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Ahi watermelon tuna nigiri at Planta Bethesda
Planta’s plant-based sushi includes “tuna” made with compressed and marinated watermelon.
Planta

15 Top-Tier Vegan Restaurants Around D.C.

No meat? No problem

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Planta’s plant-based sushi includes “tuna” made with compressed and marinated watermelon.
| Planta

Gone are the days when going to a vegan restaurant meant choking back tasteless food served with a whiff of patchouli. These days, the D.C. area is a rich wonderland of plant-based restaurants, and each is as varied in personality as the people who eat at them. There are chic, upscale tasting menus; homey vegan comfort food spots with hefty, filling plates; and massive, consistent fast-casual chains.

Though this list is limited to restaurants with no meat on the menu, it’s worth noting that quality vegan meals can be found all over town.

At Oyster Oyster in Shaw, chef Rob Rubba’s ever-changing menu ($95 per person) celebrates in-season produce from small farms with a vegan menu (and the possibility of adding oysters for non-vegans). There’s also elegant vegan tasting menus from Latin-leaning Mita at La Cosecha and downtown’s long-running Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, which opens its townhouse doors a few nights a week for $105-per-person vegan spreads. At nearby Equinox, Todd Gray puts high-end veggie dishes front and center at this showy, sun-filled restaurant.

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PLNT Burger (Multiple locations)

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Celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn is now focusing on Beyond Meat burgers at his expansion-minded stall planted inside Whole Foods all over the DMV (plus outposts in Pennsylvania, Boston, and New York). PLNT Burger forms plant patties to order and griddles them on a flattop. The burgers get paired with crispy sides like Spanish onion “bloomies” and oat milk soft serve. Order online for pickup or delivery.

A mushroom bacon burger from PLNT Burger with a side of “bloomies”
A mushroom bacon burger from PLNT Burger with a side of “bloomies”
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

PLANTA | Bethesda

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This ultra-chic, plant-based restaurant in Bethesda serves up a colorful menu that manages to feel both healthful and indulgent. The Bethesda outpost hums with warm Miami vibes while serving a menu of hits like vegan sushi, fresh juice cocktails, pasta blanketed with a rich and spicy rosé vodka sauce, plus a vegan version of Maryland’s iconic crab dip made with fresh hearts of palm flown in from Hawaii three times a week. Asian-influenced sibling Planta Queen is en route to the West End.

Cielo Rojo Restaurant

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David Perez and Carolina McCandless, the owners of this cute cocina in Takoma Park, met while working at San Francisco’s revered vegetarian Mexican restaurant Gracias Madre. A substantial chunk of the menu is vegan, including gorditas, quesadillas stuffed with tequila-sauteed mushrooms or grill cactus, and believable (cashew) cheese and cream.

Donut Run

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This vegan donut shop from self-trained bakers Shawn Petersen and Nicole Dao has brought serious buzz to Takoma since opening a year ago. Customers wait in line rain or shine, and sometimes before sun-up, for the plump, lighter-than-air rings in fun flavors like tiramisu, French toast, and pineapple upside-down cake.

NuVegan Cafe (Multiple locations)

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Soy substitutes for fried chicken, crab, and chicken fried steak fill platters and sandwiches at this vegan soul food spot near Howard University. Meanwhile, a vegan brunch menu hits the classics with burritos, “cheezy” grits, and scrambled tofu. Order online at any of the three area locations.

sPACYcLOUd Lounge

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This vegan hangout/skate shop in Adams Morgan serves a believable “fish and chips” built with vegan fillets and peasant potatoes. After much demand, Russian native Maria Brezinsky has also added more Russian food to the menu, like pelmini (Russian dumplings) and stuffed cabbage.

DC Vegan

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Dupont’s upstairs deli and catering company comes from vegan-obsessed couple Leah Curran Moon — an animal activist with a PhD — and Michael Jantz Moon, a musician who’s toured with the likes of Paul Simon. Tasty vegan takes on bar fare include include trumpet mushroom “calamari” rings, barbecue cauliflower “wings,” a beet burger, fried artichoke sandwich, and “Philly cheesesteak” sub (or bowl) constructed with braised jackfruit and a cashew cheese drizzle. Sit and stay in the sleek space or order online for pickup or delivery. The owners opened a botanical cocktail den below in May.

