“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” (-Michael Pollan)
When I tell people I’m vegan, most respond with something like, “So what do you eat?” Many omnivores, especially those who don’t know vegans IRL think all we eat are twigs and leaves, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Vegan food has come so far even in the 6+ years I’ve been vegan that nearly anything omnis eat can be made vegan. Think: plant-based egg substitutes that actually fluff up and taste like scrambled eggs, veggie burgers that “bleed” like beef and the creamiest nut-based ice cream that rivals any dairy concoction.
Fortunately for the 3 percent (and counting) of vegan Americans, vegan dishes are becoming more common in mainstream restaurants. For instance, fast food bastion Carl’s Jr. just launched the Beyond Burger at more than 1000 locations nationwide. While not all vegans are willing to support companies that are still responsible for animal slaughter and mistreatment, it’s no question that having well-known restaurants offering vegan products will help more people consider veganism or at least reducing their animal product consumption.
Until I moved to Phoenix, my experiences with all-vegan (or at least vegetarian) restaurants were minimal. My college town in Colorado has an amazing spot called Tasty Harmony, which was the first plant-based restaurant my family and I ever went to. The city I grew up in now has a handful of vegan dining options. Tucson has a decent number of vegan spots as well. But not nearly as many as Phoenix, which is a given, considering it’s the 5th largest city in the U.S.
So far, I’ve tried nearly all of the vegan/vegetarian spots in the Valley and I love them all, for different reasons. Here’s my guide to the best plant-based restaurants in PHX.
Green New American Vegetarian
2 locations (north Tempe, downtown Phoenix), open 11 am – 9 pm Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)
Despite the name, Green is an all-vegan restaurant with plenty of options that will please even meat-eaters. The downtown location was the first vegan restaurant I ever tried in PHX, way back in February 2017 (almost a year before I moved here). I ordered the animal-style fries (now called west coast fries) and even though I’d never tried In-N-Out’s iteration, Green’s version tasted incredibly authentic. I was hooked!
Since then, I have gone back to Green at least half a dozen times, but only the Tempe location since it’s closer to home. Plus they offer tacos, which are bomb. They always have a “beef” and “fish” taco and each week, they introduce a “chameleon” taco which is always changing and totally unique. Green’s menu has a lot of delicious-sounding things on it, but it’s hard for me to stray from the tacos since they’re so good.
A French-inspired taco with green beans and pears (!) plus my fav fish taco from Green.
They also have a decent selection of beers (which my parents love), wine and sangria, a margarita or other cocktail, kombuchas and iced teas. But the best part has to be the tSoynami! It’s basically a vegan softserve mixed with all kinds of add-ins, like cookies, flavored syrups, cereal, fruit, nuts and baked goods. I always try to get one of their special seasonal flavors when I go — the pumpkin pie and chocolate monsoon are some of my favorites.
Best For: Taking omnis who aren’t sure about veganism. They really have something for everybody, from healthier options like salads and rice bowls to appetizers and fast food style sandwiches.
Downtown Phoenix, open 7 am – 9 pm Sunday-Thursday and 7 am – 10 pm Friday & Saturday (new hours!)
If I had to narrow it down (which is hard), I would say The Coronado is my favorite vegan restaurant in PHX. Technically vegetarian since they offer eggs and cheese (but pretty much everything can be made vegan or already is), they offer a full menu all day, with weekend brunch specials and amazing cocktails.
I’ve gone twice for brunch and twice for dinner, and I’ve loved everything I’ve gotten there. The first thing I ever ordered from The Coronado was their Good Morning Sandwich (with tofu). The biscuit was so buttery (without being made with butter) and the tofu, veggies and agave mustard sauce went together so well. The next time I went for brunch, I ordered a special — sweet potato waffles, which were heavenly.
For dinner, I’ve tried their cauliflower tacos (the BEST) and their chili and cornbread which is perfect for the cold nights we’ve been having lately. Their cocktails are also incredible. I haven’t gone since they updated the drink list, but I know I’ve had some good ones in the past — a spicy one sticks out to me the most.
