Green Zebra

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 28 reviews )

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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Expensive But Good - Edit

This is a very romantic restaurant with good interesting vegetarian options but is on the pricey side.

Pros: Good food, Good Service

Cons: Pricey

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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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Best Brunch - Edit

Black Bean Plantain hash with Mole sauce. YUM!

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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, 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 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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