You don’t need us to tell you that Seattle is serious about its seafood—but it’s also a pretty good place to be a vegetarian. Whether you want grain bowls, tacos, a special occasion vegan tasting menu, or you just want to get out of a tofu pad thai rut, these spots can help. And omnivores, this list is for you, too. Because vegetarian or not, when you want to eat some plants, you can do much better than a head of lettuce.
This outstanding tasting menu restaurant offers a vegetarian tasting in addition to their omnivore menu—but they truly excel in coaxing intense flavor out of fresh produce and dairy. We’re talking about plates like barley porridge with eggplant and dill pollen that tastes like a meatless Reuben soup, candy-like charred squash in a puddle of tangy cream with polka dots of dandelion and chilhuacle oils, and sunchokes roasted to the point of sticky caramelization with persimmon. Most of the vegetable courses are exactly the same as their omnivore counterparts, and at times, they simply swap animal protein out for equally-as-meaty mushrooms.
Tofu doesn't have a stellar reputation, but we're here to let you in on the fact that Tamarind Tree's lemongrass grilled tofu is phenomenal, and the best iteration of coagulated soybean curd in town. Eating it feels like driving a brand new convertible home right off the sales floor, without paying interest ever. It has a charred sear from the grill, and it’s flavorful with salty, grassy heat, even throughout the middle—a place that tofu marinade seldom reaches.
Kamonegi in Fremont specializes in homemade soba and tempura, many of which do include meat and/or seafood. But some of the most fantastic options here are vegetable-based, like blistered shishito peppers with miso ranch, fried eggplant with dashi, curry seiro with mozzarella and leek, and an outstanding kabocha tempura (that you can order without the duck glaze it usually comes with). Chase it all with a habanero-infused plum sake, which happens to be made of plants, too.
Cook Weaver is a self-proclaimed “inauthentic Eurasian” restaurant that happens to have a vegetarian tasting menu. You’ll find dishes like stinging nettle dumplings with yellow split pea butter and taleggio, or a maitake mushroom steak with truffled mashed potatoes and roasted vegetable jus. Also, the walls are covered in an impressive mural of a Russian folk tale that was painted in 1930. Use that fact to show off anybody you bring here.
The vegetarian options in South Lake Union are few and far between, but we really like Kati’s entire menu. From garlic fried jackfruit on sticky rice to pumpkin curry with tofu, it all makes for a tasty lunch. Say you’re in charge of planning a lunch and you want to do something kind-of-healthy without resorting to Evergreens—this is your spot.
If your friends eat meat, take them to Cafe Flora anyway, and maybe just conveniently forget to mention that the menu is 100% vegetarian. This place is a reminder that naturally meatless things like nettle risotto, cheesy mashed potato tacos, and Italian black bean burgers with sun dried tomato jam and basil pesto aioli are tasty no matter what you think about tofu. And you’ll feel like you’re eating in a greenhouse.
Guanaco’s serves delicious pupusas, and they’re made to order which is the best way to eat these little stuffed pockets of masa. We like ours with cheese and roasted cactus, but you can get ones with beans, spinach, jalapeño, and/or loroco, which is a type of tropical flower similar to chard. It’s an ideal quick dinner before bar-hopping on the Ave.
Eggs And Plants serves great falafel, but that’s not your only vegetarian option here. You can also get a sandwich with fried eggplant or shakshuka-braised eggs, plus hummus, tahini, a citrusy cabbage salad, pickled vegetables, and french fries. Add a fresh mint lemonade slushie, and then start petitioning that henceforth, all sandwiches everywhere should come stuffed with fries.
Chu Minh’s BBQ “pork” bánh mì is a very delicious and convincing stand-in for the real thing, and it happens to be all vegan. Not only that, but they have nine different plant-based meat substitutes to fill your sandwich with, from “spicy lemongrass chicken” to “sesame beef.”
We could write sonnets about Kezira Cafe’s slow-cooked potatoes with carrots and cabbage. But we could also write some romantic stanzas about the yekik alicha too. And the garlicky green beans. OK, every vegetable in this fantastic Ethiopian restaurant is getting a love note. Kezira is a great place to scoop split peas up with injera, and while there are a ton of meat options, this is the best place in the neighborhood for vegetarians. Especially considering they have a $12 meatless lunch special with an assortment of lentils, potatoes, and greens.
We love what Homer does with things that grow in the ground. We’re talking about things like squash with tangy fermented poblanos and fried bread in a garlicky almond broth, grilled beets with pomegranate molasses, poppy seeds, and green tahini, and delicious mezze like hummus and labneh. Show up with a group, order a bunch of small plates, and get extra plates of puffy pita—followed by swirls of homemade soft serve in flavors like popcorn or salted date.
If you thought french fries were the best plant-based drinking food around, this spot in Ballard will make you reconsider. They serve vegan burgers, chick'n sandwiches, and Field Roast hot dogs that are actually tasty, like a breakfast-inspired version with hash browns, meatless chorizo, grilled onions, and chipotle aioli. Get some crinkle fries, too, and you're set.
Some of the greatest dishes at Kedai Makan, an outstanding Malaysian restaurant on Capitol Hill, are vegetarian to begin with, like the fried rice with tofu and net bread with lentil curry. You’ll probably have to wait over two hours for a table, but your friends will understand after their first bite of roti jala.
Most of the dishes on the Itto's tapas menu are vegetarian, so you can build a mix and match meal of small plates like manchego croquettes, tortilla española, lima bean fritters, and eggplant-wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese. Add some glasses of wine, and you’ve got yourself a romantic date night out (even if you’re still wearing the leggings you did a spin class in).
When it comes to plant-based potstickers, sometimes you aren’t in the mood for spinach, mushrooms, or a combination of spinach and mushrooms. Allow us to point you in the direction of this Chinese spot in Wallingford. They serve a variety of wontons, but the best ones are stuffed with a mixture of napa cabbage, tofu, and carrots. The result is this incredibly savory, sweet, and salty filling that pairs perfectly with a side of vinegar for dipping. If carrot's not your thing, maybe the eggplant brussels sprout dumplings can be your thing. Add on a scallion pancake or garlic tofu rice noodle soup.