A trip to the nation’s capital guarantees that you’re in for a review of everything that you slept through in High School US history class, but you may be wondering if you’ll be able to fuel all of that learning at vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants?
After all, DC doesn’t come up on lists touting the best US cities for vegan food, but I took a chance, bought the plane ticket, and started searching. I happily found various vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants, vegan bakeries, ice cream options, and more!
This was one of the tastiest history lessons I have ever had!
If you’re headed to Washington DC and wondering if it’s vegan-friendly, wonder no more — just be sure to check out these 9 spots for the best vegan food to ensure you have the tastiest trip.
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The Best Vegan & Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in DC
Washington DC is very vegan-friendly — there is an amazing diversity of food to try. Get ready to enjoy everything from waffles for breakfast to fried rice with vegan shrimp!
#1 DC Vegan
1633 P St NW, Washington, DC 20036
Tucked into a quiet neighborhood street just steps from DuPont Circle puts them in striking distance for all your DC activities!
When you wander up, you will notice two entrances (both lead to excellent vegan food, so no worries there); the upstairs entrance will take you to a small deli and upstairs seating, perfect if you’re on the go, but if you want to stay awhile and would like a drink head downstairs.
The Italian/American menu delivers a street food vibe — crispy calamari, antipasti, meatballs, chick’n parm sandwiches, plus a creative lineup of cocktails and mocktails. Everything on the menu looks irresistible, but you really can’t go wrong with one of their bowls, either the Antipasti with cured tofu mozzarella or a meatball bowl with almond ricotta!
Multiple locations throughout DC
Finding a vegan restaurant for breakfast or brunch can be tricky, but finding one that serves vegan and gluten-free options is like looking for a needle in a haystack! That is until you wander into the plant-pushing Fruitive!
This fast-casual spot is da bomb — I wanted to pack them up and bring them back with me to Detroit! This is the perfect spot for a quick and healthy vegan breakfast — golden waffles topped with coconut whipped cream, superfruit bowls, fresh juices, toasts, and more — but you have to come back for lunch or dinner!
The menu is loaded with a mix of nutrient-dense options to keep you on the healthy track, plus things we all love — pizza, wraps, and salads. When I first came across Fruitive, I admit I thought it was just another smoothie shop; I am so glad I was wrong!
3207 Grace St NW, Washington, DC 20007
615 I St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Holy chic tacos! As soon as you walk in, you’ll be captivated by the relaxed beachy vibe — beautiful wicker lighting lights the place up while the cozy pastel sofas invite you to stay awhile (which you will do with one bite).
The vegetarian Mexican menu features veggie-packed (no Beyond or Impossible Meat here) tacos in house-made tortillas, mountainous nachos topped with sweet potatoes and black beans, quesadillas, and tostadas — the list is a mile long! Everything is so fresh and creative; absolutely no corners are cut — you’ll never look at another taco the same way once you eat here!
#4 Pow Pow
1253 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002
You might be a little confused with this plant-based Asian eatery — inside their menu proudly proclaims plant-based, but in other spots, you might find chicken or beef on the menu — are they having an identity crisis?
Initially, they started selling meat dishes, but their plant-based options were the most popular! They fully embraced customer demands and went vegan about two years ago; cool, right? Their menu features a variety of mock meats — shrimp, chick’n, beef — but you can always skip it and stick with a Purity Bowl loaded with fresh veggies and their signature house-made sauces.
Whatever you choose, make sure it either comes with, or you get a side of, their fantastic cashew siracha sauce — you will want a bottle of it after one taste! The creamy sauce is slightly spicy and nutty and perfectly enhances any dish! This is one spot for vegan food in Washington DC that you don’t want to miss.
1847 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009
I almost didn’t get a table here — on a Monday night; this place was on fire with activity! After 30 minutes, I thought about giving up, maybe a table for one was just out of the question, but the litany of awards (they are Michelin Bib Gourmand winners) that covered their front door piqued my interest. Maybe it’s worth this crazy Monday night wait?
The family behind this modern Afghan restaurant set out to recreate childhood flavors they have long missed since fleeing the country over three decades ago. The menu is very vegan-friendly — they even joke that most people think they (Afghans) are meat-eating mountain people, but in actuality, their veggie dishes are their best-kept secrets (I would have to agree). Many of the veggie dishes are on the smaller side, giving you the perfect opportunity to sample various authentic flavors.
