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Vegan Friendly Restaurant Help Chicago


Daniel
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My aunt is heading into town in a couple of weeks.. She is going to be with a vegetarian, a vegan, and two people who eat everything.. Restaurant does not have to be high end but, obviously needs to be good.. Anyone have any suggestions besides ditching the veggie folk..

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Lots of great choices up on Devon - Hema's Kitchen, Arvya Bhajan (I know I'm spelling it wrong), Semiramis, some people like India Palace. Not sure if Sabra Nehari ever rebuilt after the fire but that was a good place.

Indian/middle eastern is probably the way to go, since you don't want to have anything to do with Chicago's "vegetarian" restaurants - they're all relatively lame.

Irazu, over in Wicker park/Humboldt square area - it's not fancy at all, super cheap, but really tasty costa rican food, lots of veggie/vegan options, as well as good meat stuff, too.

In chinatown there's Lao Sze Chuan which has a vast menu and plenty of options. I've never had a bad dish there. The atmosphere is pretty cool, too, lots of multi-generational chinese families having dinner together. I've heard good things about little 3 Happiness, also in Chinatown, but I never had good food there. People also rave about Ed's Potsticker House, but the service there is terrible.

There's plenty of great inexpensive thai - my favorite would have to be kitchenette, on Ashland, formerly called Mr. Thai. Best green curry I've had, and great meat dishes too - the marinated skewered pork and Crying Tiger Beef are really good. Thai Pastry is really good, too.

I've always brought my vegan friends to these places in Chicago and skipped the Chicago Diner/Karyn's/Soul Veg/Handlebar axis of vegetarian blandness. They never complain. Good luck.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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Oh, the Indian restaurant is called Arya Bhavan (I was way wrong on the spelling) and I should mention it's strictly vegetarian and also no BYOB - they forbid alcohol, unlike most places on Devon that are BYO. But the food is outstanding, really authentic Indian vegetarian cuisine.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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On the higher end (but not too high), Green Zebra, definitely.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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On the higher end (but not too high), Green Zebra, definitely.

Yup. However, the non-vegetarians may be less than thrilled, since they usually have maybe one dish that isn't vegetarian.

At the very high end, if it's of interest, the expensive splurge places can accommodate anyone with any restrictions, and come up with a spectacular meal. Everest even shows their vegetarian tasting menu on their website.

In the casual fine dining arena, the better places can all do something, but some places are better (and have more veg/vegan choices) than others. I went to North Pond with two vegetarians and they loved it. Another good place with lots of choices for vegetarians on the menu is Cafe Spiaggia, for Italian. Another place that is generally good for vegetarians and omnivores alike is Lula.

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Don't know how I missed Lula. Great choice. No reservations accepted, so during prime dinner hours the wait can stretch quite a bit.

Green Zebra is a great higher-end place, but you may want to call ahead with a vegan joining you; most of their menu is pretty rich for vegetarian fare, and I would guess there's a fair amount of dairy coming out of that kitchen.

I'm an omnivore and loved every meal I've had there, so no real worries about the lack of meat on the menu (they offer a chicken and fish dish, generally)

Edited by david coonce (log)

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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If the omnivores in the group wanted to be selfish about it, they could go to Hot Doug's. The vegetarians could get the "Pete Shelley" (vegetarian dog) or the vegetarian version of "The Sally Vega" (corn dog).

It's a shame they won't be able to partake in the duck fat fries.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Dare I recommend Chicago Diner?

If you go to CD, two words: bring salt. There is some obsessiveness among veg. restaurants to not season their food, and Chicago Diner is the worst. Frankly, I think their menu is stuck in some time-warp, also. Portabella caesar wrap? Tempeh Shepard's Pie? That stuff is so '70s. There's great, innovative vegan cuisine. CD isn't it.

Edited by david coonce (log)

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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So Lao Sze Chuan and Green Zebra are both downtown.. I know I normally stay in the Rosemont area when I head to the area... They will be downtown...