It’s always a good morning when you get to enjoy the Good Morning breakfast sandwich from The Coronado.
They always post about their vegan poptarts (only available on the weekends) on their Instagram — I am dying to get my hands on the s’mores one!
Best For: Boozy brunches. It’s so nice to sit out on their patio on warm days (go before it gets too hot in the summer, though!) and enjoy a cocktail or two and some brunchy bites. For omnis (or vegetarians) who are iffy on tofu, they have the option of eggs. I’m biased though because I LOVE tofu!
Ahwatukee, open 8 am – 8 pm Monday-Thursday, 8 am – 9 pm Friday & Saturday and 8 am – 4 pm Sunday
Also technically a vegetarian restaurant, this cozy space tucked into an unassuming shopping center in Ahwatukee (next to a Trader Joe’s) offers delicious food for any time of day. Pomegranate Cafe is focused on sourcing ingredients from local farms and serving organic food whenever possible. This doesn’t mean their dishes are flavorless, though. They have an extensive menu (probably the largest of all the vegan spots) packed with items ranging from nachos to a raw everything bagel and curry bowls to quesadillas. They also offer a ton of desserts, fresh juices and smoothies, coffee drinks and even some alcohol (as long as it’s organic).
I’ve gone once for brunch and at least 4 times for dinner, and my favorite menu item is definitely the spaghetti squash & ‘meatballs’. I want to go back and try so many more things because they all sound so good!
I’ve ordered the spaghetti squash with meatballs at least twice because it’s so good!
Best For: Those with dietary limitations. Pomegranate Cafe is really good about marking which menu items can be made gluten free, soy free or nut free and there are plenty of kid-friendly options as well.
Tempe, open 9 am – 8 pm Tuesday-Friday, 9 am – 9 pm Saturday and 9 am to 2 pm Sunday (closed Monday)
Another great vegan spot convenient for East Valley dwellers like myself, 24 Carrots’ menu is much like Pomegranate’s in that it’s focused on farm-fresh ingredients and offers many gluten free and raw options. Unlike some of the other vegan spots, alcohol is not available.
The extensive menu includes vegan standbys such as a hummus plate, nachos and zucchini pasta but also has ever-changing menu options such as the veggie burger, quesadillas and tacos which are updated weekly.
I’ve only visited once, but the totchos (a special for that night) that I had were delicious and plenty filling, even split with my mom. I’d love to try their brunch items and desserts!
Hello, totchos special!
Best For: Health-conscious vegheads. 24 Carrots’ menu is definitely heavy on the veggies, but it’s all so fresh and flavorful.
Chandler, open for lunch 11 am – 3 pm Tuesday-Sunday and dinner 5 – 9:30 pm Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday and 5 – 10 pm Friday & Saturday (closed Monday)
One of only two vegetarian spots for Indian food in the Valley, almost everything on the menu at Ruchi is vegan! Growing up, my family and I would go out to eat often at a place called Taste of India in Colorado Springs and my mom would sometimes make Indian food at home (full disclosure: we are totally white) so I grew up loving Indian cuisine. Ruchi is definitely authentic and offers vegan diners the chance to eat traditional dishes like naan and curries without any animal products.
I’ve loved everything I’ve tried there but the vegetable vindaloo is by far my favorite. The sauce is so rich with flavor and spicy but not overwhelmingly so. P.S. I sadly cannot find any photos from Ruchi on my phone, so just picture curry dishes and rice.
Best For: Spice enthusiasts. If you love spicy and flavorful foods, you’ll love Ruchi. They offer different spice levels, but I always say the hotter the better.
Mesa, open 8 am – 3 pm Monday-Thursday & Saturday, 8 am – 9 pm Friday and 10 am – 3 pm Sunday
Right in the heart of downtown Mesa is the historic Nile Theater, which was the Valley’s first movie house when it opened in 1924. It’s since served as a clothing store, church and nightclub before becoming a music venue in 1994, which it still is today. The front of the building is home to The Nile Coffee Shop — a hipster-ish venue serving breakfast, lunch, brunch on the weekends and coffee drinks.
