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My Favorite Vegan Restaurants | Raleigh NC [2023 Guide]

Raleigh, NC has a lot of good vegan dining options. Here are a few of my favorites…

⭐ Best Overall Vegan Restaurants in Raleigh, NC

1. Bonafide Bakeshop

Alright, Bonafide is in Apex, but I’m still putting it as my number 1. It’s an easy 20 minute drive from Raleigh, and it’s got baked goods that will rock your world, vegan breakfast sandwiches for when you’re craving greasy morning comfort foods, and classic soups and sandwiches for everyone. And these options are are available all day long. You can get coffee and oatmeal, warm soup with vegan grilled cheese, a salad, or any of a huge variety of seasonal muffins, cakes, and other assorted bakery items.

Bonafide is a small place that fills up on the weekends, but even on Saturdays and Sundays I haven’t had too much trouble getting a seat after ordering at the counter. There’s a small bar where you can set up a laptop, a couple couches for relaxing, and numerous tables.

I highly recommend the cinnamon rolls (they’ll warm it up if you ask), but you can’t go wrong picking something sweet from the daily selection. For breakfast I usually get a Beyond Florentine Sandwich or a JUST “Egg” Sandwich. Sometimes Bonafide has French Toast on their blackboard of specials, and I’ve enjoyed that the couple times I’ve gotten it. If I’m eating in the afternoon or evening at Bonafide, I like the Buffalo Tofu and Mediterranean Eggplant sandwiches. The Southwest Tempeh Sandwich is good, too, but it’s a bit heavy on the sauce for me.

Take the time to drive to Bonafide and get yourself something sweet. They’ve got lots of vegan options and the food is great. The staff is always friendly, too.

Get a vegan cinnamon roll! (only available on weekends, I believe)

2. Irregardless Cafe

Irregardless Cafe boasts “Fresh Foods Made Simply,” and it’s been recognized numerous times for it’s delicious menu, including enough vegan options for even the pickiest cruelty-free eaters.

Vegan brunch at Irregardless is amazing–they start you off with vegan scones, and there are savory and sweet options. I usually have a glass of fresh orange juice with pancakes.

3. Pure Vegan Café

Pure Vegan Café is another spot I like for modern, vegan comfort food in Raleigh. It’s a 100% plant-based restaurant with locations in Raleigh and Durham. PVC has cold-pressed juices, smoothies, acai bowls, raw treats, and A++ chick’n sandwiches. They’ve also got loaded fries and plant-based burgers.

Super tasty if you’re in the mood for comfort food, and 100% plant-based. One of my favorite vegan-centered restaurants in Raleigh.

4. The Fiction Kitchen

The Fiction Kitchen boasts “thoughtfully prepared vegan cuisine from a 100% vegan kitchen.” You know what that means? Lots of great dishes to try. There’s classic southern comfort foods, Asian-inspired entrees, and a variety of dessert options. I’ve been a few times and have never been disappointed.

5. DICED Salads

DICED is a vegan-friendly salad bar in Raleigh, and it’s probably the restaurant on this list I’ve visited the most. While it feels like a franchise or chain on the inside, they’ve only got three locations, and they’re all in Raleigh! So these really are “local salads.”

And DICED has lots of salads (tap here to see their menu).

You pick the ingredients (or from their menu–I like the Hearty Vegan and Spicy Thai), they chop it up and toss the dressing. The salads are hearty, healthy, and low-calorie. You can get wraps, too.

DICED is my favorite place to take people visiting from out of town because they’ve got something for everyone. Tons of ingredients and everything is delicious. That’s an easy choice in my book.

6. Mama Crow’s

Mama Crow’s is a burger and salad shop at Transfer Co. Food Hall in downtown Raleigh. Their Superfree Burger is the best vegan burger I’ve had in Raleigh. It’s made from sweet potatoes, roasted mushrooms, walnuts, and seeds. They top their vegan burger with tomato, charred onions, and mixed greens, but the smashed avocado and black garlic tahini dressing steal the show. 10/10 would recommend this burger from Mama Crows.

