Vegan in DC

Our colleagues over at DCist recently put up a post about good places for vegetarians to go to in the DC area. Being vegan, I felt I should post my own $ .02 about places vegetarians and vegans ought to check out in the area. Long write-up after the jump.

A good resource for vegetarians is Compassion Over Killing‘s Vegetarian Guide to DC. The places they mark as being “local favorites” are all good bets. However, not all the places they list in the guide are very vegan, or even vegetarian friendly. For example, they list Uni as a Japanese restaurant with a lot of vegetarian options. However, at the restaurant, you have to specifically ask for plain soy sauce–what they have on the table is their own concoction that includes some sort of fish broth or other animal product. I found that compared to many other Japanese restaurants, Uni offers a poor selection of vegetarian items. Instead, I suggest going to Sushi Taro (also in Dupont Circle, over on 17th &P) instead–there are a lot of vegetarian options on the appetizer and sushi menus, and the quality of the food is better. On the flip side, vegdc lists Thaiphoon as having fish sauce in some of their vegetarian dishes, but I go there pretty often, and I’ve always been told that their vegetarian menu is indeed all vegetarian and contains no fish sauce or oils.

Anyways, the point I was getting at was that the vegdc guide can be very helpful, but you can’t always rely on it.

Here’s a few of my personal favorite eateries and my thoughts on them:

*Sunflower, Vienna, VA. Mostly vegan: they offer cheese on some of their dishes. My favorite dishes are the Popeye’s Delight and the Mizuni Sansai noodles. The fried “chicken” appetizer is good, too.
*Soul Vegetarian, Largo, MD and in DC across the street from Howard U. Vegan soul food. Mmmmm… The Howard location is great for quick, cheap bites to eat, especially if you’re a student. The Largo location has a deli, a small grocery store, and a really nice sit-down restaurant. The restaurant has some great food–try the spinach dip. I haven’t been to either location in a little while, but the Howard location closes pretty early, and last I heard, the restaurant in Largo was only open on the weekends. I suggest calling before you go to make sure they’re open.
*Vegetable Garden, Rockville, MD. Vegan chinese food. They have macrobiotic and organic options, and yummy pies for dessert. I suggest checking out their lunch specials if you can–they’re pretty cheap and you get a lot of food (spring roll, soup, entree and rice).
*Asylum, Adams Morgan, DC. This is a biker bar/pub with a good selection of vegan dishes. They also have a vegan brunch menu that is quite good. However, the quality of the food is pretty touch and go–if the chefs are cooking, the food is great. But if they’re not…well, it’s not that great.
*Sticky Fingers Bakery, Adams Morgan, DC. Sweet, sweet desserts. They have some really great cakes, cookies and sweets. They’re all vegan, and made with TLC. They also do vegan wedding cakes.

If you’re up for a bit of a drive, I highly recommend going to Great Sage in Clarksville, MD (it’s on route 108, just north of Rt 32). It’s a vegetarian place serving up american style food. Vegan, gluten-free and soy-free dishes are clearly marked on the menu.

Also, there’s going to be a new vegetarian restaurant opening up in DC in May called Vegetate, at 1414 9th Street. It’s supposed to be “New American Vegetarian” style, and I’m curious to check it out. It would be wonderful if DC got its own Millennium or Candle Cafe.

A must-stop for any vegan in the area is Pangea. They’re an all-vegan store that does most of its business online or via mail, but they have a small shop open on the weekends within spitting distance of the Twinbrook metro station in Rockville. You can try on shoes and belts, check out the discount bin, and have a friendly chat with whoever is working the store that day. Some of the food they sell is overpriced and also sold at the nearby My Organic Market or Whole Foods, but some stuff you won’t find anywhere else, at least in person.

And if you’re ever in the area, swing by the Takoma Park Silver Spring co-op. An the Takoma Park location, they always offer a vegan soup, and a wide selection of pre-made vegan foods in the fridge. They also carry vegan sweets from Sticky Fingers, Wooden Shoe Bakery and Vegetable Garden. They’re locally owned and operated, and if they only had bread on par with Whole Foods, I would pretty much shop there exclusively.

I hope this was helpful to someone. I only mentioned a small number of the many vegetarian-friendly places in the DC area. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments in the comments section.

4 Comments so far

  1. Tiffany Baxendell (unregistered) on April 2nd, 2005 @ 2:07 pm

    Thanks for posting this- I’m not a vegetarian myself, but I’m always looking for suggestions about where I can take my vegetarian friends, since my normal haunts aren’t so friendly to them…. :)


  2. Lisa (unregistered) on April 2nd, 2005 @ 2:14 pm

    I’ve found that most places with a little notice can do something nice. At least most good restaurants will want to have something that their customers will enjoy.


  3. Emily (unregistered) on April 2nd, 2005 @ 11:43 pm

    Lisa, that’s very true. The mr. (who’s also vegan) and I went for a really nice anniversary dinner at Nora’s (http://www.noras.com/) a while back, and they were very accommodating. Then again, with their prices, they should be!


  4. donna (unregistered) on June 6th, 2005 @ 1:34 pm

    Thank you so much. I found your reccomendations very helpful and tasty. Do you know of anymore vegan bakeries in the area besides sticky fingers?

    Thank you,

    donna



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