At one time, vegetarians had limited options when it came to food repertoire, but thanks to the growing trend of eating green, an arsenal of restaurants are popping up all over Orlando. No longer lackluster and limited to salads, food emporiums are getting creative and catering to the meat-free foodie, and these 10 Orlando vegetarian restaurants stand out as some of the best in the city.
Pastry Shop, Bakery, Dessert, Vegetarian, $$$
Valhalla Bakery, Orlando | Courtesy of Valhalla Bakery
What is dinner without dessert? Certainly not much fun! If you happen upon Market on South, be sure to stop in at Valhalla Bakery. Celine Mariah Duvoisin whips up some 100% egg-free, dairy-free desserts, and the result is pure decadence. Cupcakes, lemon bars, cakes, muffins, and brownies make for some very happy patrons. But that’s not all: Duvoisin serves up soft pretzels, pies, donuts, and tarts as well! Yes, please!
Kimchi Power | Courtesy of Dandelion Communitea Cafe
There’s a reason that this local favorite has Communitea in its moniker. Dandelion Communitea Cafe has taken strides to embrace the community. The café hosts community clean-ups, picking up litter in local parks, and teams up with New Growth Urban Farm, which is currently curating a garden for the café, showcasing the ability to grow (a lot) of food in a small space. And the food is just as good as the deeds. Chef Mark Thompson creates a seasonally changing menu, highlighting the freshest produce from New Growth. The 100% plant-based menu features delights such as The Giddyup (the café’s famous tempeh chili with crumbled blue corn chips) and Kimchi Power (the house kimchi livened up with cucumbers, mung sprouts, shredded carrots, cilantro, and peanuts topped with Gingerous dressing). The feel-good factor at this gem goes beyond the amazing bites.
Meat lovers shouldn’t have all the fun. Vegans can experience Southern comfort fare too! Dixie Dharma serves up 100% vegan vittles. Located inside Market on South, a shared market space featuring locally sourced ingredients and Orlando’s first vegan commissary kitchen, this Milk District favorite rolls out dishes such as Carolina BBQ Pulled Jackfruit and Moghul Chili Dawgs (two not dogs in pretzel buns). Oh, and a Southern dish isn’t complete without Cajun boiled peanuts and braised collards. Just makes y’all want to come on back!
Tucked within the Mills 50 District, the area with one of Orlando’s largest Vietnamese populations, Veggie Garden provides some of the best vegan food in the community. While parking is limited in the back, it’s best to park on the street, but once inside, you will be warmly greeted in this quaint neighborhood establishment. The prices are affordable and the food authentic. Even non-vegans enjoy the delicious summer rolls, pho, bun bo hue and the vegetarian cha siu (roast pork).
This cozy little plant-based café must be onto something because it’s always crowded. Chelsie and Jamie Savage spent years traveling the country tasting plant-based food and brought their finds to the Mills 50 District where they are winning over the hearts, and stomachs, of the community. The Sanctum serves vegetarian in addition to vegan fare, so as long as you are fine with a shared kitchen, you won’t be disappointed, especially because the ingredients are all GMO-free and mostly organic. Try the raw pad Thai salad or bibimbap bowl.
Sure, Maoz is a chain, but don’t let that discourage you from grabbing a bite from this fast-service vegetarian restaurant. The first Maoz opened in Amsterdam in 1991, so they have had over 20 years of experience to perfect the palate-pleasing plates. Known around the country and Europe for some of the best falafel, diners can choose falafel, salad, rice or hummus bowls and customize their toppings. Kick it up a notch with a delicious juice, such as the Super Fit, with apple, kale, celery, and lemon.
The concept chain known as Loving Hut bases itself around living in harmony with the planet. The goal is to attain “World Vegan World Peace,” and the company’s vision seems to be catching on. With branches opening around the world—Taiwan, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, to name a few—diners are getting a taste of gourmet plant-based food. From appetizers to soup options, including bun hue and au lac rice noodle soup, to fresh salads, quinoa dishes, and family-size entrées such as tofu spicy cha cha and pine nut wonder, there is no shortage of options when it comes to variety.
Restaurant, Healthy, North American, Vegan, Vegetarian, $$$
Located in beautiful Winter Park, the 100% vegan meals at Ethos Vegan Kitchen are not only delicious but filling. The restaurant has been expanding the palates of vegans since 2007. Some favorites are the homemade soup of the day and the coconut curry wrap with grilled tofu coated in curried veganaise and tossed with celery, raisins, raw walnuts, coconut, and mixed greens, all wrapped in a spinach tortilla. And Yo Mama’s Lasagna features five layers of lasagna noodles, mozzarella, marina sauce, and vegetables. Even better? Ethos serves up vegan beer and wine. Cheers!
Not only is the ambiance charming, but Infusion Tea, a sweet tea house nestled in College Park, also serves up some pretty mouthwatering dishes to go with the selection of loose leaf tea. Served for one or by the pot, diners can choose from one of the many varieties of tea, such as the black organic Lapsang Souchong, the white organic silver needle or the orange flower oolong. Pair the tea with a seasonal plate such as ancho lentil tacos or the banana bread bowl. The feel-good factor besides the food is that a portion of the proceeds supports Faith Project International, which helps to build stoves and improve the health of the indigenous Maya in Guatemala.
This whimsical coffee bar serves up some of the best coffee in town. Ensuring the freshest taste, all of the coffee is roasted in-house and is fair trade and organic or rain forest alliance. While the Drunken Monkey’s not strictly vegetarian and vegan, there are plenty of options available. They also have great stand-up comedy on Fridays and Saturday nights starting at 8:30 p.m., and the Wi-Fi is always free. It’s a great place to hang out, sip coffee and indulge in tasty treats.