Get the Side Yard Salad if you’re extra hungry–you won’t regret it.

7. Raleigh Raw

Raleigh Raw is all about clean eating. They offer juice cleanses, a full organic coffee menu, and a full scratch-made food menu. Their kitchen is 100% unprocessed, soy free, gluten free, free of refined sugar, and seed oil free. That’s about as clean as you can get.

I always get the “Faroe Monch” rice bowl (like a vegan poke bowl) and a blueberry pollen smoothie, but I’ve had the smoothie bowls, toasts, and sweet truffles, and I’ve enjoyed it all.

The food at Raleigh Raw always leaves me light and happy, and feeling like I made a good decision.

Check out their extensive menu here.

🌮 Best Mexican Food in Raleigh

Mexican food is always a good move for vegans. Anywhere you go, you can get fajitas without sour cream and refried beans (unless these are advertised as vegan), or a bunch of other things. But who doesn’t love fajitas? Most trendy places will have some sort of vegan tacos, and even traditional Mexican restaurants have lots of veggies and tortillas.

Like I said, always a good move.

Here’s some of the best Mexican food in Raleigh…

Tacos from El Toro (first) and a lunchtime burrito and tacos at Gringo A Go Go (second).

8. Taqueria El Toro

Taqueria El Toro is a little out-of-the-way, but it’s my favorite Mexican restaurant in Raleigh. They don’t have a website, but tap here for directions.

El Toro (“the bull”) has a massive menu that is affordable, complementary chips (you just have to ask), and a do-it-yourself salsa bar. I always get tacos “con hongos y piña” (with mushrooms and pineapple). I thought this combo would be weird, but my fiancé convinced me to give it a try. I was hooked. And I still am!

El Toro is a regular stop for me. It’s super busy at lunchtime and on the weekends, but their counter service system keeps the line moving quickly.

My favorite Mexican restaurant in Raleigh is a solid 10/10.

9. Gringo A Go Go

Gringo A Go Go is a lowkey corner restaurant that feels like you’ve walked into an off-the-beaten-path touristy bar in Mexico. The food is delicious and (to the admiration of vegans everywhere) they’ve got a huuge plant-based selection, including 7 vegan protein/filling options.

But it gets better!

Gringo A Go Go also serves 10 different salsas of varying heat (I like fresh pico de gallo and smoky morita and (my favorite) pineapple water.

This delicious vegan-friendly Mexican restaurant is downtown, so it’s pretty busy at lunch and on the weekends, but the service is always solid.

10. Gym 💪🏽 Tacos 🌮

Gym Tacos has some of the best tacos in The Triangle (and I’ve tried many). Their menu is done right and delicious. I always get the vegetarian tacos and splash on a little salsa at their salsa bar.

🍣 Best Thai Food in Raleigh

11. Wasabi Cary

Wasabi is my favorite place to eat in this area. It’s a little bit outside of Raleigh, but it’s worth the quick drive over to Cary. They have an extensive lunch menu with the ability to make most dishes without fish sauce–just ask!

If we’re pretty hungry, we start with a vegetable sushi roll and fried tofu. I always get green curry with tofu and vegetables. Wasabi is a 10/10 on my vegan food list for Raleigh.

12. Thai Villa

Thai Villa is also in Cary and it makes the list because the staff is great and the food is delicious. It’s smaller than Wasabi, but it’s been open for over 20 years. It’s one of the first Thai places near Raleigh I tried. My first trip happened because their website mentions vegan options. Using the word “vegan” on a restaurant website is a good sign that it’ll have knowledgeable staff and good options.

Props to Thai Villa for letting us know!

I always get curry at Thai restaurants, so that’s what I recommend. But ask about excluding fish sauce and most of the menu should be open for vegans.

