Baltimore is a fantastic place to be vegan! I’ve lived here for over 7 years and I’ve found a plethora of eateries that are vegan-friendly, both in the city proper and the surrounding area. Let’s start from the top! I know that this list isn’t exhaustive, although I try to add to it as I discover new places. B*more people: let me know if I’m missing any great eateries!
If you’re visiting from out of town, allow me to explain Baltimore dining in a nutshell. First of all, there are very few places where you need to bother dressing up. Baltimore is a pretty casual city. With a few exceptions, most restaurants, even the nicer ones, are pretty easy to get into on Monday through Thursday nights. Typically dinner rush starts to pick up at around 7pm and will continue until anywhere from 9pm to 10:30 or 11, depending on the neighborhood.
For me, ‘everyday restaurant’ is a misnomer since I prefer to cook and eat most of my meals at home. But if you’re looking to go someplace that doesn’t require reservations or otherwise require advance planning, here are restaurants that accommodate a vegan diner.
The Land of Kush. (Lexington) 100% vegan soul food restaurant. Casual atmosphere with some seating – but many diners choose takeout instead. Imitation meats and cheeses (vegan cheeses are homemade). Some of the most popular dishes are the BBQ “ribs” and mac and “cheese”. I dined there in late 2013 and blogged about my experience. The food isn’t so much my style, so I don’t frequent the Land of Kush but it’s great to have an all-vegan option in town!
One World Cafe. (Charles Village/Roland Park) Vegetarian (except for, bizarrely, two fish dishes on the menu) casual cafe. Great for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Ample clearly-labeled vegan options and daily vegan veggie burger and dinner plate specials. Reasonably priced. I love the OWC wrap (greens, veggies, guacamole, and garlic herb sauce), bean dip, blue corn pancakes, and more. Also sells a varied selection of vegan baked goods and great coffee.
Sweet 27. (Charles Village) Asian-Caribbean fusion eatery that is almost completely gluten-free and has many clearly-labeled vegan options. Some favorites include the chickpea-battered sweet potato fries and the masala chickpea tacos.
Golden West Cafe. (Hampden) Southwestern American-inspired cuisine with a few Asian fusion dishes as well. Sit-down eatery that also has a storefront taco bar. Many clearly-labeled vegan options; some of my favorites are the Aztec burrito (ask for no cheese); tater tots (ask for their amazing vegan tahini sauce); and coconut banana French toast. Good beer selection; great for both brunch and lunch/dinner. You may have to wait for a table at peak hours.
Rocket to Venus. (Hampden) Elevated bar food just off of Hampden’s main street, and usually quieter than Golden West. The menu changes with the seasons and always has clearly-labeled vegan options. Some I have enjoyed recently are the kimchi tofu gyros (hold the mayo); and the vegan reuben. Excellent drink selection. Good for weekend brunch, great for dinner.
Cafe Cito. (Hampden) Spanish-inspired cafe open for brunch and lunch. Always at least one dedicated vegan option on the seasonally-changing menu. You can enjoy a casual, relaxed meal (including at their outdoor seating) at Cafe Cito, for very reasonable prices.
Liquid Earth. (Harbor East) Casual vegetarian eatery with a big selection of juices and smoothies, and many raw options. I love the raw tacos. You may have to confirm vegan items with the server; they aren’t always labeled on the menu.
Sticky Rice. (Harbor East) Sushi/Asian-fusion eatery on Aliceanna street with an entire section of vegan sushi on the menu, as well as many vegan appetizer and entree selections. I love the garden balls and the tater tots (ask for the vegan sauce).
Byblos Mediterranean Cuisine. (Federal Hill) Charming Mediterranean cafe in Fed Hill with many vegan options, from moussaka to falafel. This restaurant goes out of their way to be vegan-friendly and the staff is exceptionally friendly. Needless to say I often suggest this place for work lunches.
Zaatar (Federal Hill) Another quality Mediterranean restaurant in Fed Hill. To compare and contrast Zaatar with Byblos (above), in terms of vegan options you’re going to find a great spread of appetizers (I especially love the kibbeh) at Zaatar, while Byblos has a better selection of vegan entrees. So it all depends on what you’re in the mood for, but both of them are great!
