Vegetarians and vegans will be pleased with the options in Charlotte. Go for authentic Indian cuisine, Chinese favorites, cold-pressed juices, or Southern favorites revamped with meat substitutes. And Charlotte-based Clean Juice has been dubbed one of the fastest-growing franchises in America with nearly 90 entrepreneurs jumping on the 100% organic juicery train. There’s even an upscale vegetarian spot, Fern, that’s well-worth a visit. Read on for the best vegetarian restaurants in Charlotte.
Ma Ma Wok
Restaurant, Chinese, Vegan, Vegetarian, Asian
Ma Ma Wok took a bold step in 2017 and converted to an all-vegetarian Asian restaurant in 2017, despite being extremely popular for the previous 11 years. Now, the kitchen team still makes favorites such as General Tso’s, Kung Pao and Spicy Orange Peel, but uses meat substitutes that owner Jian Chen promises taste almost exactly the same as the real thing. The family behind Ma Ma Wok decided to make the switch after converting themselves to vegetarians and loving the health, animal and environmental benefits that came with their new culinary lifestyle.
Described as “specializing in the art of living foods,” this 100% organic, plant-based juicery bar and modern cafe lives in a beautiful, historic former brick mill in Charlotte’s hip South End neighborhood. Their infused coconut waters come packaged in bottles that look like medicine because, at Living Kitchen, food really does equal fuel. A perfect stop if you need to grab-and-go too, as they have fridges and counter service.
Vegans feeling in a bit of a culinary rut will appreciate the variety of flavors and Southern comfort foods at Bean Vegan Cuisine. Familiar flavors like BBQ, burgers and fun fried appetizers (fried pickles or tofu fingers, anyone?) will please vegans and non-vegans alike. Open for late breakfasts, lunch and dinner, this 100% vegan restaurant and market also whips up vegan desserts in their low-key, old-fashioned restaurant completed with red leather bar stools.
The goal at Fern? To reinvent familiar dishes as elegant vegetarian or vegan versions, including buffaloed cauliflower, chimichangas and “chicken” parmesan, made with breaded and fried seitan. Fancy mason jar chandeliers and barn wood accents complete the upscale aesthetic at this 100% vegetarian restaurant led by Executive Chef Matt Martin, who grew up working at his grandma’s diner. He changes the menu seasonally, sources locally, and puts extra care into beautiful plating – even if you just order beans!
Restaurant, Juice Bar, Healthy, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
The Charlotte couple behind Clean Juice has a hit on their hands as the business has grown to 90 locations with four in the Charlotte area. All their products are 100% certified organic, and the menu includes cold-pressed juices and shots, smoothies, acai bowls, plus a few bites such as avocado toast and power oat bowls. The space is also as clean and organic as the food, with wood paneling, brightly-colored chairs and plant accents.
Touted as pure vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan Indian Cuisine, Woodlands owners create dishes inspired by their hometown of Udipi, India. Select from their 129-item menu, including a page of organic offerings including soups, curries and breads, but keep in mind they excel at South Indian items such as doass (crisp pancakes), utthapams (thick pancakes) and pani puris (rice and lentil pancakes). Over half of the menu is also vegan, and if you like things spicy, ask, since most dishes are mildly spiced.