Forget greasy cheesesteaks. Here are five of the best places in Philly for a veggie-friendly meal that will please even the most devout meat-eaters.
1938 S. Chadwick St.
Make a reservation at Rachel Klein’s weekly all-vegan, kosher communal dinner in her new retro, 1950s-decorated space in Newbold. By day on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, it’s a market with vegan pastries, breakfast sandwiches, cheeses and more, but come Saturday night — unless Klein is busy catering a wedding — the Pantry transforms into a cozy BYOB dinner party for up to 12 guests. The menu changes often, but you might start with a Creole hearts of palm cake with mushrooms and Brussels sprout/radish slaw atop red pepper cream, and move onto ginger-kabocha squash dumplings with a brown sugar and black garlic butter sauce.
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1221 Locust St.
Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby’s highly praised all-vegan Vedge is an occasion restaurant (read: the prices of those small plates will add up quick), but it’s well worth it for herbivores and carnivores alike. Each plate offers an unexpected take on vegetables — a take that GQ magazine called “visionary.” The dishes sound boring when you list them; no one ever got excited by “wood roasted carrot.” So you’ll just have to trust us that this deconstructed plate is something you’ll be raving about after first bite.
126 S. 19th St.
The Vedge duo also runs a more casual, but just as artful, eatery on the other side of Broad, serving up vegan versions of international street food — with heat. Order something cooling, like the langos bread with smoked beets, dill and sauerkraut remoulade, to balance out the dan dan noodles with mushrooms and zucchini in a red chile and sesame sauce. And while we know we’re talking about veggies here, the cocktails deserve their own mention — do not, under any circumstances, skip the Miles David in Byblos (bourbon, arak and mandarin).
The salads at this locally started chain are hearty and filling without weighing you down, making them a perfect lunch option. You can choose from their creative suggestions or create your own, just step on up to the ordering screens and select your lettuce, vegetables, proteins and dressing, with unusual options like sriracha tahini vinaigrette or white balsamic. We’re also big fans of the slightly tart kale’atta smoothie, a blend of kale, banana, pineapple and mint. Kale might be passé, but this tastes too good to pass up.
1117 S. 11th St.
The exterior doesn’t look like much at this Thai and Laotian restaurant just south of Washington Ave., but inside it’s lively and warmly decorated with dark woods and Asian art. Sure, you can stick with the fried pork dumplings and crabmeat fried rice, but we recommend turning to the last page of the menu, which is all veggie options adjustable by spice level, from one pepper to the six-pepper “Thai spicy.” Go for the Lovely Eggplant, a flavorful mix of eggplant and other vegetables in a garlic basil sauce, or the rich, filling panang curry.