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20 of the Best Vegetarian and Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Cleveland: 2019 A-List Dining Guide

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John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

Cleveland, Ohio – For many years, restaurants catered to either omnivores or vegetarians – and rarely did they do both. But the rise in the culinary and vegetarian scene has seen restaurants expand their menus to suit all diners and diets.

In other words, there is room for everyone at the table.

Increasingly, restaurants are designing their menus to include vegetarians, vegans, and “corks”—followers of a semi-vegetarian diet that sometimes includes meat. The growing popularity of plant-based alternatives like Beyond Meat and Impossible Meat has made avoiding meat easier.

Here are 20 of the best vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants in the Cleveland area…

Story and photos by John Petkovich, Plain Dealer

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

India Garden18405 Detroit Ave., Lakewood; 216-221-0676; indiagardencleveland.com: Forget those cliches about vegan being earthy vegan. The India Garden is colorful, exotic decor, and atmospheric. The kitchen here serves South Indian dishes, many of which are vegetarian. The tandoori masala curries and paneer dishes are among the most delicious items you will find. Bonus: The daily lunch buffet offers great samples from the menu.

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

Town hall1909 West 25th Street, Cleveland, 216-344-9400; townhallohiocity.com: Is there a place that can satisfy paleos, vegans, and everyone in between? Welcome to Town Hall – an equal opportunity opportunity, where different diets coexist around a table. Monday nights come with a separate vegetarian menu, but vegetarian and vegan specials are a vital part of the regular menu. Thai Peanuts (a chicken alternative to Beyond Meat) is one of the best veggie offerings in town. The Veggieburger is a juicy treat. Delicious vegetarian chili. Check out the menu – the possibilities are endless.

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

Road Food and Pie, 17001 Madison Ave, Lakewood, 216-712-4506, rfpie.com/yum: Grilling and sliders are often the domain of meat lovers. Not in this charming, elegant place. They only serve two things at Rood: pie and sliders. But what a choice. The slider menu includes many unique vegetarian options, from sloppy tofu to charred Brussels sprouts to grilled jackfruit. But man, check out those pies — especially the Banana Cream Brandy.

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

pure life170 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, 216-987-0100; puravidabybrandt.com: A vegan looking to convert a meat-obsessed better take them here. And not just because the Big Mac is so delicious and packed like McD’s staple food. Pura Vida is eclectic and innovative with its botanical offerings. Check out their African peanut soup (sweet potato, kale, curry, and peanuts) and tell me it’s not one of the most delicious things you’ve had. I could go on – so many great items.

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

Astoria Market and Cafe, 5417 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, 216-266-0834: Mediterranean Market & Café has developed a following for all kinds of food adventurers. Non-meat eaters can go in a variety of directions with items like dolmades – delicious and also vegan and gluten-free. Same for tofu souvlaki. Cheese lovers: discover saganaki – baked and breaded cottage cheese.

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

Tommy, 1824 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights, 216-321-7757; tommyscoventry.com: Tommy’s has been a mainstay of settling in Coventry since 1972. It continues to be a popular destination for vegetarians and vegans because of the options available; There are plenty of veggie burgers, wraps, pies and sandwiches. The variety can be a little confusing at times, but black chili pepper has a simple, immediate appeal. Tommy’s also makes one of the best vegan drinks anywhere – Tofutti. In fact, let’s just say the best shake anywhere.

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

biting28,500 Mile Road, Solon; 216-231-0922; munch216.com: This quirky, laid-back café casts a wide net, but also does the detailing very well. While most items are vegetarian and vegan, there is also a wide variety of pre-made meat options. Check out the falafel – a large but light dish that comes with Israeli salad, baba, tabbouleh, falafel and tahini on the side. Tastes great and pairs well with vegetable minestrone soup. MUST ADD: The pita chips are absolutely crunchy.

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

fodder 14600 Detroit Ave, Lakewood; 216-226-2000; foragepublichouse.com: Vegetarian Thursday night is one of the most popular nights out for non-meat types. They come for the food, yes, but also to hang. Evening groups round out items from the regular menu and add a few extra dishes – which vegetarians and vegans will stop at on other days of the week. Have to say, an excellent crunchy vegan cauliflower; The vegan chicken waffles are unique. The vegan sofritas is a sweet and savory treat and the Beyond Meat burger will fool many a meat lover.

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

Earth Bistro Cafe, 11110 Clifton Blvd, Cleveland; 216-201-9338; earthbistrocafe.com: You’d be hard-pressed to find a place that does more innovative things with food than this Cuban spot. Earth offers a variety of delicious vegetable and delicious meat alternative dishes. The pesto grilled chicken panini (no chicken, but you wouldn’t know it) is excellent. French fries are fun. One of the best locations in the area.

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

Aladdin Restaurant, multiple places. aladdinseatery.com: For 25 years, Aladdin’s has been a go-to for vegetarians and health-conscious, adventurous foodies. The menu offers a variety of bread rolls and Lebanese staples, from lentil soup (vegetarian and gluten-free) to savory pie—a delicious mix of spinach, onion, and feta cheese folded into a pita. Pair it with a smoothie (I’ll have a tropical storm, please) and you’re good to go.

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

Tacos in Tonto13321 Madison Ave, Lakewood; 216-221-4479; tacotontos.com: This colorful restaurant appeals to all comers, making it a good place for people with different tastes. The taco menu has five vegan options, including a unique and tasty potato taco that pairs well with the Zombie (one of the nine elixirs on the drinks menu that includes seven margaritas). There are seven veggie burrito options, including the Tasty Tempeh—made of soybeans, red skin, sweet potatoes, black beans, cheese, tomatoes, onions, and smoked chipotle. It’s a beast.

