Philadelphia is like New York City on a much smaller scale. I loved spending a few days there for the first time, and it was fairly easy to utilize their public transportation to get around. There are many full vegan places and even more vegan-friendly places that have delicious offerings. I feel like I barely scratched the surface, and I can’t wait to go back.
Above you’ll see breakfast at The Tasty, which is an all vegan diner with nice, strong coffee. We ordered the Monte Cristo, Bayou biscuits and gravy, and deluxe breakfast burrito. I love the gravy, though it’s definitely not traditional so you have to adjust your expectations because it smoky, slight sweet, and has soysage and onions in it. The biscuit wasn’t quite as fluffy as I prefer, but it worked well with the gravy. Sean loved the burrito, and there was probably enough between that and the breakfast potatoes for us to share. I found the Monte Cristo kind of boring.
We made two stops at Dottie’s Donuts, and this Matcha Donut filled with strawberry jam was hands down my favorite flavor. Everything there is vegan, and you can enjoy coffee while you’re there.
Grindcore House is a vegan coffeehouse, and I’m sad I couldn’t try everything on their menu. We had donuts as well as sandwiches, and they use seitan meats from The Herbivorous Butcher. The Club sandwich has a few different meats, plus lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo. It was a little bit spicy, too, which gave it a nice additional punch of flavor.
I visited Philly partly for work and partly for Philly Vegan Restaurant Week where restaurants all around the city have special vegan offerings on their menus, and many have multi-course prix fixe meals. Second District Brewing is a vegan-friendly tap room, and their special was a KFC special basket which included three pieces of fried vegan chicken topped with spicy agave syrup, corn on the cob, mac and cheese, coleslaw, and a hush puppy. Besides the mac, it was amazing. The crunchy fried breading hit the spot, and the hush puppy was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. My family frequented KFC while I was growing up, and this took it to the next level.
Tattooed Mom is a vegan-friendly bar with lots of personality, and we indulged in their fried pickle chicken sandwich. They have other yummy vegan bar food like cheesy tots and a Philly cheese steak.
Tio Flores is a vegan-friendly Mexican restaurant with a fun vibe and a cool bar, and everything we had there was great. My favorites were the Seitan Al Pastor Tacos and the Burrito. The flavors were so rich, and I couldn’t stop talking about the salsa verde on the burrito. It was divine.
Other stops included HipCityVeg for sandwiches (I ate at the one in DC when I was there two years ago but Sean hadn’t been to one before) which offers quick service, and it’s all vegan. Charlie Was A Sinner was recommended by several people, but by the time we were nearby, we were too full from eating elsewhere. It’s a very small, loud space, so I’m not sure it’s really my vibe anyhow. HipCityVeg, Charlie Was A Sinner, and Bar Bombón all have the same owner but are very different concepts.
If you want pizza by the slice, hit up Blackbird Pizzeria or 20th Street Pizza, which have the same owner and are vegan. Blackbird is the OG and offers thin crust triangle slices, whereas 20th Street has gone the square route and has a thicker crust. I’d eat both of them again without hesitation. The Haymaker has seitan sausage, red onions, garlic butter, Violife mozzarella, and fresh oregano. All three slices of what we had at 20th Street were perfection, so if you go just get everything.
We also made sure to enjoy a multi-course dinner at Vedge and mostly shared small dishes like the stuffed avocado and potato leek tart. Dessert was my favorite: the Black and Blue was dark chocolate truffles that melted as soon as they hit my mouth, smooth ube ice cream, and a blue matcha marshmallow cream. Sean’s dessert included wasabi pea ice cream, and I appreciate their innovation with their dishes. It’s spendy but makes for a lovely date night.
LUHV Vegan Deli can be found inside the Reading Terminal Market, which is a pretty animal meat heavy place, though we saw some other places advertising vegan options (Fox and Son even has a yummy funnel cake!). LUHV makes a lot of their own products, but they carry some meats from The Herbivorous Butcher. The Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich was the perfect way to start the day: super flavorful with a nice variety of textures.
I also had a great time checking out V Marks the Shop which is a vegan convenience store in south Philly. My friends Carlo and Carmella recently opened the shop and I found way too much that I wanted to buy. They have a selection of shelf stable, fridge, and freezer items. It’s a must visit when you’re in town.
Last (maybe) but not least, I had an incredible meal at Front Street Cafe, but I’m going to give that one the honor of having its own separate post so I can share more photos. In looking back, I’m a little shocked at how much we packed in during the few days we were there. We arrived around 11am Sunday and left first thing Thursday morning, so we had about four full days. We even tried to be tourists and saw the Liberty Bell and did the self-guided tour of the US Mint, which I can’t recommend enough. I’m impressed with the number of places that have great vegan options, and there are some full vegan spots that I wasn’t able to get to. Have you been?