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 chains.
D.C. recently lost vegan standbys Fancy Radish and SpacyCloud, and reliable fast-casuals HipCityVeg, Chaia Tacos, and Shouk all shaved down their local store counts this year.
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 Michelin-rated Oyster Oyster in Shaw, chef Rob Rubba’s ever-changing tasting menu celebrates in-season produce from small farms. Downtown’s long-running Elizabeth’s Gone Raw opens its townhouse doors a few nights a week with elegant, $105-per-person vegan spreads. Chef Todd Gray puts high-end veggie dishes front and center at decades-old Equinox, which is relocating to swanky new downtown digs. Meanwhile, Shaw will soon welcome a vegan wonderland with the arrival of Latin-leaning Mita and Atlanta’s popular burger bar Slutty Vegan is prepping for its D.C. debut along H Street NE.