by Lauren Sloat - 260 Reviews - 86 List
In college, going vegan seemed like a good idea; it's not like the meat dishes looked any better than the veggie ones at the cafeteria, anyway. Now that you're in the big city and your tastes have matured, however, finding palatable vegan restaurants and food can be a challenge (ditto with gluten-free food in D.C.). Fortunately, there are many edible options for vegan and gluten-free dining in the district, and they appear at some of the most delectable D.C. restaurants and bakeries. Here, our favorite vegan and gluten-free finds, whether for a full meal or a sweet treat.
Updated: July 29, 2010
Italian food can be like Kryptonite to people with gluten allergies, but gluten-free pasta is available and can be substituted in many of the signature pasta dishes at this Georgetown spot--no need to give up that carb craving.
This Gallery Place Latin-Asian restaurant by Richard Sandoval has a separate, entirely gluten-free menu. "The food is amazing," says Citysearch fan Robin K. "You can get items such as the Angry Zengo sushi toll, arepas de shiitake, or tofu cheesecake. Everything is delicious, and it has a great atmosphere!"
Citysearch Dictator Faith H. gets her health food fix at this 19th Street cafe, which has an entire section of gluten-free options, including wraps and sandwiches such as basil, tomato and mozzarella, tofu mushroom and grilled tempeh. "Almost everything on their menu is vegan-friendly," she adds. "It's a great place for lunch or breakfast."
Java Green's 17th Street cousin, this cafe offers more of a restaurant experience, complete with table service. You'll find many of the same vegan and gluten-free items that are featured at Java Green, as well as a Sunday brunch menu with gluten-free waffles.
"Fresh, tasty and socially aware--Founding Farmers has it all!" says Citysearch Dictator Adam R. The sustainability focused restaurant has a special vegan menu that stays true to its mission of supporting family farmers. It includes entree salads, a beefless patty melt, barbecue "chicken," tofu 'n chips, and breakfast items all day long.
Citysearch fan and practicing vegan Amber M. loves this Wolfgang Puck restaurant near the Newseum. "While the menu doesn't reveal all the goodness they have to offer, chef Scott Drewno is a whiz at whipping up amazing foods to meet any dietary request," she says. "It doesn't hurt that he was the Rammy Chef of the Year."
Sticky Rice is already a popular H Street spot for sushi and cocktails, and it's no wonder that it attracts a cool, hipster clientele: The restaurant specializes in vegetarian and vegan options, and can accommodate wheat-free requests, too.
This hard rock lounge in Adams Morgan may seem like an unlikely place for delicious vegan fare, but it offers some of the best in the city. The legendary vegan brunch on Saturdays and Sundays features a tofu scramble, vegan French toast, Boca burgers and other animal-friendly options.
One of U Street's best hidden gems, this Italian restaurant focuses on fresh, organic ingredients--and now caters to diners with restricted diets, too. Ask about substituting gluten-free pasta and vegan soy cheese in its hearty, seasonal Italian dishes.
This Columbia Heights bakery is a godsend for people with a sweet tooth and dietary restrictions. All of their products are 100 percent vegan (as well as cholesterol-free), and they also have a sizable selection of nut- and gluten-free treats.
Citysearch Dictators love the Black Velvet cupcake at this Penn Quarter spot; the vegan, gluten-free creation is one of the bakery's most popular flavors. "It's excellent," says Lisa M. "The cake doesn't taste any different than regular cupcakes and the icing is perfectly sweet and creamy."
Variety is sometimes hard to come by when eating vegan or gluten-free; often dieters are stuck with the one static option that an eatery has to offer. Not so at this Dupont cupcake spot, which features a vegan and a gluten-free selection every day in rotating flavors.