NOT Sushi Thai Cary

Sushi Thai Cary unfortunately can’t do most of their entrees without fish sauce. We actually asked on our first trip, were told everything was free of animal products, and enjoyed this Thai restaurant for almost a year. One day we decided to ask again to make sure–oops! Fish sauce in everything. No hard feelings, but I’d try the other two restaurants first.

🧞 Vegan-Friendly Mediterranean Restaurants in Raleigh

It took me awhile to discover the wonders of Mediterranean food. Once I tried some of the below restaurants, I was hooked. No matter where I’m traveling or visiting, I know that if I can find a Mediterranean restaurant, I’ll be in good hands.

Lots of people already eat exciting vegan options when they eat Mediterranean: hummus & pita, soups, loubye bzeit…and more.

Here’re best Mediterranean restaurants in Raleigh…

13. Aladdin’s Eatery

Aladdin’s is definitely the #1 Mediterranean restaurant for me in Raleigh. Aladdin’s is a Lebanese chain (I tried it first in Ohio), but the food is always delicious and they have tons of advertised vegan options. They always have vegan desserts, too.

I start with loubie bzeit (sauteed green beans) and spicy cauliflower (or soup if it’s cold). Then I have one of my two favorites: Aladdin’s Falafel Rolled or Jasmine’s Favorite. The salads are huge, too, so they can be your entire meal.

In the winter months, Aladdin’s also offers quarts of soup to go.

You can find Aladdin’s right here at North Hills.

14. Sitti: authentic Lebanese

“Delicious food and endless hospitality” is how Sitti defines itself. Sitti is the Lebanese word for grandmother “who were the caretakers and teachers of the Lebanese culture, faith and food,” according to their website.

Sitti is an upscale restaurant in downtown Raleigh offering plenty of vegan options. Their menu even uses the word vegan, so you know you’re in good hands. If you’re looking for a finer dining experience and Mediterranean food, look no further than Sitti.

15. Neomonde

Neomonde is the most popular Mediterranean restaurant in the Triangle. They have three locations (Raleigh, Durham, and Morrisville) serving some of the best traditional and contemporary Lebanese dishes in the area. I’d compare the food and price to Aladdin’s (where Sitti is more upscale), but Neomonde does not have servers. You order at the counter, so the place seems a bit more relaxed. However, if you want prefer sitting down and having a server come to you, Aladdin’s might be a better fit.

Neomonde should be on anyone’s radar who hasn’t tried it yet and loves Mediterranean food. It was my first true experience with Mediterranean and I’ve been back numerous times since.

16. CAVA

Finally, we arrive at CAVA. CAVA is basically the Mediterranean version of Chipotle, so you’ve got all the essential ingredients in a build-it-yourself experience. They’ve got bowls, pita wraps, soups, and salads. Out of all the vegan restaurants on this list, I’d bet I’ve been to CAVA the most.

You’ll find numerous CAVA locations around Raleigh, and I recommend trying the pita chips when you go.

🍓 Best Smoothies in Raleigh, NC

17. Juicekeys

Juicekeys makes some of the best organic smoothies and smoothie bowls in Raleigh, and it’s a locally owned business. They want to give you the “keys” to good health, and it’s done by way of the best smoothies I’ve had in Raleigh. Yep, I mean it. Juicekeys has my heart (and year-round pumpkin smoothies). The only downside is the price, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find inexpensive, healthy smoothies anymore.

You can find Juicekeys at these multiple locations in the Triangle.

If you can’t afford the steep prices of delicious smoothies from Juicekeys, why not make your own?

Visit Juicekeys if you’re looking for the best smoothies in Raleigh.

18. Clean Juice

Clean Juice is a 100-location-strong chain that was started in North Carolina in 2015 with quite a few locations around the triangle. It’s a chain with a small organic food menu, cold pressed juices, and great smoothies. They’ve got seasonal smoothies and menu items and great smoothie bowls, too.

