Food & Drink

The Best Restaurants for Vegetarians in Nashville

Published On 07/21/2015 Published On 07/21/2015
Best vegetarian restaurants in Nashville
Brita Britnell/Thrillist

Despite Nashville’s legendary hot chicken as well as what is, undoubtedly, the best BBQ in the state, there are in fact quite a few Nashvillians who enjoy their food served in the vegetarian fashion. If you happen to be one of them, then you’re in luck. Nashville has no shortage of great restaurants with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, but in case you aren’t familiar with ‘em, we’re here to help out.

Brita Britnell/Thrillist

Graze

East Nashville

New to the East Nashville scene, Graze is the sister restaurant to The Wild Cow and has quickly become a favorite spot for veggie lovers. Serving a completely plant-based menu, Graze has plenty of delicious options for vegetarians and vegans alike. We’re particularly fond of the mac & chorizo, which is pasta covered in a cashew-based cheese sauce and topped with seitan chorizo. Also on the menu is a dish called “goose’s couscous” which is a nod to the Silly Goose, the wildly popular restaurant that came before Graze but closed rather unexpectedly. Graze has a breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu as well, but don’t forget that it's closed on Mondays.

Vui's Kitchen

Berry Hill

This fresh Vietnamese restaurant is new to the Nashville scene, but we love it already. It’s not an exclusively vegetarian restaurant, but the majority of the menu items can be substituted for veggie options by adding either a fried egg or lemongrass tofu in place of the meat. Some of the most popular dishes include the bánh mì sandwich, pho, spring rolls, and the bun noodle bowl.

Mitchell Deli

East Nashville

It's a fact that Mitchell’s has some of the best sandwiches in the city, but as it turns out, its menu includes several amazing vegetarian sandwiches as well. The BBQ Asian tofu sandwich is the most popular one, but there are quite a few other veggie options for you, too.

Little Octopus

Little Octopus

East Nashville

Little Octopus is brought to us by the same people that created Otaku South. While not an exclusively vegetarian restaurant, it has myriad veggie dishes with a focus on clean and fresh foods. If you’re a pescatarian, it also has plenty of fresh and excellent fish options to browse.

Brita Britnell/Thrillist

Thai Phooket

Downtown

Don’t let the scruffy exterior of this restaurant dissuade you. It has some of the BEST Thai food in Nashville, with plenty of great vegetarian options. Most of the main meat dishes can be substituted for tofu or vegetables. Just be sure to be real with yourself when picking a heat level for your pad Thai, and don’t leave the restaurant having burned off all your taste buds.

The Wild Cow Vegetarian Restaurant

The Wild Cow

East Nashville

One of Nashville's most well-known vegetarian and vegan restaurants, The Wild Cow naturally has plenty of options for all you non-meat-eaters out there. With a great group of chefs who are always creating new dishes, it has constantly rotating specials, including tons of desserts, and its website is updated daily with the specials, so check there before going. And don’t forget: it's randomly closed on Tuesdays.

Grins Vegetarian Cafe

Grins Vegetarian Cafe

Vanderbilt

While technically on the Vanderbilt campus and only open while school is in session, Grins Vegetarian Cafe is open to more than just students and has nearby metered parking for the public. It has a ton of great vegetarian and vegan options, and the daily specials are internationally inspired, leading to a inventive and varied lineup.

Brita Britnell/Thrillist

Woodlands

West End

Hands down the best Indian food in all of Nashville, Woodlands is also a completely vegetarian restaurant (much like ~30% of India. The more you know!). The menu includes many authentic Indian dishes including paper masala dosa and vada pav. On the weekends it has a special buffet that is incredibly popular and includes varied options, which makes it a great choice for those new to Indian cuisine.

Sunflower Cafe Nashville

Sunflower Cafe

Berry Hill

This little cafe in Berry Hill is an all-vegetarian and -vegan restaurant with a rather extensive menu that includes over eight veggie burger options, vegan BBQ, and several filling vegetable bowls. It’s basically the mecca of veggie restaurants in Nashville. The Sunflower Cafe also has a full catering service, which is great for groups with dietary restrictions. 

