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A salad topped with avocado slices, sweet potatoes, and pepitas
A salad from Rye Society in Denver
Rye Society/Facebook

The Vegetarian’s Guide to Dining Around Denver

Meat substitutes, superfood bars, veggie bowls, and more

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A salad from Rye Society in Denver
| Rye Society/Facebook

While meat lovers continue to have the lion’s share of dining options in Denver, next-generation vegetarian and vegan establishments are easier to find than ever before. From new-school sushi to Jamaican Jerk chicken to one Jewish deli’s reuben, there’s probably a vegetarian counterpart for it.

What follows isn’t an exhaustive list of the city’s vegetarian restaurants, but some favorite spots with dishes that highlight the freshest vegetarian and most deceptively delicious substitutes. Have another go-to vegetarian or vegan destination? Send us a tip.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

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1710 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-1485
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Leaf, which relocated to a new location on Pearl Street last year, is the epitome of the healthy living ethos Boulder has long exuded. The menu is focused on organic, seasonal, and fresh ingredients, serving exclusively vegetarian fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mushroom bolognese, jackfruit enchiladas, and creole polenta are all p.m. highlights.

2. Vital Root

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3915 Tennyson St
Denver, CO 80212
(303) 474-4131
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Bold flavors on an almost completely vegan, fast-casual menu came to the Tennyson Art District courtesy of Justin Cucci and the Edible Beats group behind Linger and Root Down. Grab-and-go options are available, as well as weekend brunch and happy hour. Diners should save room for dessert and keep an eye out for the monthly raw pop-up dinners.

3. Spice Room | Neighborhood Indian Bistro

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3157 W 38th Ave
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 455-3127
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Opened by a few friends in 2017, a collection of family recipes combine with a fascination with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free cooking to produce one of Denver’s most vegetarian-friendly Indian dining experiences. Even the traditional saag paneer can be made vegan with a tofu substitute upon request. The sweet potato masala is a crowd pleaser, as is the mushroom saag.

4. Rye Society

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3090 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205
(303) 593-2713
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A neighborhood delicatessen specializing in gourmet Jewish cuisine made using generations-old family recipes might seem an unlikely destination for vegetarian diners. Bt the chilled beet borscht, roasted root veggie bowls, and the kale salad are all good options for the meat-averse crowd. However, the pièce de résistance is the vegan reuben on house rye with marinated tempeh, vegan smoked provolone, homemade Russian dressing, and sauerkraut.

5. Superfood Bar

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1541 Platte St
Denver, CO 80202
(720) 855-3493
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A New Orleans-based hub for vegan dining that opened in LoHi last year, Superfood Bar strives to source its ingredients locally. The menu is 100 percent vegan and gluten-free and packed with nutrient-rich items like red lentil soup and turmeric smoothies.

6. Uchi Denver

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2500 Lawrence St
Denver, CO 80205
(303) 444-1922
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This James Beard Award-winning restaurant was one of the heavy-hitters has been earning converts to its inventive approach to Japanese cooking since it showed up on the scene last year. For those looking for a fish-free feast (and more than an avocado wrapped in rice), there is a massive vegetarian menu available. Highlights include the mapo dofu, which consists of fried tofu, shiitake ragout, and Sichuan peppers; and and the kinoko nabe featuring seasonal mushrooms, koshihikari rice, and egg yolk.

7. WaterCourse Foods

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837 E 17th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 832-7313
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Opened in 1998, the WaterCourse kitchen puts out nothing but meat-free comfort food. This Uptown neighborhood staple has become a community hub for vegetarians and vegans, but the food is flavorful enough to convince the carnivores to join as well. A perennial favorite is the Big Rig consisting of a country fried seitan steak, scrambled tofu and gravy served with home fries and a biscuit.

8. Radha Govinda's Buffet

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1400 Cherry St
Denver, CO 80220
(303) 321-0626
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Reimagining Denver’s original vegetarian haven, Govinda’s Garden Cafe, this modernized buffet now presents a multicultural menu. Lunch and dinner buffets run Wednesday through Saturday, with salad bars full of fresh leaves, organic veggies, and much more. Evening entrees rotate — Thursdays feature Mexican cuisine while Fridays are all about the Asian offerings.

