Years ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find a few great vegetarian dishes on a restaurant's menu, let alone vegan-friendly restaurants. But as the animal-free lifestyle rises in popularity, the city's options have also increased. It used to be enough to qualify as being "good for vegans," but now restaurants actually have to be good for everyone in order to rise above the rest. From vegan-dedicated bakeries to gastropubs, fast food spots, pizza joints and elegant sit-down restaurants, these are the best vegan-friendly places to visit in Philadelphia.
507 S. 6th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Philadelphia knows how to do pizza. While you can find great pizza throughout the city, Blackbird is the only 100 percent vegan and Kosher pizzeria in Philly. Offering hot sandwiches, wraps, calzones, wings, salads, soups and seitan cheesesteaks, Blackbird has just about everything you'd expect from your favorite pizza shop, all made vegan-friendly. Order a 12- or 18-inch pie, or choose a slice from the rotating pies available. The root beer BBQ wings are a favorite, and don't forget to check out the desserts provided by Vegan Treats.
127 S. 18th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
With everything on the menu vegan, HipCityVeg is a casual-eating vegan oasis in Center City. Sandwiches, salads, burgers, sides and desserts are all 100 percent plant based. To take that eco-friendly philosophy even further, all food is served in compostable packaging, take-out is delivered by bike and local ingredients are used as much as possible. If it's available, go for the quinoa chili. Other favorites include the Philly steak and Udon noodle salad.
Khyber Pass Pub
56 S. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
For vegan-friendly pub grub, you have to try Khyber Pass Pub in Old City. With 20 taps and two cask hand pumps, there's a great selection of brews to pair with Khyber's Southern-style Cajun barbecue. Everything on the menu is clearly marked, so there's no question of whether or not an item is vegetarian or vegan. Fresh-popped popcorn with butter and Cajun seasoning, fried "chicken" and sweet potato fries are just a few of the vegan options. And the grilled vegan sausage sandwich is a standout favorite.
Related: Top Philadelphia Gastropubs
Mi Lah Vegetarian
218 S. 16th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Named for the Indian Buddhist word "Maitreya" meaning harmony, nature, kindness and happiness, Mi Lah strives to provide the community with delicious, healthy, eco-friendly vegetarian dishes. Brunch, lunch and dinner menus are composed of creative combinations of seitan (wheat gluten), tofu and vegetables. The Vietnamese hoagie is a popular lunch choice that's made with tasty marinated tofu, seasoned vegan mayo, cucumber, carrots and cilantro.
Sweet Freedom Bakery
1424 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
Unless you're baking at home, it can be tough for vegans to find a sweet treat made without eggs or dairy. Those looking for a dessert on the go will love Sweet Freedom. Cookies, breads, muffins, cupcakes and more are all made vegan-friendly, gluten-free and without common allergens like corn, peanuts, soy and wheat. The prices are a bit higher than your standard bakery, but you also have the benefit of knowing exactly what went into any treat you order, thanks to the readily available ingredient list.
1221 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Located in an old mansion in Washington Square West, Vedge is easily Philadelphia's most elegant vegan restaurant. Chef Richard Landau coaxes amazing flavors out of locally sourced ingredients without using any animal products at all. And while many restaurants like this might fall into the trap of appealing only to a limited audience, Vedge has crossed the barrier by becoming a favorite with vegetarians, vegans and carnivores alike. In fact, GQ Magazine names it one of the "12 Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2013," and Philly mag ranked it the third best restaurant in the city on its 2013 list. Some favorites from the tapas-style menu are the grilled seitan, sweet potato pate and beet salad.
Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women's fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn't pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer fiance would love to open.
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