In the middle of a busy week, it can be hard for anyone to decide where they want to grab a quick bite at lunchtime or happy hour.
For omnivores, the dilemma is choosing from among a plethora of restaurants, fast casual chains and local favorites to give a try on any given day. If you're vegetarian or vegan, however, the issue is finding places that you can count on to meet your needs and that include enough variety to keep you coming back for more.
Here are five great vegetarian spots to check out in Center City Philadelphia.
After opening late in 2011, Vedge has secured its place as one of Philadelphia's premier foodie destinations. With a commitment to progressive values in cooking, the husband and wife team of Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby strive to demonstrate creativity in a satisfying vegetable cuisine.
Happy hour runs 5-7 p.m. Monday through Friday with delicious choices including Tandoor seitan squash tacos and mushrooms "al pastor," while the full dinner promises tasty options like stuffed avocado, salt roasted gold beets cauliflower "cottage pie."
If you're looking for a different spin on vegetarian fare, Maoz Vegetarian offers a Middle Eastern variation with modern interpretations of classic dishes. In addition to a freshly squeezed juice bar, Maoz offers five signature sandwiches highlighted by the Health Nut, which packs tomato cucumber salad, beet salad, carrot salad, tabouli salad, and pickles into your pick of bread served with eggplant and hummus. There are also great meal deals including salad boxes and sides of Belgian and sweet potato fries.
This 100 percent vegan establishment is another great pick for happy hour, offering one of the most extensive menus you'll find in this category in Philadelphia. With a literary theme running through its drinks and dishes – "One Hundred Years of Solitude" isn't so bad when it's actually a cocktail with espolon, chili-infused simple, cilantro, and fresh berry – Charlie was a sinner has it all. Favorites include the charred Caesar salad, chilled English pea soup, artichoke frites, grilled asparagus, and seared tofu puttanesca.
Bar Bombón operates on a simple, inviting premise: Mi casa es su casa. Drawing on Puerto Rican and broader Latin cuisine, the menu offers enticing, made-to-order plant-based meals such as the knockout Salad Bombón, brócoli tacos and whole grains and winter vegetables. Appetizers include pinchos (tequila seitan skewers, baby eggplant, red chimichurri), fried plantains and authentic empanadas.
If you're looking for a quick bite without sacrificing at all on quality, HipCityVeg is arguably the best fast casual option for vegetarians and vegans in Philadelphia (so much so that they'll be opening up a third location on Broad Street this Spring). Everything about HipCityVeg strives for sustainability: locally sourced, full composting, bicycle delivery, and recycled and energy-efficient materials at all of their properties.
The great thing about the menu at HipCityVeg is that it appeals to everyone's tastes, with a full selection of veggie burgers, natural sodas, teas and smoothies, and of course, a full range of flavorful salad options.