Veg Out: Many Philly-Area Eateries Make Vegans, Vegetarians and Gluten-Free Diners Feel Right at Home The Region Offers Numerous Culinary Options For The Non-Carnivores

PHILADELPHIA, June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Dining is big business in Philadelphia, with visitors spending $1.3 billion on food and beverage in 2009, according to Tourism Economics. Those in search of healthy choices will be thrilled with the region's vast and ever-evolving dining scene. From upscale white tablecloth with inventive vegetable creations to raw foods and gluten-free dishes, Philly's veg-friendly scene offers possibilities a-plenty. Here are some spots worth checking out:

Destination Dining:

  • Vegetable lovers flock to Bucks County, where Mike Jackson's Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille turns out creative, big-portioned vegetarian food (no meat substitutes) in a cozy, romantic atmosphere. 772 2nd Street Pike, Southampton, (215) 942-8888, bluesagegrille.com
  • Horizons, a half block from South Street, is the city's highest-rated vegan restaurant with a sumptuous dining room and outdoor seating. Menu highlights include portobello carpaccio, hearts of palm cakes and saffron creme brulee. Even the wine and beer are vegan. 611 S. 7th Street, (215) 923-6117, horizonsphiladelphia.com
  • Weekend brunch draws vegans from all over the city to Mi Lah Vegetarian, home to a completely vegan menu featuring favorites like beer-battered seitan and waffles (made with a local brew), tofu benedict and oversized pancakes with blueberry soy butter. Their eclectic dinner menu features tofu, seitan and inventive vegetable dishes. 218 S. 18th Street, (215) 732-8888, milahvegetarian.com
  • New Hope's brand-new vegan dining destination, Sprig & Vine offers a Sunday brunch menu (think warm doughnuts, strawberry and vanilla cream-filled French toast and a tempeh reuben), along with an elegant dinner menu featuring delicacies such as slow-roasted vegetable pave with soft polenta. 450 Union Square Drive, New Hope, (215) 693-1427, sprigandvine.com

Vegetarian & Vegan Friendly:

  • Chef and co-owner Shannon Dougherty lets her own vegetarian preferences influence the menu at A Full Plate Cafe and Catering, her quirky, casual eatery in Northern Liberties. Park the dog outside and enjoy a vegetarian "riblet" sandwich, which can be made dairy-free; fried green tomato salad; or a spinach and black bean burger. Liberties Walk, 1009 N. Bodine Street, (215) 627-4068, afullplate.net
  • A favorite of veg types who crave classic Philly flavors is Gianna's Grille, located just steps off South Street. The signature sandwiches are the Freebird, a vegetarian chicken cheesesteak available barbequed, Italiano or Buffalo-style; and the GG Special, a vegetarian cheesesteak also offered three ways. Save room for one of the many yummy vegan baked goods, including cheesecakes, soft serve ice cream and cannolis. 507 S. 6th Street, (215) 829-4448, giannasgrille.com
  • At Govinda's Gourmet Vegetarian, vegans can choose from a $14.95 buffet or order from the a la carte menu, featuring mock-meat dishes such as pan-roasted "duck" with sweet potato puree and peanut ginger sauce. Attached to Govinda's is the casual Govinda's Gourmet To Go, a laid back shop offering sandwiches and wraps (such as the "chicken" cheesesteak and "tuna" salad wrap), tofu and veggies. Govinda's Gourmet Vegetarian, 1408 South Street, (215) 985-9303; Govinda's Gourmet To Go, (215) 545-5452, govindasvegetarian.com
  • Choose from specialty hot sauces to spice up the vegan and vegetarian options at the omnivorous Machismo Burrito Bar in Manayunk. Pick a veggie or Boca burger burrito and pile on saffron rice, black beans and fresh veggies like bell pepper and corn, then top with vegan sour cream or vegan cheese. 4330 Main Street, (215) 508-3333, machismoburritobar.com

Asian Vegetarian:

