Here are some good vegetarian and veggie-friendly places in Chicago. I will continue update this page as I discover more places.
- Green Zebra - the go-to place for upscale vegetarian dining from Michelin-starred chef of Spring. Almost all vegetarian. Excellent food. Pricier than all other places listed on this page, but for its quality actually was quite reasonable. Probably the most creative of the tasting menu places I tried. *****
- Handlebar - this mostly-vegetarian place (they also serve fish) and bicycle-themed restaurant offers good balance between American vegetarian classics and ethnically inspired food. I like the black bean maduro and the tostadas a lot. Also, great beer selection. Definitely one of the better American vegetarian places. ****
- Mana Food bar - All vegetarian. Great food. International cuisine. Cool interior design. Cool cocktail mixes. Small portions. ****
- Karyn's Cooked - all vegan. It offers American home cooking like 'meatloaf' and lasagna in classier settings. I like the place, but perhaps prefer less faux-meats. ***1/2
- Chicago Diner - all vegetarian. This place does American diner food in veggie or vegan form. Personally I think the food is only so-so, but when you're drunk and you need veggie pub grease, this is the place. Everyone love their smoothies, but I find them really over-sweetened. ***
- Soul Veg East - all vegan, sit-down. Another soul vegan place, with large smoothie menu. They got good buffalo tofu, but I think their sauce is often a little too sweet. ***1/2
- Yah's Cuisine - All vegan. My favorite soul vegetarian place. The menu is all vegan. And their mac-n-cheese is AMAZING. Really nice owner. Food is pre-cooked so come where meal time starts. Decor is non-existent. ****
- Meli Cafe - breakfast place. Best poach eggs. Fresh too. They have a huge and extensive menu, even multiple vegetarian options for eggs benedict. They do have a long wait on the weekends. ****
- Yummy yummy - separate vegetarian menu of American-Chinese fare with a few more authentic and unusual dishes. Looks like a cleaner take-out decor. ***
- Mysore Woodlands - all vegetarian South Indian. Really good food - one of the better Indian places in Chicago. I like that they have house specials that goes beyond just standard offerings. ****
Ethiopian - these places list below are not purely vegetarian restaurants, but they all have vegetarian menu section.
- Ethiopian diamond - their red lentil dish is really good.
- Ras Dashen - awesome okra.
- El faro - my favorite authentic Mexican place that offers vegetarian menu, with home-cooked food. No chips and salsa here. The cactus is really good, as so are the rice and the pickles, and the tamarind juice. Plus, there's an awesome bakery right across the street that sells great pineapple pastries. Very cheap. Always lots of Mexican families and workers here. ****
- Cafe el Tapatio - one of the better places in Lakeview (where there are a lot of really awful yuppy Mexican places with tacky decor and tasteless tacos). Mole is good. Overpriced, but happy to settle for at least one decent place here. ***1/2
- Nacional 27 - only a few vegetarian offerings here, but their boniato croquettes is out of this world, and so is their ginger passion sangria. The veggie paella is only so-so. It's a beautiful place and romantically decorated. ****
My own rating:
***** = Great, destination or unusual place
**** = Very good food
***1/2 = quite good
*** = ok, but I'm glad they're veggie