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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.

Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

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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.

Vital Root

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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.

Spice Room | Neighborhood Indian Bistro

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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.

Rye Society

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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.

Superfood Bar

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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.

Uchi Denver

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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.

WaterCourse Foods

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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.

Radha Govinda's Buffet

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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.

Bang Up To The Elephant!

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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.

City O' City

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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.

Zeal Denver

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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.

Sweet Action Ice Cream

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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.

Fire On The Mountain-Wash Park

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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.

Meta Burger

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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.

Somebody People

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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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Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

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.

Vital Root

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.

Spice Room | Neighborhood Indian Bistro

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.

Rye Society

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.

Superfood Bar

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.

Uchi Denver

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.

WaterCourse Foods

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.

Radha Govinda's Buffet

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.

Bang Up To The Elephant!

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.

City O' City

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.

Zeal Denver

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.

Sweet Action Ice Cream

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.

Fire On The Mountain-Wash Park

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.

Meta Burger

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.

Somebody People

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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