Dear PoP – Best Vegetarian?

Photo of Vegetable Bhajiya by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

“Hey PoP!

I was wondering if I could submit a question to your readers. I have a friend visiting in mid-July who was asking me for vegetarian or veggie-friendly restaurant recommendations. I’m not a vegetarian so not always on the lookout for places with good veggie options. What do your readers recommend as far as restaurants with lots of vegetarian choices?”

If you know of places with good vegetarian options please also say what neighborhood it is in. Thanks.

Here were the recommendations for best expensive, BBQ, tapas, bar to watch football, wine bar, Chinese, Latino/Mexican, hidden restaurants, Italian, Sushi, Indian, falafel, Ethiopian, Middle Eastern and Steak.

60 Comment

  • saf

    Zaytinya (9th and G NW)

    Mama Ayesha’s (Calvert St, just east of the bridge)

    Lebanese Taverna (CT Ave in Woodley Park)

    Sorisso (CT Ave in Cleveland Park)

    Moroni (GA Ave in Petworth)

    Domku (Upshur St in Petworth)

    Madjet (U St NW, at about 11th)

    • saf

      Oh, and the Reef, 18th St in Adams Morgan.

    • Zaytinya! It almost redeemed my faith in this city’s ability to produce good food.

      However, a trip to Domku quickly undid that progress. Blech.

      For veggie junk food, Amsterdam Falafel is my favorite place in the world.

      For something as comforting, but slightly less guilt-inducing Adam Express is awesome. Just be sure to give the kindly Korean couple who runs it a few extra minutes to prepare your food and you’ll walk away happy.

  • Java Green in Farrugut on 19th Street Street between K & L is really. I haven’t been to its new sister restaurant, Cafe Green, in Dupont on 17th near P.

  • I second Java Green. Juice Joint by McPherson Sq is a hidden treasure. Nirvana (Farragut Sq.) and Rasika (Chinatown) are also excellent. For more recommendations, you ought to pick up one of those “Go Veg” brochures that are all over town. :o)

  • Sticky Fingers Bakery in Columbia Heights is amazing for vegan baked goods and sandwiches. Always a treat to go there.

    A comprehensive list, by neighborhood, can be found at Very handy guide!

  • domku, soul veg, and peaking garden.

    • Domku has the worst service in the city. After receiving a meal that we didn’t order, our server refused to take it back and serve the plate we ordered. We actually found ourselves in an argument over whether we actually ordered and the server had a very hateful attitude. Stories like this are abound at this place – stay away.

      • Sad but true. I really want to like Domku; their food is great. The service is just absolutely horrible. I would never recommend it.

        • i’ve generally had decent (not super-attentive, but fast and pleasant enough) until one night few weeks ago. i’m not sure what happened, but the kitchen didn’t seem to be making *any* food. it took at least an hour to get our order. which might have been bearable, but the waitress explained nothing and didn’t even stop by often with water. anyway, despite the one night of bad service – i’m a vegetarian, i’d say that domku is still one of my favorite restaurants in the city.

          i agree with most of the recommendations mentioned above except for soul veg which i just don’t enjoy. i’m not a vegan, so i prefer just getting the veggie sides at soul food restaurants around town. certain cuisines (ethiopian, indian, middle eastern) tend to be pretty veggie friendly. also, you can generally find veg options at most italian and pizza places. i’d say that most restaurants tend to have *something* vegetarian on the menu these days, with the exception of certain chains, steak houses, and seafood restaurants.

      • Wow.. I’ve had slow as hell service there, but never *rude* :I

      • I’ve actually had great service there, other than the fact that it is slow. Sometimes things get messed up but they have always been great about immediately fixing it.

        • saf

          Yeah, it’s been a number of years since I had bad service there. And I have not had a horrid experience like that described above.

  • adam express on mount P street makes a bomb veggie bibimbap and has other great veg alternatives!

    • Yeah, I ordered that twice and on the third time it wasn’t vegetarian, so make sure they’re looking right at you when you order it.

  • I’ve been trying to compile a veggie-only list of restaurants. My in-laws keep kosher, but will eat in restaurants that are strictly veggie. Any tips?