Bubbie's Plant Burgers at Plant Food Lab

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The magicians behind the plant-based, classic American food that comes out of Bubbie’s kitchen have hit a home run with the D.C. community. The one-time pop-up that became a Dupont Circle brick-and-mortar is getting ready to move again, this time to a larger, full service restaurant in Adams Morgan. For now, the Dupont Circle location churns out pulled jackfruit barbecue, plant-based burgers, and more with all proteins, sauces, cheese, and ice cream made in the restaurant’s kitchen.

Chaia Tacos (Multiple locations)

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Almost everything at this vegetarian taco shop can be made vegan, from the braised mushroom tacos to black bean enchiladas to the smoky collard green tacos and cinnamon-coconut cookies. There are also locations in Chinatown and Bethesda. Order online for pickup or delivery. New sweets shop Petite Soeur makes a vegan dark cocoa brownie just for the Georgetown shop.

Shouk (Multiple locations)

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Shouk’s aim is no big deal: It’s just a world-saving mission. This super-casual homegrown shop for modern, all plant-based Israeli street food has four locations in the D.C. area serving standout dishes like oyster mushroom shawarma, filling bowls of hummus, and veggie burgers that aren’t grown in a lab.

Sticky Fingers Diner

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Fare Well recently rebranded and reopened as Sticky Fingers Diner, putting all the pieces of Doron Petersan’s vegan mini-empire under one umbrella. With more seating, a cleaner look, and a full menu of Fare Well comfort food favorites, plus all the treats from the bakery, the diner is D.C.’s most approachable plant-based restaurant. Meanwhile, an e-commerce site ships Sticky Fingers products nationally and the and the Columbia Heights-based Sticky Fingers Bakery is still the baking hub.

Fancy Radish

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The debut D.C. restaurant from perennial James Beard award finalists Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby serves up pastrami-spiced carrots, rutabaga fondue, and spicy dan dan noodles in a dreamy garden-like setting. The menu is all vegan, but no one is preachy about it.

Stuffed avocado on a white plate.
Stuffed avocado with pickled cauliflower and romesco at Fancy Radish.
Fancy Radish

Fruitive (Multiple locations)

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This organic fast-casual restaurant from Virginia Beach serves everything from cashew cheese-topped pizzas to kale salads to liquid meals (the dragon berry smoothie is electric pink). The best-selling dish is avocado herb toast with pesto on whole grain bread.

Pow Pow

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This kosher, vegan-friendly shop channels Asian flavors and techniques in a variety of starters and bowls, like Taiwanese fried cashew mozzarella and the yoga dragon bowl with grilled chicken substitute tossed in peanut sauce. A downtown location is coming soon.

Hipcityveg (Multiple Locations)

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The Philadelphia-based, fast-casual restaurant now has three D.C. outposts — in Chinatown, Dupont Circle, and Navy Yard — delivering burgers and sandwiches like a smokehouse burger with Beyond Meat and a crispy chick’n ranch. Pair them with green smoothies, soy milkshakes, and banana whips.

PLNT Burger (Multiple locations)

Celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn is now focusing on Beyond Meat burgers at his expansion-minded stall planted inside Whole Foods all over the DMV (plus outposts in Pennsylvania, Boston, and New York). PLNT Burger forms plant patties to order and griddles them on a flattop. The burgers get paired with crispy sides like Spanish onion “bloomies” and oat milk soft serve. Order online for pickup or delivery.

A mushroom bacon burger from PLNT Burger with a side of “bloomies”
A mushroom bacon burger from PLNT Burger with a side of “bloomies”
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

PLANTA | Bethesda

This ultra-chic, plant-based restaurant in Bethesda serves up a colorful menu that manages to feel both healthful and indulgent. The Bethesda outpost hums with warm Miami vibes while serving a menu of hits like vegan sushi, fresh juice cocktails, pasta blanketed with a rich and spicy rosé vodka sauce, plus a vegan version of Maryland’s iconic crab dip made with fresh hearts of palm flown in from Hawaii three times a week. Asian-influenced sibling Planta Queen is en route to the West End.

Cielo Rojo Restaurant

David Perez and Carolina McCandless, the owners of this cute cocina in Takoma Park, met while working at San Francisco’s revered vegetarian Mexican restaurant Gracias Madre. A substantial chunk of the menu is vegan, including gorditas, quesadillas stuffed with tequila-sauteed mushrooms or grill cactus, and believable (cashew) cheese and cream.