Blue Agave. (Federal Hill) Southwestern and Mexican cuisine. There aren’t very many vegan options on the menu, *but*, the fried avocado tacos are vegan and fairly tasty. You can also get the happy hour black bean tacos without cheese, all of the salsas, and the classic guacamole.
Joe Squared. (Station North; Inner Harbor) Famous Baltimore pizzeria that makes, you guessed it, square-shaped pizzas. In addition to pizzas with vegan cheese (or no cheese), any of their vegetarian risottos can be made vegan with coconut milk (the inspiration for my roasted eggplant risotto), and they also have vegan veggie burgers and sides. Now with a second location in Power Plant Live at the Inner Harbor.
Johnny Rad’s. (Canton) Pizzeria/tavern with clearly-labeled vegan options, excellent for both lunch/dinner and brunch (bottomless mimosas!). Some favorites include the Templeton pizza (cheeseless Marinara-style pizza with an amazing garlic puree), and the vegan cheesesteak.
Dooby’s. (Mount Vernon) Pan-Asian cafe that leans Korean. In addition to appetizers and sides, the build-your-own-bowl options all have vegan bases and the sauces are vegan as well (clearly-labeled). Breakfast and brunch, however, do not have serviceable vegan options.
HomeSlyce Pizza Bar (Federal Hill; Mount Vernon) Yet another vegan-friendly Baltimore pizza joint. An array of vegetable toppings and vegan cheese are available. There are also a couple of vegan appetizers and one vegan sandwich.
Chain options around town: Chipotle; &Pizza; Potbelly Sandwiches; Blaze Pizzeria
Indigma. (Mount Vernon) Upscale, creative Indian restaurant with a dedicated vegan menu. Also has a weekday lunch buffet (but I’ve never been to it).
The Food Market. (Hampden) Modern American cuisine; the restaurant is happy to accommodate vegans and you won’t need to call ahead, but you should talk to your server when you arrive.
Paulie Gee’s. (Hampden) Upscale Italian restaurant in Hampden focusing on wood-fired pizzas. A dedicated vegan pizza menu; possibly with vegan appetizers and sides to come once the full menu is released (as of 7/26/2016, the restaurant is still operating with a limited initial menu). I really enjoyed the pizza I tried, which came with homemade cashew ricotta, pickled onions, tomato sauce, and arugula. I found it to be a small (though high quality) amount of pizza for the price which is why I have listed this in my “Nicer/Pricier” section.
Sobo Cafe. (Federal Hill) Modern American cuisine; great for both dinner and brunch. Always at least one labeled vegan appetizer; usually also a dedicated vegan entree, but you may need to discuss it with your server.
Cinghiale. (Harbor East) Upscale Italian restaurant – rated one of the best in the city. You’ll need to make a reservation and call in advance to let them know that a vegan will be dining.
The Wine Market. (Locust Point) Modern American cuisine and known (duh) for their amazing wine selection. I suggest calling in advance if you can, but it’s not strictly necessary. You’ll be on your own for choosing vegan-friendly wines.
Gertrude’s. (Charles Village) Restaurant attached to the Baltimore Museum of Art that emphasizes seasonal Maryland cuisine. The chef is well-known in the vegan community and the menu always has several vegan options for each course.
Encantada. (Federal Hill) Eclectic cuisine served up on the third floor of the American Visionary Art Museum (museum entrance fee not required to eat at the restaurant). Always with many labeled vegan options. Not sure if you want to splurge on a whole fancy meal at Encantada? Check out their fantastic weeknight happy hour, which I partake in more often than I care to admit.
Jack’s Bistro. (Canton) Creative pan-global cuisine. The kitchen can accommodate vegan, and sometimes there are already strictly-vegan options on the menu. I recommend calling ahead if possible, but definitely having a conversation with your server when you arrive and reminding them that you don’t eat meat, fish, eggs or dairy; as not all of them are completely versed in what vegan means.