Vegetarians eat quite well in Philadelphia. There’s the veggie/vegan-only venues that cater exclusively to this diet, but there are also an increasing number of hip bars and sophisticated eateries that have redesigned their menus. And in some cases–like at Memphis Taproom and Royal Tavern–even added little keys to help take out the guesswork.
Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille
772 Second Street Pike
This 10 year old vegetarian BYO is located about 40 minutes outside Center City in Southampton Bucks Co. The chef might even convert the most serious of carnivores with the “Cubano Supper,” flaky plantain pastries stuffed with sunflower seed-smoked red pepper pesto surrounded by a tower of yellow tomatoes & avocado corn salsa. It’s also served with chipotle jicama slaw & mango-papaya relish. Blue Sage serves lunch and dinner Tuesday – Saturday. Reservations suggested.
Falafel Truck at 20th and Market
Northeast Corner 20th and Market Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19103
The “Falafel Nazi” yells at you the whole time, but he makes all kinds of specialty hummus, including a strawberry flavored one served with the freshly made falafel and fresh greens veggies. Delicious–although it is cooked on the same grill as the chicken (which is also delicious, by the way). He’s been a staple on the corner of Cozen and O’Conner for years. He keeps raising his prices, but the line doesn’t get shorter.
Govinda’s Gourmet Vegetarian
1408 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146
Govinda’s has been offering something for everyone since 1985. The cafe offers mock duck, shrimp and mackerel, and vegan cakes that make mouths water and eyes tear. They often have a buffet for the gastronomically curious, and there’s a sandwich shop next door, for a less formal experience. Try the uber-Philadelphian vegan cheese steaks.
2331 East Cumberland Street
Philadelphia, PA 19125-2205
Chef Jesse Kimball is as warm as he is talented. His fried pickles, on the other hand, are steaming hot. Do order yourself some dills – but make sure you finish your pint and you’re on to the next before you try to eat them! There’s a bevy of great beer here, and savvy bartenders to help you along. A good deal of Memphis’ menu is vegan/veggie friendly, too. Try the Smoked Coconut Club with grilled lemon garlic tofu and tomato herb mayo.
P.O.P.E. (Pub on Passyunk East)
The P.O.P.E is what a bar should be–a healthy mix of people that might not necessarily come together under other circumstances swapping stories over a few good pints. Chef Pete Miller, who’s cooked his way across the city over the last ten years, has been at the helm for some time now, and is keeping the P’yunk vegetarians happy with his grilled vegetable plate, seitan cheesesteaks and the coconut french toast that’s served during weekend brunch.
Suzanne Woods has resided in Philadelphia since 2001. She’s a freelance writer, craft beer enthusiast, and is president/founder of the Philadelphia Women’s Beer Club. She eats out two meals a day, churns out exotic ice creams as often as she can, and has her records spinning more often than not. You can follow her drinking and dining adventures at www.beerless.com.