If you’re thinking of going vegan and you live in the DMV area (D.C., Maryland, Virginia), then rest assured you will have plenty of options to choose from. I’ve been here for about two years now and have tried the majority of the vegan-friendly restaurants. Here’s what I have to say about a few of them. (**Note: I highly recommend all the restaurants I’ve listed with two stars.)
1. Elizabeth’s Gone Raw
This restaurant is the definition of the words elusive and decadent. It is only open on Fridays and offers a fixed 7-course menu of all raw, vegan food. The meals are always unexpected, unique, and made with great attention to detail. Despite this, I really only loved one dish, the rest were just okay. My friend, on the other hand, has wanted to go back ever since. Overall, I would recommend this place for the experience. Although the menu is $75, the chef and waiters take pride in their work. You have the option to have a different wine paired with each dish. They told us that the wine was made with grapes that were picked during certain cycles of the moon, when the vines were at their peek. You won’t get that at just any old restaurant. Check it out if you ever have a special occasion; they will make your night memorable.
2. Bus Boys and Poets
This is a great place to go if you have non-vegan friends you want to eat out with. They really have good selections for everyone. I would recommend the Tempeh Panini. It’s not the healthiest option, but it’s the best! The atmosphere is unique because half of the restaurant is a book store. This is helpful for my friends since I am chronically late. On the downside, I’ve been to a few different sites of this chain and the service is consistently subpar. The food is worth it though!
3. **Great Sage
Wow! I love this place! The Great Sage is in Clarksville, MD, which is a little out of the way if you live in D.C., but trust me when I say it’s worth the trek. This is an all-vegan restaurant with options that will satisfy and surprise even the biggest meat lover. The staff is also super friendly and believe in quick service. My suggestion is to just eat your way through the menu, but start off with the Spring Crisp. Don’t forget dessert and grab one of their delicious cookies to go. Oh my gosh, my mouth is watering just writing this.
4. **Sticky Fingers Bakery
If you are at your ideal body weight, then don’t go here. You will regret it when you see all the fresh baked goods they have to offer. Don’t let the word bakery fool you though, they have a delicious brunch with a variety of options. One of the hardest things for vegans to find are decent breakfast options, like waffles, pancakes and the works. This is where you can find that. I would recommend the Breakfast Burrito and the Cowvin Sandwich Cookies-trust me on this one. Just remember their brunch is only available on weekends, a disappointing fact indeed. Also, they have a sister company Fare Well. Not sure what happened with that place though because it really disappointed me.
6. **Equinox (for Sunday brunch)
A must try! This place is so incredible that I had to compliment the chef in person. They do have one or
two vegan options on their dinner menu, but what I would really recommend is their all-vegan brunch on Sundays. It costs about $50, but it is worth every penny. They do a buffet style brunch, so you get to try a variety of dishes from salads to mac n’ cheese to asian stir fry. Seriously, don’t miss this place!
7. Mellow Mushroom
This is a popular chain across the U.S., so it’s nothing new to be writing about here. However, I’ve discovered that not everyone knows about Mellow’s vegan pizza? I need to eradicate that right now. Their pizza is overpriced, but one of the best vegan options out there. My brother orders his with tempeh and broccoli, and after trying his, I order the same every time.
My beautiful friend Rebecca and her family took me here and I’ve wanted to go back ever since. This is Indian food in the heart of D.C., and even if you don’t like Indian food you will love this place. I had my qualms about it, but I can promise you wholeheartedly that you won’t be disappointed. Since this is a nicer restaurant, the portions aren’t huge. What we did was sort of like a tapas-style meal, where we ordered a bunch of dishes for the whole table. It’s not entirely vegan, but it’s very vegan-friendly so sharing dishes shouldn’t be a problem.
D.C., like most big cities, is known for it’s pockets of foreigners from certain places, like Ethiopia for example. The large population of Ethiopian people have opened up restaurants here, blessing us with incredible food. Das is one of those restaurants. It is located in Georgetown, and if you’ve never tried Ethopian food, this is a great place to start. I’ve heard good reviews from everyone I know who’s been here. For vegans, they have one sampler dish with several types of what I like to call “mush”. If you’re unfamiliar with Ethiopian food, you are generally served a “mush” of vegetables (for us vegans) with injera, which when googled is described as “soft, pancake-like bread”. You don’t have utensils. You just use the injera to pick up the mush, then enjoy. I encourage you to step out of your food bubble if you’ve never tried Ethiopian food. You won’t know what you’re eating, but you’ll love it anyway!
10. Sticky Rice
I’ve only gone to the Sticky Rice located in Baltimore, but I’m assuming the D.C. location offers the same selection. This place isn’t solely vegan, but they have great options for vegan sushi beyond boring avocado rolls. I ordered the Lettuce Wraps as an appetizer and paired it with the Cat’s Eye sushi roll. If you order this lethal combo, I can almost guarantee you will be ordering Postmates from here weekly.
If you love Mediterranean food like I do, then look no further than Zaytinya. Located in Chinatown, this restaurant offers you both chic ambiance and mouthwatering dishes. It’s a large restaurant that brings out naan (bread) to all the tables, but be careful, it isn’t vegan! My friends and I went here for restaurant week in D.C., so we ordered a pre-selected menu. Every. single. dish. was. delicious. I eat hummus weekly. I’ve probably tried at least 50 different hummuses (sounds weird plural?), including hummus from Greece and my own homemade concoctions. This was one of the best I’ve ever had. We paired it with fresh cucumbers and it blew our minds.
Of course D.C. is a large city, and there are a number of restaurants I haven’t mentioned. However, these are some of the most interesting places to eat for vegans. If you decide to skip out on the ones I’ve starred above, then I feel sorry for you because you will be missing out!