Donut Run

This vegan donut shop from self-trained bakers Shawn Petersen and Nicole Dao has brought serious buzz to Takoma since opening a year ago. Customers wait in line rain or shine, and sometimes before sun-up, for the plump, lighter-than-air rings in fun flavors like tiramisu, French toast, and pineapple upside-down cake.

NuVegan Cafe (Multiple locations)

Soy substitutes for fried chicken, crab, and chicken fried steak fill platters and sandwiches at this vegan soul food spot near Howard University. Meanwhile, a vegan brunch menu hits the classics with burritos, “cheezy” grits, and scrambled tofu. Order online at any of the three area locations.

sPACYcLOUd Lounge

This vegan hangout/skate shop in Adams Morgan serves a believable “fish and chips” built with vegan fillets and peasant potatoes. After much demand, Russian native Maria Brezinsky has also added more Russian food to the menu, like pelmini (Russian dumplings) and stuffed cabbage.

DC Vegan

Dupont’s upstairs deli and catering company comes from vegan-obsessed couple Leah Curran Moon — an animal activist with a PhD — and Michael Jantz Moon, a musician who’s toured with the likes of Paul Simon. Tasty vegan takes on bar fare include include trumpet mushroom “calamari” rings, barbecue cauliflower “wings,” a beet burger, fried artichoke sandwich, and “Philly cheesesteak” sub (or bowl) constructed with braised jackfruit and a cashew cheese drizzle. Sit and stay in the sleek space or order online for pickup or delivery. The owners opened a botanical cocktail den below in May.

Bubbie's Plant Burgers at Plant Food Lab

The magicians behind the plant-based, classic American food that comes out of Bubbie’s kitchen have hit a home run with the D.C. community. The one-time pop-up that became a Dupont Circle brick-and-mortar is getting ready to move again, this time to a larger, full service restaurant in Adams Morgan. For now, the Dupont Circle location churns out pulled jackfruit barbecue, plant-based burgers, and more with all proteins, sauces, cheese, and ice cream made in the restaurant’s kitchen.

Chaia Tacos (Multiple locations)

Almost everything at this vegetarian taco shop can be made vegan, from the braised mushroom tacos to black bean enchiladas to the smoky collard green tacos and cinnamon-coconut cookies. There are also locations in Chinatown and Bethesda. Order online for pickup or delivery. New sweets shop Petite Soeur makes a vegan dark cocoa brownie just for the Georgetown shop.

Shouk (Multiple locations)

Shouk’s aim is no big deal: It’s just a world-saving mission. This super-casual homegrown shop for modern, all plant-based Israeli street food has four locations in the D.C. area serving standout dishes like oyster mushroom shawarma, filling bowls of hummus, and veggie burgers that aren’t grown in a lab.

Sticky Fingers Diner

Fare Well recently rebranded and reopened as Sticky Fingers Diner, putting all the pieces of Doron Petersan’s vegan mini-empire under one umbrella. With more seating, a cleaner look, and a full menu of Fare Well comfort food favorites, plus all the treats from the bakery, the diner is D.C.’s most approachable plant-based restaurant. Meanwhile, an e-commerce site ships Sticky Fingers products nationally and the and the Columbia Heights-based Sticky Fingers Bakery is still the baking hub.

Fancy Radish

The debut D.C. restaurant from perennial James Beard award finalists Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby serves up pastrami-spiced carrots, rutabaga fondue, and spicy dan dan noodles in a dreamy garden-like setting. The menu is all vegan, but no one is preachy about it.

Stuffed avocado on a white plate.
Stuffed avocado with pickled cauliflower and romesco at Fancy Radish.
Fancy Radish

Fruitive (Multiple locations)

This organic fast-casual restaurant from Virginia Beach serves everything from cashew cheese-topped pizzas to kale salads to liquid meals (the dragon berry smoothie is electric pink). The best-selling dish is avocado herb toast with pesto on whole grain bread.

Pow Pow

This kosher, vegan-friendly shop channels Asian flavors and techniques in a variety of starters and bowls, like Taiwanese fried cashew mozzarella and the yoga dragon bowl with grilled chicken substitute tossed in peanut sauce. A downtown location is coming soon.

Hipcityveg (Multiple Locations)

The Philadelphia-based, fast-casual restaurant now has three D.C. outposts — in Chinatown, Dupont Circle, and Navy Yard — delivering burgers and sandwiches like a smokehouse burger with Beyond Meat and a crispy chick’n ranch. Pair them with green smoothies, soy milkshakes, and banana whips.

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