HappyCow is loading...

The Chicago Diner

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 129 reviews )
Contact 773-935-6696
Find

3411 N Halsted, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 60657

Providing all vegetarian and mostly vegan American comfort food for brunch and dinner with organic beers and wine, margaritas, vegan bakery, and desserts. Meat free since 1983. Patio seating available. Open Mon-Thu 11:00am-10:00pm, Fri 11:00am-11:00pm, Sat 10:00am-11:00pm, Sun 10:00am-10:00pm.

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, American, Beer/Wine, Bakery, Catering

Reviews (129)

First Review by amargrav

great brunch spot - Edit

This place is fantastic. We have to get poutine every time we go (seriously, order it. you’re welcome). They serve Teese which is getting difficult to find elsewhere. Their vegan shakes are just amazing. I love the vegan veggie, BLT, quesadilla, cinnamon rolls, Mexican breakfast bowls...never had a bad meal.

Pros: Doesn’t serve meat, Mostly vegan, Great rare vegan finds

Cons: Serves eggs and dairy


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Meat eaters love it too! - Edit

This place is amazing, the entire menu is vegan or easily made vegan, and even omni's enjoy the food. They have a great variety of choices available. I had poutine and milkshake and they may have been better than the real deal.

Pros: Absolutely delicious, Friendly staff, Reasonably priced

Cons: Very crowded


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

YUM! - Edit

Ok, this place is amazing. The entire menu is basically vegan unless you modify your order to add non-vegan items. Server was super nice. I order a sweet potato pineapple burger with vegan mac and cheese for a side. HOLY COW it was so good!! The vegan mac was the best I'd ever had. I wanted to order a vegan shake for dessert after because they looked amazing but I was stuffed. This is a place that vegan, vegetarians, and omnivores will love. I will DEFINITELY go back!!

Pros: TONS of vegan options, Nice staff, Nice atmosphere


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Nothing Could be Finer than the Chicago Diner - Edit

After a cold and rainy bike ride and Cub's game the Chicago Diner was a great way to end the day. We started with some tasty appetizers (waffle fry poutine, caesar salad) and some great shakes. All of our main courses were delicious as well, especially the "meat loaf" and the cheesesteak. They also have an extensive beer list and a variety of vegan desserts. Chicago Diner placed a solid 3rd in our family vacation restaurant war competition. We liked it so much we bought the cook book.

Updated from previous review on 2016-08-01

Pros: great food, great drinks, neat atmosphere


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Worth waiting years for! - Edit

As a Chicagoland native who has spent my adult life elsewhere, I had been waiting a few years for an opportunity to return to my hometown and eat at the Chicago Diner. The restaurant did not disappoint! I am vegan; my dining partners (old high school pals) were one vegetarian and one omnivore. We ordered two Radical Reuben sandwiches, one Country Fried Steak, Sweet Potato Fries and Ginger Garlic Flashed Greens - sampled a bit of each and loved it all! The beer and wine selection was good - I had a nice glass of Pinot Noir with my meal and my friends had beer. Servers were exceptionally nice - it was a really lovely evening!

Pros: Outstanding food, Great range of options, Friendly staff


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Excellent every time - Edit

Edit:
We generally visit the Logan Square location and are much happier with wait times and space. The variety offered is great!

----
The food is always amazing. We've had numerous items over the years and the only thing we didn't love was a burrito which I don't think they have anymore anyway. I very highly recommend the gyros and shakes.

One disappointing thing is that their portion sizes have gone down while prices have gone up. For example, you used to get two gyros instead of one and sandwiches came with two sides. The place is also very cramped.
Updated from previous review on Thursday October 20, 2011

Updated from previous review on 2012-09-14

Pros: So many great selections!

Cons: small and cramped, smaller portion sizes than before, sometimes a long wait to get in


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Revolutionary Radical Reuben! - Edit

This is one of the best experiences I've had since going vegan. I was in heaven! I NEVER expected the Reuben to be as good as it was. A meat-eater would never have guessed this sandwich was vegan. I was traveling from out of town and had planned this visit to The Chicago Diner for several months and was quite excited. I wish I could've had gone back every day I was in Chicago and had the Reuben. (Never been a fan of Thousand Island dressing, so I always sub yellow mustard.)

I had Macaroni & Teeze as my side dish and regretted my choice. I've had WAAAY better vegan mac & cheese.

The Choc Chip Cookie Dough milkshake was super delicious. The only thing I regretted about that choice was that I didn't order the large! ;)

My dining partner ordered the Pierogi Quesadilla and really enjoyed it.


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

YES! YES! YES! - Edit

My husband brought me CD food a few years ago, and even after a flight from Chicago to Boston, it was amazing. I was so excited to eat here and it totally lived up to its reputation.
We got the Buffalo Wings, and you cannot oversell those things. They were spicy and chewy and awesome. Then we got the Reuben--it's just one of the best things I've ever eaten, period.
Also got the Chicken Fried Steak with mashed potatoes etc. Also just amazing. The 'meat' is chewy, and crispy on the outside with delicious gravy.
Our waitperson was great. She advised us that the desserts are now made by Whole Foods :( but recommended the Turtle Cheesecake (OMFG, it was great) and a milkshake, also fantastic...be sure to get the chocolate sauce lining the glass.
The beer selection was surprisingly interesting. We had a really great local porter.
I've eaten some great vegan food the world over, but there is nothing like this comfort food anywhere else.

Pros: best comfort food anywhere, very reasonable prices, beer list

Cons: having to fly to Chicago


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Come here!! You won't regret it! - Edit

Love this small and adorable restaurant. It has all vegan options with some gluten free items. They even have gluten free beer, vegan desserts, and everything tastes delicious. We came here with my coworkers, 2 were vegetarians, 2 were not and I am a vegan. The non vegetarians absolutely loved everything they ate, which speaks volumes about the quality of the food. I would come here again for sure. Loved the neighborhood and it had great service. The vegan milkshakes are to die for!!!!! :)

Pros: Vegan, Gluten Free Options, Quality and Service


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Awesome diner - Edit

Mostly vegan with a couple dairy and egg options. I ate here 6 years ago when visiting the city for work. Couldn't wait to visit again, and was not disappointed. And the dessert selection is great! The carrot cake surprisingly wasn't as good as I'd expected, but I went back the next day and got a milkshake and the cinnamon roll which were both awesome. Wish I could eat there more often!

Pros: Most items are vegan, Many dessert options, Friendly, attentive staff


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

I love this place. - Edit

Whenever I travel to Chicago for work, I make sure my trip allows for enough time to have at least one meal here. Excellent diner food made veggie. Truly one of my favorite veggie restaurants in the world. Wish there was one in Seattle!


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Second City and Second Class - Edit

I drove hours out of my way to try the famous Chicago Diner and I ordered the country fried steak based on recommendations from friends. I was not impressed, the seitan was rock hard and flavorless, though the breading was good. The mashed potatoes were great, but the gravy was salty and blah, and the vegetables were a bit al dente for my taste (but that could be a personal thing)
I do have to say that the waitstaff were incredibly friendly, and really on it, as far as checking in, filling water, and just being real nice.
Sorry Chicago, but you have nothing on Champs in NYC for comfort food, and once again come in second.

Pros: Great Staff, An Originator

Cons: Not great food


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Love this Place! - Edit

I try and come here every time I come home to visit!

My favorites are the shakes and the wings, and I just rotate through the sandwich options. The only negative is that it is pretty small with limited to no waiting area, but that hasn't be an issue for most of my visits.

It IS heavy food...but it's a diner. So.

Pros: Wings and shakes, Atmosphere

Cons: Small


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

worth trying - Edit

Worth going to try, cute location and it's super cool that it's inspired so many other restaurants. Be prepared to wait, though, it's popular and not very big so it can take some time to get a table.

We had a shake and it was really good, maybe try to save space for one or even go just for that. The wings were real tasty too, I enjoyed those.

However, both our meals were real greasy and heavy. I'm not usually against that (I love me some french fries and vegan doughnuts), but it did leave me not feeling super great (like you're gonna want to nap afterwards). I had the vegan Monty Cristo sandwich, super heavy and greasy but fairly tasty.
But the vegan Mac my boyfriend ordered was just plain gross. I don't know what gives, I make vegan Mac at home all the time and love it. Not sure what they are going for but its sour and sweet, kind of yogurty tasting and gluey after taste. Defiantly skip it, the recipe needs some work on that one.
All in all, though, I would go back again, just not everything on the menu is winner.

