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Green Zebra

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 28 reviews )
Contact 312-243-7100

1460 W Chicago Ave (at Ashland), Chicago, Illinois, USA, 60622

Contemporary vegetarian food with seasonal menus. Vegan items are marked. Jan 2013 no longer offering Sunday brunch. The second floor is available for private functions. Open Mon-Thu 5:30pm-9:30pm, Sat 5:00pm-10:00pm, Sun 5:00pm-9:00pm.

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, American, International, Western, Beer/Wine

Reviews (28)

First Review by steve dumperth

Special occasion vegetarian - Edit

Green Zebra is toward the high end of restaurants we can afford, so for us it is a special occasion restaurant. The staff are pleasant, and the restaurant has a neighborhood feel without being too casual.

I'm never good with putting together my own selection of small plates into a satisfying meal, so I like to get the tasting menu (currently $38 for four courses). I don't think I've ever had an experience where every course amazed me, but I've always been happy with them overall. In fact, one of the things I like about Green Zebra is that it's a restaurant that doesn't try to upstage your dinner companions with its food; instead, it fills in part of a pleasant background.

That said, the soups are usually excellent, and the chefs create dishes intended to showcase vegetables rather than trying to copy non-vegetarian dishes.

Pros: Vegetable-focused

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Veggie and vegan dishes with a twist - Edit

We visited as Green Zebra had been recommended to us. It's an upscale restaurant and worth booking ahead of time - we left it to the same day and couldn't get the time we would have liked to eat at.

The menu features a range of dishes all served as small plates and it's best to order 2-3 per person. Some dishes come as vegan option, so we picked 5 vegan ones and 1 vegetarian risotto.

All dishes have a twist to them like our chosen dessert, which was an upside down peach sponge cake with basil ice cream and a whiskey caramel sauce. We found the basil ice cream to be a bit overpowering but still very nice.

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Really Beautiful Experience - Edit

Green Zebra is a lovely space with top notch food. My partner and I went for Valentine's Day and chose all vegan items (we chose maybe 6 items). Each item was fantastic. The staff were very attentive and very professional. All in all, we were very pleased with the experience.

Also, it seems that they are becoming increasingly more vegan friendly. For example, I remember checking them out for Restaurant Week a few years ago and they only had vegetarian offerings for their prix-fixe menu. This year, however, they had both vegetarian and vegan options for their prix-fixe menu! Nice!

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Good food, service & ambiance - Edit

This is a very good vegetarian restaurant. The service was very good. They have unique drinks & unique food items. The food quantity is small, so it is best to order several items & share them. The ambiance is nice & upscale here. I gave this a 4 instead of 5 as I did not enjoy the food as much as some other vegetarian restaurants such as Millenium in San Francisco or Hiltl in Zurich. Having said that, the food is still very good & the experience is good, & I do recommend coming here, whether you are vegetarian or not.

Pros: service, ambiance, non alcoholic drinks

Cons: expensive, very very small portions, could use more taste

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Meh! - Edit

I tried Green Zebra 8 years ago and was so turned off by the experience, I just never went back, even though it is one of the closest places to my house in Chicago. A friend encouraged me to go, telling me that they are now a fully vegetarian restaurant, no longer serving chicken and fish and that they increased their portion sizes. I went with a client, who was open to trying vegan, so we went. I have to tell you, I am just not that impressed. Perhaps because I am a vegan. I find the place irritatingly vegan unfriendly. It's like vegan is an afterthought to this place. Almost like something they are doing because they have to. In most vegetarian places, vegan options dominate the menu. Either they are vegan or they can be made vegan. Green Zebra strikes me as being the opposite. On the night I was there, the tasting menu was all vegetarian, not one item on it was vegan or could even be made vegan. All of the items on the menu are small, but the vegan items seem more like the side dishes of the menu. Even my non veg client quipped, "This mushroom pate is good, but why isn't it vegan? Butter? Can't they easily have made this vegan?" The only dessert they had that was vegan, out of 5 items, was sorbet, which puts them as vegan dessert friendly as Smith and Wollenski's. I didn't find the service to be overly attentive, let alone helpful and friendly. $120 later, I left hungry and disappointed. I am just not a Green Zebra fan.

