With Eater Chicago’s inaugural meat week ending last week, it’s only natural to share a round up of vegetarian restaurants in Chicago that serve exceptional meat free meat. Meat alternatives are definitely getting better as the years go by and restaurants are utilizing products from companies such as Gardien and Upton’s Naturals on their menus to entice vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Some restaurants even make their own meat alternatives.
Tofu step aside; we’ve scoured menus across the city to find the best meatless meat. An oxymoron? Perhaps. But you just might be fooled by how real some of these veggie meats taste.
This list is in no particular order.
Quesadilla Del Rena Sur: A nondescript, independent, BYO Mexican restaurant on Western Avenue that dishes up pages full of exceptional traditional Mexican cuisine with a vegetarian twist. Order the super burrito, Garibaldi style. The “steak” is tender, juicy and satisfying. Feeling frisky? Top it with some vegan cheese for a massive suizo style treat.
Karyn’s on Green: With rumors swirling and a supporting article in Crain’s Chicago of the potential sale of Karyn’s vegan fine dining spot on Green Street, it’s worth noting her crab cakes are the real deal. If the word on the street is true, let’s hope Karyn adds this iconic dish to the menu at her other cooked concept. One bite and you’ll be dumfounded.
Handlebar Café: Visit this hipsteresque vegetarian café and bar for a killer buffalo chicken wrap, complete with vegan mayo. Order a side of fried pickles and ranch and head to the back patio. So tasty, even the most die-hard meat eaters will rejoice.
Urban Vegan: This BYO Thai concept has two Chicago locations that whip up crave-worthy grub without the use of any animal products. The orange chicken is intriguing and so is the green Thai curry with soy chicken. Eat your way through the menu without making a dent in your wallet.
Dimos Pizza: How about some chorizo seitan on your pizza pie? Try it on Dimos signature vegan Hawaiian pizza or add it a la cart to your own creation. Vegan Chicago Pizza, why not? What’s next, a meatless Chicago style hot dog?
Chicago Diner: Some of the best chicken (less) wings in the city. Naturally, these are boneless, which is a plus. Order them buffalo style with a side of housemade ranch and a few pickle spears. Who would have thought deep fried bread could taste so much like chicken?
Kitchen 17 : Vegan Gyro? You’ve got to be kidding. No, really, we’re not. This award-wining meat free sandwich is a must. Bring a bottle of ouzo and chow down at this Lakeview vegan BYO. Eat gluten free? The loaded nachos with soy taco meat are muy bueno.
The Original Soul Vegetarian: Though the thought of TVP may bring chills to your bones, leave lunchroom nightmares behind and sink your teeth into OSV’s Garvey burger. Made with TVP and topped with grilled onions, mushrooms, mustard and bbq sauce. This burger is one of their most popular items.
Pick Me Up Café: Conveniently located near the Wrigleyville bar scene, Pick Me Up Cafe is open until the wee hours of the night. Eating veg fare until 4 in the morning isn’t your thing? Then head over during regular hours for a vegan Pizza Grinder made with seitan, grilled veggies, and marinara, topped with melted vegan mozzarella cheese.
Native Foods Café: Vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers flock into Native Foods for their fast casual American vegan fare. The Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger topped with caramelized onions, bacon, BBQ sauce, ranch dressing and veggies finished with crunchy battered dill pickle chips have your taste buds screaming, “Yee-haw!”
Did we leave anything out? Drop us a line below!
As a meat eater but also trying to eat more veggies, this is an interesting post. My favorite meatless meat place was Alice’s. It was awesome and it would have satisfied any meat eater. Now I have a number of new places to try.
Thanks Peter! What is Alice’s? I’ll have to try it!!
Hi Ashley! Just found your site and am in Chicago too. 🙂
In case you didn’t find out…Alice and Friends used to be in the space that is now Loving Hut (veg…and a bit culty!) on north Broadway.
Hi Lisa, thank you for your comment. I will have to check out Alice and Friends. I am very familiar with Loving Hut! It’s definitely a unique concept. I will send you an email to connect.
Great article! Now I have a couple new places to try. Ground Control is also really good, in case you haven’t tried it.
Thanks Dan! I have not tried Ground Control. It is on the list!
Munch in Oak Park also has great wraps!
Thank you Paulina!!