The Best Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants in Nashville
In a town full of upscale steakhouses and barbecue joints, you’d think Nashville might be a bit of a culinary desert for non-meat eaters. On the contrary, there are all sorts of oases of vegan and vegetarian delights awaiting diners who are seeking plant-based meals. Here are the best of the best.
A totally plant-based menu for brunch, lunch, and dinner
Now a stalwart in 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. Graze has a brunch and dinner menu, but don’t forget that it's closed on Mondays.
Updated Vietnamese classics
This fresh Vietnamese restaurant has expanded to three locations from its original outpost near 100 Oaks. It’s not an exclusively vegetarian restaurant, but the majority of 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.
East Nashville’s favorite sandwich shop
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.
A Nashville vegetarian classic
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. The restaurant recently moved to Five Points from their long-time original location, so even more neighbors will be exposed to their fine fare. 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.
Vandy goes vegan
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.
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.
Bowls, sandwiches, and salads -- for lunch or dinner
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.
Coffee and crêpes all day long
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. Plus, they’ve really upped their coffee game to give even more reasons to visit.
Tofu dogs to rival the real thing
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.
Healthy foods and inventive cocktails
While Avo is no longer strictly raw vegan like when it first opened, this popular eatery still prepares 100% delicious food using 100% plant-based ingredients. The menu offers a wide variety of inventive bowls, sandwiches, wraps and salads, plus there are plenty of thoughtful kosher and gluten-free offerings available. Avo also features a surprisingly robust cocktail, beer and wine menu to accompany your meal.
Spice up your veggie fare at this charming little cafe
Just because you’re eating clean doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the Nashville hot chicken craze. This cozy little vegetarian soul food cafe serves a legit plant-based simulation of the fiery fowl along with down home vegetarian sides and vegan desserts. The Saturday brunch offers a variety of pancake plates and breakfast tacos as well.
Artisan pizzas from a biscuit master
The latest offering from the talented chefs behind Biscuit Love, ‘za serves some commendable pizzas made from a delightfully complex dough which benefits from a four-day fermentation to develop extra sourdough flavors. Five of their nine house pie recipes are vegetarian, including the highlight “Yell Talker,” a rich pie topped with onion puree, caramelized onions, scallions, and chives. You might want a mint after that one, though.
This family-owned favorite moved from a stall at the Farmers’ Market to a tiny shack to their first full-fledged restaurant as their growing legion of fans followed them from spot to spot. Their healthy take on Southern comfort foods substitutes ingredients like seitan, tofu, and jackfruit for the pork, chicken, and beef you’d expect from a local meat and three. They also offer a weekend breakfast that will stick to your ribs without clogging your arteries.
Impressive spin-off of a Berry Hill favorite
This new vegan bakery is the sister restaurant to Sunflower Cafe with more of a focus on gluten-free and vegan baked goods. Specializing in allergy-friendly treats, Sunflower Bakehouse also offers savory dishes at breakfast and at lunch with burgers, sandwiches, pot pies, and pizza rolls. There’s a little something for everyone!
Caribbean cuisine done right
While it’s not strictly vegetarian, diners can choose a vegan protein as the base of any of the delicious bowls at this vibrant Caribbean eatery near Meharry and Fisk. Choose a flavorful rice base to top with jackfruit or seitan strips and then pick four toppings from a long list of options to create a fantastic quick lunch dish. The kitchen can make it as hot as you want it, and beware of the highest spice levels. They aren’t messing around.
Beloved gluten-free baked goods
Even non-vegans flock to this gluten-free bakery because their muffins, cakes, brownies, and cupcakes are so darned delicious that you’ll wonder why you thought you wanted gluten in the first place. Pair a treat with a cup of organic fair-trade coffee for a morning pick-me-up, but don’t plan to do it on Monday through Wednesday. Because they’re closed those days.
Inventive weekend pop-up deli
The BE-Hive spends most of the week creating their 100% plant-based meat substitutes that show up on menus all over town, but on weekends they open a deli of their own. The deli menu features burritos, sandwiches, and wraps made using The BE-Hive’s delicious versions of pepperoni, bacon, sandwich meats, and meatballs. Guests can also purchase any of these products at retail to take home for later.
Elevated, yet simple, Middle Eastern food
“The Bee,” as it is affectionately known, is the sort of restaurant where diners can finish a delightful meal without realizing that no meat crossed their plate. Certainly, they do cook a mean lamb kebab at Butcher & Bee, but the kitchen really shows off when they combine Mediterranean and Israeli flavor profiles with the freshest vegetables available from local farms. Guests can also just put themselves in the hands of the cook with a chef’s choice option, and that’s the power move.
Colorful spot for Indian street food
Celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan’s fourth Nashville restaurant is a wildly popular homage to the Indian street foods of her youth. The dining room is a riot of colors, and the food is equally vibrant (in fact, we named it one of Nashville's best new restaurants of 2019). Much of the menu is vegetarian as well, from mint cilantro crispy potato peels to semolina puffs to a delicious rice casserole spiced with onions, nuts and saffron. They offer a separate vegetarian menu to help diners decide, but it still isn’t easy.
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