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10 vegan-friendly restaurants to try in NoVA

Plant-based, meatless and dairy-free options are getting easier to find across the region. Here’s where to find vegan soups, sandwiches, pizza and more.

food covering table with people eating
© Photographee.eu / stock.adobe.com

Dietary restrictions, whether temporary or mandatory, can seem difficult to accommodate. Where does one find a restaurant that isn’t divided into meat categories for entrees? 

Rather than settle for one to two options on the menu (most likely including a salad) for your vegan friends and family members, here are 10 local restaurants serving vegan-friendly options for everyone to enjoy. 

Busboys and Poets
Sometimes grabbing a bite to eat doesn’t just mean getting food, it also means finding local entertainment or a cozy spot to sit back and relax for awhile. This local hot spot, which has one location in NoVA and five in Washington, DC, offers everything you’re looking for. Grab a book, catch an open mic session or stop by to order any of the vegan-friendly options on the menu. You’ll find vegetable curry, a Moroccan two-bean soup, vegan ‘tuna’ salad, a crispy vegan ‘chicken’ sandwich and more. // 4251 S. Campbell Ave., Arlington

Flower Child
With its first location in Virginia, the newly opened Flower Child is a vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free haven for foodies in Tysons. Vegan-friendly items on the menu include the Glow Bowl (filled with a spicy sweet potato noodle, bok choy, zucchini, onion, jalapeno, shiitake mushroom, coconut milk and sunflower butter), the Thai Dye wrap (filled with spicy organic tofu, Thai basil, avocado, carrots, daikon, radish, cilantro and snap pea) and the Indian-spiced cauliflower (spiced with turmeric and served with quinoa, dates and almonds). It will fit right in with your other fast-casual lunch and dinner go-to spots across the region. // 1656 Boro Place, McLean

Four Sisters Vietnamese Restaurant
The aforementioned meat-focused menu does not have to be a concern at Four Sisters Vietnamese Restaurant. Sure, you’ll find the pages dedicated to chicken, pork and seafood, but there’s also a whopping 20 dishes that are vegetarian and vegan. Find vegetarian garden rolls with peanut sauce, green papaya salad with tofu and chopped cilantro, as well as stir-fried tofu and mixed vegetables and tofu, eggplant and okra curry with coconut milk and special spicy sauce. // Multiple locations (Arlington, Falls Church and Ashburn)

Greenfare
If you’re looking for a place to eat and enjoy vegan-friendly food, Greenfare is your place. If you’re also looking for a location to learn how to cook your own vegan-friendly food, meet and greet with cookbook authors or just catch a movie with dinner, Greenfare is also your place. Order for organic jackfruit barbecue sandwich, veggie chili or veggie paella, then check out the event calendar to find game nights, the 21-day kick-start program (a whole-food nutrition program for 21 days) and more. // 408 Elden St., Herndon

JINYA Ramen Bar
When you think of traditional Japanese ramen, it might be hard to imagine a bowl not filled with the incredibly meaty broth, which is often stewed for hours with meat-covered bones and umami-rich flavors, and topped with pork chashu. But alas, it is possible. JINYA Ramen features a vegan miso ramen, topped with soy meat, tofu, bean sprouts, broccolini, green onion, corn, red onion and thick noodles. The bowl is sure to leave you feeling full and satisfied. But if you need a few more choices, check out the vegan rice bowl, vegan tacos or the crispy chickpeas. // 2911 District Ave., Suite 140, Fairfax

Loving Hut Vegan Cuisine
One surefire way to have a wide array of vegan-friendly options for a meal is to pull out all of the stops and visit a local, entirely vegan restaurant. Loving Hut Vegan Cuisine features plenty of vegetables on the menu, with dishes ranging from fried wontons to steaming pho. And, every protein you find will be plant-based. Check out the vegan hot dog, club sandwich, Hawaiian burger or even the barbecue drumsticks. Yes, they’ll all be meat- and dairy-free. // 2842 Rogers Drive, Falls Church

Manna Bistro
Ethiopian cuisine is already vegetarian and vegan-friendly for most dishes (hello, lentil stews!) and if you check the menu of local spots, you’re likely to find an entirely vegetarian plate, with chickpea stews, mixed vegetables and, of course, injara. To avoid the meat on Manna’s menu, order yourself a sambusa filled with lentils, onions, ginger and spices, as well as almost anything from the vegetarian entree section (ask for no hard-boiled egg too). Split peas (kik alicha) and lentils (defin miser alcha watt and miser watt), among others, are great meat-free and dairy-free options. // 14215 Centreville Square, Centreville

Naked Lunch
If you’re a fan of MOM’s Organic Market, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Naked Lunch brings the same ingredients you love into fresh meals. The vegan- and vegetarian-friendly menu includes several bowls mixed with beans, rice and various veggies. For some, make sure to ask about the dressing or forego it altogether since it may include dairy. Other options include cauliflower tacos with vegan crema and hot salsa verde, a sushi bowl with miso-roasted tofu and soy sauce, and the jammed yam, a sweet potato stuffed with quinoa, black beans, mixed peppers, pineapple and more. // Multiple locations (Alexandria, Arlington, Herndon, Merrifield and Woodbridge)

Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant
Although this vegetarian restaurant isn’t entirely vegan (there are a handful of items that include eggs and dairy), a majority of the menu is vegan-friendly, and even gluten-free. Find ‘shrimp’ made with soy protein and yams served with General Tso’s sauce, the Popeye’s favorite (which is not the fried chicken sandwich you might be picturing), which is a homemade potato pie with spinach, veggie pork and veggie bacon in a black pepper sauce, or the vegan desserts, including chocolate mousse cake, chocolate cheesecake and raspberry white chocolate cheesecake. // 2531 Chain Bridge Road, Vienna

True Food Kitchen
Now spanning its reach over 17 states, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the name True Food Kitchen before. The company is focused on bringing a menu of dishes and ingredients that are geared toward making you feel better, making it the perfect place to find several vegan options to choose from. Roasted Brussels sprouts, edamame guacamole and charred cauliflower round out the shareable appetizers, but entrees range from creamy tomato soup to butternut squash pizza, Korean noodles and the Unbeetable Burger (a beet burger topped with kuzu, jicama slaw, crushed avocado, butter lettuce and vegan mayonnaise on a flaxseed bun). // Multiple locations (Arlington, Fairfax and Reston) 

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