Critic's Notebook

The Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Seattle

Our list for where herbivores should eat after Carmelita closes.

By Kathryn Robinson June 24, 2013

Best vegan food in town is in Wallingford.

By now you’ve heard that Carmelita, Phinney Ridge’s vegetarian mainstay for 17 years, is closing at the end of September. Herbivores, you got three months to figure out your game plan. How like us to have advice for you.

Café Flora, which predates even Carmelita, is still solid, still serving those Oaxaca Tacos, still terrific for brunch. Even older-school are the Sunlight Café in Roosevelt (yay for homemade bread!) and the guru-approved Silence-Heart-Nest in Fremont.

Pizza Pi is surprisingly killer for vegan pizza, with great white garlic sauce and plenty of faux meat (pretend chicken, pretend sausage). World Pizza is a triple anomaly: All vegetarian toppings, on globally inspired pies, in the heart of the International District.

Plum Vegan Bistro and Plum Café (along with various spinoff businesses) showcase the irrepressible culinary verve of chef and owner Makini Howell, with “burgers,” kale salads, flatbread pizzas, a beloved “mac ‘n’ yease,” and more.  For more in that vein, try the Wayward Vegan Café in the U District, Columbia City’s swanky little St. Dame’s, or the frisky Georgetown Liquor Company.

For hippie-dippie vegging, look U-Dubward: Chaco Canyon, not just vegetarian but organic, serves full meals plus ridiculous homemade desserts; Thrive—not just vegetarian but (mostly) vegan, (mostly) organic, and (mostly) raw—could make air taste good.  

Want some hipster nightlife with your vegan poutine? That’ll be Highline, which combines heavy metal, comfort food, and meat substitutes in a way that’s never before been seen.

Of course most Vietnamese, Thai, and Indian places have tons of choices for herbivores, but three that specialize are, respectively: Moonlight Café in the Central District (good catfish, good fake meat, great prices); Araya’s Place on the Ave (check the vegan Thai buffet); and Traveler’s Thali House on Beacon Hill (healthful and authentic thalis, great lentil soup.)

The latest talk of the town is Veggie Grill, which applies a fast-food paradigm to vegan food—to variously successful effect.

The polar opposite of that, and our hands-down choice for the number-one vegan restaurant in town, is Sutra in Wallingford. Forget chef Colin Patterson’s decidedly un-starlike expulsion from Top Chef a couple years ago—the poor vegan was asked to cook a pig—this guy prepares lyrical multi-course vegan feasts as to make meat itself seem obsolete. Nevermind best vegan in town…this astonishing kitchen is one of the best restaurants in town.

Your favorite’s not here? Share with the class!


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