Pros: vegan milkshakes, the wings

Cons: vegan Mac is not good at all, long waits for tables at peak hours


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Everyone likes it except me - Edit

Maybe it's because the food is so heavy, but I can't even eat at the ChIcago Diner anymore without feeling queasy. I think the servers are great and I like the atmosphere, but I can't get behind the food. I haven't been back after feeling gross the first three times - that was enough.


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Chicago Diner - A Must Stop Every Time - Edit

Chicago Diner has been "Meat Free Since 83" and serves a huge variety of vegan and vegetarian dishes. We have gone here with meat eaters who have highly enjoyed it. Every time I get a "milk" shake and buffalo wings. The "milk" shake still makes me wonder a little if its all a trick because it tastes so good but the buffalo wings are perfectly square to reassure me that no animals were used to make this meal. Last night I got a pesto chickun panini with teese cheese. It was out of this world, the fake cheese closely resembled fresh mozzarella and the flavors went together perfectly. The chickun patty was nice and crispy with a subtle chicken taste. Greg got a Titanic burger which obviously was huge and just looked great. It had everything stacked up nicely and Greg struggled to get his mouth around it. After our meal we took about 10 minutes to recover.

Pros: Delicious, Affordable, Filling


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Reviewer Avatar
Vegan

  Contributions +394

Really Tasty! - Edit

Whenever I'm in Chicago I always try to stop here for the bbq wings. Their shakes are awesome as well.


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

GOT TO TRY IT! - Edit

I was visiting Chicago with weekend for the Renegade Craft Fair. I stayed until Monday afternoon and needed something yummy before the 5 hour drive back home. I had the bahn mi sandwich with a side of teese mac and cheese. I felt like a little kid ordering mac for lunch, but it's so good. You can find teese cheese in health food stores, but I don't buy it often, so it's nice to have once and a while. I ended my meal with a chocolate chip and cookie dough shake (MUST TRY!).

My girlfriend and I chatted it up with the bartender about Jurrasisc Park since they were playing on VCR. Hilarious.

Pros: All vegan menu, You can take non-vegan friends, VCR movies at bar


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great place! - Edit

I would recommend this place to everyone - from vegans to predans! Meals are simply superb!

Meals we tried:
- Buffalo wingz and BBQ wingz: simply superb. One of this appetizer can serve even 4 people!
- Titanic burger with waffle fries: this is a must! Delicious, crunchy, so yummy. We could only eat half of it.
- Chocolate chip shake: another must to have item! Like heaven!

Staff is super friendly, this place is just great!

Pros: Huge variety, Huge portions (enough for 2 people!!), Reasonable prices

Cons: No cons! :)


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Brilliant - Edit

Walked up and down the area several times before finding it, but went back four times during our seven day stay in Chicago, only once did we have a 30 minute wait but did notice timing is important. 6.30 to 8 pm is very busy. But it is worth the wit, what an amazing array of tastes. Ithe seitan is really good and moist, but if you have the stir fry make sure it is spicy as non spicy is quite bland. The waiter was most obliging in fixing it, all the staff are amazingly genuinely helpful. Being in the gay area may help, but I was most impressed with their service,and always there with the water jug. The sweets are fantastic with vegan creams, and the prices are most reasonable. You will also find other diners are quite friendly and chatty so don't expect aquiet romantic dinner for two.

Pros: Price, Friendly atmosphere, The tastes

Cons: Can be noisy, The music (lunchtime was a radio), One toilet


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

amazing desserts!! - Edit

We went just for dessert and it was just as amazing as everyone says- we had the "peanut butter puck" which was like a pb cake/cookie thing covered in peanut butter, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream; a peanut butter chocolate chip milkshake; and a chai tea latte with whipped cream. It was all so so good and so satisfying. I definitely recommend for anyone who loves dessert!


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

A North Side Chicago treasure - Edit

I stop at the Chicago diner every time I'm in Chi-town. It is undoubtedly one of the best vegan restaurants in the country. It is worth the long trek from the loop.

I got a Radical Reuben the first time I went, and always need to push myself to buy something else when I'm there, because it's just that good. Their cakes, pies, milkshakes, and other bits of unhealthiness are well worth the diabetic coma (but no worries, you can walk it off in Chicago's lovely Lincoln Park neighborhood).

Pros: Reubens, Cake, Beer

Cons: Far from the loop, I'm always the least hip person there


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Love Chicago Diner - Edit

I love The Chicago Diner, it's the first Veg place I ever ate in Chicago and it still holds a special place in my heart. I like the atmosphere of the place, the service is always very good, and the staff is always helpful and friendly.

I've tried a lot of stuff off the menu but the Poutine is divine! Seriously you need to try it! Get it with the works.
The Nachos are great too.

The Chickun Ranch Salad, and the Taco Salad are good if you're in the mood for Salad. Otherwise go with the radical reuben, the Crispy chickun sandwich, the Cajun Black bean burger, the karma burger, or the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger. Get a side of sweet potato fries, waffle fries or coleslaw - skip the mac and cheese it's lack luster.

Or try the special, they always have great specials!

And finish it off with a milk shake if you have room. Trust me, you don't want to miss out on one of their exquisite shakes, these things are to die for! By the time you finish one you'll wish you had another. Favorites are - Lucky Leprechaun Mint, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Mocha, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Chocolate Banana. YUM!

The Chicago Diner is always worth the trip!

Pros: Consistently good food, Good prices, Good Portions

Cons: Parking Always Sucks


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

The one and only! - Edit

This is the place where I first had an American-vegan meal, back in 2006. I loved it and every time I go back to Chicago, I visit this place and enjoy it, just as I did the first time!

Pros: location, price, variety for vegans and vegetarians

Cons: small


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Favorite Vegan Restaurant - Edit

A friend recommended Chicago Diner to me when I was working in the area. I went there and was so excited (since it was my first 100% vegan restuarant) I ordered 4 different meals and like 3 desserts. Everything was so good but my favorite, after going for the past couple years, is the country fried stk - soooo good! I usually get the nachos or buffalo wings as an appetizer too. Vegan pb choc milkshake for dessert and I'm overly stuffed! I love this place and plan on going again the next time I'm in the Chicago area.

Pros: Excellent Food, Good Value, Friendly Staff

Cons: Limited Seating, Limited Parking


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

This is where I go for my comfort food! - Edit

I love the Chicago Diner. I have been going here for years. Every year around my birthday, I make the 3 and half hour trek up to Chicago just to eat here. I usually stay for a few days and eat every meal I can here. They are a little expensive and usually crowded but its totally worth it. The staff is awesome and the food tastes great. I recommend the country fried steak and the vegan peanut butter and chocolate shake. I honestly dont think there is anything you could go wrong with on this menu.

Pros: Great food, Cool atmosphere, Neat neighborhood

Cons: cost, parking, crowded


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

My first vegan dining out experience. - Edit

I making this review late! The Chicago Diner was my first time at a vegan/vegan friendly restaurant. The food was pretty good, worth going back, the milkshakes are amazing!


Cons: The dining area is cramped and dining area gets super noisy.

Pros: Good food

Cons: Small, Noisy, Long wait


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Awesome - Edit

I've heard a lot about The Chicago Diner, it's literally down the street from me, but today was my first time eating there. I went with my friend and boyfriend who both eat meat. They loved their meal and also loved that they do include a dairy cheese option, for those who eat dairy. I had the Buddha Karma Burger which was incredible. The fries were great too, I think we'll definitely be going back ;)

Pros: dairy option, variety


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

One of my favorite Chicago restaurants - Edit

I took a colleague to dinner at the vegetarian Chicago Diner, a perennial favorite of mine. The menu had changed with new dishes added since my last visit. We sat in the patio area (through the kitchen), which I had not seen before. I had the Soul Bowl – quinoa, blackened tofu, garlic greens, mashed sweet potatoes and black beans. It was delicious! My colleague had the generous serving of tacos. We both enjoyed our meals, which didn’t leave room for the dessert we had hoped to split. That’s OK because the chocolate vegan shake I ordered seemed like dessert with real chocolate chips and chocolate syrup. Yum!

Pros: All vegetarian or vegan menu, Lots of vegan choices , Lots of vegan desserts

Cons: Busy at most times


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Vegan so good even meat eaters love it - Edit

Went here with my parents, who are not vegetarian. My dad said the Portobello Burger was better than a real burger. It was absolutely delicious. The vegan reuben was spectacular too! Best vegan reuben I've had anywhere (even more so that my favorite at Native Foods). Dessert options were awesome as well.

