Sticking to a plant-based diet in Pittsburgh probably feels impossible.
After all, this city’s iconic spots aren’t exactly known for their vegan-friendly fare. Many of them have made a name for themselves because of the meat and seafood options. See favorites like Wholey’s, Penn Mac, Primanti’s, and Parma Sausage. Yeah, they’re probably not going to cut it.
But fear not, friends. There’s a movement towards meatless menu options underway. From vegan to vegetarian and even raw eateries, Pittsburgh is home to more veggie-friendly restaurants than you might think. Feast on these 25 spots for meat-free dining to find your new favorite vegan or vegetarian spot around town.
Walking through the doors at this eclectic eatery 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.
There’s a misconception that healthy food has to taste healthy. You know how it goes, free of flavor and lacking any excitement whatsoever. Well, we think that’s nonsense, and Eden is proving us right. They make clean eating taste good for everyone and even craft specialized options for raw, vegan, and vegetarian eaters out there. Local ingredients, inventive dishes, and tasty smoothies make up a menu that’s delicious and insanely good for you. Pop into Eden for a good meal that you can feel good about eating.
Vegetarian and vegan foods out of a box are bland. That’s why Aladdin’s Eatery’s menu thinks outside the box, creating traditional Lebanese-American foods with a splash of herbs and spices. Aladdin’s is all over too. In addition to the Squirrel Hill eatery, they’re serving up delicious vegetable-heavy, animal product-free foods in Mt. Lebanon, Fox Chapel, and on McKnight Road. Try the medley of vegetables, rice, and lentils on Mujadara Plate or any of their delicious rolled pitas.
From the team who brought you Pierogi Night comes this plant-based restaurant located at 4606 Penn Avenue. Apteka’s veggie-centric menu explores a mashup 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.
Healthy eating in the heart of Oakland? We’re certainly not talking about The O! It’s Red Oak Cafe we’re referring to. At this cafe, the goal is to create a menu-service combo that is “fast, fresh and healthy.” And they’re doing just that, offering up everything from smoothies and vegan/vegetarian options to the affordable Blue Plate Special. When patrons stop by, whether they’re Pitt students or professionals, they tend to get more than they bargained (in a really great way!). Think – healthy options in a hurry!
Imaginative sandwiches, fresh salads, and homemade soups for vegetarian, vegan, and healthy-minded city dwellers. As the name suggests this place is truly a unique experience, especially when compared to other eating options. EatUnique is a welcomed refuge from second-rate delis and fast food joints. The creativity draws you in, and the flavor sets them apart. Plus the location is convenient for students, professionals, or tourists looking for a bite to eat in-between classes, meetings, or museum stops. You want unique? Eat their vegan Malibu Avocado Burger.
The green space at Schenley Plaza received an eatery update when The Porch set up shop – going from food kiosks to full-service dining. This “come as you are” restaurant goes out its way to be green (LEED certified design), buy local (working with local farmers and artisans), and even grow its own produce on their rooftop garden. In the spring and summer, the back deck is the place to be. There, you can admire beautiful Oakland while sipping a drink and snacking hard on new American vegan options.
Here’s a healthy hidden gem worth discovering. One that’s full of surprises even after you locate it. That’s because this coffee shop in Polish Hill also does a vegan-friendly brunch each Sunday. While the brunch menu changes every week, (check their Facebook page for updates before heading over ), some items are always available. For instance, it’s only $10 bucks for brunch, coffee or tea and OJ. Another constant is the number of vegan and vegetarian options like the tofu scramble, tempeh strips, and vegan pancakes.
An artsy, intriguing vibe – much like the Garfield neighborhood – Spak Brothers is serving up one of the best pies in the ‘Burgh. The best part is that their pizzas are created using fresh, local ingredients, unbleached, unbromated flour and no refined sugars. The crew at Spak is also offering up alternatives like veggie sausage, Portobello sandwiches, meatless meat, and soy cheese to accommodate specialty and vegan diets.
Round Corner Cantina is a popular watering hole in Lawrenceville nightlife. But many don’t know that they serve up some of the best vegan Mexican creations in town. Try to tell us that fried tofu tacos with arbol chile salsa doesn’t sound incredible! The cantina creates many shareable dishes for the whole table, so don’t be shy in ordering for a crowd.
How do you redeem fast food? Franktuary has it figured out. They’ve reclaimed the frankfurter by transforming it from a street cart snack into a delicacy. Local, farm raised, chemical-free meats make for a healthier dog loaded with fresh, creative toppings. And they’re kind of a big deal. The press is raving mad about their franks, vegan dogs and sausages, poutine, and creations of the alcoholic variety. Even President Obama has been there. So we think it’s passed time you got in on the goodness.
