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Where do vegans eat? [Chicago Diner]

Where do vegans eat? [Chicago Diner]
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  • Where do vegans eat? [Chicago Diner]

    Post #1 - December 21st, 2007, 11:50 pm
    Post #1 - December 21st, 2007, 11:50 pm Post #1 - December 21st, 2007, 11:50 pm
    Insert punchline here ...

    I'm not a practicing vegan myself, but I've got some friends that are good sports about putting up with going to more mainstream restaurants when they're in the area, and I'd like to have a couple places up my sleeve that cater in that direction.

    Frankly, though, I don't know hummus from a hole in the ground.

    I'm out in Naperville, so, a short drive would be nice, but it's not like I'm opposed to heading into the city when I've got friends in from out of town.

    I didn't have a whole lot of success when attempting a search (lots of grocery store hits, but nothing that seemed obviously an eatery), so any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    John ... an ignorant carnivore.
  • Post #2 - December 21st, 2007, 11:59 pm
    Post #2 - December 21st, 2007, 11:59 pm Post #2 - December 21st, 2007, 11:59 pm
    I've a friend who is vegan - he's very fond of south Indian restaurants (dosa, idli etc are all vegan, just use oil instead of ghee to fry; north indian food tends to be loaded with dairy) & Greek/middle eastern because of the variety of veg and legume dishes. Not sure about specific options in your area, but those are probably two good cuisine choices.
  • Post #3 - December 22nd, 2007, 12:19 am
    Post #3 - December 22nd, 2007, 12:19 am Post #3 - December 22nd, 2007, 12:19 am
    I have vegan friends who swear by the Chicago Diner.

    I much prefer to eat seitan in Chinese food rather than as a mock philly cheesesteak.

    Chicago Diner
    3411 N. Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60657
    ph (773) 935-6696 - fax 773-935-8349
    HOURS: M-Th 11-10, Fr 11-11, Sa 10-11, Su 10-10
    http://www.veggiediner.com
  • Post #4 - December 22nd, 2007, 6:37 am
    Post #4 - December 22nd, 2007, 6:37 am Post #4 - December 22nd, 2007, 6:37 am
    Try Shree in Westmont on Cass. Totally veg. Most of the other vegetarian restaurants I believe are in the city. Many other restaurants might serve veg friendly dishes. Red Robin serves veggie burgers.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #5 - December 22nd, 2007, 8:46 am
    Post #5 - December 22nd, 2007, 8:46 am Post #5 - December 22nd, 2007, 8:46 am
    Most decent restaurants will be willing to prepare a vegan meal upon request. A friend of mine is vegan and this has almost always been the case when we dine out. They are doing it tonight at Campagnola.
    Of course, some places offer more options - such as the aforementioned South Indian restaurants.
    For something more upscale, Green Zebra should work.
    Has anyone tried Painted Lady - located in the former Bleeding Heart Bakery space? I saw it described as an "organic eatery" - which indicates to me it may be able to fit the bill.
    I love restaurants. You're sitting there and all of a sudden, there's food. It's like magic.
    - Brian Wilson
  • Post #6 - December 22nd, 2007, 9:44 am
    Post #6 - December 22nd, 2007, 9:44 am Post #6 - December 22nd, 2007, 9:44 am
    I am not sure that South Indian restaurants like Mysore Woodlands will satisfy Vegan requirements since they use ghee and paneer in a lot of dishes. I imagine they would have some way of accomodating vegans. The Lake Side Cafe on Howard and Sheridan offers Vegan dishes as does the Blind Faith in Evanston. Of course, neither of these places are remotely close to Naperville.


    http://www.lake-side-cafe.com/
    http://www.blindfaithcafe.com/
  • Post #7 - December 22nd, 2007, 10:25 am
    Post #7 - December 22nd, 2007, 10:25 am Post #7 - December 22nd, 2007, 10:25 am
    A couple of places our vegan friends go to often (I assume it involves creative ordering:)
    Lao Sze Chuan
    Amitabul

    Also, you can find more information on this topic on threads here and here and here
  • Post #8 - December 22nd, 2007, 11:49 am
    Post #8 - December 22nd, 2007, 11:49 am Post #8 - December 22nd, 2007, 11:49 am
    I'm pretty sure some of the options at Karyn's on Halsted and Karyn's Cooked on Wells are explicitly Vegan.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #9 - December 22nd, 2007, 1:03 pm
    Post #9 - December 22nd, 2007, 1:03 pm Post #9 - December 22nd, 2007, 1:03 pm
    I had a boyfriend who was vegan and I was a vegetarian for many years. It wasn't so bad!