Pros: Friendly staff, Excellent food, Desserts!

Cons: Small (wait can be long)


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Place to indulge - Edit

Knowing that this place has been around since the 80's, there was no way we would pass it up during our trip to Chicago. All we could say after our brunch was that it really has lived up to its legend.

We shared a philly cheesesteak with a side salad and the breakfast bowl (biscuits and gravy, hash browns, tofu scramble), and boy were they tasty! Portions were HUGE as well, which means you'll get a lot for your buck. I've never had a real philly cheesesteak or biscuits and gravy, so I'm not sure how those served here would stack up. Nonetheless we were very happy with our orders and I think they were both excellent in their own rights. The tofu scramble was hands down the best I've ever had. Texture was spot-on and eerily eggy that I had to confirm with our waitress that it was indeed tofu!

Without a doubt the food here is not the healthiest, but who in his/her right mind goes to a diner to eat healthy? ;) And, to be fair, they do have some lighter options on the menu if you're so inclined. Now if I could just try one of those vegan shakes...

Pros: delicious food, great value


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

AMAZING - Edit

Everything here is soooo good. Almost everything is vegan or can be made vegan. The Reuben, shakes, and baked goods are not to be missed! But you can't go wrong with anything here. The only thing that would make this place better is if they could acquire a larger building and would just go full vegan already.

Pros: amazing food, usually really friendly servers, large menu

Cons: cramped and tight quarters, crowded, serves eggs and dairy


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Exceptional - Edit

I am SO happy we stopped here! Had the reuben, of course, and it was one of the best damn things I've ever eaten. Also had a 'milk'shake, which was awesome as well.

Pros: great, friendly staff, decor, reasonable prices

Cons: busy, not a quiet place if you need that


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

One of the best Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurants! - Edit

I love the Chicago Diner. This place has amazing vegetarian/vegan options with a nice dining atmosphere. The entire menu is edible and the service is great. One of the best places to eat vegetarian/vegan in Chicago hands down.

Pros: Good Food, Service, Atmosphere

Cons: Parking Sometimes Tough, Can be a wait to get a table


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Must try - Edit

This is a great diner. They have wonderful comfort food, a good selection of dishes, and a fun and cozy ambiance. I have loved all of their dishes, but their reuben is particularly great! Would highly recommend this place!

Pros: good variety, fun ambiance

Cons: can get crowded


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

AMAZING! - Edit

I doesn't seem like this place needs another review, but I love it so much I had to write something. My favorite place in Chicago, hands down. I usually get the country fried steak, as it's hard for me to turn down anything that comes with gravy and mashed potatoes. I've brought meat eaters here and they loved it as well. Definitely a must whenever I'm in Chicago.

Pros: Amazing, Everything's great, Large portions


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

best veg in chicago! - Edit

last time i went to chicago diner (8 years ago) i was not impressed. i didn't even want to go there again on our recent visit but my husband likes it so i went again.
it was by far the best food we had all week!
i had the Reuben with mashed potatoes and gravy. it was a ton of food. someone mentioned small portions in another review. but both mine and my husbands was huge. we could hardly finish, and we were STUFFED. i also got the strawberry milkshake. best shake i've ever had. tasted fresh and like real strawberries (unlike other places i have had). over all, i loved it and would definitely come back!


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Yum Yum Yummy! - Edit

Chicago Diner is my and my husband'd favorite restaurant of all time, ever. During our honeymoon trip to Chicago, we ate here twice, once for dinner and once for brunch. When we visited for dinner, there was a 15 minute wait, but it was worth it. I had the chickun pesto panini which was fantastic and my husband had the reuben which he loved. They have a menu that tells you which beers go the best with each dish and we found this very helpful.

When we came for brunch two days later, we were seated immediately. We started out with a milkshake and I kid you not, it was the best milkshake ever, vegan or not! My husband ordered the chocolate chip pancakes, tofu scramble, and sausage. I had the sausage breakfast sammy which also was the best breakfast sandwich I had ever had, vegan or not. The biscuit it was served on was perfectly spiced and make sure you get cheddar Teese on it!

I just can't praise this place enough! We also found the staff to be very friendly. I'd go back to Chicago just to eat here.

Pros: excellent food, great service, Teese

Cons: small space, crowded


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Amazing!!! - Edit

This place has the most Amazing vegan food. I would not say that it is the healthiest food, but good vegan comfort food. If you are ever missing anything, such as macaroni and cheese, or chocolate milk shakes, this is the place to go.

Pros: Comfort Food, Very Cool Staff, Great menu

Cons: High in Fat/Salt/Sugar, Small, Difficult to park


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Not impressed - Edit

People always talk about the Chicago Diner, but I simply wasn't impressed.

The food was really dry, prices aren't that great (not expensive, but could be cheaper), service was pretty slow.

Overall, the 10 or so of us in our group all thought it wasn't that great. The milkshakes weren't that great, either.

If you compare it to a place like Foodswings in NYC or Native Foods in LA, Chicago Diner just can't measure up. The meal wasn't awful, but it definitely didn't live up to all of the hype I've heard over the years.

Pros: All-vegetarian, Lots of seating

Cons: Too much hype, Food was dry, Runny milkshakes, not thick


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Doesn't get any better.... - Edit

Dined four times at the Chicago Diner during our 5 day trip to Chicago...that pretty much says it all. EVERYTHING we ordered from the menu was delicious. From the nachos appetizer to the bbq tofu, the flavors/textures/variety was perfect. And to top it all off, their vegan milkshakes are seriously the best shakes we've ever had - vegan or otherwise! Interesting neighborhood, especially on a Saturday night when we went there for dinner. :) This is a stop that you CANNOT miss when you're in the Chicagoland area. Order the peanut butter-chocolate shake...it's truly decadent!

Pros: Vegan milkshakes, All menu items were delicous, Eclectic neighborhood

Cons: Busy/ no real waiting area, Parking lot only allows cars at night, Very tight squeeze to park in lot


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great treats! Great eats! - Edit

Great place! Great eats! The dessert is amazing! The people that work there are amazing! When people complain about it being busy but it was not that busy when I went there but it was at an odd hour when we were there. I highly recommend the vegan gyro. So delish!

Pros: friendly staff, excellent food, good price


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Well worth the visit... - Edit

What a treat to visit the Chicago Diner! During a recent stop in Chicago, we went twice, once for brunch, and once for dinner. The food was a little hit and miss, but I'm still going to give it five cows for overall quality, menu options, and ambiance.

I just love the place. It's unabashedly vegan, and the menu alone made my mouth water in anticipation. Our brunch was very solid. I had a yummy biscuit and gravy, and my daughter loved her pancakes. The only downside (the smoothies were great too) was the "Tofu Benedict", which could not have been farther from a "benedict" of any kind. It was more like Tofu with cheeze sauce. Not horrible tasting, but to list this as a Benedict really annoyed my wife, who's had lovely variations of hollandaise elsewhere.

Our dinner had some real highlights. The Mac n Cheeze was yummy, and the Buffalo Wings, with seitan, were absolutely first-rate. Still dreaming about them. I was less enthused by my Dagwood sandwich, which just had too much cheeze (running theme here....) for my liking. My wife's Reuben was, however, yummy.

Overall, a great experience, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Not my favourite eating experience in Chicago (Native Foods - yes, I know it's a chain), but a close second.


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Wow - Edit

Delicious and interesting. A vegan foodie's dream. Shakes are a must. Wings were awesome. Dagwood sandwich was massive. We waited about 40 minutes for lunch and it was soo worth it. It was one of the highlights of my three day trip to Chicago.

Pros: Unique menu items, Quality of food, Ice cream shakes!


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

One Of The Best In The Windy City - Edit

Words do not do this place justice. I am easily won over with a good Vegan Reuben. This place introduced me to Dayia Cheeze. I have been lucky to stumble in just before or after the lunch rush. The Earwax Cafe was a close second, sad to hear they closed.
Updated from previous review on Monday February 13, 2012
Updated from previous review on Sunday February 19, 2012

Pros: Yum, Yum, Yum


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

The ultimate in comfort food - Edit

I have had the pleasure of eating comfort food in a variety of different cities but I must say Chicago diner has to be one of the best.

I had 2 meals at Chicago Diner. Breakfast and dinner. Breakfast I had the tofu scramble with the most realistic fake bacon I've had in a while and a seitan sausage. Delicious. I also stole some cajunaise (sp?) from my girlfriends plate which spiced up my meal.

