The Best Vegetarian Restaurants in DC

Live in DC? Going to the inauguration (or dreading it)? We thought we’d celebrate DC before the New Year by hitting up one of our favorite vegetarian gurus – In My Bowl’s Alexandra Dawson – for her favorite Vegetarian spots in DC. Check out her amazing hit list of the spots you need to try below…

Little Sesame

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The epitome of a hidden gem, Little Sesame is located down a set of (very!) narrow steps inside of sister restaurant DGS. Serving up local and seasonally influenced fresh hummus bowls done really right, I always find myself with the greens and crispy chickpeas bowl, a piping warm pita, and a side of housemade pickles.

Chaia Tacos

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Getting their start at DC’s Fresh Farm Markets’, Chaia opened their stunning brick and mortar right off the Georgetown Canal late last year. A true celebration of local and seasonal produce with a taco twist, they always have a collection of vegetarian friendly and vegan accessible taco options available for the picking – from a sweet potato hash with arugula pumpkin seed salsa to their cumin roasted cauliflower with goat cheese and chipotle yogurt. I always go for the market-trio, picking my three favorites from the available line up. Find their smoky tomatillo salsa recipe, here!

SUNdeVICH 

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Nestled amongst Shaw’s back alley carriage houses (and with a new location in Georgetown!), SUNdeVICH serves an array of flavor packed and globally inspired baguette sandwiches. A longtime favorite, I always order the Cairo, filled with hummus, cucumber, brined vegetables, walnuts and fresh herbs. There’s usually a line and a crowd, so plan on getting there before hunger really strikes, and don’t forget a bag of sweet potato chips!

Big Bear Cafe

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Just steps away from a Sunday morning farmers market and covered in vines, Big Bear Café, cozy and familiar in all the right ways, is one of my very favorite neighborhood spots for casual weekend meet ups and coffee. Offering a comprehensive café and dining menu, you’ll find me sipping their black coffee in the winter (they serve Annapolis based Ceremony Coffee), and espresso with Pellegrino and lime when it’s warm. Paired with their vegan friendly chocolate chip cookies, get ready to never leave. If you come on the hungrier side, their falafel wrap is definitely worth the bite.

Buredo

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With two locations in downtown DC, fast-casual Buredo offers diners a healthful hybrid of sushi meets burrito. Ever the creature of habit, I always order the Elle, their sweet and savory tofu roll with arugula, roasted red pepper, jicama, black sesame seeds, and a vegan friendly passion fruit miso sauce. Find their quick Kimchi slaw recipe, here!

A Baked Joint

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The sister restaurant of Georgetown’s beloved Baked and Wired (oh hello to-die-for Oreo cupcake!), A Baked Joint serves up café favorites, think pastries and your caffeine go-tos, with the added bonus of soups, salads, and sandwiches on really stellar housemade bread. With a number of vegetarian and vegan accessible menu options, their Veggie #2 sandwich (sans butter and feta) is my favorite – think hummus, greens, pickled cucumber and onion, and ripe tomato between THICK slices of multigrain bread. If you’re up for a little splurge, be sure to snag a bag of their ‘hippie crack’ granola… or any one of their pastries.

Glen’s Garden Market  

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With a bone deep commitment to the locavore movement, Glen’s Garden Market, with locations in Dupont and Shaw, not only sells your everyday packaged pantry provisions, but offers DC diners a selection of ready-made salads I always keep handy at home. With options constantly rotating, based on seasonal availability from farmers and purveyors between VA and NY, some of my favorites have included their kale salad, tahini beets, gigante beans, and their miso tufu. Take full advantage of their patio by ordering your salads to-stay. And if you’re feeling it, their draft beers are always 4 dollars. 

Indigo

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One of my very favorite spots to spend a Friday night, Indigo offers authentic and family run Indian in a super casual, lighthearted, genuinely happy atmosphere (think outdoor patio with multicolored picnic benches and a menu handwritten in chalk). Though their menu is constantly rotating, they have a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan accessible options. I always order their vegan plate – 2 vegetable curries served over basmati rice with spiced chickpeas. Favorite curries have included their spicy eggplant and pea curry, their zucchini turai, and their spinach and potato curry, though you really can’t go wrong.

Greenheart Juice Shop

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With a stunning brick and mortar located inside Georgetown’s Down Dog Yoga as well as weekly popups across DC’s farmers markets, Greenheart offers cold pressed juices, handmade nut milks, and a probiotic coconut yogurt parfait you won’t be able to put down. Though it’s hard to pick a favorite, their Liquid Gold, fresh pressed carrot, pineapple, pear, turmeric, and ginger juice, was one of my first sips after welcoming my babe Poe into the world, and has become a diet staple. Make sure to walk out with a bag of their granola – think gluten-free oats, macadamia nuts, local honey, coconut chips, and vanilla bean perfection.

Etto

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Homey and intimate in all the right ways, Etto is one of my favorite neighborhood spots for a perfectly casual date night. Serving smaller seasonally inspired salads and real-deal pizzas, I always go for their Roasted Cauliflower pizza (sans anchovies). Think the most deliciously charred crust meets fresh tomato, capers, pine nuts, and breadcrumbs. Etto also offers rotating daily specials and a seasonal pizza, so be sure to give the entire menu a good once over.

On Rye

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A classic Jewish deli with a modernized twist (and the coolest sandwich wallpaper), On Rye serves up your deli staples, but also has a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan accessible sandwiches and salads. Their Smoked Beet Ruben (sans gouda and Russian dressing) has been my favorite, packed with wildly vibrant roasted beets and kraut between their signature marble rye. Don’t forget to snag a babka ice cream sandwich – you’ll thank me later.

Meats and Foods

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Meats and Foods, a little neighborhood gem, not only sells a wide array of housemade sausage, but offers one of my very favorite tempeh based dogs. Perfect ordered to-stay on a bun topped with their vegan friendly chili, or cooked at home on your very own grill, this casual spot can’t be missed.

Little Red Fox 

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Think the quaintest neighborhood café meets market, I love stopping by Little Red Fox for a light bite, pastry and coffee (they serve Ceremony Coffee), especially on weekend mornings. Longtime favorites, I always order their smoked tomato soup and their Vegan Butternut sandwich – roasted butternut squash, caramelized balsamic onions, arugula, and sriracha tofu spread between thick ciabatta.  They also offer an array of ready made little salads and to-die-for sweet treats.

Timber Pizza Co.

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Getting their start at DC’s farmers markets, Petworth based Timber Pizza serves up Neapolitan ‘ish’ wood-fired pies with a really fun, casual, and neighborhood friendly vibe (think seat-yourself indoor picnic benches). I always order their seasonally rotating pizza dough empanadas –late autumn’s is filled with butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, and sweet peppers and a blueberry dip, and their Green Monster pizza with zucchini and kale (sans mozzarella and feta).

Shouk

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Israeli inspired fast casual, Shouk offers a seasonally rotating plant based selection of veggie filled pita sandwiches and lentil bowls, salads and snacks. Relatively new to their menu, their bean based veggie burger is my very favorite, served on a fluffy pita with tomato, pickled turnip, arugula, tahini, and charred onion. Their sweet potato fries and cashew labneh are also a must.

Looking for an indulgence? Check out these warm drinks and our favorite mac’n’cheese recipes.