The menu is small but packed with classic dishes with a vegan twist, like a Philly cheesesteak sandwich, macaroni and cheese bowl and bagel sandwiches. On my first (and so far, only) visit, I ordered the Caesar salad because I had never had it veganized and it was really yummy. The croutons were the best part!
Gotta get those greens (+croutons) in!
Best For: Vegan comfort food. If you’re craving meat, cheese and carbs without the animal products, check out The Nile for your fix.
Gilbert, open 11 am – 9 pm Tuesday-Friday, 10 am – 9 pm Saturday and 10 am – 4 pm Sunday (closed Monday)
Tucked into an unassuming strip mall just off Baseline is Seed Shack, a newer addition to the East Valley vegan scene. The atmosphere inside is pretty chill and calming, if a bit small.
The menu offers plenty of vegan staples (what plant-based restaurant doesn’t offer a hummus plate?) but also has a few unique items that stand out. One of them is the tornado veggie + chili dish, which I ordered. You can opt for either spiraled zucchini or potato, which is then beer battered and served atop a bean-based chili. I’ve never seen chili served like this before, and it was definitely flavorful and fun to eat.
This was a yummy, if messy, dinner.
Best For: Unique dishes you won’t find anywhere else. Other than the tornado veggie + chili option, Seed Shack also makes delicious-sounding dishes like truffle bacon mac & cheese and a barbecue jackfruit pita. When I went, they also had the Impossible Burger topped with PB&J, but it looks like that’s no longer on the menu.
The Uprooted Kitchen
Gilbert, open 10 am – 4 pm Tuesday, Thursday & Friday, 8 am – 3 pm Saturday & Sunday and 10 am – 8 pm Wednesday (closed Monday)
One of my favorite spots to hang out in Gilbert is at Barnone at Agritopia, which happens to be about 2 miles away from where I live. I’ve gone there several times to enjoy a glass of wine on the patio outside Garage East and even ate dinner a couple of times at Fire & Brimstone (a pizza place inside Barnone). But it took me several months to finally check out The Uprooted Kitchen, a small vegan eatery also inside Barnone.
Unlike the other vegan spots on this list, The Uprooted Kitchen is primarily a breakfast & lunch place. They are open for dinner on Wednesday nights, but I usually only go out to eat on weekends. I did check them out for lunch one afternoon last spring with my mom. They have a small menu with items that change weekly (check their website or Insta for updates). They also have weekly cold case specials, for grab and go lunch options, and a case full of plant-based desserts and pastries.
I’ve tried their tempeh breakfast sandwich as well as a raw berry cheesecake and I have to say, I’m partial to their desserts. The sandwich wasn’t super exciting but I’m willing to give them another shot and maybe try a sweet breakfast item next time.
This was soooo much food!
Best For: A healthy breakfast or lunch. Since they’re located within Agritopia, The Uprooted Kitchen sources a lot of their produce right from the farm, which is really cool. This makes them a great spot for a real farm-to-table breakfast or lunch.
Downtown Phoenix, open 11 am – 8:30 pm daily
This Asian restaurant in the heart of DT PHX offers diners plenty of faux meat options, including seafood, which can be pretty hard to find. I’ve only been once since I heard it was ranked as one of the best vegan restaurants in the Valley but TBH, I wasn’t super impressed and neither were my parents (both omnis). None of us are big on faux meats and the dishes we had weren’t super exciting, though the menu does seem pretty authentic and it has gotten high ratings on Happy Cow. It just wasn’t our thing.
The orange cauliflower from Vegan House.
Best For: Vegans craving meat. Vegan House has everything from soy chicken to vegan shrimp and ground beef, so it’s great for newbie vegans who still want that meaty texture and flavor sans the animal suffering.
Still on my list to try: The Cutting Board Bakery & Cafe (they recently updated their menu), Casa Terra (Arizona’s first fine dining vegan restaurant), Mi Vegana Madre (I’ve tried their food truck at vegan festivals but have never visited their newish brick-and-mortar location in Glendale), Loving Hut (multiple Valley locations)
Have you ever been to a vegan restaurant? What’s the best vegan dish you’ve ever had?