    We ate a lot of Chinese food. Every Chinese place has vegetarian options. (just make sure they don't put ground pork in dishes that are in the vegetables section of the menu). Lao Sze Chuan has lots of good vegan options, especially some of the eggplant dishes. (don't try taking a vegan for dim sum, at least not here. In other cities there are vegetarian dim sum restaurants. I wish there were some vegetarian/buddhist Chinese restaurants in Chicago like I've found in San Francisco and New York! are there any here I don't know about? ok, end of rant.)

    We also ate a lot of Indian food. He wasn't particular about specifying not to use ghee but I would imagine that they could use vegetable oil instead of ghee if the food is made to order.

    I really like Irazu Costa Rican restaurant on Milwaukee near Armitage. They always have a vegetarian plate of the day. If the vegetable of the day has cheese you can substitute fried yucca with garlic or some other vegetable. It comes with rice, beans, salad (usually with beets and avocados), fried plantains, and tortillas. I always find their food to be especially delicious.

    Also, any good Lebanese/Middle Eastern/Persian/etc. restaurant will have a vegetarian platter or two. Usually they are vegan. You might have to ask some questions to avoid yogurt or cheese.

    And, Ethiopian food is another good bet. I don't know if they use butter in cooking their vegetables, though. My vegan boyfriend was conveniently loose about those things.

    In general we avoided the places that cater specifically to vegetarians and vegans like Heartland, Chicago Diner, Blind Faith. Its a matter of taste but, I'd rather have a spicy vegetable dish in Chinatown than a tofu, carrot, tamari, brown rice scramble.

    good luck!

    -Laura
    Last edited by comradelaura on December 22nd, 2007, 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #10 - December 22nd, 2007, 3:43 pm
    Post #10 - December 22nd, 2007, 3:43 pm Post #10 - December 22nd, 2007, 3:43 pm
    Mhays wrote:A couple of places our vegan friends go to often (I assume it involves creative ordering:)
    Lao Sze Chuan
    Amitabul

    Also, you can find more information on this topic on threads here and here and here


    Wow, thanks to everybody, and especially to Mhays for the other links ... fantastic!
  • Post #11 - December 22nd, 2007, 4:24 pm
    Post #11 - December 22nd, 2007, 4:24 pm Post #11 - December 22nd, 2007, 4:24 pm
    leek wrote:I'm pretty sure some of the options at Karyn's on Halsted


    My vegan friends won't even eat at that place. :wink:
    I love restaurants. You're sitting there and all of a sudden, there's food. It's like magic.
    - Brian Wilson
  • Post #12 - December 22nd, 2007, 5:15 pm
    Post #12 - December 22nd, 2007, 5:15 pm Post #12 - December 22nd, 2007, 5:15 pm
    Opera has a vegan menu.
  • Post #13 - December 22nd, 2007, 8:01 pm
    Post #13 - December 22nd, 2007, 8:01 pm Post #13 - December 22nd, 2007, 8:01 pm
    Some places I ate when I was vegan:

    Pick Me Up (personally preferred to Chicago Diner...have vegan burgers, french toast, pancakes, tofu scrambles, soy milkshakes and sundaes)
    Handlebar
    Sultan's or any other middle eastern place
    Matsuya & other sushi joints (veggie maki)
    Tomatohead or other pizza places w/ cheeseless pizza on the menu
    Korean places (bibimbap sans egg, or veggie chapchae)
    Thai places (curried tofu/veggie dishes)
    Indian (Arya Bhavan, etc)
    Alice N Friends (pseudo-Korean cult food?)
    Victorys Banner
    Mexican places (rice/bean burritos, no cheese no sour cream extra guac.)
  • Post #14 - December 22nd, 2007, 8:50 pm
    Post #14 - December 22nd, 2007, 8:50 pm Post #14 - December 22nd, 2007, 8:50 pm
    Mysore Woodlands is not a problem - that's our go to choice for vegan food on Devon. Simply avoid the paneer (only in a couple of dishes & usually the north indian ones, use of paneer is less common in south indian food) & ask that the dosas or whatever not be cooked in ghee. The cooks there are used to dealing with the request - all you have to do is ask for the dishes to be "Jain" & the cooks know to make it vegan.
  • Post #15 - December 23rd, 2007, 12:53 am
    Post #15 - December 23rd, 2007, 12:53 am Post #15 - December 23rd, 2007, 12:53 am
    A little closer to home, and on the casual side, there are some decent options on Ogden Rd. in Naperville:

    Cho Dang Tofu - Korean Restaurant so named becuase there is Tofu in all the dishes, although many also include meat or seafood. It's in a strip mall by the new H-Mart. http://www.chodangtofu.com/.