A Matter of Taste Eatery - AMOT Eatery

A Matter of Taste Eatery

East Nashville

A Matter of Taste Eatery is a relatively new restaurant in East Nashville, but it's gained lots of praise for its completely gluten-free menu. Even more, it offers loads of delicious vegetarian and vegan options, including a Mediterranean veggie sandwich and spinach & artichoke nachos.

Local Taco

The Local Taco

Sylvan Park & East Nashville

Taco Tuesday should be open to vegetarians, right? Well, The Local Taco sure does think so. Its menu includes plenty of vegetarian-friendly dishes and tacos, including spicy avocado tacos, portobello mushroom tacos, and quite a few pescatarian options as well. And thankfully, margaritas are ALWAYS an option.

Brita Britnell/Thrillist

Red Bicycle

Germantown & Woodbine

This crêpe joint has plenty of great options for vegetable lovers. The menu features a nice variety of both sweet and savory crêpes and even the ability to design your own crêpe. It’s a great veggie option for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Brita Britnell/Thrillist

I Dream of Weenie

East Nashville

When you hear "hot dog stand" you’re not likely to think that it’s a suitable place for a vegetarian to eat. However, this iconic weenie stand has an extensive menu of delicious dogs, and the best part is that you can get anything on the menu with a vegetarian (tofu) weenie. I Dream of Weenie has a regular menu and a seasonal menu that rotates daily, although you can always depend on the Sunday brunch menu with an eggs Benedict weenie on it.

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Brita Britnell is a Nashville-based food blogger and photographer who will always choose the veggie option... if there is one.

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1. Graze Nashville 1888 Eastland Ave, East Nashville, TN 37206 (East Nashville)

This plant-based bistro and bar in East Nashville offers vegan options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with hearty portions and Southern flavors making up for the lack of meat and dairy. While the restaurant caters to an on-the-go crowd (the juice bar offers pre-made drinks), the entire menu -- from tempeh biscuits to cashew brie -- can be enjoyed at your leisure within the casual, 40-seat space, too.

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2. Vui's Kitchen 2832 Bransford Ave, Nashville, TN 37204 (Berry Hill)

This fast-casual restaurant in Berry Hill offers fresh, never-fried takes on Vietnamese classics, including banh mi, pho, and noodle bowls, with an option to sub any of the tofu offerings with lemongrass-marinated pork belly, chicken, beef, or shrimp. The space is small, but two patios provide unexpected seating options, as well as an airier setting to enjoy your sugarcane juice or glass of sparkling wine.

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3. Mitchell Delicatessen 1306 Mcgavock Pike, Nashville, TN 37216 (East Nashville)

Sandwiches made with all-natural ingredients reign at this East Nashville deli, which sold out the first day it opened in 2008. The Asian flank steak -- a one-time special turned menu stalwart -- is a must-order stacked with giardiniera and provolone, while other favorites include a braised turkey & Brie hoagie with cranberry relish, apples, and mustard, and a smoked BBQ brisket number. Not to be forgotten about, vegetarians will find comfort in the classic Caprese or the barbecue tofu sandwich with house-made sesame ginger dressing.

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4. Little Octopus 505 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

In addition to serving as the flexible kitchen for pop-ups by chefs visiting the Music City, Little Octopus, formerly located in East Nashville and currently residing in The Gulch, is all about the namesake cephalopod and its deep sea peers. Caribbean and Latin influences plus regional ingredients, and the resulting menu a melange of inventive dishes like a shrimp ceviche with aioli, Worcestershire, and rice crackers, octopus with fregola, smoked fingerlings, and herb salad, and the standout burger, served with griddled Manchego cheese, piquillo aioli, tomato, butter lettuce, and an egg.

