Top 5 Vegan Dining Options in University City


I may not be the biggest fan of Philadelphia, but the food scene here is amazing, especially for vegans and vegetarians. Even just in our section of the city, University City, there are several delicious options that extend far beyond the typical salad and pasta meat free options. 

1. Magic Carpet (link)

Philly reigns supreme when it comes to food trucks. There's a truck for just about every type of food you can think of, from French macaroons to grilled cheese to ethnic foods. Magic Carpet is by far the best all vegetarian food cart. The magic meatballs made with tofu, the seitan pepper steak, and the spinach pie are my favorites, but they've got a couple dozen tasty menu options to choose from for lunch. Plus many dishes are made vegan by opting out of the cheese topping. 

2. Ladder 44 (link)

Alright I have to admit I've only eaten inside this restaurant once and it was not my scene. I definitely wasn't hipster enough to enjoy it. BUT the food is so good, that I order take out once a week. Even though it's not marketed as a vegetarian restaurant, it has more vegetarian/vegan choices than meat ones. The seitan reuben is perfection and the vegan mushroom scrapple is something I never knew I would love. For happy hour, they offer half priced seitan wings, spicy roasted brussel sprouts, and hush puppies with maple mustard. 


3. Hip City Veg (link)

Not as creative or innovative as the other two, but they have an exclusively plant based menu (and plates, utensils, etc), as well as a beautiful cafe. My favorite menu item is the ziggy burger. The burger itself is uninspiring but the tempeh bacon and zesty sauce toppings are the stuff of veggie dreams. Merle is also a big fan of their groothie, which is a blend of kale, apples, and seasonal fruit. We frequent the location in University City, but there are other locations around Philly as well. 

4. Greenline Cafe (link)

Again this one is a local chain. They offer a number of vegan breakfast sandwiches, muffins, and other breakfast pastries. My personal favorite is the 'Steve,' which includes a slab of spicy marinated tofu, chipotle aioli, and peppery arugula on crispy cibatta bread. It's great for breakfast on the go while roaming Clark Park or exploring the city. 

5. Pod (link)

Whether your vegetarian/vegan or have a food sensitivity, you know what a pain it can be to explain to waiters your dietary restrictions, needing to know what's in dishes, and sometimes requesting custom dishes with x, y, and z. Pod, and in my experience, all Steven Starr restaurants, know the ins and outs of most dietary limitations and accommodate them with ease. Even before an order is taken, diners are asked if there are any allergies or restrictions. As you order, they let you know if a menu item has something in it you can't eat, say a chicken based broth or fish sauce that isn't easily identified, and they omit the offending ingredient. They offer hands down the best vegan sushi in the city. The 'Vegan Steven' roll features several roasted veggies like eggplant and squash with uncooked veggies like avocado rolled together with the standard rice and seaweed to look the like normal fish topped sushi. The combination of textures and flavors is divine. Even X, my partner who says sushi isn't sushi without raw fish, enjoys this roll. 

Honorable Mentions 

Because these are too good not to mention, but top 7 didn't sound right

6. Ed's Pizza and Wings (link)

If haven't always been vegan, you know what a struggle the absence of cheese can be and how 99% of vegan cheese is inedible. Ed's Pizza and Wings is your standard college eating establishment, except they offer vegan pizza that isn't tomato pie. They offer gooey, cheesy, greasy, just like normal pizza vegan pizza with Daiya cheese, the only delicious vegan cheese known to (wo)man. They also have sandwiches and fries with vegan cheese. 

7. Copabanana (link)

This probably isn't the first place that comes to mind when you think of vegetarian/vegan food in University City considering it's soul food fame, but they have a couple seriously delicious veggie burgers, a cheesesteak, and black bean tacos that are full of flavor. When I've had a tough week, all I want is one of their veggie burgers with a side of Spanish fries (fries with sautéed onions and jalapeños) delivered to my doorstep. 

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