People have different reasons for being vegetarian/vegan, but whatever the reason may be, we all know how difficult it is to find that perfect veggie burger or dairy-free sweet. So I did the work for you! I have been a vegetarian and on-again, off-again vegan for the past 5 years. I lived in a third world country and pretty much only ate rice and beans for a year. So when I moved to Cincinnati I was very excited to find places that had more variety with unique flavors. Before all of the meat-lovers turn their noses up, trust me these places have something tasty for carnivores and herbivores alike.
This is a flavor-packed quinoa bowl shop located in downtown Cincinnati on 7th St. It’s affordable with every bowl at $8. It all started when the owner, Brad Gilpin, was making Indian food and he realized he didn’t have any rice. He used quinoa instead, which resulted in Losanitvill3’s first menu item: Northern Indian Curry. It includes chickpeas, cilantro, your choice of house-made seitan or baked cauliflower, and of course quinoa. After this, variations of the bowl followed with Thai, Japanese and Mexican twists. My personal favorite is the N. Indian Curry and the Red Curry Peanut Thai bowl. They also have kale quinoa salads and in-house made drinks. I recommend the horchata! It has a smooth, creamy, cinnamon flavor. The added ice makes it the perfect summer drink. The menu changes every two months so there is always something new to try. Check out their Instagram for some droolworthyness @Losantivill3
2. The Whole Bowl Cincinnati
The Whole Bowl keeps it simple with its take-out window model. The owner Micah said “conceptually you can think of it as a food truck without the wheels.” With its one-item menu, it is easier to say what you don’t want in your bowl than what you do. But trust me, the simplicity does not lack in flavor. Your options include: brown rice, black and red beans, avocado, cilantro, black olives, Tillamook cheddar, sour cream, salsa and the infamous, secret Tali sauce (also known as crack sauce) They use wooden utensils and eco-friendly bowls. It’s vegetarian, but you can veganize your bowl by taking out the sour cream and cheese. All bowls are nut, gluten, wheat, hydrogenated oil and guilt free! This grab and go hot-spot is located in Clifton.
3. The Loving Hut
I typically try to stay away from fast food chains, but this place is a little different than McDonalds or Taco Bell. The Loving Hut is completely plant-based and has quite the variety of options including an array of burgers, stir fries, wraps, appetizers and sweets. The Loving Hut is an international vegan fast food chain with locations in San Francisco, Tokyo, and Indonesia just to name a few. The Cincinnati location is in Pleasant Ridge. I decided to try the mushroom panini with grilled spring rolls and I was not disappointed. The in-house-made sweet and sour sauce was so rich in flavor, and the crunch of the grilled bread paired perfectly with the creamy mushroom explosion happening inside. If you are not vegetarian/vegan I challenge you to try this place out and tell me what you think! Apparently the Impossible Burger and Vegan Quarter Pounder are quite…”meaty.”
4. Happy Chicks Bakery
This happy place has not only cakes and pastries, but also a delicious and savory lunch menu. The two founders of Happy Chicks Bakery, Jessica and Jana, focus on creative flavors which are inspired by the season- keeping the ingredients fresh and the flavors unique. They create wedding and birthday cakes, and have an array of sweets on display tempting you as you walk in. All menu items are dairy, egg, and artificial dye free. One of the items on their lunch menu was titled “The Emily” so I naturally had to order that. It’s a croissant toasted with vegan cheese, red peppers and kale. The bold flavor from the sautéed red peppers brought the whole sandwich together. I tried out two cupcakes (for the sake of the article of course) I got the seasonal Carrot Pistachio and the Black Velvet. As you can tell by the photo I couldn’t wait to devour them. This deliciously sweet and savory place is located in Northside.
5. Iris BookCafe
You can find me here at least twice a week. It’s a quiet book cafe in OTR located on Main Street right next to The Mini Microcinema. This is the perfect place if you want to relax, read a book and sip on tea or enjoy a nice meal. It has a beautiful courtyard area in the back, and serves anything from sandwiches and salads to vegan coney dogs and ice cream. They even have vegan whipped cream to top your ice cream and vegan mayo for your sandwich. They also have plenty of options for the non-veggie type. One of their employees, Steve, said they have the best vegan soups in Cincinnati and the only vegan coney dog in the area. I had to give the coney dog a try, and of course accompanied it with ice cream (I recommend the chocolate). The coney dog tasted like an actual coney dog and the ice cream tasted like actual ice cream. So I’d say it was a success!
There are more places in the Cincinnati area that offer options for vegetarians/vegans so be on the lookout for part 2. Comment below your favorite place to grab a bite and maybe it will be on the list!