Dinner I had a crumbed and deep fried "steak" with mashed potato. It was epic.

Pros: Best, Comfort , Food


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Still Good, But Long Wait - Edit

I've been going to the Diner for five years now regularly. It has always been my to-go place to take people who have never had vegan food or anyone for a real Chicago vegan treat. It's probably the city's oldest and most loved vegetarian restaurant. I must say, though, the quality has gone down in the last two years. They used to make a lot of their food from scratch and now they use a lot of brand name vegan items like Daiya, Chicago Soydairy, and Upton's Naturals. I give them credit for using many Chicago vegan brands, though. It is nice to see local companies supported. It is just sort of disappointing, though, because it seems less special now. I've had cold food (cold nacho's, anyone?) the last time I was there. The wait is totally ridiculous now-a-days. The last 3-4 times I've gone, I waited for 1-2 hours. At that rate, you could go down the street to Pick-Me-Up or Native Foods and be done eating already. I realize that the Diner is such a classic that it is worth the wait, usually, but my last several experiences have been less than stellar. Overall, I no longer frequent unless I make special plans with someone that wants to go. I'd rather go to another vegan-friendly place in the city that I don't have to wait 2 hours and have homemade, warm food (anyone try Northdown Taproom? They make their own vegan seitan/burgers and cheese). Though, their milkshakes are the best thing to ever touch my mouth. Hands down. If you go there, get a milkshake.

Pros: original food, classic chicago veg restaurant, diner style food

Cons: long wait, small seating area, few raw options


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

So good... I could live here! - Edit

Growing up vegetarian, I was always wondered what those giant larger than life sandwiches which my friends would get from places like the Second Avenue Deli were like. At the Chicago Diner, I finally found a place which knows how to make amazing sandwiches which make up for all my years of never trying roast beef sandwich or cornbeef on rye.

I ordered the Radical Reuben oh my lord!!!... my last meal here was 4 months ago and I'm still drooling! It came filled with endless layers of mouth-watering vege corned Beef, sauerkraut and Grilled onions,covered in a beautiful savory cheese sauce on top. I have never been this blown away by a sandwich before. My friend meanwhile ordered the Philly Cheezsteak and it was so good i thought he was going to also eat the plate and the table. Like a good diner, the main comes with a side and I got Mac n' cheese which was pretty average but no worse than what you would get at a regular diner probably.

Starting off the meal we had the BBQ wings which were explosive in flavor and brilliant in texture and cooking. The wait staff was very very nice and I liked how they asked each time if we wanted regular or Vegan cheese.

I have to say that for a restaurant where I only ate once, I have never had such a craving to return as I do to the Chicago Diner.

Pros: Quality content and tons of it!!, Great diverse menu, Friendly helpful staff

Cons: lack of attention to sides


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Busy - Edit

Extensive, awesome menu! This place is popular and busy! I went at about 4 in the afternoon and the place was already packed. by the time I was leaving at 5 or so there was a line out the door. It appears that a lot of students were in the restaurant. there are booths and tables but also a counter to sit at if you are single or don't want to wait for a table. Food was fantastic and the servers were friendly and fun! I had the chili and WOW it was hot! Get the sourcream to tame it down a bit.

Pros: menu, service, Busy!

Cons: Busy!


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Amazing! - Edit

What a fantastic restaurant! I was visiting Chicago from Toronto and we have nothing like it. I ordered the meatloaf, made from seitan, and it came with garlic mashed potatoes and pesto vegetables. The pumpkin cheesecake for dessert was fantastic as well. The atmosphere was friendly and casual and the staff were very attentive and knowledgeable.

Pros: interesting dishes, service, tasty

Cons: none in Toronto


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Reviewer Avatar
Vegan

  Contributions +16

Busy Place! - Edit

I love the food as it always tastes super and there is plenty of it. The Carrot cake is to die for! The only thing I don't like is that it is so small for the number of people who want to get in. Any room for expansion? My boyfried and I go there whenever we are in the neiborhood.

Pros: Great Taste

Cons: Busy & Small


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Must Visit for Vegans in Chicago - Edit

The Chicago Diner was the first all vegetarian restaurant I ever visitid 5 years ago. Since then I have had vegan food all over the country, and this is still one of my favorites. It is however, not at all health food, so be prepared. The portions are large and are surely high in fat and calories.
They have the best vegan shakes I have ever had (especially the cookie dough shake) and sandwiches such as the Philly Cheese steak, and the chicken Parmesan. The teese sticks with marinara are just as I remember cheesesticks tasting.
Also, where I do prefer frequenting all vegan restaurants, it was nice to take my unadventurous omni family there for brunch, where they could order eggs and French toast. They were all impressed.
I will likely continue frequenting the Chicago Diner every time I am in Chicago.

Pros: Delicious, Big portions, Excellent shakes

Cons: Not health food


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

worth the drive - Edit

We finally made the short drive from Milwaukee to visit the Chicago Diner, and I can say it's a trip I'll make again soon! My husband and I started by sharing a chocolate peanut butter shake, then he ordered the Dagwood and I had the french toast platter, and we ended the meal with carrot cake. Everything was amazing and our bill was under $50, which I thought was very reasonable for the amount of food in the city. I can't wait to visit again and try more of the menu. Definitely go here hungry :)

Pros: great value, large selection, yummy!!

Cons: limited seating, noisy


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Dessert....yum! - Edit

The Chicago Diner may have the best vegan desserts in the world. The best part is that it isn't just one dessert that is outstanding, but all of them. Vegan cheesecakes! Vegan cupcakes! Vegan cookies!

And the food is pretty good too! Best vegan reuben ever!

Pros: Dessert, Backyard patio, Atmosphere


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

You Won't Leave Hungry - Edit

This is stick-to-your-ribs veg*n comfort food. I never leave hungry but I have to be honest, I also never leave feeling like I had a really tasty meal. Most of the dishes taste pretty bland to me. That said, I'm always here with family or friends that I love and adore and the atmosphere inside The Diner is similarly welcoming and warm so it's always a good experience.

It's located in the middle of Boys Town and Wrigleyville so it's a happening area. You can sometimes find a parking spot on the side of the restaurant but usually you're looking at street parking.


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

BEST veg in Chi - Edit

I just love this place. Great food at good prices and they have outdoor seating in the summers. You can't go wrong here! Very consistent and they know what they are doing in the flavor department.

Pros: best taste, baked goodies

Cons: wait


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Very tasty!! - Edit

My omni (thinking about vegetarianism) fiance and I went while visiting this weekend. Great little place, that despite its small size, was efficient and friendly. We had great appetizers...teese sticks (AMAZING!!) and sweet potato fries (good but not super warm). My bacon chicken sandwich was fabulous and the mac n cheeze was also quite tasty. He loved his veggie burger and we both thought the vegan mashed potatoes and gravy were wonderful. We were so full afterwards, but as a vegan without fun options like this at home it was worth the splurge. Took cheesecake home for dessert ...also very tasty. We definitely plan to return on our next Chicago trip.

Pros: Great food, Wonderful location , Unique vegan options

Cons: Small restaurant


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

no longer serving raw food - Edit

this is a solid place for vegan food, all very decent. but there is no longer a raw food menu (apart from a salad, of course).

Pros: very good cooked vegan food

Cons: no raw options


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Oh SO SO GOOD! - Edit

It is hard to find words good enough to describe this place!

We were touring America and vegan eateries and were recommended this place by a friend. Oh. My. God. Absolutely packed as it was so popular with an hr's wait in a designated room behind with complimentary refreshments. It was certainly worth it.

We had the philly cheesesteak with fries, mac and cheese and bacon cheeseburger. For dessert we had 2 shakes - strawberry and the chocolate chip cookie dough.

Honestly the most fantastic place ive ever been, wonderful staff, fantastic selection that took over an hour to decide on what to have and great atmosphere and decor.

Not the fault of the diner but the food was so good and i gorged so much on the mega portions i was very ill by the end from the sheer volume and was full for the next 36 hrs!

Always a good sign of a hearty meal!

GO CHICAGO DINER! :D

Pros: Amazing food, fantastic flavours, Staff/decor

Cons: Nothing, Never, NEVER


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

still one of the best! - Edit

I've eaten at a lot of vegetarian restaurants and chicago diner remains one of my faves. The food is quality. The portions are great. The prices are steep for a veggie restaurant, but you get what you pay for. My fave thing I ever got was the 'beef stroganoff' special. Funny because even when I ate beef, that always sounded so gross to me. Best milkshake is the chocolate chip cookie dough add peanut butter. Temptations ice cream makes the best shakes, hands down.