And to add to my dislike:

Jack Nugent: (edited for length) The Foie Gras Ban came into effect. I was excited about the progressive city that I had chosen and was passed by a 41 to 6 majority of city aldermen. They were educated on the issues and solidly against having restaurants serve this cruel dish. Then the Foie Gras Ban was repealed through some underhanded tricks by Ald Tom Tunney and then Mayor Daley, (as documented in the book Foie Gras Wars by Marc Caro) and the first Chicago restaurant to put the cruel diseased goose liver paste back on the menu? You guessed it. The Green Zebra owner's 2nd restaurant located on Congress Ave in the Loop called Custom House. I had the opportunity to speak with Sue while protesting outside the Custom House and she has absolutely zero empathy for sentient life.

Pros: Trendy decor

Cons: Pricey, Not very vegan friendly

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Avoid this place! - Edit

Unfortunately we had the same experience as many of the fellow reviewers here-food was mediocre at best and grossly overpriced, and the atmosphere was pretty drab. Small portions aside, if the food had been good, the prices would have been more justifiable, but it wasn't. Everything-even those that looked slightly interesting on the menu-came out really really bleh. We shared 5-6 dishes and left hungry (My boyfriend had to look for something else to eat after and luckily found this taco joint a few blocks down the street). Trust me, your money would be MUCH better spent elsewhere.

Cons: boring food, pricey, dull atmosphere

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Great for an upscale evening - Edit

This is a great restaurant, with really delicious food. I have been here a few times for semi-special occasions, and have never been disappointed. They put together some interesting dishes and present them well. There is a good wine selection as well.

Pros: Nice ambiance

Cons: expensive

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Wished it was better. - Edit

I was really looking forward to my dining experience at the Green Zebra. I ordered the chef's tasting menu, It was okay, but I found myself underwhelmed. The service was very good. I also enjoyed the soup I had. I won't go back.

Pros: Service

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Not worth the hype - Edit

The food is not that great and the atmosphere is a bit boring. Too pricey for not delivering. I like the idea of Green Zebra, but it is certainly no Millennium (in SF).

Pros: Vegan options

Cons: Food is only okay, Boring atmoshere, Pricey

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So Close and yet So Far - Edit

Tables too close. You may as well get to know the people sitting next to you because you'll hear their entire conversation and they yours.

Food is outstanding. Prices are high. Portion sizes are small but it allows you to try more dishes.

Overall, this place seemed like a poser place to me. They serve vegetarian meals but it's like they're doing it as some type of culinary experiment not b/c they're committed to the cause. For example, they didn't have soy creamer for my coffee. What? How can an upscale vegetarian restaurant not have that. We're talking basic. Don't you think an all vegetarian restaurant is also going to draw vegans? And shouldn't your waitstaff be knowledgeable about the requirements of a vegan diet? Ours was not.

I'd go back again for the food but they need to work on the atmosphere.

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Best vegetarian meal ever! - Edit

Whenever, I go to a new town, I always check out the vegetarian restaurants. Will not forget my visit to the green Zebra, amazing food, good service and nice atmosphere.
Would easily give it 5 stars, but not allowed because of the one fish dish apparently.

Pros: Food, Service, Atmosphere

Cons: Busy on peak times

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mediocre eats - Edit

I still ponder the mediocrity of this place. It was the most expensive meal my bf and I have ever had and one of the least memorable. The portion sizes were hilariously small for the prices. Why not go full on vegetarian? Seems silly to cater to the masses when there are soooooo many restaurants that cater to non- vegetarians. I should note that I only went here once and it was 4 years ago, but the mediocrity is the only thing I remember.

Cons: high prices, mediocre food, annoying yuppie crowd

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it's a fancy restaurant for us! - Edit

I really liked this place. When I was there, the entire menu was vegan/vegetarian except one dish, which I think was scallops. They said they did that for omnis who come with veggies. I don't know, it didn't turn me off. I had a great time here and the food was incredible.

