Vegans and vegetarians get called out for being difficult to feed but these plant-centric restaurants are turning that stereotype on its head with delicious dishes everyone wants to gobble up. Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or just looking to forgo meat occasionally, check out some of Orlando’s popular vegan/vegetarian eateries.
Run for the Border!
Fast food chain Taco Bell brought its Crunch Wraps to market in 2005. Leguminati, located in the Hourglass Social House, a shared market space in Conway, makes its vegan version crunchy and filled with great flavor, including the Buffalo Crunch, Sloppy Crunch, and GBLT Crunch.
Using Gardein brand vegan chick’n and vegan beef crumbles for most of its meat swaps, Leguminati has been surprising a lot of Orlandoans with its handheld meals. The GBLT (a fun play on a BLT) features vegan bacon that gives this toasted flour tortilla wrap just the right hint of smoky flavor. The “G” comes from guacamole that’s perfectly zesty. For an added delight you can often find up-scale vegan donuts available on the weekends at Leguminati, too. Located at 2401 Curry Ford Road.
East and West
Loving Hut is an international chain of vegan restaurants operated by followers of Buddhist-leaning Supreme Master Ching Hai, a Vietnamese spiritual leader. Of course, diners need not adhere to any formal spiritual or religious training to eat here. With a focus on eastern dishes including fried rice, sushi (made with vegan “ocean filet”), pho, sweet and sour soup, spring rolls and teriyaki “chicken”, Loving Hut is all vegan. There are also good old American standbys such as burgers, fries, and Philly cheesesteaks. Don’t forget dessert. Try the banana fritters. They’re simply yummy. Located at 2101 E. Colonial Drive.
Southern Food with a Soul
At Dharma Southern Kitchen you can get the down-home foods you love without the meat. Both vegan (non-dairy) and vegetarian dishes (with dairy) are available at the counter-service or take-out spot located in the Market on South shared market space. BBQ Cauliflower, Southern Fried Chick’n, Crispy Brussel sprouts, slaw and Drop Biscuits are the stars of the menu. You’ll get your daily fill of vegetables with the Dharma Chopped salad. This tangy twist brings a great mix of sweet (beet chow chow), salty (pretzel croutons) and bitter (watermelon radishes). Temporarily closed for renovations, Dharma Southern Kitchen expects to open back up in January 2023 Located at 2603 E. South Street.
Bombay Street Kitchen offers vegans, vegetarians and even meat-eaters something tasty to eat. The majority of dishes are plant-focused and full of Indian flavor. But Bombay Street Kitchen also incorporates some Asian-Indian fusion dishes. Try the Gobi Manchurian, a battered cauliflower with garlic soy sauce or Paneer Lettuce Wraps, cow’s milk cubed cheese that is pan-fried and tossed with hoisin sauce. For dessert there is kulfi (dairy ice cream) for vegetarians or an exotic-inspired gola (shaved ice) flavored with rose water, mangoes or Indian blackberries and black salt for vegans. Located at 6215 S. Orange Blossom Trail.
Plants for the Win
Ever since Burger King made Impossible Burgers accessible to the general population more people are opting for the planet-friendly version. Plantees is basically an all-vegetarian BK, using only the vegan patties for all versions of its burgers. Plantees simple American fare including soy “chicken” nuggets, burgers, fries and shakes are an easy way to try out vegan/vegetarian food without venturing too far from the familiar. Try one of Plantee’s unique sauces — Agave Mustard, BBQ Ranch, Green Goddess, Plant Sauce (Plantees’ “special sauce”) or Spicy Sauce on your burger or dip your fries in them. Located at 1030 N. Mills Avenue.
So, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, get out there and support these restaurants to keep them serving the food you want. If you’re not a strict plant-eater, give these places a try for something tasty and different. It’s good eatin’.