December 14, 2017

Philadelphia: Amazing For Vegan, Gluten-Free & More Healthy Dining

Region Brims With Delicious Choices For Vegan, Gluten-Free & Other Eaters With Dietary Restrictions

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Vedge provides plentiful options free of meat, eggs and dairy—and that even includes desserts. Photo by N. Santos for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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In a city whose best-known culinary contribution has long been the cheesesteak, Philadelphia’s vast number of health-conscious restaurants can surprise visitors. Center City is home to both one of the world’s most renowned vegan destinations (Vedge) and lauded chefs (Michael Solomonov, Zahav; Marc Vetri, Vetri) who gladly adapt menus to diners whose diets prohibit gluten, soy, nuts, dairy, meat and more. More recently, the region has welcomed a host of quick-serve spots (P.S. & Co., Vegan Commissary) and gluten-free bakeries (Sweet Freedom, Taffet’s) that redefine the concept of fast food for a healthier generation.

Vegan Spots In Center City:
1. Vedge – Culinary couple Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby make veggies haute at one of the world’s most acclaimed vegan destinations. Vedge’s unforgettable plates always feature the freshest seasonal ingredients; Landau and Jacoby are especially conscientious about customizing dishes to multiple dietary needs. 1221 Locust Street, (215) 320-7500,
2. Bar Bombón – Puerto Rican fare goes plant-based at this chic, chill Rittenhouse Square bar and restaurant. Buffalo cauliflower tacos, nopales and rice enchiladas and sweet plantains accompany lively cocktails like the “gardener’s revenge” (vodka, carrot, ginger, jalapeño and lemon) or “la preferida” margarita (with beet, habañero and lime). 133 S. 18th Street, (267) 606-6612,
3. Charlie was a sinner. – Sure, there are strong drinks and fried artichokes at HipCityVeg owner Nicole Marquis’ Midtown Village nighttime spot. But there are also heirloom beet salads, pomegranate-touched Brussels sprouts and wheatgrass shots. 131 S. 13th Street, (267) 758-5372,
4. HipCityVeg – This popular 100% plant-based quick-casual cafe has locations in Rittenhouse Square, Broad Street and University City. Fans line up for indulgence-inspired crispy ranch “chick’n” sandwiches, Philly “steak” and green smoothies. 121 S. Broad Street, (267) 296-9001; 127 S. 18th Street, (215) 278-7605; 214 S. 40th Street, (267) 244-4342,
5. P.S. & Co. – Organic purists, gluten-free adherents and vegans all rest easy while sampling any of the fare at Center City’s P.S. & Co. The 100% organic avocado toasts, amaranth porridge, summer rolls, Burmese chickpea curry, salads and sandwiches on freshly baked bread showcase the best of plant-centric cuisine, and the desserts put ordinary baked goods to shame. 1706 Locust Street, (215) 985-1706,
6. V Street – This delightful global street food pub from Vedge owners Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby pushes the boundaries of vegan flavors and textures, with Korean fried tempeh tacos, za’atar Brussels sprouts salads, Peruvian fries and seasonal waffles wowing diners. 126 S. 19th Street, (215) 278-7943,

Vegan Beyond Center City:
7. Grindcore House – In the heart of South Philly’s Pennsport neighborhood, this hip vegan coffeehouse stands out for its comprehensive range of plant-based milks (soy, almond, coconut, macadamia and oat), tasty sandwiches and baked goods. 1515 S. 4th Street, (215) 839-3333,
8. Miss Rachel’s Pantry – This South Philadelphia destination is a vegan catering and meal service—and a kitschy-chic dining room for private events and Friday/Saturday communal prix-fixe dinners (by reservation) enjoyed around a reclaimed wood farmhouse table. 1938 S. Chadwick Street, (215) 798-0053,
9. The Tasty – Across from Columbus Square in South Philly, this retro diner has become known for its flavorful breakfasts—blueberry pancakes, tofu scrambles—and lunches—Buffalo chik’n sandwiches, kale salads with coconut bacun. 1401 S. 12th Street, (267) 457-5670,
10. Vegan Commissary – This deep-in-South Philly market and luncheonette outdoes itself on the daily with creative veggie burgers, tofu egg sandwiches and a reliable grab-and-go section of salads, spreads and such. 1429 Wolf Street, (215) 964-3232,
11. Vegan Tree – Fast, healthy meals include wraps, “steak” sandwiches, sushi and noodle dishes, juices, smoothies and bubble teas at this South Street spot. 742 South Street, (215) 454-2898,

