The Best Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Denver
Get healthy at these green eateries.
If you didn’t know, Denver isn’t just a transplant city full of cuisines from all over—it’s a health-forward city with a food scene that actually provides decent dining options for those with dietary restrictions. In particular, vegetarian, vegan, and various “plant-forward” restaurants dot the metro map with places to enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner, sans meat. Even the local food truck scene offers some impressive options for those looking for healthier, meatless meals or who are just looking to sample more plant-based fare. Catch names you’ve likely heard of (because they’re so damn good) and a few probably not yet on your radar—everything from vegan rigatoni alla vodka or sushi to plant-based mozzarella sticks is just a hop, skip, and jump away from wherever you’re reading this right now.
Justin Cucci and the team behind Edible Beats sure knew how to spot a niche market and act on it, having grown its own network of particularly veggie-focused restaurants across the city since 2008 and beginning with this one right here. Formerly a gas station, the funky, vegetarian spot adjacent to the hip happenings of LoHi’s epicenter has a wide array of plant-based and vegetable-forward dishes, with the added potential to make virtually anything vegan or gluten-free. The heirloom bean salad, sweet potato gnocchi, and fried tofu “paneer” are some menu favorites to get you excited, and rest assured that the cocktail and wine lists are perfectly lengthy.
City, O' City
This vegetarian and plant-based institution has been serving food that impresses even those without dietary restrictions since 1998. All with allergies or special diet requirements are welcome here, with customizing dishes to your liking more than encouraged. Enjoy plates like lemon tarragon pasta, seitan wings, or the chipotle rice bowl for a serious combination of flavor and healthy eating, and don’t miss dessert, drinks and happy hour, and a special late-night menu from 9:30 - 11 pm.
Vegan mozzarella sticks (with a side of marinara for dipping, of course) that challenge even the most devoted mozz stick fanatic. Need we say more? This spot inside Edgewater Public Market is hot, hot, hot for vegans, vegetarians, and food-lovers alike, because experience stays a number one priority for the consumer—meaning the foods you crave will taste, crunch, and slurp like you expect them to, just without any meat involved. Meta is, as you might’ve guessed, known for its delicious, meatless burgers, though ordering anything on the menu is sure to secure you as a repeat customer. Pro tip: Don’t forget the side of baked sweet potato fries.
The Easy Vegan
Rolling along to your nearest farmer’s market or event is this vegan food truck consistently making waves in Denver’s food community by way of vegan comfort food that always hits. Signature fan favorites like the loaded pierogi potato and rigatoni alla vodka are knockout items that typically sell out quickly and have you questioning how vegan pasta sauce can taste that good, though the combined service experience of owners Alexi Mandolini & Taylor Herbert is surely enough reason to trust the magic. Stay up to date on the truck’s socials for scheduling and special dinner series.
Bang Up To The Elephant!
If you’ve heard the word about this vegan restaurant, you know it’s actually more of a tropical vacation than a simple dining experience. Still, whether you’re taking food to go or planning to hang out for the day (which is certainly encouraged), get ready to have your taste buds tantalized and your stomach soaring. Not only will you be getting your fix of plant-based, vegan goodness but also a look into the cuisine of the West Indies and all the fun its dishes contain. Examples include mofongo (fried and smashed plantains), a cassareep rice bowl, fry-bread sandwiches, and decked-out roasted butternut squash, plus a whole lot more. And if you hadn’t already guessed, expect a drink list of fruit-forward, tropical cocktails that’ll have you feeling like you’re having just another day at the beach.
The Madras Cafe
One of the coolest things about vegetarianism and veganism is the way it lends itself to so many cuisines; you can stick to your diet and values and enjoy food from places you ever thought you would! The same is true for the Madras Cafe, which blends South Indian fare with the vegetarian experience, resulting in flavor-packed dishes that have you forgetting meat even exists. Enjoy small standards like garlic naan and samosa alongside South Indian specialities less frequently seen here like bajji (fritters), medhu vadai (deep-fried lentil donuts), and various paneer (Indian marinated cottage cheese). Larger plates of all kinds, including various curries, fried and sautéed vegetable dishes, and a slew of other delicacies are all guaranteed to hit the spot, too.
