By: Bina Willens (Loyola Sophomore)
With the holiday season underway, it can be nearly impossible to spot a vegan-friendly dish at the dinner table for those who prefer a plant-based meal. Luckily, though, there are countless takeout alternatives in the area that offer vegan options.
I Dream of Falafel (IDOF) in Rogers Park provides Mediterranean food with a sizable vegan menu. Similarly, m.henry, in Andersonville, has both a regular and a vegan menu. However, for those who are fully vegan or have strict dietary restrictions, Loving Heart Vegan Cafe in Uptown is the place for you; offering vegan burgers, wraps, and bowls, their food is both healthy and tasty.
IDOF on Sheridan offers a convenient “create your own” option where customers can choose a base of either a wrap, pita, or plate and then add a protein and up to seven toppings. Their vegan protein option, falafel, originates in the Middle East and is made primarily from chickpeas. It is typically deep-fried or baked and is comparable to a vegetarian meatball; it is grainy on the outside and airy on the inside. It is delicious served with some tahini or spicy tomato sauce, both of which are available. They also have some soup options for a lighter meal, such as lentil soup. It is savory and nourishing and pairs nicely with some french-fries on the side. Overall, the service was clean, quick, and efficient. Go check them out at their Rogers Park location!
Address: IDOF – I Dream of Falafel, 6558 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60626
And for more info, visit their website: https://www.idreamoffalafel.com/
Just around the corner in Andersonville sits m.henry, an endearing little cafe on Clark St. The restaurant offers both good food and an aesthetic environment, which I’m sure was enjoyed by many before this current era of Uber Eats and curbside pick-up. Although m.henry is not exclusively vegan, they offer an array of vegan/vegetarian lunch and breakfast options. The breakfast menu includes bake goods such as muffins, scones, and baguettes, while their lunch menu consists of more substantial items like sandwiches, bowls, salads, and soups. Their food is simple yet classic and is the perfect option for a light and satisfying meal. M.henry is an all-around lovely cafe, and their bread is unbeatably fresh and delicious.
Address: m.henry, 5707 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60660
Check them out on the web: https://www.mhenry.net/menus
Lastly, Loving Heart Vegan Cafe by far has the most vegan options of the three restaurants. Every choice on their menu is 100% vegan and most of the ingredients they use are organic as well. They offer burgers, bowls, wraps, smoothies, and even some vegan desserts. Their monthly special is the buddha bowl, which includes brown rice, spinach, red peppers, shredded apples/radishes, avocado, and fake meat. It is topped with sesame seeds and a spicy Korean barbecue sauce that ties it all together. While the concept of the bowl is healthy and creative, it would have been greatly improved if they swapped the fake meat out with tofu. The fake meat did not enhance the overall flavor of the bowl and was not necessary. Loving Heart is another great restaurant to support if looking for an all-vegan alternative.
Address: Loving Heart Vegan Cafe, 838 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60613
For more info, check their website: https://www.lovingheartvegan.com/
Ultimately, each restaurant served something that was both unique and tasty; however, IDOF has truly mastered the art of a quick and satisfying vegan meal. Their falafel wrap isn’t too over the top and is nothing short of perfection. The ratio of coleslaw to tahini is ideal, and their french-fries are truly unmatched. Rest assured, though, each of these restaurants will satiate a hungry mouth. If you can swing it, go out and enjoy a vegan meal all while keeping our beloved local businesses alive and well.