A Vegan's Guide to Seatle
Hello, Seattle! While not in the top ten, this eclectic pacific northwest city is amongst the “noteworthy” vegan-friendly cities on the HappyCow 2018 Top 10 Vegan Cities in the World list. It’s a town of comfort food, food trucks, craft breweries, and bars that offer much more than beer on tap. Pull on those rain boots and cozy vegan hoodie, then head out to explore all the vegan eats Seattle has to offer. For a quick reference, check out HappyCow’s 10 Best Vegan Restaurants in Seattle, but if you’re looking for hidden gems and local favorites, read on to discover HappyCow member-approved recommendations.
Top 3 Vegan Restaurants
1. Plum Bistro
Visit this Capitol Hill neighborhood hot spot for a taste of vegan comfort food mixed with a cool, urban setting. The kitchen churns out several Caribbean-inspired dishes amongst its staple American dishes and a riff on a few Italian American classics. Whether you’re in the mood for Cajun Battered Fried Okra, a deep-fried Buffalo Portobello Burger, or Handmade Beetroot & Ricotta Ravioli, Plum Bistro is sure to satisfy.
Five words: All-You-Can-Eat Buffet. Of course, Araya didn’t make HappyCow’s top three Seattle restaurants just for this lunch deal—the food itself is indisputably good. Amongst all the quality Thai spots in town, Araya ranks among the best (vegan or not). From familiar pot stickers to more traditional tom kah soup and a collection of outstanding curries, this restaurant delivers on choice, flavor, and affordability.
3. Cycle Dogs
This is not your average hot dog cart. Perhaps the most obvious—it’s all vegan. However, the toppings go way beyond traditional condiments. From the two topping Seattle with cream cheese and grilled onions to the elaborate Trashcan with vegan chorizo, hash browns, corn, cream cheese, and grilled onions, you’ll never go back to plain ketchup and mustard again. This stationary food truck also serves vegan burgers, fries, and fried desserts such as fried Oreos and Twinkies.
Top 3 Vegan-friendly Restaurants
For those who are 21 and up, this unpretentious low-lit dive bar serves some surprisingly tasty bar food along with its popular craft cocktails. It’s also Seattle’s first vegetarian bar, and the vegan options are plentiful. Split the Three Little Pigs (house made corn dogs) with friends, then order the tacos, tamales, an entrée salad, or one of the 13 inventive sandwiches for yourself. While chowing down, test your skills with some of the retro arcade games, or bring your know-it-all friends on Thursdays at 8:30pm for the weekly trivia night.
2. Cafe Flora
Voted Seattle Magazine’s Best Vegetarian and Gluten-Free Place to Dine in 2018, Cafe Flora delivers on both quality and ambiance. The restaurant partners with several local farmers, so patrons can expect fresh, local produce during breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The menus include elegant yet hearty entrées, sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and appetizers, but the breakfast/brunch menu is the true star. Vegan options include Biscuits and Gravy, a Southern Plate with all the fixins’, Green Eggs and Yam, and a classic, ooey-gooey Cinnamon Roll.
While not completely vegan like Araya’s, In the Bowl also offers a plethora of vegan-friendly traditional Thai dishes. Note: the mock meats contain whey, so stick with the tofu option when you order any noodle, curry, fried rice, or stir-fry dish. Bonus...all of these entrées come with dessert!
Most Popular Dish to Try in Seattle
Create-Your-Own Potato at Papas Hot Potatoes
When it’s cold and rainy out, you just want comfort food, and for many vegans, nothing warms their belly like an epic build-your-own potato bar. This no-frills baked potato joint is listed as a Top 10 HappyCow Seattle Restaurant, and while it might seem like a lot of hoopla over a simple baked potato, most could not replicate the variety and deliciousness of the toppings at home. Choose a russet or white sweet potato, then go to town with toppings including two types of chilis, queso, sour cream, bacon chips, pickled veggies, roasted mushrooms, onions, and more. It’s all vegan, and it’s all incredibly satisfying.
Best Place to Bring a Date for a High-End Dinner
Celebrate a special occasion or treat your significant other to a five course prix fixe menu at Harvest Beat. The menu is always vegan, but it changes every two weeks, as it relies heavily on produce and ingredients from local farms and purveyors. A sample menu includes Smoked Potato and Parsnip Bisque served with Fuji Apple Daikon Radish Spring Mustard Green Salad, Nettle Toasted Pumpkin Seed and Roasted Garlic Cake with sautéed fava beans and fried sunchokes in a thyme tomato sauce, Nigella Seed Mung Bean Crepe with sautéed maitake mushrooms and purple cabbage rapini in a leek cashew cream sauce, and Raw Maple Walnut Carrot Cake with cardamom cashew cream cheese and huckleberry cara cara orange sauce. Harvest Beat is anything but one note.
Best Vegan Bakeries
Order a baker’s dozen...or two! This vegan donuttery offers plenty of tantalizing options to choose from. Fill up your box with a variety of dressed up vanilla and chocolate cake donuts, yeasted and glazed twists, sticky sweet fritters, and indulgent filled pastries. One is never enough.
2. Sugar Plum
An offshoot of the popular Plum Bistro, Sugar Plum serves seasonal plant-based desserts in a bright, welcoming setting. Choose from a variety of uniquely flavored vegan ice creams (such as Avocado Lavender and Lemon Thyme Poppy Cake), milkshakes, “Just Like Blizzards,” popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, and an assortment of cookies.
Ice cream? Cookies? Sundae? Have it all at The Cookie Counter. This adorable vegan bakery offers everything you need to shake off those wintery Seattle blues. Enjoy a simple scoop of ice cream in a waffle cone, dive into a cookie sandwich of your creation, or go all out with an enormous brownie sundae, complete with a cherry on top!
Things to Do in Seattle
Browse the book section, join the Game Designer’s Club, unleash your inner artist during Drink and Paint Night, or break out into a karaoke ballad at this self-proclaimed “geek” bookshop, event space, and cafe. In between activities, sip on an espresso drink or order something a bit more substantial from the cafe menu which offers dedicated vegan options such as breakfast scrambles, soups, salads, sandwiches, and rotational pastries.
Kick back and enjoy this fun tiki-themed bar for a night out with a group of friends. Bar food gets a vibrant, beachy twist featuring Jackfruit Flautas, Crab Cakes, and coconut Buffalo Cauliflower Wings. Be sure to sample one (or a few) of the inventive drinks. Think beyond the basic Mai Thai and order a round of shark shots—aka rum shot straight out of the mouth of a miniature plastic shark. Cheers!
Stroll around the historic Ballard neighborhood of Seattle and discover the independent boutique jewelry and clothing shops, craft breweries, botanic gardens, and Nordic Museum. After working up an appetite, find a seat at Hot Cakes Molten Cakery and indulge in a fresh-out-of-the-oven vegan chocolate cake with a chocolate lava center. Enjoy with a generous scoop of Frankie & Jo’s vegan vanilla ice cream or a chilled glass of cashew milk. Visiting during the warmer months? Try the monthly vegan milkshake; no matter the seasonal flavor, it never disappoints.
*Note: Several vegan restaurants, vegan-friendly restaurants, and bakeries received equal ratings by HappyCow users. Those listed above are only three of these highest-ranked establishments on HappyCow Seattle. View a Top 10 List of Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants in Seattle and all of Seattle’s vegan-friendly options.Featured image provided by oakie on Unsplash