    Almost next door is a good if not spectacular Indian restaurant with a decent lunch buffet that I have tried. By far the best Indian in Naperville that I have been to.

    I also enjoy Joy Yee - one strip mall to the west of the above two places. Chinese run with a huge menu and decent selection of Chinese and other east asian dishes with big big portions and nice presentation. If I were in China town, it would not be my first choice, but for the Naperville area its not bad. http://www.joyyee.com/

    As I said, all are casual and located in strip malls, so set your expectations. OF the three, Cho Dang has in my opinion the most inspired and original cuisine. My only complaint there is that the portions are a little small, so you might want to order a little more than usual.
  • Post #16 - December 23rd, 2007, 1:09 am
    Post #16 - December 23rd, 2007, 1:09 am Post #16 - December 23rd, 2007, 1:09 am
    There's a fairly new restaurant in Glen Ellyn called 'Honey'. We had lunch there today and thought it was quite good. They feature a lot of organic items & creative items. Until they obtain their liquor license next month, they're only open for breakfast & lunch. My daughter is a vegetarian and is coming home from school over the holidays and it's on our list of restaurants to take her to.

    Here's the website; however they don't have the menu on it yet.

    www.honeycafe.net
  • Post #17 - December 23rd, 2007, 1:55 pm
    Post #17 - December 23rd, 2007, 1:55 pm Post #17 - December 23rd, 2007, 1:55 pm
    Athena wrote:Mysore Woodlands is not a problem...
    ...all you have to do is ask for the dishes to be "Jain" & the cooks know to make it vegan.
    Good tip. Thanks. I will pass it on to some vegan friends.
  • Post #18 - December 23rd, 2007, 4:34 pm
    Post #18 - December 23rd, 2007, 4:34 pm Post #18 - December 23rd, 2007, 4:34 pm
    johnny wrote:Most decent restaurants will be willing to prepare a vegan meal upon request.


    Unlike any vegetarian being willing to make something for a carnivore.
  • Post #19 - December 25th, 2007, 11:57 am
    Post #19 - December 25th, 2007, 11:57 am Post #19 - December 25th, 2007, 11:57 am
    midas wrote:
    johnny wrote:Most decent restaurants will be willing to prepare a vegan meal upon request.


    Unlike any vegetarian being willing to make something for a carnivore.


    Yeah, and those Muslims won't make me any pork either. :roll:
  • Post #20 - December 25th, 2007, 12:14 pm
    Post #20 - December 25th, 2007, 12:14 pm Post #20 - December 25th, 2007, 12:14 pm
    Oh goodness.
    Let's not go down this road... :shock:
    I love restaurants. You're sitting there and all of a sudden, there's food. It's like magic.
    - Brian Wilson
  • Post #21 - December 26th, 2007, 8:48 am
    Post #21 - December 26th, 2007, 8:48 am Post #21 - December 26th, 2007, 8:48 am
    wak wrote:A little closer to home, and on the casual side, there are some decent options on Ogden Rd. in Naperville:

    Cho Dang Tofu - Korean Restaurant so named becuase there is Tofu in all the dishes, although many also include meat or seafood. It's in a strip mall by the new H-Mart. http://www.chodangtofu.com/.


    Cho Dang is NOT vegetarian/vegan friendly. My wife is vegetarian and the name sounded good so we went there over the weekend. I inquired and ALL of their soup based dishes are made with beef broth so none of them are vegetarian safe. The only things that are vegetarian are some of the salads and their childrens tofu-cake type meal. We had my son with us and my wife ordered a salad which was pretty bland but the childrens tofu-cake thing was actually pretty good.
  • Post #22 - December 26th, 2007, 9:17 am
    Post #22 - December 26th, 2007, 9:17 am Post #22 - December 26th, 2007, 9:17 am
    there is a new place in downtown downers grove called Borrowed Earth Cafe - they are raw and vegan. i haven't been there yet, but it sounds interesting and would be a good option for your group if they are open to eating raw.
  • Post #23 - December 26th, 2007, 2:26 pm
    Post #23 - December 26th, 2007, 2:26 pm Post #23 - December 26th, 2007, 2:26 pm
    johnny wrote:
    leek wrote:I'm pretty sure some of the options at Karyn's on Halsted


    My vegan friends won't even eat at that place. :wink:


    I'm not vegan, but I have friends that are and we go to Karyn's Cooked all the time. It's all vegan and VERY good. I highly recommend the polenta and any dessert. They are all great! The original Karyn's is raw, and a little weird.
  • Post #24 - December 26th, 2007, 9:08 pm
    Post #24 - December 26th, 2007, 9:08 pm Post #24 - December 26th, 2007, 9:08 pm
    Floyd wrote:
    johnny wrote:
    leek wrote:I'm pretty sure some of the options at Karyn's on Halsted


    My vegan friends won't even eat at that place. :wink:


    I'm not vegan, but I have friends that are and we go to Karyn's Cooked all the time. It's all vegan and VERY good. I highly recommend the polenta and any dessert. They are all great! The original Karyn's is raw, and a little weird.