Thanks everyone.. I will tell them about all these places and have them decide...

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So Lao Sze Chuan and  Green Zebra are both downtown.. I know I normally stay in the Rosemont area when I head to the area... They will be downtown...

Thanks everyone.. I will tell them about all these places and have them decide...

I assume by "downtown" you mean the Loop. If so, then I'd say those places are downtown-ish, i.e., within a few minutes of the Loop. Lao Sze Chuan is in Chinatown, just a bit south; Green Zebra is in West Town, just a bit north and west.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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Someone local will have to say if its still open, but Soul Vegetarian East (there is no West) down near the old Cabrini Greens area was the best vegan food I had ever had back when I went 10 years ago. Vegan normally means just using vegetables, but SVE served down home sould food. I had the ribless short ribs which were made of seitan and they executed them so perfectly that you couldn't tell the difference between a lump of gluten and perfectly BBQd pork ribs. It was outstanding!

The neighborhood was rough back then and probably still is, so use judgement, but we cabbed it and did just fine.

I just checked and it is still there CLICK. I had forgotten that it was part of the African Hebrew Israelites religion - very friendly group.

And for the record, neither I nor anyone in our group was vegan or vegetarian at that time (just adventuresome) and we all loved our meals.

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Soul Vegetarian East (there is no West) down near the old Cabrini Greens area was the best vegan food I had ever had ...

Soul Vegetarian East is in Chatham, nowhere near Cabrini Green, and quite a trip from Rosemont, but may be worth the trip. In the opposite direction, you'll find the very good all-vegetarian cuisine at Blind Faith. A short drive from Blind Faith is Life Vegan - but I know they were struggling - you may want to call to make sure they're still open.

Also in that area is Lake Side Café, which has gotten good reviews for its vegetarian and vegan-friendly food. Somewhat similar is Alice and Friends, in Edgewater.

Closer to downtown is the Karyn's empire (one raw food restaurant, one cooked food).

In addition to what's been posted above, these should help begin to scratch the surface of vegan-friendly places around Chicago.

Soul Vegetarian East

205 E 75th St

Chicago

(773) 224-0104

Blind Faith Cafe

525 Dempster St

Evanston

847-328-6875

Life Vegan

1601 Simpson St

Evanston

847-869-6379

Lake Side Cafe

1418 W. Howard St

Rogers Park - Chicago

773-262-9503

Alice and Friends

5812 N. Broadway

Chicago

773-275-8797

Karyn's Raw Vegan Gourmet Restaurant

1901 North Halsted Street

Chicago

312.255.1590

Karyn's Cooked

738 North Wells Street

Chicago

312.587.1050

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Lao Sze Chuan is in Chinatown, just a bit south; Green Zebra is in West Town, just a bit north and west.

More precisely, measuring from the center of the Loop, Lao Sze Chuan is about 2.5 miles south, Green Zebra is about 2.5 miles northwest, Everest is a few blocks south, North Pond is about 3 miles north, Cafe Spiaggia is about 1 mile north (and even closer to the hotels around Michigan Avenue), and Lula is about 4.5 miles northwest. All short cab rides, or you can take public transportation (click here for info).

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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So hitting up Lao Sze Chuan when I come out in May.. It looks like pretty awesome Sichuan Food..

Not bad. But, in my opinion, you can get much better where you are; Grand Sichuan floats to the top of my mind.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Lao Sze Chuan is in Chinatown, just a bit south; Green Zebra is in West Town, just a bit north and west.

More precisely, measuring from the center of the Loop, Lao Sze Chuan is about 2.5 miles south, Green Zebra is about 2.5 miles northwest, Everest is a few blocks south, North Pond is about 3 miles north, Cafe Spiaggia is about 1 mile north (and even closer to the hotels around Michigan Avenue), and Lula is about 4.5 miles northwest. All short cab rides, or you can take public transportation (click here for info).

Can we also get that in kilometers for the sake of completeness? :raz:

-Josh

Now blogging at http://jesteinf.wordpress.com/

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