  • Cafe de Laos devotes an entire page of their Thai menu to vegan and vegetarian dishes, served in an intimate bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) atmosphere just steps from a bustling Vietnamese Market in South Philadelphia. The lunch crowd takes advantage of an inexpensive, three-course menu where just about any dish can be made vegetarian. 1117 S. 11th Street, (215) 467-1546
  • The all-you-can-eat dim sum, available for just $12, is a big draw for starving artists and students at Kingdom of Vegetarians, another Chinatown destination. An array of dumplings and the curry "shrimp" are popular choices at this kosher vegan eatery. 129 N. 11th Street, (215) 413-2290
  • A $12 Sunday dinner buffet and daily all-you-can-eat dim sum specials make New Harmony Vegetarian a filling destination for vegetarians, vegans and their omnivorous dining companions alike. Those in the know save room for the vegan dessert offerings, including dairy-free "cheesecake." 135 N. 9th Street, (215) 627-4520
  • Regulars recommend the faux orange beef at Singapore Kosher Vegetarian Restaurant in the heart of Chinatown. Specialties include more than two dozen veggie dim sum options, more than a dozen bean curd dishes and chef's specials such as eggplant fritters, stuffed mushrooms and mock chicken and shrimp in a garlic mango sauce -- all certified kosher. 1006 Race Street, (215) 922-3288
  • Inexpensive lunch specials are popular at Center City's Su Xing House. Menu options include Kung Pao tofu, soybean nuggets with sweet and sour sauce and sesame seitan. There are also veggie versions of favorite soups, noodle and rice dishes. Gluten-free dishes are always available. 1508 Sansom Street, (215) 564-1419, suxinghouse.com

Gluten-free:

  • Vegetarian Celiacs and their friends find what they're looking for at Bliss, where chef Anthony Goodwin keeps an eye on the gluten. (He regularly caters functions held by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.) Popular items include the beet salad with goat cheese and the poached pear and candied walnut salad with bleu cheese and vanilla bean-pear dressing. 220 S. Broad Street, (215) 731-1100, bliss-restaurant.com
  • Philly's first "allergen-free" bakery, Sweet Freedom is stocked daily with tantalizing (naturally sweetened) gluten-free, vegan sweets -- from cupcakes to blueberry bars and whole cakes. Plus, they crank out daily specials Tuesday through Sunday. 1424 South Street, (215) 545-1899, sweetfreedombakery.com
  • The home-style Venezuelan cuisine at Sazon -- just west of trendy Northern Liberties -- satisfies vegetarians avoiding wheat with dishes like grilled tofu and mushrooms with brown rice and black beans. An entire gluten-free menu of various arepas (corn patties) delights vegans and vegetarians with toppings like scrambled egg, cheddar cheese, tofu or veggies. 914 Spring Garden Street, (215) 763-2500, sazonrestaurant.com
  • Celiac sufferers won't miss out on traditional favorites at Boston Style Pizza, home to an entire gluten-free menu that includes a fresh mozzarella appetizer and a healthy hummus platter. What's more, classic pizza with homemade sauce and Wisconsin pizza cheese is available on gluten-free crust. 447 N. Sumneytown Pike, North Wales, (215) 699-3977, pizzabostonstyle.com

Shop & Eat:

  • The always bustling Reading Terminal Market is also supremely vegetarian-friendly. Stop for falafel at Kamal's Middle Eastern Specialties, local and organic produce and raw milk cheeses from small-scale farms at Fair Food Farmstand or a blended fruit or veggie drinks at Four Seasons Juice Bar. Basic Four Vegetarian Snack Bar serves up mock meats and vegetarian and natural foods, and Nanee's Kitchen does vegetarian Indian and Pakistani dishes. 12th & Arch Streets, (215) 922-2317, readingterminalmarket.org
  • Just steps off of South Street sits a haven for vegans, vegetarians and those who follow a macrobiotic diet. At Essene Market & Cafe, a hot and cold meatless buffet and dining area share the generous space with fresh local and organic produce and healthy grocery items. Plus, they squeeze fresh juices to order, boast baked goods created with multiple dietary restrictions in mind and host an array of events, lectures and classes. 719 S. 4th Street, (215) 922-1146, essenemarket.com
  • Western Main Line vegetarians and carnivores coexist peacefully at Oasis Cafe and Living Cuisine. Specialties here include raw foods (vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds in their natural state), as well as organics and an enormous smoothie selection. 134 Lancaster Avenue, Frazer, (610) 647-9797, oasislivingcuisine.com
  • Arnold's Way, a health food store and vegetarian raw cafe in Montgomery County, takes healthful eating to a new level with wraps made from the sea vegetable called nori and with salads so finely minced they require no dressing. The store shelves are packed with food, vitamins, books and videos. 319 W. Main Street, Lansdale, (215) 361-0116, arnoldsway.com

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases business and promotes the region's vitality.

For more information about travel to Philadelphia, visit visitphilly.com or uwishunu.com, where you can build itineraries; search event calendars; see photos and videos; view interactive maps; sign up for newsletters; listen to HearPhilly, an online radio station about what to see and do in the region; book hotel reservations and more. Or, call the Independence Visitor Center, located in Historic Philadelphia, at (800) 537-7676.

SOURCE Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation



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