… or vegetarian, depending on your diet.
I’m a vegetarian, but ALSO lactose intolerant so I’m basically vegan with eggies on the side. Although drunk Rachie CANNOT turn down pizza that sober Rachie will later cry about in the bathroom while calling my mom.
Now, I know lots of you meat eaters are thinking ‘gross, vegan food!?!’ and that’s cool, I get that reaction a LOT, like from my entire family and every single person I work with. I’m used to it. But I did get exceptionally lucky to land the bestest boyfriend ever with such an open mind and with very open minded friends who all have no problem trying new vegan restaurants with me (no, I do not force them to eat there, they all genuinely enjoy trying new things).
I’m not going into why I became vegan with eggies on the side (I will fight anyone for a Skyway Cafe veggie skillet) but for anyone looking for the best vegan options, interested in helping their vegan friends out, or just curious about vegan options, look no further. There’s no science behind what I’m about to say, it’s just a fun and kinda funny way I’ve come to learn where to get my dinners.
Here is my ratings about the different types of vegan options:
The Vegan Restaurant
In my opinion (which is sure to differ from others) there is no better food (besides maybe mama’s cookin’) than a true vegan restaurant. People think vegans are just sitting around eating carrots with their bunnies (my boyfriend does this daily but will down a pound of beef in one sitting). THIS IS NOT TRUE! There is so much more to vegan food than just vegetables and many people don’t know this. Even when I go home for dinner my family does not realize I can eat food and just say they got me a salad for dinner.
If you go to a vegan place they have some of most creative food creations around. Like do you know what tempeh is!? I don’t, but it tastes BALLER! Seriously, the first time I ordered it, I had to google it to make sure it wasn’t real meat!
When you go to legit vegan places you’re going to have imitation Philly Cheesesteaks, artichoke spinach dip, chicken parmesan, BLT’s, and my all time favorite, chicken tendies!
Vegan places are the places you will go and will love every single item on the menu. Unless you’re like my boyfriend and I and have a strong dislike towards most jackfruit dishes. My boyfriend and I have gone to a couple straight vegan places that we absolutely loved and plan to go to MANY more once we can start eating at restaurants again. If you want to try something different, a vegan restaurant is sure to surprise you!
Not only do these vegan places taste good but they FEEL good. I have extremely bad IBS (like my gastro was my best friend in college bad) and everyone knows that when I eat most foods I end up crying soon after. My boyfriends friend (who had not tried vegan places before) seemed to have very similar tummy issues. When we were all in Orlando for the weekend, I brought her to my fav vegan place and it was the only meal she could get through without being in pain. Just saying, peeps. 🤷🏼♀️
PS: People really believe that vegan places are just a bunch of people in their twenties hating on cis white men and all meat eaters but they’re actually super chill and have no care if you usually eat meat. I know many people that eat meat but have gone to vegan places just to try it out and still go just because they genuinely love the food there.
Some of my favorite vegan places:
Dixie Dharma – you HAVE to try the dippers!
Cider Press Cafe – Any place with buffalo cauliflower is honestly good for me
Some places we’re planning on going once we can eat out again:
One Vegan Option Per Menu Section
These places are the next best option for finding a solid vegan choice. Now, you still need to be wary, not EVERY option on their menu is a good option. I would say about half are usually solid vegan options. Many times these or the semi-fast food places, like Freshii or Chipotle or just any non-American type food place.
When you go to the places with one option per menu section, don’t pick something just because it’s vegan. Try to find the option the closest suits what you normally eat. For me, I LOVE Mexican food. I used to have a giant serving of nachos at least once a week in college. Everybody on campus knew, ‘Rachie LOVES nachos.’ And every Mexican place now has a section with all of their vegetarian and vegan options. There’s always a taco option, chimichanga option, quesadilla (vegetarian) option, burrito option, fajita option, enchilada option, and yes my favorite, NACHOS!
Honestly, any place that has vegan options in all of their menu sections is going to have pretty good vegan food. These are always safe bets.
My favorite non-vegan restaurants with vegan options are:
Freshii – the fact that you can put falafel as your protein sells it for me
Los Mexicanos – so many combos so little money
Gateway to India – their baingan bharta is making my mouth water now
The Lemon Grass – best massaman curry around
Graze 1910 – I’m still confused about their menu but I got a lot of potatoes that tasted baller
The Epcot Food and Wine Festival – honorable mention since it’s a festival but GREAT options throughout
The 2 Option Restaurant
They don’t necessarily need to have just two options, but some weakass number like that. These are the places that you need to look out for. They are the ones that always have the ‘Vegan options available’ advertisements to lure you in. Then you get you menu and low and behold there are two options. PICK WISELY. One option is always going to be terrible and one will actually be good. But they will NEVER both be good.
These places have deceived my family and I too many times. Whenever we’re looking for a place to eat they tell me to pick since I’m the one with restrictions – although I always point out any Mexican or Thai place and always get shot down because my picky ass brother refuses any non steak or chicken tenders places – so I end up just going ‘this looks fine,’ it’s never fine.
Good luck to any friends that end up at these places and ‘may the odds be ever in your favor.’
Some 2 option joints that worked out in my favor:
Gigglewaters Social Club and Screening Room – I LOVE this place but you basically have the option of a burger (great) or a salad, so yeah…
Edison Food + Drink Lab – whatever that eggplant dish was, AWESOME
Zekos Grill – Only came for the falafel tbh
Stillwaters Tavern – I think I just really like any place with some sort of falafel
The ONE Vegan Option
…and it is usually a plain salad.
Do not ever go to these places.
Unfortunately, I end up at these places every single week. Living on the water means most places have the “best grouper sandwich on the beach” and pretty gnarly burgers OR wings. Every single beach bar is like this.
My usual dinner when I’m out with family or friends is a salad with a side of fries. I mean, I can’t be too healthy, right?
Basically stay away from any place on the beach or on a boardwalk…and away from Philly.
One Vegan/Vegetarian Option Places:
Any Florida deli – all New York (real) delis have an eggplant option or roasted veggie option
Well, there you have it folks. If you want to try out some good ole’ vegan food, basically don’t get ANYWHERE on the water. Besides that, you should be good!
PS: I didn’t have a picture of any of these food places that was big enough for the image because I always take them on Snapchat so enjoy my bunnies eating some local strawbs!