  • Being a vegetarian and living in Mount P. I would have to vote Radius. The new owners really took a shitty restaurant and turned it into to a local, sustainable, organic driven neighbor hood spot. They have so many vegetarian options its like I live in California again.

  • If you’re willing to go to the burbs, Vegetable Garden in Rockville is darn good. It’s Chines, 100 percent vegan and kosher. Also, in Georgetown, there’s Harmony Cafe on M street, which was a favorite among the hippies that lived in my odl group house. They have a veggie version of everything on their menu (also Chinese). Amma, also in Georgetown, is 100 percent veggie (Indian)> And they’re super cheap. Hope your visitors like Asian food, because that’s their best bet for veggie cuisine in DC.
    Overall, DC really sucks for vegetarian cuisine, which is surprising, because the market exists. Also, take them to Toledo Lounge on Wednesday nights for half-priced grilled cheese sandwiches. Best in the city.

    • Yuan Fu in far north Rockville is owned by the former Chef from Vegetable Garden and I think is superior.

      • totally agree with you on Yuan Fu … and I still think Vegetable Garden is ok

        • Love Yuan Fu–almost worth the hike out there. Unless it’s 90 degrees out, get the Sizzling Rice Soup–definitely worth the trip.

          Also in the burbs, Toscana Grill in Arlington (near the Courthouse Metro station) has a great vegan menu and desserts by Vegan Treats.

          BTW, Nirvana has closed down as of June 27.

    • Amma’s in Georgetown is closed.

  • John Riders’s burrito cart at the southwest corner of 15th and K is vegetarian (rice and beans), and it is awesome. Get there by 11:45 a.m., however, or be prepared to wait half an hour…..the lunchtime line can be 50-people deep.

  • Ethiopian has a lot of choices. The wife and I just get a 7-item veggie combination at Queen of Sheba (9th & P) or one of the places up at 9th & U) and are always very happy, and I’m not even vegetarian.

    • If Ethiopian is an option, check out Ethiopic on H st NE (401 H).

      I’ve eaten veggie Ethiopian for years, and their dishes are outstanding. All vegetarian offerings are vegan.

    • I think Ethiopian’s perfect for an out-of-towner because it’s something they probably don’t get to have often. Outside of the DC area, Ethiopian restaurants are few and far between.

  • Try sending them to to build excitement.

    I’m in Park Viewabd a walker, so i’d take folks to Soul Veg for brunch and then hut up the pool, or for evening snacking (their gluten dishes are out if sight, and of course the macaroni) and a show at Howard. Sticky Fingers is good light fare on the way to or from the zoological park. Some vegetarians hate zoos though. (It’s a well landscaped park despite the prisoners.)

    If not neighborhood-bound, take a day in Rockville (Vegetable Garden for one meal, Yuan Fu for the other)

    Sometimes Palais de Lune down Kalmia Rd. NW (just into Maryland) is a nice TVP treat.

    Brookland Cafe is my new fave for an American lunch.

  • If you are looking for upscale then Equinox (downtown) is a great pick. They always seem to make an effort to have a proper (ie not the sides) veggie option. In Dupont Science club is veg friendly. I’ve also heard that sticky rice on H St is a good option, but can’t confirm. Pete’s in Columbia Heights is pretty accommodating, too.

  • Asylum has the best vegan brunch (they have an entire vegan menu)and alot of vegan options for dinner.

    The Reef in Adams Morgan also has some great veg. options.

    Granville Moore’s on H Street NE has the best veggie burger in town.

    Soul Vegetarian Exodus Cafe on Georgia ave is amazing! All veg. and all soul food.

    Sticky Rice on H Street will do most of their rolls vegan for you if you ask.

  • You can actually just give your friend a copy of the Vegetarian Guide to DC and Surrounding Areas. It’s really handy, lists a ton of the veg-friendly restaurants in the D.C.-metro area and is organized by neighborhood. You can order it online at

    Also, Founding Farmers just launched a menu, which is delicious! It even includes a Chocolate Porter Waffle that is completely vegan. Yum!

