The Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Washington, DC

Elizabeths Gone Raw
Elizabeth's Gone Raw | Courtesy of Elizabeth's Gone Raw
Aparna Krishnamoorthy

Washington, DC, with its bustling food scene and diverse population, has plenty of dining spots that are fantastic for vegetarians. Gone are the days when vegetarian options were an afterthought on menus. Now, there are plenty of places where vegetables take a leading role; in many cases, they are the star of the show! Here are the best places for a meatless meal in Washington, DC, where both vegetarians and others will be happy.

1. Chaia Tacos

Restaurant, Vegetarian, Vegan, American, Cocktails, Wine, Beer

Courtesy of Chaia

This light and airy spot in Georgetown highlights vegetarian tacos made with seasonal farm produce. Freshly pressed corn tortillas are stuffed with various options ranging from kale and potatoes to pea shoots and carrots, and other delicious seasonal combinations.

2. Equinox

Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, Vegan

Courtesy of Equinox

The changing dinner menu at this restaurant always includes a handful of thoughtful and tasty vegetarian dishes. The vegan Sunday brunch buffet, however, is a highlight, and not only draws herbivores to enjoy the delicious spread. The menu changes seasonally, but includes salads, pastas, pastries and breads.

3. Shouk

Restaurant, Vegan, Vegetarian, Israeli, Middle Eastern

Courtesy of Shouk

Find Middle Eastern-inspired salads, sandwiches, and rice bowls at this vegan fast casual spot. The polenta fries and roasted cauliflower pita are fan favorites, but we think the veggie burgers here are one of the best in the city.

5. Ethiopic

Restaurant, Ethiopian, Vegetarian, Cocktails, Wine, Beer

DC has no dearth of Ethiopian restaurants, but Ethiopic is one of the best around, and is extremely vegetarian friendly. The vegetable sampler comes with spongy injera and a variety of vegetables and lentil dishes, but the star of the menu is the “Shiro” — pureed split peas cooked with garlic and onion.

6. Iron Gate

Restaurant, Mediterranean, Italian, Greek, Fast Food, Vegetarian

Iron Gate
Courtesy of Iron Gate

Easily one of the most gorgeous restaurants in the city, this Mediterranean-inspired spot highlights dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. The fried halloumi with local honey and mint is a must-try, but all vegetarian dishes on the menu are tasty. The accompanying wine list is affordable and interesting.

7. Zaytinya

Restaurant, Mediterranean, Lebanese, European

Courtesy of Zaytinya

A DC stalwart, Zaytinya is a tapas restaurant featuring small plates. It is a fantastic stop for lunch or dinner. The creamy hummus or baba ghanoush is a great start, paired with hot pita bread, and the selection of salads and small plates is extensive and satisfying. Zucchini patties, falafel, Brussels sprouts, stuffed grape leaves and more are on offer. Make sure to save room for dessert — the Greek yogurt and apricot dish is fantastic!

8. Daikaya

Restaurant, Japanese, Vegan, Sushi

Daikaya- Ramen (1F no Reservations) - Izakaya (2F), Washington

Ramen usually starts with pork stock, so is probably not what comes to mind when you think of vegetarian food. But Daikaya’s vegetarian ramen is definitely one of the best vegetarian dishes in DC. The vegan shio broth has a slightly smoky flavor, and the chewy noodles are topped with a variety of vegetables, for a perfectly comforting bowl of all things good.

9. Indique

Restaurant, Indian, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free

Courtesy of Indique

It’s easy to find a variety of Indian vegetarian options, but finding unique and inventive twists on the typical curries is much harder. Indique does just that, and does it really well. The morel vegetable stew, rich and creamy coconut milk gravy, cauliflower pecorino kulcha, and sweet potato chaat are all flavor explosions.

10. The Royal

Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, Vegan

The Royal
Courtesy of The Royal
This hip all-day venue is a coffee shop by day and transforms into a bar/restaurant in the evening, with lunch and dinner items inspired by South American flavors. The cheese or hearts of palm arepas are wonderfully hearty; the charred vegetable chorreadas are smoky and covered in a creamy tomato sauce; and the grilled avocado is simplicity at its best. Vegetables have never tasted so good.
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