On the hunt for the best vegan food in Pittsburgh? This guide is for you!
Pittsburgh is already famous for its beautiful bridges, fierce football and skyscraping sandwiches (looking at you Primanti’s). But what about vegan restaurants?? Most visitors– and sometimes even locals– don’t realize how many vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants in Pittsburgh there actually are.
Keep reading for a local’s guide to the best vegan restaurants in Pittsburgh and get ready to experience the best pierogies of your life.
- Price Range: Casual night out ($5 – $15)
- Vibe: Delightfully hippy
- Neighborhood: Bloomfield
- Cuisine: Eastern European
Entering Apteka feels like the future. Greeted with an unassuming interior and cafe style ordering, this Bloomfield favorite is decidedly laid back about… well, pretty much everything. Except for the quality of their food, clearly. Named Pittsburgh’s best new restaurant in 2017, Apteka is a spot for serious foodies and pierogi-loving wanderers alike.
Don’t be deterred if you don’t recognize a single word on the menu (Placki ziemniaczane z papryka is one of their better known dishes, just to give you an idea), the fare at Apteka is deceivingly simple. Thick potato pancakes, hefty dumplings, fresh sauerkraut and celeriac schnitzel are all on the table (literally) and some of the best vegan food in Pittsburgh.
Finish up with Apteka’s extensive cocktail list, all crafted from homemade syrups and all under ten dollars or maybe even a little dessert (I personally suggest the cream cake with roast apricot and coconut yogurt).
You can come at five to skip the line, or, if you’re 21+, swing by at 10:00 pm for an exclusive late night menu only offered on the weekends (there are burgers, guys, I’m just saying). Whatever your night holds, Apteka and their magical dumplings have you covered!
- Price Range : Lunch in San Francisco ($11- $18)
- Vibe: Industrial Chic
- Neighborhood: Lawrenceville
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Named after the infamous bus line– Squirrel Hill, you know what I’m talking about– B52 Cafe is the very best of vegan food.
Perfectly casual for a quick lunch, this bright, airy space still feels chic enough for a special occasion and serves some of the best vegan food in Pittsburgh
The food itself is a celebratory blend of American and modern Middle Eastern cuisine featuring uniquely delicious dishes as well as fabulously executed classics– we’re talking fresh creamy hummus and hot savory falafel to a Kofta Tofu Scramble and Seitan Shawarma.
On a Saturday afternoon you’ll find clusters of smiling Pittsburghers spilling out of their Lawrenceville storefront, dreaming about cashew cream cheese thick-cut toast with berry compote. And did I mention that everything is made from scratch, in-house? Moral of the story– be ready for a wait that’s very (very) worth it.
- Price Range: Order-Everything Affordable ($2- $10)
- Vibe: Relaxed artist hub
- Neighborhood: Polish Hill
- Cuisine: Fancy toast
Not to be confused with its sister location Lili Cafe, this adorable hideaway in Polish Hill is home to hearty sandwiches, locally sourced coffee and freshly, fluffy vegan pastries.
The prices are accommodating, the staff appropriately chatty and the food substantial. No lettuce and toast creations here, Liliput will fill you up with its famous avocado tempeh panini, mile-high ruben or hot and cheesy breakfast burrito– all vegan of course!
Grab an iced matcha latte and settle in one of Lilliput’s window cubbies for an amazingly affordable afternoon out. And don’t forget about the chocolate chip cookies! (For real though).
- Price Range: Slightly more than Starbucks ($6- $12)
- Vibe: Your heavy metal friend’s favorite neighborhood bar
- Neighborhood: Allentown
- Cuisine: Asian-American comfort food
Don’t be intimidated by Onion Maiden’s heavy-metal exterior. This plant- and cash-only cafe specializes in Asian-fusion comfort food with a creative twist.
From the music-inspired dishes to the heavy-metal background music, Onion Maiden may seem an unlikely candidate for the best vegan food in Pittsburgh – but hang tight. This bright little sit-down diner serves a mix of pretty much everything, yet somehow gets it all exactly right.
Chat with the friendly servers as you decide between the Fire and Blood Soup– a spicy coconut blend– and the Munster Mash. For your main, I recommend the crowd favorite “Coffins”, a crispy scallion pancake taco served with jackfruit and Enoki or Emperor Palpatots, Onion Maiden’s specialty tater tot nachos (!!). Clearly, you can’t go wrong– and the dish names? Almost as good as the food itself. Almost.
- Price Range: Family dinner spot ($7- $15)
- Vibe: No frills takeout joint meets neighborhood classic
- Neighborhood: Monroeville
- Cuisine: Indian
Udipi Cafe is a bit of a diamond in the rough (no Aladdin puns intended). Located right off William Penn Highway in residential Monroeville, this simple sit down spot boasts an astoundingly large and as-authentic-as-it-gets menu of spicy south Indian dishes.
The must-try item is a footlong dosa, a traditional breakfast food of south india, comes stuffed with spiced potatoes. It is also impossible to go wrong with their extensive list of perfectly spiced curries– and don’t forget to add an order of hot, soft naan for only a few dollars more.
Completely vegetarian and mostly vegan (make sure to specify!), Udipi Cafe will feel like your own secret, suburban slice of plant-based heaven.
Trust me, this is absolutely some of the best vegan food you can get in Pittsburgh!
- Price Range: Slightly bourgeois burgers ($10- $20)
- Vibe: Poetry slam meets cozy cafe
- Neighborhood: Bloomfield
- Cuisine: Fancy bar food
For a fun night out and some seriously innovative bar food, make your way to the tree-lined, urban-chic streets of Bloomfield. This two-floor, intimate bar and cafe claims they have been “keeping it weird since 2005”, and BrilloBox is not exaggerating.
While the food may be a twist on traditional– spicy cauliflower wings, veggie burgers and burrito bowls are all amazing options– the vibe is anything but common.
BrilloBox is not just the perfect place to find creative vegan eats (the tofu melt with herbed pistachio pesto mayo will forever change your life), but it’s also a cultural hub for artists and events. They use their second floor space exclusively for community-oriented activities and alternative events such as DJ dance parties, art events, spoken word, fundraisers, variety shows, screenings and more.
So, you may never know what you’re getting into when you step into this fairy light wonderland, but one thing is for sure, you will never leave bored (or hungry!) .
Pittsburgh may be famous for its sky high sandwiches and ferocious football pride, but that’s not all anymore. Primanti’s, look out, because the plant-based movement is making serious waves in the city of bridges– just ask a local!
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