The Best Places To Eat Vegetarian Food In Philly

When you want to go meatless, head to these 18 places.
This is a the hummus piryot from Dizengoff.

photo credit: Michael Persico

Philly loves meat. Cheesesteaks, hoagies, and roast pork sandwiches are pretty much the default response when someone asks us what we eat on a weekly basis. But for vegetarians, or people who like to switch things up with a plant-heavy meal, you should know you live in a city that also has some standout veggie options. Some of these spots are entirely vegetarian, and some have meat on the menu next to great meat-free choices. Either way, they have food that’s good enough to satisfy when another frozen quinoa burger won’t cut it. 


photo credit: Michael Persico


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The menu at Rittenhouse’s Dizengoff is almost 70/30 veg to meat. Only one of their silky hummuses has meat in it, the mezzes are mostly (fantastic) salads, and you can happily skip the fried dorade for the tender smoked cabbage. Since everything here is good, you’ll have to be strategic after ordering a chai soda or glass of rosé—will it be the warm hummus pitryot with amber-spiced mushrooms, or the endive and orange salad with pistachios? Trust us, and just order everything where vegetables are the main event. It’s all inventive, ideally balanced with spice and texture, and although you’ll leave full, you’ll feel as light as when you walked in.  

Indian Char House in West Philly is our favorite Indian restaurant in the city. This casual plant-filled spot also has an extremely large menu. You can order the whole thing and it will feel like an endless buffet—and that goes for the vegetarian section, too. It works for a light lunch of crispy, oniony pakoras, fried cauliflower in a ginger garlic sauce, and cilantro-heavy lentil soup, or a dinner of the savory potato, peas, and carrot curry. You'll need naan to mop up to the last drop. 

You could move into this Fishtown restaurant and you’d be covered when it comes to food—the all-day spot is a top choice for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and post-dinner drinks. And since they’re really good at everything they do, vegetarian options like Olivia’s Big Pancake, the completely vegan Phoagie, and grilled maitake with creamy soy and crispy egg are no exception. FYI—almost every sandwich on the lunch menu and lots of snacks on the dinner menu can be made vegetarian. 

photo credit: Nicole Guglielmo



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Sometimes, you’ve had enough of “beef,” “chicken,” or other meat substitutes and just want something fresh and tasty. When this happens, head to this Afrocentric cafe in West Philly. There are great breakfast choices, like the coconut parfait, and lunch options—we love the BLACKcaesar and the hoagie made with marinated turnips. It’s great for a morning on the go, a chickpea Indian patty lunch, or a day when you want a place that lets vegetables just be vegetables.

This vegan BYOB is where your group can unpack your alien theories while feeling like you’re in a plant nursery—one that just happens to play throwback R&B. The candle-lit Northern Liberties space has velvety green booths and a chef’s counter ideal for sipping on a glass of your favorite sauvignonasse while watching smoked potatoes get sliced. There’s no wrong order here, but our favorite dishes include the crispy fried lion’s mane with persimmon jelly, tonnarelli with tofu, and heirloom polenta. We take smaller bites of the irresistibly earthy, creamy mix just to make it last longer.

South Philly Barbacoa is the best place in town to get tacos, including those of the vegetarian variety. There are only a few things on the taco menu—meaning the same three options—but one thing that rotates is the veggie-only option, like the sweet potato and cauliflower taco topped with lettuce. It’s a pretty popular spot with both locals and tourists, and they’re only open Friday-Monday, so show up before noon (they open at 5am) if you don’t want to wait in line.

Hardena, a small corner spot near East Passyunk, has a lot of choices. For your meat-eating friends, there’s beef rendang and a goat stew to top their rice plate. But for vegetarians, there’s even better stuff, like tempeh and vegetables in a sweet soy sauce, and some of the best collard greens we’ve ever had. Plus, if you don’t want to take it to go, there are a few tables where you can hang out and BYOB.

Sure, most of the bowls of ramen on Neighborhood Ramen’s short menu have a chicken or pork stock base, but they also happen to have our favorite vegetarian ramen in Philadelphia. The Yasai has a vegetable dashi broth with roasted mushrooms, bamboo shoots, shiso oil, and a soy egg, and it’s our go-to meal whenever we’re under the weather. There are a couple of vegetarian sides that are excellent as well, like spicy pickles and a crunchy sesame cabbage salad.

