Explore the vibrant culinary scene of Columbus, Ohio, through the lens of plant-based dining. In this article, we’ll take you on a delectable journey to discover the best vegetarian restaurants the city has to offer. Whether you’re a committed vegetarian or simply looking to enjoy a meat-free meal, Columbus boasts a diverse array of eateries that cater to your tastes. From innovative vegan dishes to hearty vegetarian comfort food, these restaurants excel in crafting flavorsome and satisfying options that will tantalize your taste buds. Join us as we explore these culinary gems, where vegetables take center stage, and you’ll find a delightful world of meatless dining experiences waiting to be savored.
Portia’s Café is a bright and cheerful vegan eatery in a colorful dining space in Beechwold. The red brick storefront is surrounded by overflowing potted plants and flowers, a colorful preview of the same vibrant dishes you’ll enjoy inside. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner and have a full coffee counter and deli case. I loved their gluten-free, vegan-friendly take on Spanakopita, which they call Spanako Rice Wraps. It’s made with rice paper instead of phyllo dough and stuffed with a blend of spinach, collard greens, artichoke hearts, and more. Portia’s Café is committed to healthy, organic, non-GMO, and locally sourced food that promotes a healthy lifestyle.
Northstar Café is a New American restaurant and cocktail bar here in Columbus founded on the premise of sustainable, clean eating to brighten the future of our planet. Northstar Café has locations in Easton, Beechwold, Liberty Center, Westerville, and Shaker Heights. The atmosphere and décor are upscale and modern. Certain locations feature live jazz music from local artists. They offer a diverse brunch, lunch, and dinner menu that has vegetarian options from various culinary traditions. I went for a delicious Aperol spritz cocktail to accompany a wood-fired Neapolitan-style crispy kale and burrata pizza with a honey drizzle.
Another beloved local restaurant chain, Brassica is a fast-casual Mediterranean eatery with locations in Short North, Bexley, Easton, Upper Arlington, and Shaker Heights. Inspired by owners and brothers Darren and Kevin Malhame’s Lebanese grandfather, Brassica serves authentic Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. They also have a laudable mission to support local and sustain the health of our planet, taking great care in choosing locally sourced ingredients from farmers and local artisans. Mediterranean food is inherently healthful and full of vegetarian and vegan options. Brassica’s menu is customizable, with a slew of create-your-own pitas, platters, and salads. I went for a salad of fresh greens and grains topped with falafel, beets, pickled radishes, feta, and tahini dressing.
With locations in Grandview and Dennison Place overlooking Ohio State University’s South Campus, Nile Vegan is an authentic Ethiopian restaurant offering a 100% vegan menu. The humble storefront and modest interior are filled with intoxicating smells of home-cooked Ethiopian food from a passionate chef and owner who joyfully serves and educates guests on Ethiopian traditions. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that you’ll want to repeat over and over, both for the incredible taste of the food and the welcoming atmosphere. I recommend ordering a combo meal to sample all the different plant-based curries, stews, and vegetables laid out in colorful dishes atop perfectly bubbly injera.
With a name like Seitan’s Realm, you know this quirky and alternative Clintonville deli started as a food truck. Seitan’s Realm is a metal-themed vegan deli, serving heaping portions of all the classic deli and diner foods with a plant-based twist. They also have a full menu of deli salads, soups, and Saturday breakfasts. The menu is every junk food lover’s dream come true, with an extensive list of extravagant burgers, mac n cheeses, battered and fried goodies, and desserts. I went for the utterly decadent Buffy Mac sandwich with fried seitan chicken smothered in buffalo sauce with ranch, pickles, and mac n cheese on a pretzel bun.
152 E State St, Columbus, OH 43215
4th & State is a family-owned vegan diner in a fashionable industrial-chic space in downtown Columbus. They serve classic diner fare with characteristic Midwestern hospitality in a fun and hip atmosphere using vegan-friendly cheese, eggs, and meat alternatives. They offer the healthiest, greasy diner food you’ll sample. They offer brunch, lunch, and dinner with a selection of boozy drinks and a separate kid’s menu. I loved their enormous breakfast burrito known as the Bearito, with plant-based scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheese, home fries, and pico de gallo wrapped in a flour tortilla, hot pressed, and finished with all the best toppings.
Featured in Eater, Columbus Alive, and many other noteworthy publications, Comune is a high-end vegetarian restaurant and cocktail bar in a stunning dining space in Schumacher Place. Their award-winning seasonal menu is globally inspired and sourced from local farms and purveyors. As the name implies, meals at Comune are family-style shareable meals that encourage a refined social dinner. The creative “plant-forward” menu will certainly excite your tastebuds and broaden your perspective on vegetarian cuisine. I went during the summer and delighted in their seasonal cucumber and peach salad with wheat berries, feta, and pickled jalapeno in a green goddess dressing. For the main dish, I recommend the semolina cavatelli with tomato, lions mane mushroom, ricotta, Calabrian chili, and crispy garlic.