Vegan In The Region:
12. Arnold’s Way – This longtime health food store and vegetarian raw cafe in Montgomery County, takes healthy eating to new heights with wraps made from nori, salads so finely chopped they require no dressing and banana whip sundaes. The store shelves are packed with food, vitamins, books and videos. 319 W. Main Street, Lansdale, (215) 361-0116,
13. Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille – Vegetable lovers head to Bucks County, where chef Mike Jackson turns out creative, big-portioned vegetarian food (no meat substitutes) in a cozy, romantic atmosphere. 727 2nd Street Pike, Southampton, (215) 942-8888, @bluesagegrille
14. Raw Can Roll Cafe – The Main Line has taken to this petite and vibrantly colorful vegan and raw spot, where pad thai, sprouted sunflower hummus, smoothies, acai bowls and more thoroughly fresh, completely plant-based and gluten-free goodies. 767 W. Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, (484) 580-8454,
15. Mi Lah Vegetarian – Weekend brunch favorites—beer-battered seitan and waffles, tofu Benedict and oversized pumpkin pancakes with blueberry soy butter—draw vegans from all over the region to this globally-influenced Montgomery County vegan and vegan-optional spot. The eclectic dinner menu features Indonesian rolls, pad kee mao (a.k.a. drunken noodles) and African peanut stew. 40 W. Skippack Pike, Ambler, (215) 646-1808,
16. Sprig & Vine – New Hope’s premier vegan restaurant is BYOB, offering a Sunday brunch (blueberry flax seed pancakes and fried oyster mushrooms over black pepper), midweek lunch (tofu soft tacos, cauliflower bánh mi) and an elegant dinner menu filled with delicacies such as kakiage (tempura) udon. 450 Union Square Drive, New Hope, (215) 693-1427,

Juice Bars:
17. Animo – This juice bar serves organic kale and quinoa burritos, breakfast bowls and burritos, soups made from scratch, organic salads, fruit- and veggie-blended beverages, frozen-banana custard bowls and smoothies galore. 1701 Arch Street, (267) 519-0949,
18. Sip-N-Glo Juicery – This trio of creative, cold-pressed juicery and smoothie shops sates hunger and thirst with dairy-free and vegan options made with blends of dandelion leaves, parsley, mint and mix-ins such as almond milk, hemp protein and chia seeds. It’s also where to go for cleanses. 1700 Sansom Street; 257 S. 20th Street; 932 South Street, (267) 351-9300,
19. Soy Café – Vegan cheesesteak wraps and spicy dumpling soup complement an all-day, vegetarian- and vegan-friendly breakfast menu, along with an array of smoothies (black sesame and tofu, peanut butter and blueberry), coffee drinks and teas at this late-morning to mid-evening Northern Liberties shop. 630 N. 2nd Street, (215) 922-1003,
20. Yellow Juice – The natural, vitamin-packed rainbow of drinks at this Rittenhouse-area spot includes sweet potato smoothies with ginger and cinnamon. 2046 Sansom Street, (267) 519-8296,

Gluten-Free Spots In Philadelphia:
21. Lolita – Chef Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran’s Midtown Village Mexican hotspot offers a wholly gluten-free dinner menu (except for occasional dinner specials), from achiote roasted chicken to mahi mahi tacos—and mostly gluten-free lunch menu (except for the tortas). 106 S. 13th Street, (215) 546-7100,
22. Paesano’s – Gluten-free eaters rejoice at Chef Peter McAndrews’ legendary Northern Liberties hoagie shop, where the signature beef brisket with fried egg or Sicilian chickpea pancake sandwiches can be served on gluten-free bread. 152 W. Girard Avenue, (267) 886-9556,
23. Sweet Freedom – The region’s first allergen-free bakeries stock naturally sweetened, gluten-free, certified kosher and vegan sweets—from donuts to cupcakes and magic bars to whole cakes. Customers won’t find any corn, soy or nuts in any recipe either, making it one of a kind in the area. 1424 South Street, (215) 545-1899; 1039 W. Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, (610) 527-7323,
24. Taffets Bakery – With everything from baguettes, multigrain loafs, pretzels and sourdough boules to muffins, cookies, brownies, carrot cakes and cupcakes made in-house, this Italian Market bakery offers loads of gluten-free goodness. 1024 S. 9th Street, (215) 551-5511,

