Best Vegan Restaurants for Breakfast in Chicago


A bowl of fruit on a plate

Chicago is known for deep dish pizzas and strong opinions on how people should eat their hot dogs. So it’s understandable if you think it might be hard to find good vegan food here. But that really isn’t the case. We have a lot of great vegan-friendly restaurants serving everything from healthy and unprocessed options to not-so-healthy comfort food. So if you want to, you can in fact get vegan deep dish pizza and a vegan Chicago-style tofu sandwich – which technically isn’t a hot dog, but we’ll take it.

Here are the best places to eat those things (and other vegan dishes of all kinds) across the city.

Healthy Substance

A bowl of fruit on a plate

We’ll say it: Healthy Substance is not a very appealing name – it sounds more like item #D3 in a futuristic vending machine than a great vegan Mexican spot in Garfield Ridge. But don’t let that deter you, because the food here is fantastic. Everything from the shredded cashew cheese to the spicy al pastor, chorizo, and steak is made in house, and none of it feels overprocessed. Plus, the space is cute – bright and decorated with pictures of historical activists and Joaquin Phoenix.

Brass Heart

A bowl of food

If you’re celebrating a special occasion, or proposing to someone who doesn’t eat meat or dairy, The Brass Heart in Uptown is an excellent option. This small (only 22 seats) tasting-menu spot does a 10-course vegan option for $120. And while they have a $145 10-course omnivore menu too, it’s the delicious vegan food that makes this the kind of place worthy of a proposal. The menu changes, but expect things like sweet potato gnocchi, coconut bread filled with plantains and hearts of palm, and salsify with parsnips in a horchata foam. Even though this place feels upscale (i.e marble tabletops and a crystal chandelier), casual but attentive service and a playlist filled with Radiohead and The Black Keys keeps it from feeling formal.

I’m Vegan & Vegetarian

I’m Vegan And Vegetarian is a Thai restaurant in Lakeview that (as the not-very-subtle name hints at) is completely vegan. You’ll find appetizers like mushroom steam buns and tofu satay, along with entrees like a curry (we like it with the mock duck) and khou yum made with soy chicken. Everything has a nice balance of sweet and spicy, and is generously portioned with prices ranging from about $7-12. It also works just as well for a casual date as it does for grabbing some basil fried rice on your way home from work.

Ras Dashen Ethiopian Restaurant

We’re fans of all the vegan choices at Ras Dashen, an Ethiopian spot in Edgewater. The list is long and clearly marked, with things like the shirro (a chickpea stew) and the misserana bowmia (lentils and okra in a spicy berbere sauce). But our favorite way to try everything is to order the sampler. That way you get to choose five vegan side dishes for $15, all served on a big round of fantastic injera, which is made fresh daily. And the food is so good, even the non-vegans of the group will be happy to share.

Althea

This is the most upscale vegan spot in the city. It’s on the seventh floor of Saks Fifth Avenue downtown, and while that might not sound like an obvious destination for your next nice dinner out, know that the space has a fantastic view of Michigan Avenue. So as long as you’re not sitting in the front of the restaurant, you’ll forget that you’re only about 50 feet away from a display of John Varvatos sweaters. Start with a tasty vegan cheese plate, then follow it up with dishes like a spicy kung pao cauliflower with quinoa, and a rich “cacio e pepe” made with kelp noodles and cashew cheese sauce.

Logan Square

“Meat Free Since ’83” is the motto at the Chicago Diner, which has two locations – the Lakeview original, and a newer one in Logan Square. Both are very casual, and each is worth visiting (just know that the smaller Lakeview location gets more crowded). There’s a long menu with a lot of diner-style vegan options, like a reuben sandwich made with seitan and a lentil mushroom loaf. Whatever you order, get a chocolate peanut butter milkshake to go with it.

These are the best places for vegan breakfast in Chicago.

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