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5. Thai Phooket 207 Woodland St, Nashville, TN 37213 (Downtown)

Don’t let the exterior of this Downtown spot fool you: it’s bare-bones and a tad sketchy, but Thai Phooket is beloved by locals for its authentic Thai food, most of which can be modified to be entirely vegetarian. Drunken noodles and Pad Thai still reign supreme, but the light bites like the meatless papaya salad refresh and satisfy, along with the coconut milk-based red curry -- providing, of course, you’re able to take the heat (the spice level of these dishes can reach new heights, so brace your taste buds).

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6. The Wild Cow 1896 Eastland Ave, Nashville, TN 37206 (East Nashville)

One of Nashville's most well-known vegetarian and vegan restaurants, The Wild Cow is constantly inventing creative dishes like lentil bowls, chipotle seitan tacos, and tofu buffalo grinders for the city's herbivores. The kitchen sources all of its (mostly organic) produce from local farms and makes all sauces, dressings, and broth from scratch, so if you ask where your food came from, your server will likely know.

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7. Grins Vegetarian Cafe 2421 Vanderbilt Pl, Nashville, TN 37212

While technically on the Vanderbilt campus and only open while school is in session, Grins Vegetarian Cafe is open to more than just students and has nearby metered parking for the public. It has a ton of great vegetarian and vegan options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the daily specials are internationally inspired, leading to a inventive and varied lineup.

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8. Woodlands 3415 W End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203 (West End)

Should you ever need more incentive to look forward to the weekend, look no further than Woodlands. This colorful, casual West End spot serves Indian food that is equally affordable as it is authentic, and offers a respite for vegetarians craving a meatless bite in an otherwise barbecue-obsessed city. The weekend buffet draws a huge crowd, but it’s a veritable meal option any night of the week, with regulars coming by to feast on gluten-free paper masala dosa and paneer pakora.

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9. Sunflower Cafe 2834 Azalea Pl, Nashville, TN 37204 (Berry Hill)

Inside a cutesy little pastel-yellow house in Berry Hill is one of the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Nashville. The Sunflower Cafe uses fresh and local products to deliver and entire menu full of affordable and healthful offerings like veggie burgers, wraps and bowls, and the amazing specials change daily. Its pristine dining space overlooks a garden full of small trees, shrubs and flowers, making it the perfect destination for a lunch outing if its sunny.

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10. Amot Eatery: A Matter Of Taste 1100 Fatherland St, Nashville, TN 37206 (East Nashville)

Draped in oversized bulbs and white decor straight out of a Pinterest board, this gluten-free restaurant contradicts its fairy-like setting with indulgent bites like chilaquiles and biscuits & gravy. For an even more au naturel experience, you can take your meal outside to the outdoor patio.

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11. The Local Taco 146 Pewitt Dr, Brentwood, TN 37027

Located in east Nashville on Fatherland Street, this all-inclusive taco shop offers all your favorite tortilla-wrapped options (Southern fried chicken, tequila-lime chicken and fish tacos) as well as plenty of equally tempting vegetarian picks, like avocado and fried onion. An attention to salsas and spices is especially meritorious here, with piquant garnishes like jalapeño tarter sauce and mango salsa level-upping the more traditional tacos.

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12. The Red Bicycle 1200 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208 (Germantown)

This Germantown cafe doubles as a full service crepe shop, serving options ranging from breakfast varieties with egg combos, to sweet and savory versions. While the space is long and spacious and outlined with sit-down boots, a casual cafe atmosphere permeates throughout, and you'll see as many diners catching up over a meal as students catching up on work.

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13. I Dream of Weenie 113 S 11th St, Nashville, TN 37206 (East Nashville)

I Dream of Weenie in East Nashville is a food truck that's partly made out of Volkswagen van, so naturally, they don't take themselves too seriously, which is makes the hot dog eatery so fun. This "full service weenery" has an extensive menu of delicious dogs including a seasonal menu that changes daily and the Sunday brunch menu with an Eggs Benedict Weenie.

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