  • Vegetate on 9th St in DC was by far the best Veg place in town. Rumor had it that it was going to reopen in a new location after they were having difficulties with the church in re: their liquor license. Has anyone heard if they’re moving forward with a new spot?

    • I tried Vegetate and it made me so sad! I really, really, really wanted to like it. It was a total disappointment, but I would give them one more try if they find a new spot.

  • Try Bread & Brew in Dupont! They now have a full “Meatless Mondays” menu, and they always have lots of vegan options too. (along with the Vegetarian Guide to DC that is seen around the city) is a great resource that tells you all about the restaurants in the different parts of the city that are veg-friendly.

  • Science Club at 19th and L has the best veggie food and no one seems to know. Their veggie burger is home made and amazing, as well as their pesto pasta. Actually, everything on the menu is delicious!

  • Rasika in Penn Quarter
    Spices in Cleveland Park
    CoCo Sala in gallery place (great brunch)
    and any pasta place. We’re going to Bibiana tomorrow – looks like good veggie options.

    • I tried to order from Spices a few months ago and was more than a little unhappy to learn that everything has fish sauce or oyster sauce in it and as it’s pre-made, they can’t just make something without the fish/oyster sauce. You basically cannot get a vegetarian meal there.

      If you’re looking for Asian in the District, try Pho 14 on Park Road behind the DC USA. They have “Faux Pho” and other vegetarian items.

  • If you are looking for upscale Vidalia has some nice options including a green plate (like a blue plate only vegetarian).

  • Second the vote for Asylum – slightly less than half the menu is vegan.

    Tonic just released a completely vegan menu that you’d need to ask for if they don’t hand it to you when you sit down.

    Newly opening Meridian Pint has many vegetarian/vegan options.

    Both Pete’s and Red Rocks has vegetarian and vegan pizza.

    Bread and Brew at 1247 20th (South of Dupont) has many vegetarian and vegan options.

    The newly opened Cafe Green at 1513 17th St NW east of Dupont is all vegan.

    Mandu at 1805 18th NW has many veg/vegan options and awesome sakitinis.

    The Science Club at 1136 19th NW (previously mentioned) is actually completely vegetarian.

    And I’d agree that Ethiopian is a good bet. A veg platter at ~$10 most places will feed 2.

  • Compassion Over Killing over in Takoma Park publishes a free online and hard copy guide of where to to get vegan and vegetarian meals in the DC Metro area. The guide is by location, covering DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia:

  • Founding Farmers in Downtown is a great vegetarian spot, and they even have a vegan menu, thanks to Compassion Over Killing and VegDC: is a great restaurant guide, too, and a new guide will be printed this week! If you’d be interested in a free updated guide, submit your mailing address here:

    Hope that helps!

  • another option out in the burbs (2 locations – Vienna & Falls Church) is Sunflower Vegetarian. Their food is awesome. The location in Vienna is great if you are heading out to Jammin Java (which also has really good veggie options!)

  • Etete on 9th for Ethiopian

    Sticky Fingers in Columbia Heights for sandwiches or baked goods. I’d also consider Pete’s or Red Rocks for good vegetarian pizza.

    Falafel is often a staple for vegetarians – try Amsterdam in Adams Morgan or Mama Ayesha’s in Adams Morgan.

    Tonic in Mt Pleasant is very vegetarian friendly as is Dos Gringos if you want something more casual.

    On U Street, Busboys and Poets is great for vegetarians. And Ben’s Chili Bowl has a veggie burger and vegetarian chili, if you need a late night stop.

  • Most Jamican places have a veg option – Sweet Mango always has a tofu special that is really yummy (brown tofu or curry tofu).

    Ritas on GA Ave has yummy veggies that can be a meal.

    I’ve heard Meridian Pint is going to have a lot of veggie stuff….

    Mark’s Kitchen in Takoma Park is pretty veg friendly.

    If you’re feeling rich – CityZen Restaurant at Mandarin Oriental is hands down, the best vegetarian tasting menu I’ve had in my whole life. Komi can also do a superb veg tasting menu.

