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July 3, 2023updated Jul 06, 2023

The Best Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Chicago

These plant-based eateries are proving meat-free menus can be packed with flavor - and just as tasty.

By Irenie Forshaw

Chicago is home to a patchwork of street food stalls serving everything from Italian steak sandwiches to deep-dish pizzas and tacos. But for those looking for something a bit more upmarket, the city also boasts an assortment of fine dining restaurants helmed by some of the planet’s most inventive chefs.

Among these high-end eateries are 21 Michelin-starred restaurants including 16 with one star, four with two stars, and one with the coveted three-star accolade (Chef Grant Achatz’s Alinea has held this prize for over a decade.)

For veggies, though, finding somewhere to eat can be trickier. Thankfully, Chicago has added a slew of vegetarian and vegan restaurants to its culinary tapestry in recent years. These vibrant eateries are proving that meat-free menus can be packed with flavor – and just as delicious.

So, whether you’re a committed veggie or more of a flexitarian, this is our pick of the very best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Chicago.

[See also: The Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings of 2023]

Bloom Plant Based Kitchen

Kicking off our list of the best vegetarian restaurants in Chicago is the aptly named Bloom Plant Based Kitchen. Situated on Milwaukee Avenue in the city’s trendy Wicker Park neighborhood, the laid-back eatery serves vegan fare so delicious even meat lovers will find something they enjoy.

Talented head chef Rudolfo Cuadros (of the nearby pan-Latin restaurant Amaru) opened the eatery last year and quickly turned heads with his vibrant menu. You won’t find any lackluster salads or second-rate imitation meats here; these are thoughtful plates of food that are as pretty as they are flavorful.

The red carrot dumplings with carrot kimchi, sunflower seeds and a coconut ginger foam are well worth trying, as is the toasted yuca gnocchi dotted with celery root puree, mushroom sofrito, kale and shaved cashew pecorino. Be sure to leave room for dessert – ‘Death by Chocolate’ is so decadent you’ll struggle to believe it’s vegan.

bloompb.com

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Etta Bucktown

Etta Bucktown - vegetarian restaurant chicago
Michelin-starred chef Danny Grant has created a menu centered around the wood-fired grill / ©Etta

The next entry on our list isn’t strictly vegetarian but it deserves a mention thanks to its impressive selection of seriously tasty meat-free dishes.

Michelin-starred chef Danny Grant has created a menu centered around the wood-fired grill. You won’t find any tiny portions here. Kick things off with the indulgent ricotta pillows smothered with farmstead butter before diving into a velvety bowl of cacio e pepe spaghetti.

The pizzas are outstanding and there are plenty of veggie-friendly options to choose from including wild mushrooms with melted onions, goat cheese, black truffle and raclette, and grilled corn with pecorino fondue, summer peppers and basil.

ettarestaurant.com

Fancy Plants Kitchen

If you’re looking for elevated vegan fine dining, Fancy Plants Kitchen is your place. While there are lots of delicious tapas-style plates to choose from, we recommend opting for chef Kevin Schuder’s ever-changing five-course tasting menu paired with a bottle of bubbly.

Highlights include the house-smoked tempeh steak served with a generous dollop of turmeric yogurt, garlic fried red rice and snap peas, and the Phoenix bean saag paneer with red lentil pancakes and apricot onion chutney.

On Friday and Saturday evenings, there’s also a special late-night menu served from 9-11 pm with a selection of addictive light bites to sample including kimchi fried rice with cashew burrata, grilled peach spring rolls with a sweet soy hibiscus dipping sauce, and cornmeal-crusted fried okra.

fancyplantskitchen.com

[See also: A Guide to All Three Michelin Star Restaurants in the US]

Boka

Boka cucumber salad
The restaurant offers an ever-changing vegan and vegetarian menu – one of the best in Chicago / ©Boka

It’s easy to while away an evening in Boka’s elegant dining room or candlelit garden patio. Situated in the heart of Lincoln Park, the Michelin-star eatery is a much-loved staple of Chicago’s fine dining scene and has retained its star for over a decade.

Executive chef Lee Wolen’s hyper-seasonal menu incorporates only the highest quality locally sourced ingredients – and it shows. There are lots of veggie-friendly options to choose from like the delicate ricotta gnocchi with morel, peas and goat gouda, and the smoked and grilled beets with black walnut, aged gouda and quinoa. Boka also offers an ever-changing vegan tasting menu – just let them know when you book your table.

bokachicago.com

Planta Queen

Last but by no means least on our roundup of the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Chicago is Planta Queen – a relative newcomer that set up shop in LYFE Kitchen’s former space near Clark and Hubbard at the end of 2022.

In keeping with its New York and Toronto outposts, the menu at Planta Queen is packed with veggie-friendly sushi, dumplings and noodle dishes. There’s also an excellent selection of small plates ideal for sharing – we love the bao sliders and bang bang broccoli.

plantarestaurants.com

[See also: The Chefs with the Most Michelin Starred Restaurants]

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