    I assumed the original post was referring to Karyn's Raw (on Halsted).
    You are correct that Raw and Cooked are two VERY different animals (no pun intended). Cooked is decent but I stand by my original comment that Raw is beyond bad.
    I love restaurants. You're sitting there and all of a sudden, there's food. It's like magic.
    - Brian Wilson
  • Post #25 - December 26th, 2007, 11:07 pm
    Post #25 - December 26th, 2007, 11:07 pm Post #25 - December 26th, 2007, 11:07 pm
    Many of the suggestions for indian or chinese foods that exclude dairy or meats are probably the best suggestions as far as taste goes. First let me say I am not a vegan, and now i am going to take a stab at the appeal. Vegan restaurants specialize in offering things that vegans normally can't have-- such as pancakes, hot chocolate, or lasagna. To someone who hasn't been able to eat these foods in a long time it's pretty darn exciting to try it, and to be able to walk into a restaurant and order whatever you'd like without having to ask about the ingredients.

    Chicago seems to have less "vegan" restaurants than other cities (my comparison here is New York), and I have done a decent search to find dairy-free deserts.

    There is EarWax, a pretty hip spot right in the thick of wicker park. They serve diner foods with many vegan options, including vegan pancakes, which are pretty good. EarWax also has vegan milkshakes which are very thick-- I liked my peanut butter and chocolate one. And they have vegan cakes. The carrot cake was pretty good, but the frosting was too sweet, but even on non-vegan carrot cakes that can be the downfall. The chocolate cake there, from what i remember, wasn't that great.

    I have also heard many positive reviews from vegan friends about the restaurant Soul Vegetarian-- I don't know how well to trust them though. I once went to a catered event with food from Soul Veg and it was terrible, but it could be different in the restaurant.

    EarWax Cafe
    1561 N Milwaukee Ave
    Chicago, IL 60622
    (773) 772-4019

    Soul Vegetarian
    203 E 75th St
    Chicago, Il
    (773) 224-0104
  • Post #26 - December 26th, 2007, 11:42 pm
    Post #26 - December 26th, 2007, 11:42 pm Post #26 - December 26th, 2007, 11:42 pm
    I've eaten at Karyn's Cooked before and thought it was fairly decent, and I'll be honest: I'm not the most vegan-friendly person, so. My husband likes to go there a lot. I do not go for the 'raw' food at all, and apparently, my raw-food boss is not a fan of her raw restaurant, either, so I wouldn't recommend that one.

    Karyn's Cooked
    738 N Wells, Chicago, IL.
    312-587-1050
    -- Nora --
    "Great food is like great sex. The more you have the more you want." ~Gael Greene
  • Post #27 - December 27th, 2007, 2:09 pm
    Post #27 - December 27th, 2007, 2:09 pm Post #27 - December 27th, 2007, 2:09 pm
    I second Earwax and SoulVeg East.

    For a nicer option, Green Zebra on Chicago Ave is vegetarian focused and will do most dishes completely vegan upon request.
  • Post #28 - December 27th, 2007, 9:11 pm
    Post #28 - December 27th, 2007, 9:11 pm Post #28 - December 27th, 2007, 9:11 pm
    My wife's best friends are vegans and it is always a challenge to make plans with them for dinner. Especially on special occasions.

    I know Aruns gets slaughtered on this forum and rightly so considering the vast amount of inexpensive athentic thai in this city, however Aruns created a memorable vegan meal for my friends on the occasion of their 10th anniversary. They were tremendously accomodating when i called and asked them to prepare a vegan menu for our party. below is the link to my post concerning the same

    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.ph ... highlight=
  • Post #29 - December 28th, 2007, 10:08 am
    Post #29 - December 28th, 2007, 10:08 am Post #29 - December 28th, 2007, 10:08 am
    Speaking of Thai I think you can get some good vegan stuff at Dharma Thai garden.
  • Post #30 - December 28th, 2007, 2:38 pm
    Post #30 - December 28th, 2007, 2:38 pm Post #30 - December 28th, 2007, 2:38 pm
    A friend of mine created a great overview of eating out vegan in Chicago awhile ago.
    http://j3n.net/food/

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