St. Louis may be famous for its barbecue
, but the city can hold its own when it comes to vegetarian and vegan food too. So if you don’t eat meat (or dairy, or eggs, etc.), and it’s your turn to pick where to go for dinner, don’t despair. Here are 10 amazing options that even your steakhouse-club-member friend will enjoy.
Restaurant, Healthy, Vegetarian, $$$
is St. Louis’ go-to vegetarian restaurant, and for good reason. Even non-vegetarians will happily sidle up to the restaurant’s bistro tables for banh mi with wild mushroom paté and vegan salted maple-pecan doughnuts. Bonus: A semi-secret sister bar
, Night Owl, opens above Tree House late at night.
Deli, Restaurant, Healthy, Vegetarian, $$$
Natasha Kwan, who has been a vegetarian for decades, runs Frida’s Deli
, and she has built her menu from the ground up, based entirely upon what she’d like to eat. Although Frida’s is just a humble deli, it has won countless local “best-of” awards, including the coveted “no one rolls their eyes at my dietary needs here
” award from Sauce
Restaurant, Middle Eastern, $$$
While not a strictly vegetarian eatery, the beloved Cafe Natasha
’s Persian food has plenty of vegetarian-friendly options, such as a kookoo—
a soufflé-like pie made with herbs, eggs, walnuts, and spices. A Persian geologist laid off
at the height of the Iranian hostage crisis, and who couldn’t find work because of his nationality, opened the restaurant. The same day he was fired, his wife found out they were pregnant with a daughter—Natasha. The restaurant has been a labor of love in all the decades since, delighting vegetarians and carnivores alike.
Lulu’s Local Eatery
Restaurant, Healthy, American
Lulu’s Local Eatery
may have started out as a food truck dishing out vegetarian small plates, but it became a destination spot in its own right even before it opened up a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the South Grand neighborhood. Now, you won’t have to stand on the sidewalk to eat your sweet potato black bean burger or watermelon “sashimi” avocado. But like the truck, be prepared to wait, as Lulu’s is well loved.
PuraVegan Café & Yoga
Cafe, Healthy, Vegan, $$$
Nestled in a leafy subdivision near the Central West End, PuraVegan Café & Yoga
is a health-conscious community center offering vegan, gluten-free meals, yoga classes, meditation sessions, and even cleanses, for when you need a hard reset. Staff will give you gratis counseling on how to incorporate veganism into your lifestyle or diet, even if you’re not ready to commit fully. Come to downward dog, and stay for a smoothie after.
Bar, Restaurant, North American, Vegetarian, $$$
Vegetarianism can sometimes seem synonymous with asceticism, but not at Small Batch
, where the cocktails get equal billing with the killer cavatelli and roasted eggplant. Whiskey, in particular, is a focus at this vegetarian-only restaurant, which occupies an airy Art Deco building in Midtown—the former home of the Ford Motor Company.
Lona’s Lil Eats
Restaurant, Chinese, Asian, Fusion, $$$
Lona’s Lil Eats
is unlike any other restaurant in St. Louis. Owners Lona Luo and Pierce Powers bought the building as a home for themselves, their daughter, and their restaurant, where people from around the city stand around the block waiting for a table on summer nights. The draw? The astonishingly good Yunnan Chinese food of Luo’s childhood, including to-die-for mushroom potstickers.
Govinda’s Vegetarian Restaurant
Restaurant, Indian, $$$
You may think you’ve looked everywhere for the best vegetarian food in St. Louis, but have you tried inside a Hare Krishna temple? If you go to the temple on Lindell in Midtown, you’ll find an all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet of sublime Indian food Monday through Friday. And if you head to a Sunday service, you’ll be invited to an equally superb meal afterwards too.
Fred and Ricky’s Plant Delicious Foods
Restaurant, Healthy, Vegan, $$$
Operating under the ethos that pre-made meals can also be good for you, Fred and Ricky’s Plant Delicious Foods
is on a mission to transform the way St. Louisans eat. Their plant-based pre-made meals give even the busiest person no excuse not to try eating green, and their delicious vegan lasagna and lentil soup will give you no reason to try and find one.
Cafe, Restaurant, Healthy, Vegan, $$$
Vegan food is made from scratch in this serene space
in the DeMun neighborhood, where the focus is on integrating food into holistic well-being. The “Rawvioli” with beets marinated and filled with macadamia and pine nut pesto is a particular crowd pleaser. And although there are plenty of seeds populating the menu, the café’s name actually comes from the Shel Silverstein book, The Giving Tree