    After nearly two decades of not eating meat, it’s gotten soooo much easier to find vegetarian nearly anywhere. 🙂

  • Busboys & Poets (on 14th, just north of U — and in a couple of other locations too) is an excellent place to have brunch if your group includes vegetarians or vegans. I’ve never had lunch or dinner there, but I think those menus are promising for vegetarians too. Check out their website.

    I’ve been going to Vegetable Garden (Chinese) in Rockville for over 20 years — excellent.

    And, yes, Ethiopian. Their vegetarian platters are often the most popular things on the menu.

    Sadly, there was an exodus of southern Indian restaurants (which are often exclusively vegetarian) out of the city some years ago. Now you have to go to the MD suburbs.

    It’s true — compared to Denver, Seattle, San Francisco — DC is not a vegetarian’s paradise but there’s still plenty to choose from.

  • Comet Ping Pong just added vegan cheese to their menu! I can’t wait to try it.

  • Greek Spot’s veggie gyro! Just off of U Street.

  • I’m a vegetarian, and these are my favorites: Jaleo, Rosa Mexicano, Zaytinya, Mandu, Domku, Red Rocks, Rasika, Rice

  • I second Soul Vegetarian (2606 Georgia Ave.) for delicious vegan soul food. I’m not vegan or even vegetarian, and their mac and cheese is fantastic.

    And like many others have said, Zaytinya is great for vegetarians, and has delicious food.

    Also, the veggie combo at any Ethiopian place (especially Queen Makeda on 9th and U) is a great option. Taylor’s does some very good vegetarian sandwiches.

    Woodlands, in Hyattsville, is an excellent vegetarian Indian restaurant.

    Also in the suburbs (but metro accessible), Max’s in Wheaton has even better falafel than Amsterdam. It’s closed on Saturdays.

    Not sure about vegetarian food, but when my vegan friends visit from California (SF and LA), they all comment that DC has a much better selection of vegan options than they have back home. Specifically, most pizza places here have a truly vegan pizza choice (vegan soy cheese and vegan crust).

  • I’m a committed vegetarian and I’ve eaten in at least 3/4 of the places recommended here. I’m continually disappointed in recommended vegetarian places in DC. Even the ones that are ok are generally nothing special.

    That said — Ethiopian is distinctive for DC and very good for vegetarians and non- alike (Dukem is my favorite). Amsterdam Fallafel is really good as well. Many Jose Andres places put reasonable effort into offering vegetarian dishes of equal quality to their non-veg ones. Don’t listen to anyone on Java Green — it’s disppointing on so many levels. Another favorite is the Italian Store in Arlington – despite the wall to wall imported meat, they have an awesome veggie sub with marinated and pickled vegetables served with real provolone on hard italian roll

    Cityzen has a phenomenal vegetarian tasting menu if you’re willing to drop more than a few bucks. I’ve reached a point where I prefer to sacrifice a few meals out and eat something special than put up with the steady stream of vegetarian mediocrity in DC.

  • I second recommendations to try Mark’s Kitchen (Korean/Pan-Asian/Vegetarian) in Takoma Park–so good. Thai X-ing is always fun, although you have to plan ahead and order in advance. Sticky Rice is super fun and delicious. Since Soul Veg can be a little slow, you can get the same delicious food at the Everlasting Life grocery store on GA Ave & Hobart (same owners).
    Also fun to go out for pupusas (Dona Azucena in Arlington is the best), Afghani (don’t know the name–in Fairfax), or Korean (maybe the tofu place in Annandale)in the suburbs if you have a car.
    IMHO, the best veggie burger will always be at Luna Grill on Connecticut at N St.

    • Yes! Mark’s Kitchen is EXCELLENT. There are items on the menu for everyone.

      Also up there is Roscoe’s, a brick over pizza place. They have great vegetarian and vegan options. They have Daiya cheese too, which is arguably the best vegan cheese out right now.

  • Thanks everyone! I’m the guest that is coming to visit. My mouth is watering! I could eat my way around the city it sounds like.

  • Two words…Maoz Vegetarian!

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