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Being vegan or vegetarian used to be considered an alternative lifestyle. Not anymore. In response to a broad shift toward more plant-based diets—for personal and environmental health reasons—almost every restaurant you visit these days has a selection of vegan or vegetarian (or dairy-free or gluten-free) offerings. Of course, that’s not a new idea here in Denver: Watercourse Foods and City, O’ City—the city’s OG plant-based spots—were founded way back in 1998. Since then, plenty of other vegan/vegetarian eateries have opened. Here, we’ve rounded up some of our favorites from across the metro area so you can expand your options next time the hunger pangs hit.
Editor’s Note: This is a living list of Denver vegan and vegetarian restaurants that was last updated on September 5, 2023. Did we miss your favorite? Email us at email@example.com.
Capitol Hill is an eccentric neighborhood, yet Bang Up to the Elephant still manages to stand out. The tiki theme starts at the mural-covered front entrance and continues past the eight-foot-tall fountain to the back wall covered in hundreds of tropical plants and onto the menu. But first: the cocktails. Our palates appreciate that they’re classified from less to more sweet and that the classics—the piña coladas and rum punches of the world—share space with more inventive options, like the Devil’s Claw’s combo of rye, cream of coconut, and Chinese five-spice. The food is an enticing blend of Caribbean, African, Chinese, Indian, and Southern American influences, so expect the unexpected. To wit: The menu spans from potato and plantain mofongo to lo mein to a seitan Cubano. Just go with it. It’s all part of the fun at one of the city’s most playful eateries. 1310 N. Pearl St.
We’ve long relied on the Corner Beet for a caffeine boost, a healthy bite, and a comfortable place to catch up with a friend (or our inbox). Its bountiful vegan/vegetarian menu is full of scratch-made eats, cold-pressed juices, and smoothies; vegans will be happy to see the enticing selection of fresh-baked pastries. The casual corner spot is simultaneously trendy—as evidenced by its superfood lattes and fancy toasts—and homey, with its chalkboard signs and copious plants. In the spring, the cafe relaunched an evening food and cocktail program. Swing by Thursday through Sunday for Mediterranean-inspired bites and cocktails like the tequila- and citrus-forward Emerald Bijoux. 1401 N. Ogden St.
We’ve been singing this queer-owned pop-up kitchen’s praises for a while (its crave-worthy loaded elote baked potato was featured on our 2021 list of the “Best 45 Dishes to Eat in Denver Right Now”), and now the rest of the country is catching up. In July, the Easy Vegan took the top prize on the Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Owners Alexi Mandolini and Taylor Herbert say they’re going to put their $50,000 winnings toward a brick-and-mortar bar and restaurant. While we all wait for that to come to fruition, we can enjoy their comforting pasta, pierogis, and oatmeal cream pies during regular mobile kitchen pop-ups, including at seasonal farmers’ markets. Tip: Keep an eye on Instagram for announcements about upcoming prix fixe dinners. Find the food truck’s weekly schedule here—including regular visits to the City Park and South Pearl Street farmers’ markets.
Fellow Traveler is the spot to try something new: Singani, aguardiente, or zwack, anyone? (Don’t fret: The menu explains what each spirit is, and the staff will help you out, too.) The off-the-beaten-path bar’s menu of global spirits may be what first drew us in the door—they also serve more familiar cocktails including trendy spritzes and zero-proof selections—but the laid-back vibe and concise menu of about a dozen vegan dishes are what keep us coming back. Fried cornbread, chilaquiles, and the creamy fried avocado tacos are all tasty. Don’t miss weekend brunch…or owner Joe Phillips’ limoncello. 3487 S. Broadway, Englewood
The motto at Gladys, a food stall inside Edgewater Public Market, is “plants forever.” The fine-dining quality of chefs Rocky Hunter and Dave Grant’s grub certainly has us agreeing with the sentiment. The menu reflects the current growing season, and the team cultivates many of their ingredients themselves. What does that mean for your lunch or dinner? A green curry caprese with Colorado cucumbers, mango, and coconut yogurt. Orecchiette with sweet corn and white miso. A play on a Reuben sandwich in which celery root is treated like pastrami. Fresh cookies. You really can’t go wrong. Honestly, the menu is small enough that you can try everything if you bring a couple of friends along. 5505 W. 20th Ave., Edgewater
There’s no shortage of good slices on Colfax Avenue, but that hasn’t stopped Mora Pizza from developing a following of regulars who crave an authentic tasting pie and overstuffed cannoli. Since early 2023, third-generation pizza maker Jonathan Mora—he’s got New York credentials—has served his thin-crust creations out of a shared kitchen with Pita Grill; over the summer, he purchased a food truck, which will begin operations on the same block in the fall. There, you’ll be able to order pepperoni pizzas that are good enough they’ll trick even committed omnivores, vegan mozzarella sticks, and whatever the special of the day is (if you’re lucky, it’ll be Roma tomato–topped white pizza and fried Oreos). 911 E. Colfax Ave.; follow Mora on Instagram for updates on the forthcoming food truck
