Chicago is known for many things — a diversity of architecture, flourishing green spaces, the gorgeous shimmering shores of Lake Michigan, and a diverse food scene that includes fabulous vegan and gluten-free options.
Fair warning, you’re going to need to pack your stretchy pants!
Often if you’re vegan and gluten-free, you’re left with maybe one boring option, well in Chicago that’s not the case. You’ll find an amazing selection of cuisines and options, from the sweet and spicy flavors of Asian Fusion to the downright addictive comfort of deep-fried mac-n-cheese balls! You might be wondering, where do I start? These 10 spots are a great place to start and feature and diversity of vegan and gluten-free options in Chicago.
Chicago vegan dining tip! Vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants are spread throughout the city; you need to plan ahead with where you want to eat (unless you have an unlimited amount of time). Many restaurants can be reached by public transportation but will still require a little bit of walking. If you’re short on time, consider grabbing an Uber or Lyft.
The Best Spots For Vegan & Gluten-Free Food in Chicago
Finding vegan and gluten-free food can be difficult in some cities, but not in Chicago! Don’t miss these awesome spots if you’ve got to kick gluten to the curb.
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#1 Kale My Name
3300 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
You know those fried mac-n-cheese balls that I mentioned earlier, this is where you can get them, don’t miss them! Seriously, if you can only make it to one stop on this list, prioritize Kale My Name.
I promise you’ll thank me! A fun atmosphere is weaved into every part of this hip little spot from the menu headlines, “I’m not really hungry but I’m going to eat anyway,” or “Now, I’m really hungry,” it’s evident that they don’t take themselves too seriously, but they do take the job of creating epic dishes seriously.
From perfectly fried cauliflower wings to flavorful tacos loaded with jackfruit and fried avocado, your taste buds are going to be happy! But, remember, “Stressed is desserts spelled backward,” so be sure not to skip out on a slice of house-made cheesecake.
The menu is also marked for soy-free options!
#2 Chicago Raw
51 W Huron St, Chicago, IL 60654
Maybe a kick of fresh leafy greens is in order after fried mac-n-cheese balls and decadent peanut butter cup chocolate bars? If so, then this is the place for you. This inviting spot welcomes you with its vibrant pink and green sign, encouraging you to wander into its cozy little café, which is carefully laid out with all the raw, vegan, and gluten-free creations that you could ever want.
Every bit of room is efficiently used to showcase a wide assortment of raw food from fresh, prepared meals like a collard burrito, spinach lasagna layered with zucchini, and breakfast must-haves like cinnamon rolls and fruit parfaits made with cashews. If you’re not in the mood for a meal, step up to the bar for a great selection of coffee, tea, and smoothies. Just don’t forget to grab a lemon square to go!
Almost everything at this Chicago spot is gluten-free and they have oil-free and nut-free options.
6852 W Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60638
A love of food and cooking runs deep at this family-run Mexican spot, but veganism wasn’t always on the menu. When the founder’s husband was diagnosed with cancer, everything changed and she turned to plant-based options in hopes that it would do “miracles.”
Fast forward to today, this fantastic spot continues its mission of spreading kindness through it’s tantalizing vegan dishes, many of which are gluten-free friendly! You’ll find everything from fully loaded nachos to a endless selection of must-eat tacos.
2311 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
This hip spot has an exclusive club vibe — at the entrance, a sliding glass window opens questioning your presence. It was almost as if I needed a secret handshake. Luckily, I must’ve said the correct code word because we were buzzed in and led back to a casual patio covered in graffiti. I thought, this place is cool, but can their food stand up to this tough guy exterior?
Their house-made vegetarian and vegan fare is an eclectic mix of late-night food to feed a hangover, to bowls of every green thing that you can find. Their menu is extensive and well-marked so vegan and gluten-free folks can navigate without asking a million questions. The flavorful Sambal Tofu shouldn’t be missed, if you’re a wuss with heat like me, ask for their special chili garlic on the side. A little goes a long way, but the heat pairs amazingly with the peanut sauce. It’s addictive, even if you’re full you’ll want to keep going.
#5 Native Foods
218 S Clark St, Chicago, IL 60604
Native Foods is a Chicago favorite and if you’re staying downtown, you’ll be within walking distance to all your favorite vegan things — loaded nachos, sweet potato fries, and a few healthy salads and bowls (if you must!). Seriously though, this fast-casual café should be in every state! It’s the perfect place to grab a quick lunch or stop by for dinner.
Their menu focuses on making food fun, whether you’re vegan or not, anyone will enjoy something here. Be sure to save room for their tantalizing peanut butter parfait. It consists of layers of whipped peanut buttercream, banana bread crumbles, chocolate chips, and is gluten-free!
5812 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60660
This woman-owned, vegan restaurant is an absolute wonderland of Asian flavors. Here you can get lost in a mushroom wonderland topped with house-made chili, dive into a never-ending bowl of piping hot pho, or enjoy the sweet and savory flavors of their special cauliflower.
There are honestly so many things you’ll want to try at this charming spot, you’ll either want to come extra hungry or plan a second visit! On top of being gluten-free friendly, the menu is also well marked for nuts, sesame, and soy.
Vegan & Gluten-Free Friendly Chicago Bakeries & Dessert Spots
108 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60654
You better sit down when you bite into one of these decadent creations, they are eyebrow-raising and smile-inducing. My first words were, oh my! Honestly, I think they make these divine vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, raw desserts with witchcraft because there is no way something with so few ingredients can taste this good!
Many of their creations are inspired by sinful sweets like snickerdoodle cake batter, caramel cosmic brownie, Snickerz, and Twix. My recommendation — don’t miss the chocolate peanut butter cup bar. The photo doesn’t do its mind-blowing deliciousness justice. Oh, and in case you get back to your hotel and need something sweet and delicious, they also deliver via GrubHub and Postmates.
If you have a sweet tooth, don’t skip our lineup of 15 Chicago vegan bakeries and dessert spots!
7100 S South Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60649
Get your taste buds ready because you’re not going to want to miss this 100% vegan and gluten-free bakery in Chicago! This charming little shop is tucked down in Chicago’s South Shore and has a rotating mix of desserts.
Depending on the day you’ll find glazed donuts, cupcakes, cookies, chocolate mousse, and more! If you can’t make it to the shop, the also sell products at the 61st Street Farmers Market on Saturdays and the Logan Street Farmer’s Market on Sundays.
1436 W Blackhawk St, Chicago, IL 60642
On a hot summer’s day, it’s no shock to see a long line grow down the block with eager visitors waiting to get their hands on a cone of creamy, vegan soft serve. It’s one of the few Chicago shops that have 100% kicked vaca (cow in Spanish and Portuguese) out of their creamery and are instead focused on using quality vegan, gluten-free, and fair-trade ingredients.
If you happen to arrive and there’s a line, it’s worth waiting. Be sure to treat yo’self with a cup of their creamy soft serve covered in peanut butter chocolate shell or go for one of their delicious handshakes, more commonly known as “Blizzards.”