It is suggested to start with the Bolani — traditional Afghan bread with multiple veggie fillings, but sadly, it’s not gluten-free, so I opted for the Shore Nakhot. This tangy chickpea potato dish is a cross between a soup and a salad — it’s unusual but refreshing! I promise if you take a meat-eater here and load them up on all these veggie dishes, they won’t once say, “where’s the meat?”
406 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002 (Diner location)
1370 Park Rd NW, Washington, DC 20010 (Bakery location)
This cute vegan diner and bakery has been delighting customers’ tastebuds for over 20 years — it’s a DC institution! Sticky Fingers is also famous — owner, Donna Petersan, is a two-time winner of the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” baking competition and the author of “Sticky Fingers’ Sweets: 100 Super-Secret Vegan Recipes.”
You know you won’t be getting any ordinary vegan dishes or baked goods here! In full transparency, I only made it to the bakery (the diner and bakery are in different parts of the city), which didn’t disappoint. The bakery features a lineup of everyone’s favorite sticky things — cookies, cupcakes, brownies, cakes, and more! Plus, they have a great selection of gluten-free baked goods; I honestly did a double-take; I didn’t believe it was gluten-free; it was so tender and delicious!
The diner features a veganized take on classic diner eats — biscuits and gravy, waffles, and mac-n-cheese — you will want to come here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Oh, one other bonus, they ship all of their treats nationwide!
#7 Donut Run
6904 4th St NW, Washington, DC 20012
Even though this donut heaven is outside downtown DC, it is worth the trek! Seriously, donut walk, run! I know, I am funny.
This is DC’s only vegan donut shop, and it doesn’t disappoint — behind the brightly lit glass case are rows and rows of magnificent pillows of sweet dough topped with sweet icing, sprinkles, cookies, and so much more — you can’t help but smile.
You will have trouble deciding which donuts to gobble up, so I suggest sticking with their best sellers — Boston cream, maple cream, and French toast, but it will be hard to pass up their cinnamon rolls and everyone’s favorite chocolate sprinkle (their donut boxes are a pretty good size so I think you might be able to take them all)!
Pro tip: pack Tupperware in your suitcase so you can safely bring home sugary sweets like this!
Don’t Miss These Tasty DC Vegan Articles, Too!
1829 M St NW Suite 100, Washington, DC 20036
I hadn’t planned to go here, I thought, do I really need to try another Impossible burger (not that there is anything wrong with Impossible burgers, but when you’re exploring a town, you want to diversify)? But, my dinner plans changed on my last evening, and I was really intrigued — with a name like that, I really had to check out what was happening behind the unassuming storefront.
The fast food-inspired menu features a little bit of everything — burgers, chick’n, fries — but the online menu that I looked at didn’t show its full glory. These vegan junk food creations should have a cult following, they are nothing short of epic, plus they have a great gluten-free menu!
Sink your teeth into a sweet butter garlic fried chick’n, a Big Bubb (house-made beet patty with cashew Bleu cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, pickle, tomato), or BBQ pulled jackfruit! But their fantastic lineup doesn’t stop there; you have to add on one of their irresistible orders of fries (loaded with cheesy goodness or just simple with garlic and herbs), chick’n nuggets, and onion rings, and you can’t skip their milkshakes! If you’re looking for a spot to splurge, there is no better place than Bubbies!
#9 PLANTA Queen
1200 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036
If you’ve been to NYC, Miami, or Toronto you might have already checked out this sophisticated Asian-inspired spot, but if you haven’t don’t miss it in DC! This is one of the best vegan spots in the city to go if you’re looking to be wow’d by flavor and have a chic night out.
The menu is incredibly creative — Ahi watermelon tuna, hearts of palm ceviche, plump veggie-filled dumplings, and so much more. First-time visitors shouldn’t miss the spicy tuna roll made with their unique Ahi watermelon and a giant Pad Thai slaw — the mix of textures and flavors is a party for your taste buds!
Need More East Coast Vegan Recommendations?
Washington DC is in a great location to explore other East Coast cities with great vegan food, like NYC and Philadelphia, and you know what? I’ve got everything you could possibly need to plan the best vegan adventure! Check it out:
Vegan-Friendly Hotels in NYC
The Best Vegan Brunch in NYC
12 Spots for Vegan & Gluten-Free Food in NYC
10 Unique Things to do in NYC
4 Eco-Friendly Hotels in Philly
10 Best Restaurants for Vegan Food in Philadelphia
8 Things To Do & See in Philadelphia