Smoothie bowls are nothing new in fitness-obsessed Colorado, but what sets Natuur apart is its customizable menu. For the bowls, diners get to choose their base (açai, protein-amped cherry, dragon fruit, mango majik, or super green—or a mix of two), three fruit and two dry (like hemp seeds or cocoa nibs) toppings, and a drizzle (peanut butter, honey, you get the idea). Our advice after multiple visits: Let the base melt a little before you dig in for optimum flavor. The menu also features a variety of coconut milk-based smoothies, healthy toasts, oatmeal, and a salad. 3712 W. 32nd Ave.; 1525 Raleigh St., Unit 110
We love salads and veggie bowls as much as the next person (truly), but sometimes you just want to indulge in good ol’ comfort food. On that front, So Radish delivers. The Olde Town Arvada restaurant serves a menu—including brunch! —chock-full of dishes you actually want to eat: chick’n and waffles, green chile cheeze fries, mushroom cheezesteak, chickpea salad sandwich. (For the record, they have yummy salads, too.) It’s all served in a rad space where the walls are covered in murals, and booze for the delicious lineup of cocktails sits on neon, sunglass-shaped shelves. The thoughtful drinks menu includes gluten-free beers, ciders, kombucha, and even vegan wine. Don’t miss the “Secret Level” arcade in the back, where guests can order off a secret menu and enjoy happy-hour-priced drinks while playing retro games. 5711 Olde Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada
From the teal-and-pink beachy decor to the brightly hued cocktails to the seasonal, Mediterranean-influenced menu, Somebody People is a place people want to hang out—whether they’re plant-based or not. We can pretty much guarantee that herbivores and omnivores alike will dig the menu. It’s fun and creative (for example: Sunday Supper, a $38, six-course meal is developed around whatever ingredients remain in the kitchen at week’s end) and, most importantly, delicious. You won’t find any of those “faux meats” here. Instead, nosh on house-made pastas and whichever of-the-moment, fruit- or vegetable-forward appetizers are on the lineup. And save room for dessert; Somebody People swirls its own ice cream and makes ice cream sandwiches out of it. 1165 S. Broadway, Unit 104
Plenty of the most common Indian dishes—including chana masala and aloo gobi—are already vegan, so it’s no surprise that plant-based Indian eateries are taking hold across the metro area. Among our recent favorites is Total Vegan Indian Restaurant. The unassuming strip mall spot is a bit of a drive, but the car time is worth it for the lentil-specked mango-moong salad, tawa roti (whole-wheat flatbread), laddo (fried dough made with chickpea flour), and saag. In place of meat, guests get to customize their entrées with two ingredients from a selection that includes tofu, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and eggplant—which ensures you never leave hungry. 9563 S. University Blvd., Unit A, Highlands Ranch
It’s time to make your way to Englewood to taste chef-owner Howard Wang’s vegetarian and vegan Asian cuisine. It’ll take multiple trips to try everything that sounds good on V Revolution’s lengthy menu, but we suggest you start with the black pepper mushroom bao buns, spring rolls noodle bowl, or hearty drunken noodles. Having trouble deciding? Check out the chalkboard near the register that lists the chef’s favorites and staff picks. Better yet: Bring a few friends and enjoy the meal family-style. 3570 S. Logan St., Englewood
A school cafeteria isn’t exactly a vegan paradise. At least, it wasn’t before Vegan Van opened its brick-and-mortar at Assembly Student Living. The food truck brought its fast-food-inspired menu to the Globeville housing community in January. Almost everything is made in-house, from the seitan chorizo in the breakfast burrito (get a side of Taco Bell–esque fire sauce) to the sour cream on the Crunchwrap Supreme. The eats have been so popular that Vegan Van was invited to take over the entire dining hall space. Dig in at the pizza counter or grab some vegan delights to go at O’s Market, which is stocked with everything from cheese to pancake mix to frozen goods. Coming in the fall: a coffee stall. 3900 Elati St.
Vital Root is one of Denver’s most approachable plant-based eateries. The lush, all-day space sits on the popular Tennyson Street drag, and its fast-casual menu sprouts from the imaginative brain of Justin Cucci (the restaurateur behind Linger and El Five). Here, you’ll find cashew queso nachos, fava bean falafels, a Reuben made from root vegetable “pastrami,” and banh mi tacos composed with edamame pâté (our personal favorite). There’s a kids’ menu, too. Plus, smoothies, coffee drinks, and a tight lineup of boozy options. If you manage to walk out the door without a peanut butter-tahini cookie, you’ve got more willpower than we do. 3915 Tennyson St.
Have a hankering for sushi? It’s probably one of the most difficult cravings for plant-based eaters to satisfy. Thankfully, chef Steven Lee has figured out the recipe at Wellness Sushi. In place of fish, his inventive—and tasty—lineup of rolls relies on a range of ingredients. Eggplant takes the place of freshwater eel, for example, while konjac, a root vegetable which can be powdered and turned into a jelly, is battered and fried to mimic shrimp tempura. Our go-tos are the Bang Bang Broccoli Don paired with the Dancing Green Roll, which stars perfectly crunchy squash tempura. The menu also includes an array of other classic Japanese dishes, such as ramen (gluten-free options are available), donburi, and onigiri, a sushi-like sandwich made with OmniPork Spam and Just Egg tamagoyaki. Trust us: You won’t miss the fish (too much). 2504 E. Colfax Ave.