9. Bang Up To The Elephant!

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1310 Pearl St
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 792-4949
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Veggie option are prevalent at this Caribbean shack in Capitol Hill. The bowl-o-coconut curry, seitan cubano sandwich, and jackfruit roti all pair nicely with the tropical drinks. Vegan doughnuts make an appearance on the morning and dessert menus as well.

10. City O' City

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206 E 13th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 831-6443
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A hipster haven in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, serving from breakfast until 2 a.m., this community spot combines local ingredients with influences from around the world. The savory waffle or the kimchi pancakes are always solid choices. There is also coffee drinks and a full bar.

11. Zeal Denver

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75 Emerson St
Denver, CO 80218
(303) 909-1424
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This healthful spot, which has locations in Boulder and Greenwood Village, offers a glut of gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo-friendly options. Highlights include the wok-charred cauliflower, falafel with charred eggplant, and a basil cashew mac and cheese topped with Zeal’s famous Diavolo sauce.

12. Sweet Action Ice Cream

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52 Broadway
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 282-4645
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This Baker neighborhood ice cream shop has a frequently changing selection of unpredictable flavors, plus vegan options like this fall’s vegan pumpkin pie and ligonberry.

13. Fire On The Mountain-Wash Park

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300 S Logan St #102
Denver, CO 80209
(303) 480-9464
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Even non-meat eaters can’t resist a buffalo wing. Luckily, they don’t have to at this casual, Grateful Dead-influenced wing shop, which serves up vegan seitan “wings” along with its traditional chicken favorites. There is also a good selection of salads, a quinoa veggie burger topped with vegan mayo, and vegetarian-friendly munchies like fried pickles and sweet potato fries. This West Washington Park outpost is the new spinoff of the Highland original.

14. Meta Burger

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7950 E Mississippi Ave
Denver, CO 80247
(720) 535-9707
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There’s nothing more American than an old-fashioned burger and fries, but the 2019 version is made from soy, seasoned in-house, and decorated with toppings like vegan bacon. The hot dogs, shakes, French fries, and nachos here are also all vegan.

15. Somebody People

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1165 S Broadway unit 104
Denver, CO 80210
(720) 502-5681
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Gourmet vegetarian dining is the focus at this new spot on South Broadway, where a tropical look makes for an appealing place to dine on seasonal favorites like grilled oyster mushrooms served with chimichurri and a funghetto pasta topped with a carrot-based bolognese sauce. There is also a selection of 60 biodynamic wines and coffee and tea—but bring your own to-go container (or purchase one from the restaurant).

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1. Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

1710 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302

Leaf, which relocated to a new location on Pearl Street last year, is the epitome of the healthy living ethos Boulder has long exuded. The menu is focused on organic, seasonal, and fresh ingredients, serving exclusively vegetarian fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mushroom bolognese, jackfruit enchiladas, and creole polenta are all p.m. highlights.

1710 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302

2. Vital Root

3915 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212

Bold flavors on an almost completely vegan, fast-casual menu came to the Tennyson Art District courtesy of Justin Cucci and the Edible Beats group behind Linger and Root Down. Grab-and-go options are available, as well as weekend brunch and happy hour. Diners should save room for dessert and keep an eye out for the monthly raw pop-up dinners.

3915 Tennyson St
Denver, CO 80212

3. Spice Room | Neighborhood Indian Bistro

3157 W 38th Ave, Denver, CO 80211

Opened by a few friends in 2017, a collection of family recipes combine with a fascination with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free cooking to produce one of Denver’s most vegetarian-friendly Indian dining experiences. Even the traditional saag paneer can be made vegan with a tofu substitute upon request. The sweet potato masala is a crowd pleaser, as is the mushroom saag.

3157 W 38th Ave
Denver, CO 80211

4. Rye Society

3090 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205

A neighborhood delicatessen specializing in gourmet Jewish cuisine made using generations-old family recipes might seem an unlikely destination for vegetarian diners. Bt the chilled beet borscht, roasted root veggie bowls, and the kale salad are all good options for the meat-averse crowd. However, the pièce de résistance is the vegan reuben on house rye with marinated tempeh, vegan smoked provolone, homemade Russian dressing, and sauerkraut.

3090 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205

5. Superfood Bar

1541 Platte St, Denver, CO 80202

A New Orleans-based hub for vegan dining that opened in LoHi last year, Superfood Bar strives to source its ingredients locally. The menu is 100 percent vegan and gluten-free and packed with nutrient-rich items like red lentil soup and turmeric smoothies.