Clean Juice is the smoothie stop I’ve visited most in Raleigh, and I always look for one when traveling. It’s easy to get friends and family hooked! Try the So Basic One, their classic strawberry banana smoothie.

19. Raleigh Raw

Raleigh Raw is in downtown Raleigh. It’s a bougie little shop with no-bake dessert truffles, jackfruit bowls, and bee pollen smoothies. Everything they serve is made from scratch, in house. If you’re looking for a small meal before enjoying a smoothie, head to Raleigh Raw. The bowls are delicious and filling, and the smoothies are top-notch.

I recommend the Faroe Monch bowl for lunch and any of their smoothies. They’re all good. Make sure to grab some truffles on your way out.

Raleigh Raw boasts a kitchen that is gluten free, soy free, refined sugar free, and seed oil free. They keep it fresh and clean!

🥬 Cold Pressed Juice Raleigh, NC

20. Cold Off The Press 🥇

I think I’ve spent the most money at Cold Off The Press out of all these Raleigh vegan restaurants, and for good reason. Cold Off The Press is a locally owned, health-forward, plant based kitchen that crafts the best cold pressed juice in Raleigh. The owner, Amir, is happy to talk about the benefits and process of cold pressing fruits and vegetables. He’s very informative!

All his seasonal flavors and year-round favorites are worth trying. There are different “levels” (complexities?) at COTP, so you’ve got a lot to explore. The watermelon mint during summer, apple cider in the fall, and year-rounders S.S. Green and Orange Sting are my go-to juices.

Want some heat? Citrus Inferno will rock your world. How about an immune boost? COTP has ginger and turmeric shots. I even did a three day juice fast with their help.

I love Cold Off The Press! They even deliver. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

21. Raleigh Raw

Everything Raleigh Raw serves is made from scratch inside their downtown Raleigh location, including their cold pressed juices! They happily brag about only using fresh, clean ingredients on their wellness oriented menu. Try all their juices, but make sure you take a Cashbah (cashew milk) for dessert. I’m also a sucker for any orange citrus-carrot juice, and Raleigh Raw has Morning Glory to satisfy that craving.

22. Clean Juice

I like that I can often find Clean Juice locations while traveling. They’ve got acai bowls, toasts, smoothies, and cold pressed juices. Clean Juice’s options are all certified organic and until recently were all pressed at the location you visit. They’d get the organic produce in and press it right there in the store. Unfortunately, due to scaling and adding tons of franchises (and probably profit…), Clean Juice switched to processing their juices at one facility and distributing the juice to franchises.

The shelf life on their juices is now 45 days. That may sound great, but it means they’ve introduced preservation methods. Whole Foods sells pressed juices using HPP preservation as well. My advice? Stick with Cold Off The Press or Raleigh Raw when you can (above) for the highest quality, most nutritional pressed juices.

🍜 Best Pho in Raleigh

Anise Pho

Anise Pho is a Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Raleigh, on Glenwood with delicious pho and lots of other appetizers for vegans and plant-based eaters. If we’re very hungry, we’ll start with spring rolls and fried tofu before our pho. Mention that you’re vegan if you want vegetable broth used in your pho.

There was a stretch of time where we went here every week and sat at the small bar. It’s one of our favorite stops in Raleigh. If we’re feeling pho, you know where to find us!

Anise Pho also uses the word “vegan” on their menu. If you spend time looking for vegan restaurants, you know how reassuring this tiny detail is.

🥣 Vegan Soups in Raleigh

Aladdin’s Eatery

Bonafide Cafe

Simmering Soups ‘n Such

🍪 Vegan Desserts Raleigh, NC

Bonafide

Simon Says Dip This

Cinnaholic

Vegan Restaurants I do NOT Recommend

Earth To Us

Element Gastropub

George
Georgehttps://georgecallahan.com
George Callahan is the creator of Pine Tree Poet. He is an author of fantasy stories and an adventure poet. He prefers mountains and pine trees to most other things, and usually takes his dog Cowboy along for the ride.

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