Pros: top knotch food, variety with the tapas style

Cons: pricey, meat options unnecessary

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Exceptional food and service - Edit

Just got back from a second trip here, a year after the first. The first was the best meal I had last year. The second is the best meal I had this year. Each time I took the same non-vegetarian friends and they loved it each time.

Service last year was great but not exceptional. Tonight it was the best I've seen since Napa's French Laundry in 2002. Food last year was exceptional. Tonight food was very good. Both times we had tasting menu with wine selections. I've never understood the point of wine selections except here - San Francisco's Millenium uses it as a revenue stream; here they use it as a way of truly complementing every course perfectly.

Just call them, if you can't get a table try opentable.com, and get there as soon as you can.

The biggest 5* ever, except they serve one fish dish for the diehard carnivores and therefore I'm not allowed to give them higher than 4*. This patronising nonsense is the same reason I'm not allowing myself to pay happycow.net either.

Pros: Great food, Exceptional service, Good ambience

Cons: Expensive, A bit out of the way, Hard to get a table

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Very good - Edit

My friend and I chose the chef's menu, which consisted of items that were not on the menu (though the chef accomodated my friend who was not a cauliflower fan on one course). The food was innovative (especially for vegetarian food) and tasty. Our portions were appropriate for a multi-course meal and the wine list had several very affordable bottles listed. I would definitely return and recommend it to others.

Pros: Excellent Food, Affordable Wine, Good Value

Cons: Somewhat spacey staff

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One of the nation's best veg restaurants - Edit

I can't believe I'm the first person leaving a 5-star review here.* I have visited Green Zebra many times and have had a memorable meal every time. Most of the other reviews mention the price, and you shouldn't go expecting it to be a typical cheap, grungy veggie joint. Instead, appreciate it as an excellent haute cuisine restaurant then the prices are exactly what they should be--I'd almost call it a bargain for the quality of food and service. So often vegetarians have no way to experience the latest food trends, but Green Zebra does molecular gastronomy perfectly, without sacrificing flavor for style, as well as very solid traditional preparations. I personally recommend the garlic onion soup--I could have it every time I go, and the cucumber dill salad on chilled creme fraiche was a revelation.
Highly, highly recommended. It's best when you have an expense account, but every vegetarian deserves a meal like this once in a while.

*I just realized that I can't give higher than a 4-star review because this is considered a non-veg restaurant, but I've seen multiple occasions where there are no meat or even fish dishes. I consider this a veg restaurant.

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I want to like it more - Edit

I went there with my fiance about a year ago. It was definitely tasty but being vegan definitely shrank the menu down a bit and I left hungry. The flavors were great but for the money I would like to leave satisfied. Also as I read the reviews below, I didn't know the same owner owns another restaurant that serves frois grois, really disappointing. Will definitely make me think twice about ever eating there again.

Pros: excellent food, healthy, friendly staff

Cons: left hungry, pricey

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Good Fare in a nice setting - a tad overpriced - Edit

I went there last night on a friend's recommendation. The menu is quite exotic and it will take a bit of explanation from the staff to understand what you are ordering. The cheeses they served for the starter was fantastic. The Thai soup was a bit sour and was not served hot. But it had some great flavors. I ordered a smoked potato dish with a poached egg and it was not very good. But my friend ordered the Gnocchi which was delicious. The place is a bit overpriced and the portions are very small - an observation other reviewers have made as well. I would'nt pick this place when you are just going out to eat. But if its a special occasion and you would like to celebrate, this is a great place to get to.

Pros: Decor, Ambience, Exotic Menu

Cons: Pricey, Pricey, Pricey

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Very pricey... - Edit

I finally ate here after numerous attempts; I will say that this place is VERY expensive so make sure you're well aware of that before going. The waitress said you should order at least 3 plates in order to feel full (those plates range from $8-15). My friend and I ordered a few things, but felt the amount and quality of food wasn't worth the price. I may go back again, but this would be a special occasion...like very special. On a side note, the decor of the place is of the nicest (Vegan places) in Chicago.

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For a nice occassion. - Edit

The restaurant is very classy and upscale. It was nice to try at least once or if i want to get dressed up. The portions are small because they assume you will order multiple dishes. The food was good. I like more casual places, but i'm glad i tried it. I probably will not go again... for no other reason than the whole other restaurant thing that someone mentioned. (But i am an ethical vegan.)