Pros: totally amazing food, best vegan milkshakes ever, great 'hood

Cons: pricey, long wait during peak hours


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Best veggie food in the city - Edit

I eat at the Diner often and love the food and the ambiance. The reuben is great, the Mexican food is great, the soups are fabulous and the brunch is fabulous. Thanks Mickey and Jo for giving Chicago such a gift!

Pros: friendly atmosphere, great comfort food, friendly staff


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

The Best in Chicagoland - Edit

Simply amazing food that both veg*ns and non-veg*ns will enjoy. We were planning our next trip as we walked out the door!

Pros: Great Food, Friendly Staff

Cons: Limited Parking, Busy Location


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

SOOOO Delicious - Edit

Even my husband who is "flirting" with vegetarianism was impressed with the deliciousness of his "ruben" sandwich. I love their sweet potato fries too. If you are in Chicago and you are a vegetarian (vegan options too) you really must stop in!

Pros: great value, comfortable atmosphere, wide variety of menu choices

Cons: always busy


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Did not disappoint! - Edit

Like many people on happycow.net, I went out of my way to go to the Chicago Diner after having read the positive reviews on here. I can honestly say that it was everything I hoped it would be!

Atmosphere: very cute and quirky. A bit smaller than I pictured it. I was lucky to have gone on a week night when there was hardly anyone there, but I can imagine it getting very busy in there.

Staff: VERY friendly and helpful!

Food: I was overwhelmed with all the yummy sounding choices. I settled for a BBQ "bacon cheeseburger" and a side of mashed potatoes with gravy (all vegan). It was all delicious. My friend got a breaded "chicken" sandwich. He is by no means a vegetarian and is in fact one of those people who basically only went with me as a favor to me, but he gave it a 7 out of 10 when I asked him to rate it (10 being best), so that tells you it couldn't have been that bad! I would love to go back and try the many scrumptious sounding things on the menu. And yes, in response to what others have said about their food not being the healthiest, I can understand that point. But hey, sometimes us healthy people like to indulge, too! This place is the only one I've found in my travels that resembles my fave veg restaurant, Red Bamboo in NYC... I sometimes crave these places with mock meat/comfort food/diner food.

Prices: I thought these were very reasonable. Between $8-15 for a filling meal.

Pros: Awesome variety/selection to choose from, Mostly vegan, Reasonable prices

Cons: Slightly small inside


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

awesome shakes! good food - Edit

I was excited to try out the Chicago Diner after reading such positive things about it on Happy Cow. We used the phone app to find it and had no problem getting on-street parking very close to the restaurant. We arrived at 11 AM on a Saturday, luckily just before the lunch rush. By the time we left, the place was packed.

I chose a peanut butter chocolate shake (EXCELLENT!!), a black bean burger (good) and sweet potato fries (OK, not very hot though). We also got choc choc chip cookies to go (also excellent). Our waiter was pretty good. In general the wait staff seem to be very coordinated, efficient and friendly.

Perhaps I had my hopes up too high after reading all the five star reviews on here, or maybe made a poor menu choice, but I wasn't as wowed as I expected to be. The menu had lots of alternatives to choose from though and I would happily go back next time we're in Chicago, if for nothing else but the shake.


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Tasty Classics! - Edit

The vegan milkshakes are great. Everything is just delicious. This is a classic 'wings, burgers, fries, shakes' sort of place, but vegetarian! Great artwork on the walls, warm, pleasantly crowded. A must-see for any vegetarian visiting Chicago!

Pros: Location, Food, Atmosphere


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great Diner Food - Edit

First, know that you're going to a diner! If you think you're going out for healthy food you are mistaken! That being said, it was delicious. I ordered the chicken fried steak- even though I never ate it as an omni- and had a strawberry shake. It was all vegan, as is most everything. The "steak" was very crunchy yet tender inside, the mashed potatoes were appropriately chunky with a perfect mushroom gravy.
I arrived about 630 on a Wednesday night, easily found parking and was seated and served immediately. When I left there were many people waiting for seats though. It is packed and noisy but the servers were friendly and quick.
They had many vegan desserts to choose from as well. A side note - my table-neighbor wasn't vegan but she likes their vegan nachos so well she goes every time she's in Chicago! Prices seemed very reasonable.
I'll go back anytime!

Pros: Quick, Great food, Friendly

Cons: nosiy


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

worth the drive (from Indy) - Edit

Decided to visit this place due to the reviews, and it did not disappoint. Not the healthiest food, but that's not what you're looking for from a diner. Had hot wings, which were yummy but a little pricey. The Reuben was the best I've ever had, and that includes my pre-vegan days, and the southern fried steak, while super rich was yummy. The mashed potatoes were also the best I've ever had, period. Unfortunately, we were too full for dessert, but luckily our local Whole Foods has started to carry their cakes and cookies. Fantastic. We're going to be making another trip up to Chicago this summer largely to visit the restaurant again. Planning on trying their breakfast on that trip!


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Worth the Trip - Edit

I live in Detroit. I have seriously considered driving to Chicago just to eat at Chicago Diner.

That being said, this is what I love: the vegan shakes are amazing. I always order one as soon as I get there. The desserts are delicious, too, but you might die of sugar overload if you get both a shake and dessert.

The chick'n parm sandwich used to be my favorite, but last time I was there, they didn't have it on the menu. I got the vegan rueben. It was awesome. The bright red faux corned beef can be a little off-putting at first. It is spongey, but it grew on me. The vegan mac n' cheese is awesome. I love a place with vegan mac.

There is parking on the side of the building. It's a tight squeeze, but worth the spot. The outdoor patio is adorable. I always feel like home there.

Pros: Delicious food , Great staff, Shakes!!!


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Always amazing - Edit

Chicago Diner has been my favorite restaurant for two years, and I'm so happy to be within walking distance! I took my non-vegetarian friend there this week for lunch, and we were both pleased. I enjoyed one of my favorites, the sweet potato quesadillas.

Pros: excellent food, never had bad service, great shakes and desert!


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

The Best In Veggie Diner Food - Edit

I love this place! The food is great, the atmosphere is perfect and they seem to consistently have one of the best wait staffs of any veg restaurant in the country. The servers seem excited about the food, and genuinely happy to be there. I love it, it really makes the experience that much more pleasant.

I've been here maybe six times, and everything I've ever had has been delicious. The best meal I've ever had here was last summer (I live on the West Coast and visit Chi town infrequently) I had the country fried seitan. Unbelievably good!

I HIGHLY recommend this place for those who are seeking good veg comfort food, and especially those that favor the wheat meat. They do seitan dishes extraordinarily well.

Oh, and the desserts (vegan carrot cake is my favorite) are excellent too!

Pros: GREAT SERVICE!!, GREAT FOOD!!, Great location/ambiance

Cons: A little expensive., I'd like it even better, IF it were 100% vegan.


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Friendly, Homey, Great Food. - Edit

I regularly buy their baked goods at the Whole Foods stores in the Detroit area, so when I traveled to Chicago last week, I decided to try the Diner itself. I wasn't disappointed. Plenty of waitstaff, friendly and the food was great. While not entirely Vegan, they can modify non-Vegan items to accommodate.


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Awesome - Edit

Um, love this place. As soon as you walk in, you're greeted and seated by a friendly host. The interior is cute, the music is good, and the staff are super friendly. All the shakes we tried (Acai Berry Cream, Irish Coffee Cream, and Cookie Dough) were AWESOME. I didn't want to share. I highly recommend the nachos (spicy, cheezy, deliciousness) and the country fried steak (tastes just like I remember it). Word to the wise- the portions are giganormous. Especially the biscuits and gravy. The only food we had here that we didn't care for were the desserts (we had cookies-n-cream cake and peppermint chocolate cheesecake). The cookies are good though.
I will miss this place!

Pros: awesome food, friendly service, reasonable prices


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Maybe I should've chosen another dish... - Edit

While in Chicago for business I was excited to try out the Chicago Diner, having read so many good things about it. When I got there the restaurant was very busy so I sat at the bar and asked one of the waiters what I should try from the menu. He suggested the Reuben sandwich and that's what I had... unfortunately I didn't like it and I wish I had picked something different as I'm sure it was simply a matter of taste. The menu had lots of alternatives and I would definitely like to give it another try if I return to Chicago. I was glad to go though as the atmosphere was casual and comfortable and the area was also a nice change from downtown Chicago.


