By Christine Mouser
Pittsburgh definitely isn’t lacking in the restaurant area — on every block you can find a place to chow down. But for vegans, finding suitable restaurants is like a wild goose chase. But have no fear vegans: take a look at this list of great restaurants in the area that are either strictly vegan or offer a wide variety of vegan options. Happy dining!
Hours: Mon-Fri, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sat-Sun, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Quiet Storm Vegan & Vegetarian Café is an oasis for vegans looking for a tasty meal that suits their preferences. The menu is large, offering dishes that are either made from scratch or sourced locally from independent, local businesses. As an added bonus, almost anything on the menu can be made vegan-friendly. Quiet Storm has some favorite dishes, the main one being their vegan home fries. This dish serves a trio of smashed red potatoes, tofu and seisage (vegan sausage) with roasted veggies and vegan red pepper mayo or vegan queso. Another favorite is the Graham Street Tofu, which comes with sesame-soy tofu cutlets, tomatoes, baby spinach and pickled onions on wheat or pita.
Quiet Storm has a weekly menu, as well as a Sunday brunch that will end your weekend on a great note. They have breakfast burritos, toast, and bagels—really something for everyone. For those with an international flair, check out the Lucky Panda—a Chinese five spice breakfast rice with carrots, peas, TVP bacon (textured vegetable protein) and served with scrambled tofu and a spicy vegetable salad. Quiet Storm also has a great espresso, milkshake and tea menu with inventive ingredients and tasty flavor combinations.
Hours: Daily 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
Double Wide Grill, also one of our favorite spots for gluten-free food, is one of those overachieving restaurants. Not only are they serving up tasty barbeque dishes, but they’re also pulling double duty with their dishes by providing a healthy dose of vegan options. In fact, most of their menu options can be made vegan with a simple request to your server. Marketing Manager Kris Arnold says that their three most popular vegan dishes at Double Wide Grill are the seitan wings, BBQ pulled seitan (wheat protein) sandwich and the Caribbean coconut tofu. The wings (which are crisp fried seitan cubes) can be served with one of their tasty vegan sauces, such as the traditional BBQ, Our Very Own Hot Sauce or covered in their Cajun dry rub.
The pulled seitan sandwich is also a killer option, served on a multi-grain vegan bun with our choice of shoestring potatoes or garlic and vinegar slaw. The third most popular vegan option is the Caribbean tofu, a perfectly marinated organic tofu, fried and tossed in an onion coconut rum sauce, served with caramelized onions, cilantro rice and the veggie of the day. There are plenty of other vegan options, and each menu item is clearly marked and described. Here at Double Wide Grill, you can be certain you’re getting a legitimate and delicious vegan meal at a reasonable price.
Hours: Tues-Thurs, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Fri-Sat, 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
When the owners of Bite Bistro were building their restaurant concept, they felt there was a void in the North Hills area as far as vegan options go. And they realized the growing populations of vegans and vegetarians weren’t going away anytime soon—and they also needed somewhere to eat. That’s where Bite Bistro steps in, with a great mission: to please everyone. They want to make sure that carnivores are also pleased with the vegan dishes, as well creating dishes that aren’t your stereotypical vegan options. Bite Bistro wanted to step it up a notch for the vegan community, and they’ve done just that.
While the menu changes daily based on seasons and availability, what is consistent is their abundance of fresh ingredients. Throughout the fall, some favorite dishes included the red and yellow beet salad, the wild mushrooms with grilled vegan polenta, a cucumber salad with kiwi berries and the roasted red pepper sandwich with confit scallions and sprouts. Bite Bistro typically offers between 6-10 vegan offerings on the menu as well as one-two vegan desserts, such as the apple cake, chocolate truffle and sorbet. All vegan items are clearly labeled, and the restaurant staff uses the utmost care in preparing the vegan dishes.
Sunday Brunch Hours: 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
The Zenith is one of the more unique spots in the area. Serving as both an antique shop and a vegan/vegetarian café, there’s nothing like it in the area. While the weekly menu is a treat, the Sunday brunch is heavily catered toward vegan diners and is a tasty and affordable option. At just $10, diners get their pick at the buffet, a main dish, coffee or tea. The menu changes every week, but here are some sample options: orange pancakes with raspberry topping, BBQ seitan sandwich, black bean burger with lettuce and pineapple salsa, portabellas in wine sauce over broccoli and linguine and artichokes in a white bean sauce. They also offer at least 18 different options of dessert, including a host of vegan cakes.
The Zenith is so committed to producing vegan creations that they are only open 4 days a week so that they have the time to create their best food possible. While you’re there, you definitely need to grab a cup of tea—herbal, black, green or white in hundreds of different varieties. Also, the place doubles as a shopping destination where you can browse at the vintage clothing and accessories as well as the one-of-a-kind antiques and collectibles. There’s really no better combination than some shopping and a great meal.
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sun, noon – 9 p.m.
While the Loving Hut may be available in several locations across the country, this is a special spot for vegan foodies. This fastest-growing vegan chain has a huge menu, with a ton of different offerings and exciting combinations. For an interesting fruity dish, try the Jackfruit salad, served with jackfruits (a sweet-tasting Asian fruit), onions, mint, carrots, peanuts and a sweet and sour sauce with baked rice papers. If you’re a soup junkie try the sweet and sour soup, which is created with celery, tomatoes, pineapple, okra, soy shrimp, tofu and taro stem.
Seaweed, a delicacy in many parts of the world, is a great dish here. It’s grilled, served with cucumber, soy protein, fried green onion and vermicelli noodles wrapped with rice paper that you can dip into their salted bean curd dip. If you’re a newbie at going vegan, try one of their Western specialties, like the savory spaghetti (mushrooms, olive, soy protein, onion, celery, fresh parsley and tomato sauce). For those with a sweet tooth, taste their mango tango smoothie, an espresso drink or their tasty carrot cake. The Loving Hut is a perfect option for vegans looking for a creative twist on some of their favorite dishes.
Hours: Mon, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Wed-Sun, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Newly opened Eden restaurant has an important mission: to serve healthy food that makes diners feel good about what they’re eating. And vegans should feel right at home here. The dinner menu offers raw foods in addition to sandwiches, salads and wraps. The raw menu changes all the time, but there are some great options if you have the chance to catch them, like the squash pad Thai (butternut squash noodles, mint, peanut, orange) or the kale mushroom pizza (cashew, tomato, spinach and sunflower seed). Some more mainstay items are the salads and wraps. The garden vegan contains some of the freshest ingredients—baby lettuce, cucumber, tomato, red peppers, sunflower seeds, carrots, broccoli, avocado and a garlic mustard balsamic dressing. For burger fans, try the black bean version, which is served on rustic Italian bread with veganaise (vegan mayo), lettuce and tomato. Their drink menu is just as great, with tons of different concoctions and ingredients that will keep your palate pleased. While this is a relatively new established, look out for this place to be a major vegan hotspot.
Other highlights: Mad Mex, East-End Food Co-Op, Abay Ethiopian Cuisine