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Kate Hellett

JUN 21, 2019

We’ve been scouring Pittsburgh to bring out the best vegetarian delights and vegan cuisine that’ll blow your meat-eating friends’ socks off. And with deep-rooted mainstays and some fresh, green newcomers, the Pittsburgh plant-based scene is in a heck of a good spot.

Ready for the next round of Steel City vegan and vegetarian eats? Well, prepare yourself (and your stomach) because the list has not stopped growing.

Looking for a cool, Insta-worthy spot in Shadyside? Adda is for you. You’ll find bagels topped with homemade vegan nutella, cream cheese, and pea puree (that’s right — move over avocado toast). Don’t believe us? Check out their clearly labeled vegan and vegetarian menu. If you want the full tea experience, they also offer Afternoon High Tea every second and fourth weekend of the month. Fitt Tip: they have great lighting for photos.

Condado Tacos


In the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh (and soon, Lawrenceville), Condado Tacos has all your Taco Tuesday needs covered. And guess what? You can even build your own. Look out for the vegan and vegetarian (and gluten-free) symbols on the menu for quick and easy construction. Pack your handheld full of protein options like Thai Chili Tofu, Roasted Portobellos, and BBQ Pulled Jackfruit. See? Taco treats without the meat are possible!

This is one healthy brunch spot in Garfield. How healthy you ask? The Gluten Free Goat is 100% gluten-free, corn-free, soy-free, oat-free, peanut-free, and vegetarian (mostly vegan). The Café Menu is always changing, but you can usually find their seasonally-flavored drinks, donuts, turnovers and tartes on hand — almond milk cappuccino anyone? And if you’re in the mood for something savory, their Vegan BLT and Benedict are drop-dead delicious.

Choolaah has some of the most flavorful eats in the city — and the whole menu is healthy, too. This East Liberty eatery combines Indian favorites with BBQ and their menu features vegan- and vegetarian-friendly options. Be adventurous and try their Veggie Masala Bowl with rice or their legendary Choolaah Salad with Veggie Croquette. It’s good to be plant-based here, but you may need some time to choose with all the options. Fitt Tip: ask them to make recommendations — they always have solid advice in ordering.

Pittsburgh’s OG rolled ice cream, at your service (in Lawrenceville). It’s made with a Thai technique where the cream base is spread onto an ice pan, goodies of your choice are mixed in, and it’s carefully rolled into a cup with your name on it. The best part? They have vegan and dairy-free options. If you’re worried about cross-contamination, have no fear — they have clean stations at the end. Just ask!

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At Station in Pittsburgh’s Little Italy neighborhood you can find possibly the best Vegan Sloppy Joe in the city — a sandwich that could convert meat-lovers everywhere. But you’ll find a variety of vegetarian items mixed into the menu, too. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for veggie tastings (think carrot jerky, dehydrated cherries, and house-made vinegar made out of grape Fanta).

Punk rock and plant-based. Onion Maiden is 100% vegan and cruelty-free and serves up much more than kale (don’t worry — they still have kale). You’ll find vegan dawgs, nachos, curry, the list goes on. It’s also worth mentioning that they have an always rotating (and always out of this world) brunch menu on Saturdays — keep an eye out for their social media updates for the latest line-up. Can’t make it out to Allentown? Goodie drop-offs are at Artisan Cafe and Black Forge Coffee House.

Welcome to Pittsburgh, honeygrow. Pittsburgh, say hello to healthy fast food and modernized touch-screen ordering. Here, you can customize your meal or order right off the carefully-curated menu. Vegan and gluten-free options are aplenty, but be sure to let the staff know of any food allergies so they can swap out a fresh wok to avoid cross-contamination. And do yourself a favor and try the Red Coconut Curry with roasted spicy tofu — you can thank us later.

We all scream for dairy-free, vegan ice cream. And while Sugar Spell Scoops’ cashew-based ice cream has been bouncing around the Burgh—their pints and chocolate wands can be found at events or locations in and around the Pittsburgh area—they’re set to open their first brick-and-mortar in Sharpsburg any minute now. They even make custom Instagram-worthy unicorn cakes (gluten-free, too)!

Pizza, dogs, and beer — so vegan, right? In the heart of Edgewood, D’s has a pub (also family-friendly) atmosphere with a surprising amount of veggie options. Pair a crisp Belgium with a vegetarian hoagie, or vegan Chicago-style dog. Did we mention they also do brunch? Put a fried egg on it! (we’re serious, it’s called the Brunch Dog).

The hidden gem of Millvale, this tea company is serving up all vegetarian and mostly vegan fare. The menu changes almost daily, but some staple items are usually available — like the Brie and Pepper Jam Sandwich (you can also swap out the Brie for vegan cheese). Before you head out, be sure to check out their wall of tea and variety of blends. Interested in making your very own tea blend? They can do that, too!

An organic dessert cafe with velvet vibes in Lawrenceville, this spot serves up cake by the slice along along custom creations (and vegan options galore). One of their latest delights? Rosewater Cardamom Baby Cakes with honey pistachio cream. An added bonus: they’re open late — we’re talking 11pm, folks.

From the team who brought you Pierogi Night comes this plant-based restaurant at 4606 Penn Ave. Apteka’s veggie-centric menu explores a mash-up of culinary combinations from Pittsburgh and Central + Eastern Europe. Expect Polish food staples like their oh-so-popular pierogi, as well as borscht and stuffed cabbage, all made from scratch using plant and grain-based ingredients only.

Did someone say cheat day? We did! Spot Relish at pop-ups around the city, their soon-to-come bakery on Pearl St. in Bloomfield, or the occasional extravagant donut drop-off. Treat yourself to some all-vegan fauxcciutto with sweet onion fig jam and dark greens on a fresh croissant, or spring for the chocolate roasted marshmallow donut (or whatever creative concoction they come up with next).

This is affordable grab-and-go vegan food (and drink) at its finest. For instance, their cold-pressed raw juice (10oz.) is only $6, and the Beyond Meat Burger goes for $10. PS: if you’re looking for a refresh, ask about the Alkaline Cleanse next time you’re in. Can’t make it over to Butler St. in Lawrenceville? Try Fast N Fresh Courier to get Reed & Co. delivered (via bicycle!) straight to your door — check their socials for the latest times.

This neighborhood café brings the community together around fresh, local food. If you’re going all out, get their pumpkin-walnut pancakes — totally worth the splurge. But if you’re watching what you eat, there are all sorts of healthier selections to choose from. Take a look over the menu and you’ll find tons of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. The veggie omelet, gluten-free pancakes, and vegan sausage highlight their mouth-watering selections of body-conscious grub. For many years now, Square has been bringing fresh, seasonal food to the table. And they’re not planning on stopping!

Make your way to 52nd block of Butler St. in Lawrenceville for vegan-friendly eats all day long. This cafe/restaurant/bakery concept serves up scratch-made meals and snacks for morning and mid-afternoon diners. The menu features vegan-friendly fare with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. Come hungry because they’re also serving baked goods, vegan chocolate, espresso, and cold brew on tap. Oh, and a killer brunch on the weekend!

Walking through the doors at this eclectic eatery on S. 26th St. is like walking into an art show, antique shop and vegan/vegetarian-friendly restaurant in one. You can browse around, but you’d better get a bite to eat. The menu is updated weekly, and brunch is not to be missed. Vegan apple spice pancakes are calling. Plus, just $10 for the brunch buffet, main dish, coffee or tea.


**Updated by Meredith Rigsby, September 2018

UPMC Health Plan


Right from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

UPMC Health Plan


Right from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.