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

For Comfort Food, Just About Sets the Bar - Edit

There is no such thing as a visit to the great city of Chicago without stopping at the Chicago Diner. As the other reviews will tell you the diner offers an impressive variety of delicious - but not always particularly healthy - appetizers, entrees, beers, shakes and desserts. As the name suggests, it is a diner; expect a diner atmosphere: busy, somewhat cramped, noisy, occasionally slow service. These aspects shouldn't take away from the dining experience, just know what to expect.

We ordered buffalo-style hot wings which we shared, followed by the famous reuben for my friend (he loved it and was great based on the bite I took) and avocado tostadas for me (yum). Thankfully, and astonishingly, I still had room for dessert for which I ordered a luscious vegan chocolate truffle cupcake.

My friend was so impressed that he bought a very affordable Chicago Diner tote bag as well as a Chicago Diner cookbook which, he tells me, has served him very well ever since.

Pros: Very good food, Head-spinning selection, Beer from Quebec, Canada offered

Cons: Not the healthiest food, A bit pricey


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great! - Edit

Who says a vegetarian can't have a dagwood sandwich? Or bbq "wings"? Even non-vegetarians love the brunch items and rave about the sweet potato quesadilla. A vegetarian must in Chicago.

Pros: great diner food, good value, friendly staff

Cons: tight space


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

I Felt Like A Vegan King!!! - Edit

My wife and I went there our first night visiting Chicago. We had a really great experience. The menu was a good combination of veg comfort foods but also had enough healthy veg options for my wife. I got the Country Friend Steak and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake. I don't know what exactly it was that I ate that night, but I know it was vegan, and I know it was amazing. It was one of the most satisfying meals I have had in my vegan history. The place was bustling and the staff was very welcoming and friendly. Its nothing fancy, but hey, its called a diner.

Pros: Great Comfort Food, Relaxed atmosphere, Awesome shakes


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Just Heavenly! - Edit

This has got to be one of the best vegan restaurants in the country. It's definitely the best I've ever tasted! They have such a big menu - it was hard to decide. Lucky for me, my husband doesn't mind sharing. My country fried steak was AMAZING...crispy, crunchy, and the seitan was tender as could be. My husband got the philly cheezsteak...and I thought my dish was tasty - his was better! It was our first time there, but we went again one night later! This time I had the enchiladas - which were good, but heavy on the potatoes. My husband got the gyro - and it was out of this world. They have a handful of vegan deserts - we had the lemon/coconut cake (new to their menu), and a chocolate layer cake. Both were delicious. Their appetizers are impressive and soooo yummy. We had the potato skins with cream cheez and bacon. It tasted so good we had to ask our waitress if it was really vegan! She assured us it was. I would eat here every day if I could!

Pros: Tasty food, Good Value, Large Portions

Cons: Absolutely Nothing!


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

YUM to the CORE! - Edit

I love The Chicago Diner! You do need to know what "not" to order but there is SO MUCH TO ORDER! If there is something new or a special, I always ask our server what they think of it compared to something I would usually order. The staff is SO nice and helpful. The atmosphere is relaxed and the decor is fun!

Pros: excellent food, good value, friendly staff

Cons: noisy, usually a wait, no more cobb salad! BUMMER


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Solid, rib-sticking food. - Edit

We recently had an overnight stay with an omni friend of ours, who suggested The Chicago Diner. He'd never eaten there, but thought it sounded interesting, and he knew where he was going. Our party consisted of two omnis and one vegan.

The interior was pretty much how I'd expect an American diner to look, with booths down one side. The menu is drawn from American comfort food with some Mexican influences, and on my first visit I had enchiladas. Many of the dishes are vegan, and the majority of those which aren't are available in lacto-ovo and vegan versions. The other two went for veggie versions of Mexican-style dishes, and both proclaimed that they were impressed.

There was also an interesting beer range, including many microbrews, though I do not think this contributed to how impressed the omnis were!

So impressed were my partner and our host that they insisted we go back the following morning to explore the brunch menu. No complaints here. I had one of their breakfast bowls. We then wandered around Chicago, before heading to O'Hare and a flight to Baltimore. We arrived late, but we didn't need to eat as we were still not hungry from breakfast!

I need to find an excuse to go back to Chicago.

Pros: vegan breakfast and desserts, huge portions, interesting beer selection

Cons: maybe too huge?, limited car parking


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Yummy Comfort Food - Edit

I feel bad that the Chicago Diner gets hyped up so much and then disappoints some. I think it's a great place to go for vegan comfort food that you thought you'd never be able to replace after giving up the real stuff. The food isn't meant to be gourmet, it's meant to be greasy and good. I think they definitely achieve that in their sandwiches and brunch items.

They've just updated their menu to include a few new fantastic items. I tried the spinach artichoke hummus, and it was excellent!

By far, they outshine anyone else in their desserts. They have *the best* vegan chocolate chip cookies I've ever had in my life (and I've tried a lot)! Their shakes are also to die for- the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough is the ultimate indulgence.

Pros: Desserts!!, Cool staff, Great comfort food

Cons: Price, Limited seating


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Delicious - Edit

We recently moved outside of Chicago from Georgia and I had come across ads for the Chicago Diner in Vegetarian Times and VegNews a long time ago. My husband and I were both really excited about trying this place out. I ordered Country Fried Steak which was made from seitan, and it came with gravy, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables mixed with a pesto sauce, and kale. My husband ordered a gyro which was also made with seitan and sweet potato fries. Everything was excellent. My country fried steak was thick and "meaty" and I also had a tasty Dark Horse Raspberry Ale. The gravy was creamy and delicious, and I was happy to have a side of vegetables that weren't bland and boring. The service was friendly as well. I ordered a strawberry lemon cupcake to go, and that was the only thing I wasn't incredibly impressed by. It was good, but the icing seemed a little oily. Overall, a very good experience.

Pros: excellent food

Cons: parking


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

One of chicago's best - Edit

The food at this place has improved in the 4 years that i've been away from chicago. the staff is great. the food is awesome. my only problem is that the place is cramped. if they could only expand the building somehow, then the place would be unbelievable.

Pros: awesome food, vegan, friendly staff

Cons: small location


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Neutral - Edit

Very small and cramped, food is ok. Lots of variety to choose from though so maybe I need to revisit. I had the sweet potato quesadillas...nothing special it was alright. I agree with the last review, soy shake was yummy but the cheesecake didn't do it for me either. The staff was SUPER friendly. I'd go back to check out some of the other options on the menu.

Pros: Friendly service, variety, parking lot

Cons: small, food is ok


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

i like it - Edit

i like chicago diner...but i don't love it. i liked everything i have ordered from there, but nothing was blow me away-amazing-unforgettable. i think parking problems, not awesome service, and a lot of tables crammed into a little space is heavily affecting my review. sorry chicago diner! i love your slogan!! "meat-free since 1983" it is definitely worthwile going here, but i don't crave it.

Pros: eclectic menu, great desserts, meat-free since 1983

Cons: parking sucks, over-priced, alot of tables & a little space


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

My favorite place in Chicago - Edit

I've been to the Chicago Diner a lot and never get tired of the food. Everything on the menu is vegan or has the option to be made vegan. They have the BEST shakes that I've ever had...try the peanut butter cookie dough if you ever have a chance! I highly recommend the "radical ruben" sandwich, it is amazing. The raw plates are also very good.

Pros: Amazing food, Friendly staff (usually), Free parking

Cons: Can be expensive, Limited seating


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Hit or miss.. - Edit

Before I moved to Chicago I would often go to the Chicago Diner, but since moving here a number of years ago I can't say I still feel a fondness for this place. It is pretty much hit or miss. I've had good food, but I've also had mediocre food and bad service and I've never had great food. Well, their desserts and shakes are pretty fantastic, but other than that I would have to say it is pretty average. I think they might be resting on their laurels a little bit.


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

One of the best places to eat in Chicago! - Edit

Since I've moved back, I've decided to re-review The Chicago Diner. As a Chicagoan I say this is the #1 place you should try. It's safe to say that I've been coming to Chicago Diner for about 9 years now and I have never been displeased with their food. I'm partial to all of their Seitan dishes; The Reuben is the best sandwich I've ever had and you should try this one first [all of my non-veg friends love it], Philly Cheese Steak is awesome, Gyros are mighty tasty, Dagwood is supposed to be the #2 seller there - I think it's good and not amazing like the other sandwiches, Beef and Cheddar Melt is good, etc. All of the aforementioned sandwiches are Vegan or can be made Vegan. I've also had other random things like the Vegan breakfast dish consisting of tofu with "steak" which is also very tasty.