Teetering between the university District and Short North, Happy Little Treats is an all-vegan bakery in a pastel-colored storefront with an espresso bar and a tantalizing glass case of baked goods. They make everything from scratch in-house, and their bright, airy interior is a great place for mid-morning coffee dates and study sessions alike. Their vast menu has everything from glazed artisanal donuts to vegan oatmeal cream pies. Their signature dessert is their pop tart which comes in various flavors like:
- Spiced pear
- Blueberry lemon
I’m a bread fan, so I went with their maple twists, a veritable cinnamon roll that’s twisted instead of swirled and topped with a maple glaze.
Receiving glowing write-ups from The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Good Morning America, Katalina’s is Columbus’ premier breakfast and lunch eatery. Located inside a revamped old gas station in Harrison West, Katalina’s is a hip Latin American and Southern fusion café with a great outdoor patio. Katalina’s has vegetarian options for nearly every inventive breakfast dish. Their world-famous pancake balls are a must-try. They feature fluffy pancake shells stuffed with your choice of Nutella, dulce de leche, or pumpkin apple butter and served with local maple syrup and veggie sausage.
Lifestyle Café is a black-owned, female-owned café in Olde Towne East, offering plant-based versions of classic American diner fare. While they have yet to accomplish their goal of being a 100% locally sourced farm-to-table restaurant, Lifestyle Café still uses soy-free and non-GMO ingredients from responsible purveyors. The menu at Lifestyle Café has a long list of healthy coffee drinks, smoothies, and milkshakes to pair with a wide variety of comfort foods, from chicken and waffles to patty melts. I went for the heartiest, most comforting dish with their delicious 3-bean chili with Beyond ground beef. The dish is topped with green onions, avocado, and buffalo sauce, and served with house-made tortilla chips.
Loving Hut is one of the largest vegan franchises in the world, with over 200 locations in 35 countries, including Columbus’ Reynoldsburg suburb. Originating in Asia from founder Ching Hai, Loving Hut is a Pan Asian vegan restaurant with a casual and modest atmosphere. Its budget-friendly and eco-friendly ethos heals the planet and helps combat cravings. The menu features Asian dishes from every region, such as their incredible Tso’s Tofu. They also have a vegan American menu with burgers, salads, and wraps. I was in the mood for Thai food, so their green curry with veggies and a crispy meat-free patty over brown rice hit the spot.
A Clintonville staple for nearly 20 years, Pattycake Bakery is a revolutionary vegan bakery collectively owned by its employees. They are an eco-friendly bakery that sources all ingredients from local purveyors and uses bicycles for their deliveries. Pattycake Bakery also has a compost and recycling system to promote zero-waste and minimal carbon footprints.
Their vast menu of baked goodies includes:
- Custom cakes
- Whoopie pies
- Gluten-free treats
Their wide array of cookies features three different kinds of chocolate-chip cookies alone. I loved their cupcake flavors. I sampled the carrot cake with vegan cream cheese icing and the lemon cupcake.
Located in a large boho-chic space in Schumacher Place, Two Dollar Radio Headquarters is a hipster paradise. It’s a trifecta of Indie press, bookstore, and vegan brunch spot. The hardwood floors, mid-century modern furniture, and pops of green houseplants make for a homey hangout spot. The menu is a creative fusion of comfort foods from every region of the globe. Some of their specials include Taco Specials on Tuesday and Friday afternoons and Bao Specials on Wednesday nights! Whether you want a Mexican pambazo or a po’boy, it’s on the menu and made with 100% plant-based ingredients. My favorite dish was the Double Whammy Walnut Chorizo Grilled Cheese with cashew cheese, pimento cheese spread, pickled onions, banana peppers, and tomatoes on garlic-buttered brioche bread.
Willowbeez SoulVeg is a vegan soul food counter-service food counter in Short North’s The North Market, between Goodale Park and Nationwide Arena. It’s a family-owned and black-owned business committed to the community and promoting healthy lifestyles through plant-based diets. The menu at Willowbeez SoulVeg runs the soul food gamut from NOLA-style Cajun dishes to Jamaican Jerk chicken. I could’ve made a meal out of their sides alone, with everything from sweet plantains to buttery cornbread and fried green tomatoes. I loved their creamy and comforting G’Stuff Curry Soup. This dish was a coconut milk-based Jamaican curry with white beans, cabbage, red peppers, and onions.
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When it comes to local restaurant recommendations, we pride ourselves on being a reliable and trustworthy resource. Our suggestions are not just based on our personal experiences, ensuring a more authentic and well-rounded perspective, but also on extensive online research. We diligently searched the internet and reviewed 6 credible sites and blogs, including Tripadvisor.com and Foursquare.com.
We compiled all the findings in one location and sorted them by the frequency of mentions to ensure you receive top-notch recommendations. We strive to present you with a curated list of establishments that truly stand out, allowing you to enjoy the best dining experiences possible.
Interested in the sources we consulted? Check out the list of all 6 sites we referenced below this paragraph, offering transparency and an opportunity for our readers to explore further. Our commitment is to deliver trustworthy and unparalleled recommendations, helping you make informed decisions on your culinary journeys.