10 Must-Try Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten-Free Restaurants Around Chicago

Whether you eat strictly vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free – or you’re just curious about trying different diets or dishes – you’ll want to check out these restaurants that are killing it with veggie-friendly options. With delicious dishes available at both upscale restaurants and fast-casual eateries, say goodbye to the stress and guesswork of dining out with a dietary restriction.

Mana Food Bar 

A Michelin Bib Gourmand winner for the second year in a row, Mana Food Bar is no stranger to the limelight. Taste hot and cold plates with international flavor such as Maki (pictured below), raw vegetables wrapped in collard greens with ponzu sauce ($10), and Pickled, three kinds of house pickles to delight the taste buds (small $4, large $7). Or, opt for heartier hot dishes including the popular Mana Slider, a brown rice and mushroom patty topped with spicy mayo ($4 each). 1742 W. Division St., Chicago, 773-342-1742


LYFE Kitchen

Quinoa Crunch Bowl, anyone? The popular, fresh mix of quinoa tabbouleh, fresh crunchy vegetables, avocado, arugula, edamame, hummus, chipotle vinaigrette and fireman’s hot sauce makes this a nutrient-rich salad ($9). Another customer favorite is the Thai Red Curry Bowl with broccoli, eggplant, peppers, peas, wheat berries and Thai basil in a coconut curry sauce with garlic-lime tofu or chicken ($12). Bonus: You might even catch a glimpse of one of the Chicago Blackhawks players, as they are known to frequent this spot. Various locations

Slurping Turtle

Chef Takashi Yagihashi of Slurping Turtle offers guests two wonderful vegetarian dishes on his regular menu of Japanese comfort food. The gluten-free Kinoko-Mochi is made with fat rice dumplings, Japanese mushroom medley, asparagus, sweet bell peppers, parmesan and chili-soy sauce ($14). Shoyu Tofu Mushroom (gluten-free and vegan) is made with rice noodles, vegetable broth, soft tofu, Japanese mushroom medley, asparagus, eggplant, kabocha, squash, edamame and chili oil ($14). 116 W. Hubbard St., Chicago, 312-464-0466

Snap Kitchen

We can’t help but say bravo to Snap Kitchen for their heat-and-eat meals that are convenient and fresh. Enjoy the bun-less Over-Easy Bison Burger, a grass-fed bison patty with an over-easy egg, sweet potato fries, housemade pickles and sriracha – ready to heat up any night of the week ($11). Oven-dried tomato and goat cheese tarts, peanut butter pancakes and goat cheese and spinach scrambles keep your mouth watering and diet on track with portion sizes and dietary facts right on the labels. Various locations

Fred’s at Barneys New York

Chef Mark Strausman of Fred’s at Barneys offers many hearty vegetarian dishes that will fill you up just as much as a meat-centered meal. Try the Vegan Grains Salad, made with farro, couscous, white beans, chickpeas, barley, lentil, red quinoa, sunflower seeds, diced red and yellow peppers, celery, avocado and carrots over a bed of mixed greens ($21). Indulge guilt-free with the Roasted Vegetable Vegan Pizza, made with vegan cheese and Lonesome Stone Mill whole-wheat crust ($22). 15 E. Oak St., Chicago, 312-596-1111

Native Foods

This fast-casual vegan restaurant specializes in seasonal dishes, desserts and homemade drinks. Look for hearty vegan creations like the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger, made with sliced seitan, melted cheddar, caramelized onions and tofu bacon topped with BBQ sauce, ranch, carrots, tomato and romaine. For a flavor blast, try the Avocado Crunch Wrap with crispy coconut-battered avocados and a sweet mango-slaw and fries. Wash it all down with a glass of watermelon Fresca. Various locations

Protein Bar

If you need a quick meal to power through your morning, try the rich Avo-Matcha, a smoothie made of avocado, raw honey, matcha green tea, almond milk and vanilla protein. Fuel up at lunch or dinner with a savory bowl of organic quinoa blend mixed with all-natural chicken, spinach, basil pesto, and parmesan. Various locations

Blind Faith Café

For over 30 years, Blind Faith Cafe has served fresh and innovative vegetarian cuisine. The weekend brunch features fresh twists on the classics, like Poached Eggs Florentine with homemade biscuits topped with wilted spinach, poached eggs, spinach cream and aged parmesan ($12). Don’t forget to try the bakery, which has vegan and gluten-free versions of tiramisu, strawberry-rhubarb shortcake and chocolate cake. 525 Dempster St., Evanston, 847-328-6875

Karyn’s Raw Bistro

Karyn’s serves up simplistic vegan meals with flavor, color and texture, made with all natural organic and raw foods. The “Spaghetti & ‘Meatballs’” is a lovely gluten-free combination of marinated zucchini noodles with walnut meatballs and marinara sauce ($12). You won’t feel guilty about treating yourself to Karyn’s Skinny Cream, which you can top with granola, coconut flakes, cinnamon pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs and mixed berry sauce. Also try Karyn’s Cooked and Karyn’s Fresh Corner. 1901 N. Halsted St., Chicago, 312-255-1590

The Chicago Diner

“Meat free since ‘83,” this diner serves up a host of classic comfort foods, all sans meat. Sink your teeth into the decadent Pierogi Quesadilla with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, green onions, sautéed mushrooms and Daiya® Cheddar, all folded into tomato basil tortilla with vegan dill sour cream ($11). Or, opt for a classic Cajun Black Bean Burger, a spicy black bean veggie patty topped with sautéed onion, mushroom, spinach, tomato, fried jalapeño, cheddar sauce and Creole mustard ($11). 3411 N. Halsted St., 773-935-6696

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