1541 Platte St
Denver, CO 80202

6. Uchi Denver

2500 Lawrence St, Denver, CO 80205

This James Beard Award-winning restaurant was one of the heavy-hitters has been earning converts to its inventive approach to Japanese cooking since it showed up on the scene last year. For those looking for a fish-free feast (and more than an avocado wrapped in rice), there is a massive vegetarian menu available. Highlights include the mapo dofu, which consists of fried tofu, shiitake ragout, and Sichuan peppers; and and the kinoko nabe featuring seasonal mushrooms, koshihikari rice, and egg yolk.

2500 Lawrence St
Denver, CO 80205

7. WaterCourse Foods

837 E 17th Ave, Denver, CO 80203

Opened in 1998, the WaterCourse kitchen puts out nothing but meat-free comfort food. This Uptown neighborhood staple has become a community hub for vegetarians and vegans, but the food is flavorful enough to convince the carnivores to join as well. A perennial favorite is the Big Rig consisting of a country fried seitan steak, scrambled tofu and gravy served with home fries and a biscuit.

837 E 17th Ave
Denver, CO 80203

8. Radha Govinda's Buffet

1400 Cherry St, Denver, CO 80220

Reimagining Denver’s original vegetarian haven, Govinda’s Garden Cafe, this modernized buffet now presents a multicultural menu. Lunch and dinner buffets run Wednesday through Saturday, with salad bars full of fresh leaves, organic veggies, and much more. Evening entrees rotate — Thursdays feature Mexican cuisine while Fridays are all about the Asian offerings.

1400 Cherry St
Denver, CO 80220

9. Bang Up To The Elephant!

1310 Pearl St, Denver, CO 80203

Veggie option are prevalent at this Caribbean shack in Capitol Hill. The bowl-o-coconut curry, seitan cubano sandwich, and jackfruit roti all pair nicely with the tropical drinks. Vegan doughnuts make an appearance on the morning and dessert menus as well.

1310 Pearl St
Denver, CO 80203

10. City O' City

206 E 13th Ave, Denver, CO 80203

A hipster haven in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, serving from breakfast until 2 a.m., this community spot combines local ingredients with influences from around the world. The savory waffle or the kimchi pancakes are always solid choices. There is also coffee drinks and a full bar.

206 E 13th Ave
Denver, CO 80203

11. Zeal Denver

75 Emerson St, Denver, CO 80218

This healthful spot, which has locations in Boulder and Greenwood Village, offers a glut of gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo-friendly options. Highlights include the wok-charred cauliflower, falafel with charred eggplant, and a basil cashew mac and cheese topped with Zeal’s famous Diavolo sauce.

75 Emerson St
Denver, CO 80218

12. Sweet Action Ice Cream

52 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203

This Baker neighborhood ice cream shop has a frequently changing selection of unpredictable flavors, plus vegan options like this fall’s vegan pumpkin pie and ligonberry.

52 Broadway
Denver, CO 80203

13. Fire On The Mountain-Wash Park

300 S Logan St #102, Denver, CO 80209

Even non-meat eaters can’t resist a buffalo wing. Luckily, they don’t have to at this casual, Grateful Dead-influenced wing shop, which serves up vegan seitan “wings” along with its traditional chicken favorites. There is also a good selection of salads, a quinoa veggie burger topped with vegan mayo, and vegetarian-friendly munchies like fried pickles and sweet potato fries. This West Washington Park outpost is the new spinoff of the Highland original.

300 S Logan St #102
Denver, CO 80209

14. Meta Burger

7950 E Mississippi Ave, Denver, CO 80247

There’s nothing more American than an old-fashioned burger and fries, but the 2019 version is made from soy, seasoned in-house, and decorated with toppings like vegan bacon. The hot dogs, shakes, French fries, and nachos here are also all vegan.

7950 E Mississippi Ave
Denver, CO 80247

15. Somebody People

1165 S Broadway unit 104, Denver, CO 80210

Gourmet vegetarian dining is the focus at this new spot on South Broadway, where a tropical look makes for an appealing place to dine on seasonal favorites like grilled oyster mushrooms served with chimichurri and a funghetto pasta topped with a carrot-based bolognese sauce. There is also a selection of 60 biodynamic wines and coffee and tea—but bring your own to-go container (or purchase one from the restaurant).

1165 S Broadway unit 104
Denver, CO 80210

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