At some point, you’ll have to repay your meat-loving friends for all the times they took you to a steakhouse and you ate a solo potato. When that time comes, demand they take you to Midtown Village’s Vedge for an upscale vegan experience. You can get excellent vegan food here, like mushroom carpaccio, spicy grilled avocado, and a creamy rutabaga fondue with soft pretzels. It’s fancy, but not in a tops-and-tails kind of way, and it works great for a dinner with friends or family when you deserve more than a meal made from side dishes (for once). 

Unlike other plant-based spots in the city that serve fake meat burgers you can find in the frozen aisle at Acme, this Fishtown BYOB consistently dishes out things like carnitas medianoche made out of jackfruit, kimchi pancakes with chia seed caviar and kimchi sashimi, and comforting bowls of masa ball soup. The fact that they do it all in a space that works for both a nice night out or a cozy solo meal makes it even more impressive.  

Abyssinia, an Ethiopian spot right around the corner from Penn’s campus, has a lot of different vegetarian dishes. Your best bet, though, is the Vegetarian Combination, which includes six of their most popular vegetarian dishes—like split lentils in berbere sauce and spicy, sauteed collard greens—all served on top of spongy injera bread. You can probably split one plate between two or three people because the servings are so big, or just get one for yourself and bring home the leftovers.

Bella Vista’s Sky Cafe has some of the best chicken skewers in Philadelphia. But this is a vegetarian guide, so we’ll tell you about their excellent non-meat options instead. There are lots of noodles and rice bowls on the menu, and you can top them with things like veggie curry, marinated shredded coconut, or curry jackfruit. And the Indonesian salads they have, like the gado gado with steamed vegetables, fried tempeh, peanuts, and a sweet vinaigrette, are great when you want something lighter.

Walking through Reading Terminal Market involves a lot of zig-zagging—it’s somewhere that tourists and locals alike come for delicious food, and this includes a delicious plant-based meal from LUHV Vegan Deli. They have everything from breakfast sandwiches packed with smoky seitan, tofu egg puree, and melty American “cheese” to staples like reubens and vegan corned beef that will make you wonder why everything isn’t made out of seitan. Plus, since it’s a deli, you can also order vegan cheese, meat, and “tuna” and “chicken” salads by the pound. Stop by for a quick sandwich or soup, park it on a stool across the shop, and dive into a hoagie worth braving the crowds. 

Bar Bombon, a vegan tapas place in Rittenhouse, is owned by the same people as HipCityVeg. But instead of being mostly a takeout spot, Bombon is where you want to go for a long lunch or an after-work Happy Hour. Everything is solid, from the margaritas and blackened “fish” tacos to the empanadas filled with black beans and salsa.

There was a time when finding a good meatless burger was as rare as finding South Broad without double parking. Now, there’s chickpea and Impossible patty options, but a great choice is always at Queen Village’s Lucky’s Last Chance. One of our favorite places in the city for anything served on a bun, their Peace, Love, and Veggie burger includes a massive black bean patty, a fresh layer of guacamole, pico de gallo, and peppers. It’s spicy, has the perfect texture, and the toasty brioche bun impressively holds everything together without getting soggy. Eat it inside or pick up something for dinner that you’ll likely eat on the couch.  

You can bring your non-vegetarian friends to Charlie Was A Sinner; they probably won’t even notice that it’s an entirely vegan bar. On top of cocktails with ingredients like wheatgrass and dehydrated beet, they also have small plates like eggplant bao buns and a “ricotta” that tastes like the real thing. It’s small and dark inside, so use it for a first date with someone who likes vegetables a lot or post-work drinks and snacks with a coworker who’s tired of eating pizza for a week straight.

Knowing about a healthy option for your post-Wissahickon Valley Park hike is a necessity. Germantown’s All The Way Live has plenty of fresh, raw, and tasty vegan dishes and juices. One of our favorites, and a necessity in any weather (but especially in the winter), is their hearty chickpea chili. This delicious blend of tender chickpeas with onions and peppers will do more to save you from the cold than any blanket ever could.

Germantown has exactly one Ethiopian restaurant. But after one trip to Salam Cafe, you’ll know it’s the only option you need. The shop and market has warm and friendly service, lots of tables, and is relaxing enough that you’ll know everyone’s name inside by the end of the meal. Choose from a few Ethiopian stews (our favorite is the spicy stew chicken), baked salmon, tender vegetables, and a dangerously addictive loose leaf tea on your first (or 25th) visit. 

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