A vegan and veg-friendly menu at a barbecue joint? No way. Um, yes way, friend. This wood grilling sports bar makes a mean Vegan Pittsburgh Bar-B-Que sauce, coconut rum tofu, and meatless wings and pork from seitan. No need to worry about cross-contamination here; vegan food is fried and cooked separately from other orders.
Looking for authentic and traditional Thai cuisine? Look no further, friend. The menu at Pusadee’s boasts more than 50 Thai dishes with sauces and curries made from scratch. That means a menu that has more options than the dining room has seats. Amongst the many Thai classics on the menu, you’ll find plenty of vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. Your best bet is to head here in good weather, call ahead, BYOB, and sit outside for an experience that exemplifies the word “garden” in eatery’s name.
This is the place to be for brunch on Butler Street. So if it’s Saturday or Sunday be prepared to wait in line. But know that your meal will be totally worth the wait. From your basic breakfast essentials to fancier food like a smoked salmon omelet or cheese-stuffed French toast, Coca Café has something for everyone. And we mean everyone. If you have some dietary restrictions they’re ready and willing to make most menu items vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten-free.
This vegan cafe is making eating well easy as can be, and tasty too! Located in Aspinwall, plus a food truck roaming around Pittsburgh, Randita’s is catering to clean eaters everywhere. Don’t be fooled by the word “vegan” in the name. You don’t have to be a strict vegan to enter, eat here, or enjoy what they have to offer. Expect a menu packed with inventive dishes made from the freshest ingredients around. Now that’s something everyone can approve of.
Food that’s healthy for you and healthy for the planet. What else would you expect from the environmental wonder that is Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens? Green is the key word here. From the Earth-friendly practices of their café to their vegan, vegetarian, and meatless Monday options, Café Phipps uses only the freshest, certified organic greens, yellows, oranges, reds, and more. Vegan eaters should definitely make a special trip for their take on a PB + J, the almond butter, and berry panini!
Más means more. And más is just what you’ll get at El Burro. From taco trays to a Tijuana Street Dog, El Burro is the place for grab-and-go, stop-by, take-out Mexican street food. Here, like anywhere else, “healthy” is a relative term. No, they’re not whipping up lettuce wraps made from entirely organic ingredients. But there are plenty of health-minded options, most of which are featured on a separate vegan menu or as part of their rotating vegan specials. Plus, given El Burro’s proximity to the North Shore, sporting stadiums, and music venues – it’s a quicker, healthier option before or after a night out.
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 vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. The veggie omelet, gluten free pancakes, and vegan sausage highlight a menu packed with body-conscious grub. For more than 12 years now, Square has been bringing fresh, seasonal food to the table. And has no plans to stop.
Boasting exotic food and festive drinks, Kaya makes for an exciting dining experience. Fresh, high-quality ingredients are used to create bold dishes inspired by the sea and sun – think tropical! Channeling the islands, the happy hour is one of the best in town. And their monthly vegetarian dinner is not to be missed. The Vegetarian Prix Fixe Dinner goes down on the third Wednesday each month. Try out the full tasting or a la carte options. The food is so good meat-eaters will consider going herbivore.
You can sort of tell the places that are big on vegan and vegetarian foods. And you’ll know you’ve arrived as soon as you set eyes on Biddle’s Escape, 401 Biddle Avenue in Regent Square. This yellow and purple painted coffee pad and brunch nook is full of vegan options like a Caprese and quinoa salad or homemade hummus. Their vegan specials change, so be sure to stop in for an espresso every so often.
When it comes to eclectic, artsy and healthy restaurants the South Side would point to Zenith as the epitome of the aforementioned attributes. But Lawrenceville also boasts an establishment that’s easy on the eye and heavy on healthy food. Of course, we’re talking about Kaleidoscope Cafe. From the mosaic tile exterior, you get the sense that this place is a rare find. Once you’re inside you’ll find your impression proven true. The walls are covered with art and the menu is marked with meals that can be made to suit vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diets.
To say the least, Fairmont Hotel has set up a pretty hospitable habitat. It’s Habitat, the restaurant. And its nutritious food is worlds above the lame continental breakfast most hotels offer. A healthy restaurant inside of a hotel in downtown Pittsburgh? Something sounds a little off. Come on friends, would we lead you astray? Habitat is a surprisingly inspired space that offers internationally inspired, health-conscious menu items. Using locally sourced ingredients, the cuisine team at Habitat devotes entire sections of the menu to vegan, raw, gluten-free, grass-fed eating options.
Make your way to 52nd block of Butler Street 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!
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