Posted by happycowgirl at 04/09/15 18:37:58You must go to The Chicago Diner. The original location is at 3411 N Halsted St in Boy's Town. They have another location in the Logan Square neighborhood which I haven't tried yet but it's supposed to be great. The Chicago Diner is iconic b/c they opened the first vegetarian restaurant in Chicago in 1983 and are still going strong today! Chicago Diner is vegetarian with tons of vegan options.
Sadly, Karyn's on Green closed it's doors forever on March 1st. That was my favorite gourmet vegan restaurant in Chicago. If you're looking for gourmet vegan, try Green Zebra in the Wicker Park area (make reservations).
If you're looking for an upscale dinner that's not quite gourmet, my favorite is the Mana Food Bar (make reservations). It's on Division about a mile from Green Zebra in the Wicker Park neighborhood. It's an intimate setting with only a few tables or you can belly up to the bar. Parking can be tough on Division, better to take the 'L' (Blue Line, get off at Division - very short walk) or cab it.
If you haven't been to a Native Foods Cafe yet, that's a must. It's a casual restaurant kind of like a Panera Bread but it's 100% vegan. They have multiple locations in Chicago but my favorite is the one on Milwaukee Ave in Bucktown. It's right by the 'L' and if it's a nice day you can sit outside and watch the trains go by. Total Chicago experience. Plus Bucktown is such a cool neighborhood. Walk down the street and stop in at The WormHole for a soy latte and vegan dessert. Go to Myopic Books and browse aisle after aisle of used reads. Walk down Milwaukee and check out the clothing stores, pop into one of the bars for a drink or just people watch.
If you're sightseeing on Michigan Ave (going up in the Hancock, checking out the Art Institute, the Bean or Maggie Daley Park), it's a beautiful walk down the Chicago River to Protein Bar in the River North neighborhood. Go to Michigan and Wacker Drive, that's where the river is. Follow the riverwalk a few blocks until you get to Clark Street. On your way you'll walk by the iconic Marina Towers, featured in countless movies. Clark Street is one block over. Protein Bar is at 352 N. Clark. They have to-die-for vegan burritos, smoothies, salads. You can't go wrong.
If you're going to be in the vicinity of Michigan Ave, may I suggest you make time for an architectural boat tour offered by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. You board at Michigan & Wacker. This would be a fun thing to do before or after lunch at the Protein Bar. U can get tickets here: https://www.architecture.org/experience-caf/tours/detail/chicago-architecture-foundation-river-cruise-aboard-chicagos-first-lady-cruises/
If you're spending time in the Loop - going to the theatre district, the Opera or up to the Willis Tower (Sears Tower) - make time to stop at the 100% vegan restaurant called Raw. It's in the Chicago French Market at Ogilvie Train Station. Honestly, most Chicagoans don't know about the French Market. It's at Clinton & Washington. Raw is super casual - it's just a restaurant stand tucked away in the back of the market. It's expensive but the taste experience of a lifetime!
There's so many more great vegan-friendly restaurants in Chicago. Explore and have fun!
Posted by happycowgirl at 04/09/15 18:44:41fyi..
If you're interested, there's also very cool kayak tours down the Chicago River through the "urban canyons" of the Loop: http://www.kayakchicago.com/tours/
Or my favorite which is the more natural part of the Chicago River on the north side: http://chicagoriverpaddle.com