Pros: fancy veggie

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Utterly outstanding. - Edit

Don't even bother turning your computer off, just go change into something nice and call now to see if they can seat you for the prix fixe vegan tasting menu. Take someone you love. Order cocktails (they're amazing, too).

Pros: Stellar quality, Delicousness, Superb service

Cons: Can be pricey, depending how you order, Can be noisy, Reservations highly recommended

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Green Hypocricy!! - Edit

Sue addmitted to me while I was protesting her restaurant, Custom House, that she also owns the Green Zebra. Own a veg restaurant and across town serve Foie Gras and tons of veal?!?!? C'mon. Don't patronize this establishment. I've eaten here and loved the salad with truffle oil, but my compassion will keep me away. We vote with our dollars and I can't support this paradox.

Pros: atmosphere, friendly staff

Cons: high prices, little servings, Can't get outta there w/o spending $70.

3 Responses

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hippublican 22 Feb 2013 - Thanks for posting this information. I was planning on visiting Green Zebra during an upcoming vacation to Chicago, but I'm glad I read your review first. When I eat at a vegetarian restaurant, half the satisfaction comes from knowing my money is supporting the vegetarian cause. Clearly all Green Zebra wants is to profit off others' compassion.

chicagovegan 22 Feb 2013 - Hello hippublican!

I am right there with you. If you're coming to Chicago you should check out The Balanced Kitchen (Gluten free vegan), Karyn's (Raw Vegan), Karyn's Cooked (Veg), or The Handlebar (Very Veg friendly). The Compassionate Evolution is alive and growing in the Midwest. Things just keep getting yummier an yummier!


jglackin 22 Feb 2013 - And I really didn't think I could detest this place any more than I already did. Thanks.

Fine Dining Experience - Edit

The food at the green zebra was excellent, though as vegans we were limited to a few selections. I would argue this was the finest vegetarian food I have ever eaten. The price was high, but the amazing flavors and modern, upscale atmosphere is worth it. So many vegetarian restaurants are informal and, let's be honest, smell like patchouli. This was a breath of fresh air for those of us craving an unusually upscale experience. You'll spend a lot of money but you will be impressed. Make a reservation in advance else you may be waiting for an hour or so.

Pros: excellent food, attentive staff, small portions

Cons: expensive, location not great

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okay - Edit

I was invited for my birthday. It was totally not what I expected. I thought it would be a quiet cozy kind of a place. It is definately not an intimate setting. You hear everyones conversations which is kind of irratating after a while especially if you are celebrating a bday and want to speak to the people at your very own table. The food was good, however, extremely overprice and expensive. Our waitress was nice at first, after we paid the bill her demenor changed and she did not want to be bothered anymore. I thought that was super rude we left her a $50 tip so I think she should of been somewhat nice. I also dont understand why they feel the need to have fish and chicken on the menu if they are vegan/vegetarian. Ovrall the GZ is one of those places you visit once maybe twice in your lifetime.

Pros: good food, good location, very clean

Cons: expensive, small portions , rude staff

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upscale vegetarian - Edit

this is the kind of place i can bring my dad when he is in town-- upscale, not lit like a cafeteria, great service, small plates of fantastic and creative food. a lot like millennium in san francisco.

Pros: fantastic menu, professional staff, parent-friendly

Cons: 90s indiepop soundtrack was cloying

1 Response

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jglackin 06 Dec 2009 - Like the Millennium in San Francisco?! Not even in the same solar system. The Millennium is 1000% vegan, very high end without being pretentious, and far more satisfying portions. Also, much better atmosphere.

Worth Every Penny - Edit

I have eaten vegan cuisine in about 45 states, and he Green Zebra is one of the best. Although it is not one of the cheapest, you get what you pay for. I've had about all the veggie burgers I can handle and Green Zebra offers a much needed upscale environment in the veg world.

Pros: you know the food is clean, explosions of flavor, no lip ring adorned waiters

Cons: higher prices, shorter menu, no lip ring adorned waiters

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