I recently discovered their Vegan ranch dressing, it's AMAZINGLY GOOD! I'm one of those Vegans who missed fries with ranch dressing and this is the perfect substitute. If you want to take any home, they'll sell it to you by the pint as the waiter told me. :)

As far as beverages, I love their fresh apple juice, the shakes [made with Temptation ice cream (by Chicago Soy Dairy)] is, in my opinion, way too thick. I think the cheesecake is OK, but I don't really like raw cheesecake-like items. The cookies are always good, and as far as the cake, I'm not too keen on the frosting.

The service is always great, and when weather permits, the outdoor patio seating behind the building is lovely. Chicago Diner is one of my #1 places to eat in Chicago.


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Love diners! - Edit

I'm so lucky to have this place around the corner from my place...The food is excellent. I love the mac n cheese and tofu scramble. But my favorite is the choc mousse cake!!

Pros: Excellent Food, Friendly staff


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

A little for everyone - Edit

I like to go to this restaurant when I go out with non- vegetarians. It is a vegetarian restuarant but a meat eater could find something they will like. I am a little dissappointed that they aren't vegan because i think they could do so very easily and still be just as popular. They also have 2 raw dishes on the menu plus raw cheesecakes. They are very good. The outdoor patio is nice and i recommend eating out there when the whether is agreeable. When it is closed then the inside can be very crowded and there can be a wait before you can be seated. There is parking on the side of the building in an ally like area. The staff is very accommodating and have gone out of their way to help me pick something to eat.

Pros: big portions, lots of chioces., nice staff

Cons: crowded, not 100% vegan


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Good spot, but there are better! - Edit

I've eaten at the Diner for many years and can only recall one or two dishes where I wasn't pleased. Generally I enjoy whatever I have though. The wait staff has always been courteous and the restaurant is clean, however a bit noisy and cramped. While it's never been much of an issue when my friends and I grab a bite, the one time I took my grandparents there they were not especially pleased. The main complaint I hear most is of how expensive it is (entrees typically hit the $12 mark). While it certainly won't break the bank, I think you get more bang for your buck at Karyn's which is raw & vegan while capping out at the same dollar amount. Worth checking out (especially if you live in Chicago) however I think there are better vegetarian friendly restaurants that aren't as expensive and also don't require a 20-30 wait for a table in a cramped room.

Pros: Great food, Friendly staff, Chicago staple!

Cons: Bit expensive, Noisy & Cramped, Always a wait for dinner


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Thanksgiving Treat - Edit

I decided to do carryout from The Chicago Diner for Thanksgiving. What a pleasant experience that was. Not only did I get a deliciously tasting dinner which included 2 servings of "turkey" with gravy but also 5 sides. They consisted of yams, stuffing, cranberry relish, green beans and red potatoes. What made this even more enjoyable was when I picked up my dinner, I was given a free Chicago Diner tote bag, a $10.00 gift card with extra coupons and a free copy of the Vegetarian Journal.
I am thankful that places like The Chicago Diner exist. When I became a vegetarian over 35 years ago, I was considered somewhat of a freak when I went to ordinary restaurants. Wait staff would look at me in shock for not wanting meat. Even family members were embarrassed when it came time for me to order. When The Chicago Diner opened, I was in heaven. Here was a place where I could order meals without having to worry about having a menu full of meat. I have never been disappointed with anything that they offered. The food surpasses Chicago's most notable restaurants in terms of cuisine. It has by far the healthiest, best tasting food that I have ever eaten.
For anyone that is vegetarian/vegan, The Chicago Diner is your place to eat.

Pros: Excellent food, Friendly staff, Wide variety of choices on menu


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Finally ate here - Edit

After reading reviews for the last 10 years about this place, I was really looking forward to eating here on a business trip to Chicago. I was not disappointed. I had to take 2 buses to get to it, but it was worth the trek. I ate here 2 times.

The first time I sat down and right away the waiter asked "vegetarian or vegan?" I can honestly say I have never been asked that before in a restaurant and I really appreciated it. The waiter told me what was vegan to start and what could be made vegan. It must have taken me 25 minutes to decide what to order, since I wasn't used to being able to order ANYTHING off the menu!

I decided on the wings appetizer, crab cake entree, cheesecake and chocolate chip milkshake. The wings were to die for. Just the right amount of sweet sticky BBQ sauce AND a vegan dilled ranch sauce. I cleaned my plate so well they probably didn't have to wash the dish!

Crab cakes were a bit mushy but good. The cheesecake was good but the milkshake was INCREDIBLE - thick, creamy, rich, chocolately... well worth the price.

The 2nd time I had the wings again, the reuben sandwich, another flavor of cheesecake and another milkshake. The reuben sandwich was INCREDIBLE! Tasted just like I remember reubens from delis. If I could place a weekly order of anything off the menu to ship to me out West, it would have to be the reuben and milkshake.

The waitstaff both times were incredibly friendly and helpful. The owner/manager went around to all tables making sure everything was ok. The patio dining is great, especially if the weather is nice.

If you go in there expecting high-end, Food Network star dining, you WILL be disappointed. The charm of this place IS the fact that it is supposed to remind you of diners from years ago, of local dining places that you could just drop into and get a great meal. The prices were not that outrageous considering 1) its vegan and 2) the portions are HUGE!

It's too bad the owners (can't/won't) open up in other cities. The world needs more restaurants like the Chicago Diner.

Pros: milkshakes, reuben sandwich, friendly and knowledgeable staff

Cons: only in Chicago, not centrally located, opens at 11am


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Reviewer Avatar

Just OK. - Edit

I've never felt too impressed with the Chicago Diner, despite hearing of friends traveling out of their way to stop there for a meal. I got some sort of meatball sandwich that was pretty good, but not good enough for the amount I paid for it. I got a milkshake that was ENTIRELY TOO EXPENSIVE, yet it was delicious simply because they used Temptation ice cream. I could make cheaper, better food at home and I could also just buy a tub of Temptation for half the price and make my own milkshake. Not worth it.

Pros: food tastes alright, good service

Cons: WAY too expensive, small portions for the price

1 Response

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Oh, Chicago Diner... How I Miss Thee!!! - Edit

Having lived in Chi-town for over 7 years, I have been to the Diner countless times both with vegetarians and meat-eaters. I've never found anything to complain about there, nor has anyone that I ate there with. It is an absolute beacon for vegetarians and vegans. I had a rule that anytime I went there, I had to get dessert, no matter how full I was! 'Tis true, some of the cakes can be a bit dry.... the carrot cake, however, is to die for! Also, if you order them ala mode (they typically carry vanilla and chocolate vegan ice cream, although they sometimes run out), the cakes are simply divine.

The charm of this place is that it even exists... perhaps it's "greasy spoon" appeal is lost on some, but for those of us who have been vegetarian and/or vegan for the better part of our lives, it's just great to have this experience that we normally get left out of. Clearly, no one should go there expecting a gourmet meal... just some darn good veggie fare that's loaded with protein (the only reason I can think for any vegetarian to eat "fake meat") and flavor! I've never had a dish there I didn't like, but here are some of my favs:

Vegan Reuben
Vegan Lasagne (on request, they can make it w/vegan cheese)
Seitan Caesar Salad
Lemon Ambrosia Cake
Cookies and Cream Cake
Carrot Cake

Also, when they have them, their Cobblers are AWESOME!!!!!

The Chicago Diner is the #1 thing that I miss about the States now that I'm living in Japan :-(

Pros: Great food (esp. desserts!), Great people (not the kiss-your-ass type, Private patio seating when it's warm

Cons: Can get crowded- avoid usual busy hours, Sometimes run out of vegan ice cream :(


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

pretty good - Edit

The food is pretty good and the menu expansive. Also, they have many dessert options. I hate to offer criticism of an all veg restaurant but the cakes tend to be on the dry side and I wish they would offer more dishes that don't center on fake meat.
I have been here many many times and i will go again. The service is hit or miss. At times we have had appetizers arrive at the same time as our meal and our drinks not refilled until we directly asked a passing waiter. Other times the service has been excellent.

I love the choc chip soy ice cream, the french onion soup, the mashed potatoes and the biscuits and gravy.