This is another name you’ve probably heard of when chatting about Denver’s vegetarian restaurant options, as it’s been a go-to for plant-based meals since 1998. Despite changing locations over time, Watercourse remains one of the places for a delicious vegetarian meal in the greater Cap Hill area. Watercourse is another eatery that doesn’t just want to push salads and brussels sprouts your way—the term “comfort food” is stressed here, too; it's just a matter of taking those loaded fries, Cuban sandwich, or pasta dish and making them vegetarian-friendly, something the team behind the counter here is very good at doing.
The mission here is not just providing delicious vegan and vegetarian fare (though that’s definitely on the menu) but also doing the work to reduce environmental impact from livestock production and consumption. The V fries (tofu-based) are not to be missed, and you’ll probably have trouble deciding among the many Asian-inspired appetizers and large dishes, for fair warning. Plant-based dumplings, noodle bowls, salads, and sandwiches are menu categories filled with flavorful options for getting your veg on and feeling good about supporting a business dedicated to giving the environment a helping hand.
Put your hands (or chopsticks) together for Denver’s very first 100% plant-based sushi spot! That’s right, Wellness Sushi is Mile High’s first fully plant-based Japanese restaurant, featuring Instagram-worthy rolls, hot ramen, fluffy onigiri, and other delights for the vegetable-forward sushi lover. One of Denver’s newer ventures, this place already has quite the following, especially on Instagram; find holiday specials, new menu items, and even fun facts about veganism on there.
Sister restaurant to Root Down, Vital Root is another member of the Edible Beats family that serves plant-based and vegetarian-friendly dishes that anyone will enjoy. This spot on Berkeley’s Tennyson Street is all about making meals using healthy ingredients fresh from the earth that taste good and are good for you, too. Expect the usual soups, salads, and small plates (definitely try the yuca fries and cashew “queso” dip), and an array of Asian-fusion dishes including pad Thai, Korean stir fry, and a falafel wrap, with a healthy drink menu—think smoothies, coffee, tea, juice, and cocktails—to boot.
The Corner Beet
A small cafe on the corner of 14th Ave and Ogden, this place is your go-to for daily vegetarian breakfast and lunch by way of toast, bowls, salads, and all the coffee and juice your heart desires. Open from 8 am - 3 pm each day, Corner Beet makes a great stop on your way into work or a quick lunch option for plant-based folks on the go. But if you happen to have the time to hang out, sip your latte, and enjoy a breakfast tostada while taking in the airy-yet-cozy atmosphere, definitely do so.
Wong Way Veg
Also offering some of the best vegan comfort food around (and also via four wheels) is this truck helmed by Lisa Wong and Natalie Gilbert. The menu is constantly rotating, having featured everything from chickpea “tuna” melts on fluffy vegan croissants to Chicago-style vegan Italian beef sandwiches to chili “cheeze” burritos and all the sweets too, don’t panic. Follow the truck on socials to get a first look at menu items, scheduling, and more, and pick up your hot, vegan comfort goodness at the Art Gym in Park Hill.
Do you hear Ziggy Stardust in the background? This restaurant on South Broadway was born out of a combination of a love for David Bowie and the desire to bring especially health-forward Mediterranean food to Denver. The menu is a bit eclectic but never lacking in taste or texture, with entrées like mushroom polenta, risotto with broccolini, and radiatori with a light tomato, orange, and marjoram sauce and a wide variety of beer, wine, and cocktails to pair. You can also select the “feed me” option for $38 per person (the whole table must participate) for a unique dining experience that takes decision-making out of the equation. Just good food straight to the table—what’s better than that?