Philly Vegan Food Round-Up
For those of you who don't know, Philadelphia has an amazing vegan food scene. With their inventive interpretations of hometown classics like Blackbird Pizzeria's Seitan Cheesesteak or the out-of-the-box creations like Charlie was a sinner's Caramelized Eggplant Bao Buns or Vedge's Rutabaga Fondue, the offering in this city can arguably rival New York's vegan food.
If you are still skeptical, check out our round-up of some of the best vegan food (and drinks) that we've had during our trip to the city of Brotherly Love.
"Classy street food bar with a flair for global flavors"
Our first stop in Philly was the uber-flavorful V Street, which was a great indicator of what kind of food we were in for. After a two-and-a-half-hour bus ride from New York using the Chinatown bus (which was cheap for a glaring reason), we were glad to be in this street-inspired food bar, drinks in hand. The great thing about V Street is its casual, more relaxed atmosphere, especially compared to its more upscale sister restaurant, Vedge. The food in V Street is packed with flavor and spices, like the Korean tempeh tacos and most notably the Dan Dan Noodles (pictured left) which, as our server told us, is not for the faint of heart. (And we agree.) Just like their food, the drinks are also well worth the money, especially since each of the drinks are inspired by the founders' travels around the globe.
MUST TRY: Dan Dan Noodles with the Kyoto Cooler Cocktail
"Upscale all-vegan bar with a moody, speakeasy vibe"
This is, without a doubt, one of the best vegan bars we've ever been. Not only is the name unique and intriguing, the place actually lives up to the hype. The bar is somewhat narrow and is dimly lit, but beautifully decorated, which creates a very inviting atmosphere. The service in Charlie was a sinner was amazing; our server was very knowledgeable of each item on the menu and she had amazing recommendations. The drinks were potent and the Caramelized Eggplant Bao Buns are a must try. We could've stayed here for dinner but we were under the impression that this place was more of a tapas bar and it's totally not. (I have my eye on the Mushroom Paella the next time we come in here.)
TIP: Be sure to call ahead for a reservation before you come because this place is guaranteed to be booked up on most nights.
"Elegant dining experience in a reconstructed historic building"
Immediately after Charlie was a sinner, we had booked another reservation to one of the most lauded and critically-acclaimed places in Philadelphia, Vedge. Conceived by the same people who did V Street and Wiz Kid, Vedge is vegan fine dining at its best. While both Dustin and I are not fancy diners, we certainly appreciated the artistry behind each and every dish. The menu in Vedge is fairly small but focused, and is separated into three sections: the Vedge Bar, the Grill, and the Dirt List. For our meal, we got at least one from each section: Stuffed Avocado and Rutabaga Fondue from the Vedge Bar, Seared Maitake Mushroom from the Grill, and Shaved Brussel Sprouts from the Dirt List. Out of all of these, I really enjoyed the inventiveness behind the Rutabaga Fondue. Also worth a try is their Chocolate Uber Chunk dessert (pictured lower right).
"Fast casual vegan food for Philadelphians on the go"
For a first-time Philly tourist like myself, HipCityVeg is a godsend. Being the planner that I am, it was important for us to keep on schedule. We had tons of places to hit up so there were definitely times when we needed a quick stop for a quick but filling bite. HipCityVeg definitely came in handy. It was a great place to get quality coffee and a satisfying bagel sandwich that we could pack up and eat later. Dustin, on the other hand, got his deep-fried battered craving satiated with the Crisp HipCity Ranch, which had battered Chick'n, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, & peppercorn ranch.
good to know: hipcityveg currently has two locations in philadelphia and one in washington, dc.
"Humble spot that satisfies big fast food cravings"
Right after visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which you can see our post here, we were tempted to check out Wiz Kid, which is a small outpost for vegan fast food located inside a Whole Foods, from the same makers of Vedge and VStreet. While the menu looks pretty solid, we were still pretty full and basically ordered the Wiz Fries to see whether it was anything like the Rutabaga Fondue from Vedge. (The verdict? Yes, it was.) We look forward to the next time so that we can try the Wiz Kid Philly.
"A new take on old favorites. Latin cuisine with a twist!"
After a Christmas viewing of Rogue One at the Franklin Institute, we lyft-ed right outta there and snagged a table at Bar Bombón. The restaurant had an upscale yet casual feel to it and it wasn't long before we were drinking classic margaritas and shoveling through a plate of nachos that could only be described as heaven on a plate. Of course you can never have just one drink, and if you're anything like us, you can never have just one plate of food. So, empanadas, fish tacos, seitan al pasteur tacos, and nachos would do nicely. Our waitress was attentive and informative. Although we did not take any of her recommendations for food because I'm stuck in my ways with Latin cuisine, we did take her up on her drink suggestions, which is what is really important anyway.
"Mock meats, delicious veggies, savory sauces, and a no-frills atmosphere keep people coming back to this longtime Philadelphia establishment.”
Christmas morning is quiet in Philadelphia, and although shops were open, vegan food establishments weren’t easy to find on such a widely celebrated holiday. Luckily for us, there was one option that was open. After a lengthy walk, we decided we couldn’t wait any longer to get our Christmas feast on. New Harmony is a great little vegan Chinese restaurant with all the fixings of a Chinese restaurant, just without the meat. But you wouldn’t know it. Asian food is very easily made vegan and New Harmony delivered harmoniously. Plate, after plate, after plate adorned our table (as you can see in the picture) and before we knew it the table was full and so were we. From scallion pancakes drenched in soy sauce to fluffy steamed roast pork buns and dim sum (I want some!) New Harmony was the best option for a cheap and easy holiday gorging!
"Fresh, local, organic fare in a charming, homey setting"
P.S. & Co., aka Pure Sweets and Company, is one of those few vegan places that actually promote healthy eating and living. What's more, this restaurant/bakery prides itself in only using local and organic ingredients in all of its menu items - an admirable, but sometimes challenging, feat. We had the pleasure of speaking with the founder and proprietor of this business, Andrea Kyan. See our full post on P.S. & Co. here.
"Simply delicious and not exactly nutritious, Blackbird Pizzeria is a favorite for vegans and non-vegans alike."
Blackbird Pizzeria is one of those hole-in-the-wall pizza shops I'm sure we've all come across at one time or another. The only difference is that it's vegan. On our way out of Philly we decided to get the quintessential Philly sandwich. CHEESESTEAK! And we were glad we did! Add a seitan parm and a slice and you've got yourself a well rounded meal, albeit not the healthiest. But who cares when you're on a vacation, right?
"Three of the most hardcore concepts come together under one roof: metal music, veganism, and coffee"
Because we were leaving Philly and needed to readjust to our hipster home of Williamsburg in Brooklyn we decided our last stop would be Grindcore House, a small yet hip coffee house with vegan eats and metal on rotation. It didn't take long to get comfortable in the front facing window looking out onto the street. With our coffee (and cake) fix taken care of we were ready to head back to New York and back to our own digs for a change.
Have you tried any of the places that we mentioned? Let us know in the comments section below!