins and Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Whether you’re wandering around the Loop, River North, Fulton Market, Streeterville, or Oakbrook, pair a Beatrix breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a tall glass of Power Greens or a Blue Boost.

Breakfast could look like 10-Grain Oatmeal and Light Lemon Pancakes, plus tons of modern egg dishes for those who partake. Lunch lasts until 4 p.m., so indulge in snacks, like hot-honey Brussels spouts to loaded guacamole — or how about a bowl of vegan tortilla soup? There is an impressive array of salads, flatbreads, sandwiches, and entrees for lunch and dinner.

Vegetarians will go for a mushroom quinoa burger or a wild mushroom teriyaki bowl. Treat yourself to the coffee bar, which showcases rich house blends from Beatrix Coffee Roasters.

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