Dining out can be challenging for those trying to live a plant-based lifestyle. Fortunately, vegan Charlotteans have tons of options. A few restaurants offer vegan versions of their regular menu items, but more feature full vegan menus or—better yet—the entire menu dedicated to plant-based dishes. These are not just boring old salads with balsamic vinaigrette, either. We're talking BBQ sliders made with oyster mushrooms, manicotti with zucchini pasta, and Asian curry stew. Here, we've rounded up the best vegan restaurants in town.
"Vegan" and "comfort" aren't two words often used in the same sentence, let alone the same dish. But Bean Vegan Cuisine effortlessly combines both, making it a favorite for locals and a must-try for visitors. Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, old-fashioned cheeseburgers with fries, tacos and barbecue sandwiches, they're all here crafted with vegan meat, cheese and dairy alternatives.
If cozying up at home sounds better, Zizi's Vegan 2 Go offers take out and delivery. Its menu includes an extensive list of sandwiches, salads and wraps, but hot meals include "turkey" and gravy, veggie stir fry and seitan pepper steak.
Bright, airy, and charming Luna's Living Kitchen is known for its fresh fare and creative interpretations of traditional dishes—think Living Burrito stuffed with sunflower-seed refried beans, cauliflower rice, guacamole, pico de gallo, onions, sprouts and cashew sour cream wrapped in collard greens. The restaurant also offers a juice bar of cold press juices and a variety of fresh smoothies.
Fern, Flavors From the Garden features a vegetarian menu filled with vegan options made with local produce. A living green wall, Mason jar chandeliers and wicker furniture give the place an earthy atmosphere while the kitchen serves up ramen made from zucchini noodles, tacos filled with hemp heart, walnuts and pepita, and seitan steak topped with mushrooms, tomato and parsley.
Woodlands takes its inspiration from Udipi, India, an area known for developing a varied cuisine using fresh vegetables. It has developed a flavorful, pure vegetarian Indian menu, and most dishes can be made vegan.
Pure Pizza creates farm-fresh pizzas from locally sourced ingredients. The concept of a healthier pizza also translates into also offering a vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options including salads, calzones and craft pizzas.
The Common Market was founded as a neighborhood convenience store and grew into a gathering place for coffee in the morning and craft beer and live music in the evening. In between, the deli serves up breakfast, sandwiches, salads, and soups—all of which can gloriously be made vegan on request. Or simply ask for the vegan menu. After lunch, shop for a quirky little trinket or a T-shirt for your collection.
CO draws on Asian influences—Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai and Malaysian—to create a menu full of pho, ramen, banh mi and sushi. Vegans will find an Asian-inspired menu featuring dishes like Lemongrass Tofu, crispy vegetable rolls and spicy udon. The restaurant's atmosphere is rustic and industrial with an enchanting wood ceiling feature.