Pros: wide selection, vegan desserts, all vegetarian restuarant

Cons: dry cakes, too much fake meat


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great - Edit

I have heard a lot about Chicago Diner and was very excited to go on a weekend vacation to Chicago. The food was great. We went for dinner. Their BBQ Jerk Sandwich is to die for. We got the nachos as an appetizer and they were ok. The highlight of the visit was the PB cookie dough shake!! I can't even explain the tastiness of this thing!! Get it! The staff was great, they refilled our water glasses diligently and they were very helpful. Before leaving, we are going back for Brunch and expect it to be just as great, if not better, than dinner was. Chicago Diner has a great atmosphere and became very busy while we were there.

Pros: Shakes, Atmosphere, Menu

Cons: Some Dishes are expensive


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Underwhelming - Edit

I was visiting Chicago and despite the mixed reviews, I opted to dine there. The food was mediocre and the service was terrible. The Chicago Diner is akin to a vegen greasy spoon.

Cons: poor food, poor service, poor value


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

so-so - Edit

The food here is really so-so. They don't have anything on the menu that I can't cook better myself at home, and that for me is a major bad mark against a vegetarian restaurant. Service was terrible-- impossible to get my waitress to get more water for the table, because she was busy being "cool" in some corner.


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Reviewer Avatar

Excellent Vegan Date Spot - Edit

The food is just good, not out of this world, but the selection of beer and wine is great, and the desserts are great too. It is simply nice to be able to walk into a restaurant and order whatever you want, and they have a huge selection. The service is hit or miss, sometimes it's good other times it is awful. Still, I always leave satisfied.

Pros: Extensive Menu, Extensive Booze Selection, Good food

Cons: Hit or Miss service, Parking


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Good service, bad food - Edit

i was pretty disappointed when i went to the Chicago Diner for the first and probably last time with my girlfriend. our waiter was pretty nice, but i was not impressed but the philly cheese steak and my girlfriend didn't take more than 2 bites out of her grillled cheese sandwich. i guess i was just expecting more from a veggie restaurant with such history and reputation in chicago. on a good note, the blueberry-banana smoothie was pretty good and the BBQ wings i had were not bad.

Pros: nice waiter

Cons: bad food, cramped booths


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Amazing!! - Edit

The Seitan was amazing, I got my non vegan cousin to scoff the seitan chicken down, and the desserts. My gosh, I got the vanilla shake, and it was amazing. Vegan shake, best I've ever had, the taste is still in my mouth. The waiters are wicked nice, tend to wear vegan quote shirts, which is love. Friendly, small place, but amazing.

Pros: amazing food, delectible desserts, friendly staff


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Reviewer Avatar
Vegan

  Contributions +19

desert and breakfast - Edit

while we were in chicago over the weekend we went twice. three of us ordered diffent deserts and they were all decadent. delicious cakes and cookies. we went back the next morning for breakfast. i really enjoyed the vegan french toast, seitan sausage and potatoes. the tofu scramble could use more spice. all in all, tastey vegan diner food.

Pros: deserts and coffee, parking, staff

Cons: price, spice


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

A Chicago Disappointment - Edit

I am new to Chicago and all I hear about is how great the diner is. This place was pretty dirty and I could not make myself comftorable due to the fact I felt like rats lived there. Prices were decent food was below average. The services was horrible I felt as though I was at a circus and felt that I would have gotten a better performence out of clowns. I got dirty utensils and waited for over 30 min for my food.

Pros: good prices, good location

Cons: Not vegan , nasty, Probably rodent infested


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

The place for vegans - Edit

I could not ask for more options, healthier food, or a better dinner. I've been here twice and was blown away both times. Even the leftovers are good. I guess I'd have to recommend the Reuben...

Pros: fantastic selection


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

One of my favorite places to eat! - Edit

I'll start by saying their milkshakes are amazing. Try the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough.

I visited Chicago for a week last year and ate probably half my meals here and was not disappointed once. I live in Chicago now and it's definitely in my top 10 restaurants.

Pros: great food, reasonable prices, milkshakes!


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

the spot - Edit

go here. its amazing. it truly is one of the best in the country. i eat here many times during my 2 weeks of work in the chi-town area, and did not mind driving in for this place. great food, good service, amazing desert options. everything about it is a plus. vegan french toast. amazing.

Pros: everything

Cons: nothing


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

The Best of the Best in Chicago (get the Rueben) - Edit

The Chicago Diner is the staple vegan restaurant in Chicago. You must go here if its the only place you can go while you're in town. Breakfast / Lunch or Diner it won't disappoint. I am updating my previous review to tell the story of the Radical Rueben sandwich. I had pilfered a small laminated picture menu months ago from my last trip and I had been staring at this picture of the marbled rye bread with sliced seitan almost daily. (I honestly don't know much about sauerkraut) Finally after a last minute late night trip up to Chicago the Rueban and my destiny were finally realized. The combination of the sliced seitan and thousand island dressing and marbled rye bread is out of this world. I've been eating at Chicago Diner for over 5 years and have never had this sandwich until now. It is so fantastic it compelled me to delete my previous review so I could write this new one highlighting its tastiness.

Pros: Rueben, open until 11pm, large selection

1 Response

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

one of the very best - Edit

Fantastic food. Good atmosphere. Relaxed staff. Good value. What are you waiting for?
This place kicks ass. The portions are huge and the food is gob-smackingly good. The nachos to start will live long in the memory - but be wary of some very hot sauce in there. Main courses such as lasagne, burgers and the Philly cheese steak are also highly recommended. And as for the vegan chocolate chip "cheese" cake..... It's so good it should come with a warning.

Pros: Top food, Laid back staff, You can buy the recipe book


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Disappointing... - Edit

Was REALLY disappointed in the food and service.
Had a trip planned for months to visit Chicago and I was really looking forward to our stop here, was supposed to be one of the highlights of my trip. Food was bland, fake meat was similar to what I purchase at the market, service was not great. Perhaps I've been spoiled by Native Foods in CA...really wanted this one to be great. I was quite sad about it, actually. :(


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

What a great place! - Edit

Wow! When we went to the Diner, we felt bad because we walked in at 9:30 and they close at 10. Our guilt was quickly put to rest as the wait staff quickly sat us at a cozy booth. They were super friendly the whole time, and even offered to refill our drinks at the stroke of 10. We declined and left, not wanting to keep them late, but the gesture was appreciated.

I got the Gyro, and they somehow managed to get the texture and flavor of gyro meat pretty darn close. And their sweet potato fries complemented it excellently.

The chicago diner is a fun place, in a diverse neighborhood, with excellent tasting food.

Pros: Great Food, Great service, Great Atmosphere

Cons: only open till 10


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Reviewer Avatar

Yum - Edit

Chicago Diner's food is really tasty and the desserts rock. It can get really crowded around dinnertime and you might have to wait a bit. It's not the prettiest place but if it's good vegan food you're looking for, you won't be disappointed.

Pros: excellent food, plenty of vegan options, cool staff

Cons: a bit cramped, a bit run down, parking lot sucks


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

great food - Edit

This is seriously some of the best vegan food I've had! The seitan is my favorite- even my meat-eating friends enjoyed it. Portions are very large, you might want to split with someone if you plan on dessert!

Pros: large menu, delicious

Cons: a bit expensive, crowded


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Solid place - Edit

This is a landmark restaurant for vegetarians in Chicago. While the food (for me) has been hit or miss, its wide array of choices, great staff and cool atmosphere make it a great place to visit. The cheesecake here is probably the best I've ever had, vegan or otherwise. Also try the hot chocolate! Anything that sounds bland probably IS bland on their menu; on the other hand, anything that sounds exotic or and tasty is probably exotic and spicy and tasty. Portion sizes are huge, so expect to take home plenty of leftovers. Prices are high, but the portion sizes more than make up for that.

Pros: Big menu, Service

Cons: Bland food sometimes, High cost


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

food review - Edit

Food was excellent and came out incredibly fast. Lots of choices that I have never seen in any other restaurant. The food is a little spicy though. The Dagwood sandwich is amazing. Breakfast was a bit of a let down. Biscuits and gravy were ok but didn't really taste like biscuits and gravy.

Pros: many vegan options, great service, food came out fast

Cons: spicy


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Link to this page from your site. .
Return to Chicago Vegetarian Restaurants & Health Food Store Listings
Business Owners, if you see an unfair review, read this.
Why was my review removed? - details
Reviews are not endorsed by HappyCow - review terms
Has The Chicago Diner closed, shut down, moved, or changed? Please use the Update Form.
This page has been viewed 13333 times since Aug 2007.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now

×