Chicago is one of the most visited cities in the US, so we wanted to see what kind of vegan food scene they have for vegan tourists. Since most visitors are staying in the downtown area, our vegan guide to Chicago focuses mostly on that area, with one exception. Keep reading to find out why!
We ordered the grilled vegan chicken sandwich. The spread inside the sandwich tastes a little bit like ranch dressing, and it's mildly garlicky and very tasty. Inside, it has chips that add a nice crunch that counters the softness of the vegan chicken and fluffy pretzel bun very well. It's a bit greasy overall, but the greens are fresh and the addition of the sun-dried tomato is interesting. The side fries were crispy, and not too seasoned.
This is a small stall located inside the Chicago French Market. Their menu changes every day. We went on a Friday, and got:
Mac and Cheese - it was creamy, rich, and not too salty. This was one of our faves!
Spicy Tofu - it had a spicy sweet-and-sour style sauce and the tofu had a nice texture.
Spicy Vegan Chicken - this was a bit disappointing. The crust outside was not very crunchy and the texture inside was a bit gooey. It also needed a bit more seasoning.
Eggplant Parmesan - this dish was rich, fulfilling, golden brown on top and full of soft veggies inside. There were also some crispy bits in it that took the dish to a new level. 100% recommended.
Located on the 7th floor of Saks Fifth Avenue, where you get a nice view of the magnificent mile. This fancy vegan restaurant has amazing food and atmosphere. This place is great if you want to splurge or go on a nice date.
We tried their Raw Lasagna and the Hibiscus Strawberry Cheesecake.
The Raw Lasagna was a massive tower of fresh veggies. It is made with thin layers of zucchini instead of pasta noodles, with tomato sauce and cashew cream in between the layers. The cashew cream was rich, and we got a hint of sweetness from the cashews. The tomato sauce was well seasoned but not too heavy, and it had a little spicy kick. The zucchini was perfectly al dente and not too thick, so the flavors in the dish were very well balanced. There were some fresh tomato slices at the bottom that gave the dish a bit of texture. It was topped with a dollop of pesto, micro greens and fresh cherry tomato halves. It is a cold dish, so it's perfect for the summer months. The tower is a bit high, so it's not that easy to slice.
The Hibiscus Strawberry Cheesecake was rich and creamy. The lavender colored cheesecake was resting on a thick but soft crust that you could easily cut with your fork. On top, it had a mix of caramelized pistachios, two kinds of lime/lemon sauces (one mildly tart, and the other mildly bitter), also crunchy hibiscus flower leaves and fresh strawberry slices. All combined, it was a very decadent, delicate and delicious bite.
You can't visit Chicago without trying a Vegan Style Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza, so even though we wanted to stay within the downtown area, we made an exception to visit Kitchen 17.
Their famous vegan pizza takes around 20-30 minutes to be ready. We ordered the pepperoni deep dish pizza. The crust is light, fluffy and perfectly crunchy. The sauce is rich but not overpowering, the crispy vegan pepperoni bits are delicious, and they also give a nice spiciness to the dish. The vegan cheese is amazing, tangy, not too runny and very cheesy. Overall, the most delicious vegan pizza we've ever had!. Disclaimer: it is a heavy dish, so we recommend it for lunchtime.