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

Johnny Mango3120 Bridge Ave, Cleveland, 216-575-1919; jmango.com:
This vegan-friendly café serves up enough tropical delights to poison all comers. The vegan and vegetarian menu contains 12 items; The rest of the menu boasts non-meat offerings. The vegetable burrito and vegetable quesadillas hit the spot. The vegetable fried rice and the veggies are excellent. Both are served in traditional Khmer style with vegetables and a spicy lemon sauce. Enthusiasm and light, just right.

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

Baba Yaga Greenhouse Cafe12210 Larchmere Blvd, Cleveland; 419-515-1247; babavegan.com: This all-vegan bakery and restaurant is inventive with both sweet and savory items—from sandwiches to cupcakes to cupcakes. BY stresses a locally sourced stance and exudes a communal atmosphere that recalls the planet-saving aesthetics of the early vegetarian and vegan movements.

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

Frank’s Falafel House1823 West 65th Street, Cleveland, 216-631-3300; tinyurl.com/nv747av: Franks serves some of the best hummus and tabouli in town. Really cool. Both come with a vegetarian platter, which also has falafel, grape leaves, baba, and lentil rice—an absolute find for $8.50. The casual restaurant also serves an amazing vegetable stir-fry and vegetable shawarma – both of which are exceptional. fantastic place.

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

Shohei Japanese Restaurant, 23360 Chagrin Blvd, Beachwood, 216-464-1720; shuheirestaurant.com: This establishment offers old-world decor, a classic environment, and traditional clothing worn by the servers. It also prides itself on a deep dive into Japanese cooking, which is one of the most vegan-friendly cuisines in the world. The sushi is delicious – especially the cucumber and oshienko rolls. The seaweed salad is a refreshing introduction to Korean-style tofu – stir-fried, with a spicy ginger-garlic dressing served on a bed of lettuce that packs punch and flavor. This is only the beginning; Like I said, the list is deep.

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

Zuma Ethiopian Restaurant, 2240 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights; 216-465-3239; zomacleveland.com: Zoma celebrates the sensibilities and tastes of Ethiopia and prides itself on thatched hut décor and African antiques. There is also a wide range of vegetarian dishes – including the Veggie Combo, served with injera bread and a variety of vegetables. Red lentils are delicious (and hot).

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

Annapurna7464 Ridge Road, Parma; 440-390-1858: Parma’s Indian food scene is vibrant and rich, in no small part because of this recently opened venue. It has become a favorite place for Indian and Indo-Chinese food lovers. South India in particular is vegetarian and vegan friendly and specializes in rice and dosa dishes. The menu of vegetarian options is extensive and filled with curries, biryani and paneer dishes. Annapurna also serves a variety of naan – the cheese is excellent – and dairy-free ice cream.

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

Empress Taito6125 St Clair Ave, Cleveland, 216-391-9400; empresstayturestaurantcleveland.com: Not only does this quirky gem offer an eclectic vegetarian menu, but it also shows how the cuisine reflects culture. As in the case of Abyssinian cuisine, which is mostly eaten from large communal dishes by eating them with a soft rubbery bread known as injera. Not surprisingly, the most interesting things on the menu are the spicy vegetarian dishes: Ethiopian Orthodox Christians are among the strictest, fasting about 200 days a year. The vegetable mix—a five-course vegetarian staple—is as spicy as it is filling. Bonus: the decor (actual thatched huts and Ethiopian art and symbols) makes it one of the most interesting food finds in town.

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

Cleveland Vegetarian17112 Detroit Ave., Lakewood; 216-221-0201; clevelandvegan.com: This cozy café and bakery is a destination for vegetarians and vegans in the area. Come for the extensive menu—everything from crispy tofu sandwiches to BLTs piled with seitan to tofu ban mi sandwiches to killer cookies and creamy milkshakes. But they also come for the approach to eating and the chance to hang out with like-minded eaters.

John Petkovich, The Plain Dealer

Cafe Root15118 Detroit Ave., Lakewood; 216-226-4401; theroot-cafe.com: There is a hippie communal vibe to this place. And it’s not just because of the earthy tones and the people hanging around the tables talking and reading. Most of the items on the menu consist of locally sourced foods made from scratch, from pastries to sandwiches, soups, and salads. Chickpeas are a staple in vegetarian and vegan restaurants. Root even manages to make chickpea soup, which tastes amazing.

Be sure to check back every weekday through Friday, September 20, as we continue to roll out the 2019 edition of The A-List Dining Guide. This week we’ll have special guides on everything from the best brunches to the best vegetarian/vegan-friendly restaurants. On Thursday, September 19, we’ll be bringing out the 2019 edition of “Cleveland Classics,” 20 amazing Cleveland restaurants that have stood the test of time. And on September 20, we’ll unveil our 2019 A-List: Northeast Ohio’s 100 Best Restaurants, as chosen by critics from cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer.

Here is a sampling of some of the other mini guides we’ve compiled and published this year:

20 Cleveland Classics: 2019 A-List Dining Guide

New breweries to sign up for in Greater Cleveland: 2019 A-List Dining Guide

20 of the Best Family Restaurants in Cleveland: 2019 A-List Dining Guide

16 of Greater Cleveland’s Best New Fast Food Restaurants: 2019 A-List Dining Guide

Best Tacos in Greater Cleveland: 2019 A-List Dining Guide

Greater Cleveland Late Night Restaurants: 2019 A-List Dining Guide

14 of Greater Cleveland’s Best Breakfast and Brunch Spots: 2019 A-List Dining Guide

30 of the Best Happy Hours in Greater Cleveland: 2019 A-List Dining Guide