Gluten-Free Spots In The Region:
25. Boston Style Pizza – The gluten-free menu at this Montgomery County spot includes fresh mozzarella, hummus platters—and classic pizzas with homemade sauce on gluten-free crust. 447 N. Sumneytown Pike, North Wales, (215) 699-3977,
26. Jules Thin Crust – Locations across the suburbs allows this family-owned restaurant to corner the market on limited-diet delights. All Jules’ pizzas, including 15 different vegetarian options, can be made on gluten-free crust. 149 W. Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, (610) 896-6100; 78 S. Main Street, Doylestown, (215) 345-8565; 114 E. Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, (484) 580-8003; 817 Old York Road, Jenkintown, (215) 886-5555; 300 N. Sycamore Street, Newtown, (215) 579-0111; 1460 Bethlehem Pike, North Wales, (484) 808-2223,
27. Velvet Sky Bakery – The small, scratch-style boutique bakery located in Jenkintown specializes in custom cakes and cupcakes, as well as gluten-free and vegan choices. Velvet Sky also offers a relaxing cafe space with mini pies, muffins, scones, quiche, artisanal coffee and teas. 307 Leedom Street, Jenkintown, (215) 884-0254,

Casual Eats For All Diets:
28. Farmer’s Keep – This fast casual eatery emphasizes all things local, sustainable and fresh with sensitivity to allergies and eliminations. Patrons can build their lunch or dinner at a make-your-own-salad station, choose from hot and cold side dishes and a variety of rotating proteins and avail themselves from the onsite, 200-bottle craft beer shop. 10 S. 20th Street, (215) 309-2928,
29. Front Street Café – This all-day Fishtown spot accommodates any eater looking for nutritious but tasty sustenance. Morning açai bowls and vegan waffle bites, midday black bean burgers and grain bowls and evening spaghetti squash and lentil meatballs, match various preferences and predilections. 1253 N. Front Street, (215) 515-3073,
30. Fuel – Owner Rocco Cima challenges the notion that fast food can’t be healthy with his menu of wraps, panini, salads, burgers and rice power bowls—all under 500 calories. Fuel also offers a juice and coffee bar, as well as desserts. 1225 Walnut Street, (215) 922-FUEL; 3200 Chestnut Street, (215) 608-FUEL; 1917 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 468-FUEL,
31. Green Soul – Brothers Robert and Ben Bynum of South, Warmdaddy’s and Relish operate this healthy, soulful comfort foodery known for its signature green smoothies, shrimp and edamame salads, turkey chili and black bean burgers. 8229 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-2300,
32. Honeygrow – This casual build-your-own stir-fry and salads spot earns favor for its stylish interior. Veg and non-veg, gluten-free and whole-food options abound, along with cold-pressed juices and a create-your-own-sweet-treat bar. 7 locations,
33. Puyero Venezuelan Flavor – South America’s answer to gluten-free bread comes in the form of deliciously doughy arepas that cradle fried sweet plantains, roast pork shoulder, avocado and more savory combinations—all found at this petite Society Hill foodery. 524 S. 4th Street, (267) 928-4584,
34. P’unk Burger – The gourmet burgers need not go without buns at this casual, cash-only East Passyunk eatery, where the owners make sure to keep fresh, gluten-free options on hand. 1823 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 468-7865,
35. Pure Fare – This stylish Rittenhouse spot serves 100% gluten-free food, including detox teas, delicious smoothies and veg dishes made with seasonal, organic ingredients. 119 S. 21st Street, (267) 318-7441,
36. SliCE – This popular mini chain of pizzerias doesn’t just offer deliciously crispy gluten-free crusts; it also bakes gluten-free pies separate from its standard brethren, as to avoid cross-contamination. 1180 S. 10th Street, (215) 463-0868; 1740 Sansom Street, (215) 557-9299; 431 E. Girard Avenue, (215) 425-1555,

Upscale Eats For All Diets:
37. Garces Group – Even a chef known for his roast suckling pig can be flexible. From his Old City Spanish standard-setting Amada to 30th Street Station neighbor all-American JG Domestic, Jose Garces has trained his kitchens to accommodate all kinds of diets and demands. Various locations,
38. Fork/High Street on Market/ – Accepting culinary challenges has long been part of restaurateur Ellen Yin’s repertoire, and her Old City original American bistro Fork, along with casual next-door three-squares-a-day High Street on Market and on Rittenhouse Square gladly meets demands and needs., 135 S. 18th Street, (215) 825-7030,; Fork, 306 Market Street, (215) 625-9425;; High Street, 308 Market Street, (215) 625-0988,
39. Lacroix – The Rittenhouse hotel’s elegant breakfast-through-dinner fine-dining destination accommodates all manner of dietary needs and will arrange for vegan breakfasts, gluten-free afternoon teas and more. The executive chef has an affinity for vegetable dishes, and the Sunday brunch here is legendary. 210 W. Rittenhouse Square, (215) 790-2533,
40. Vetri Cucina – In his elegant Center City namesake, chef Marc Vetri is outspoken about his kitchen’s willingness to accommodate all manner of eaters—Kosher, nut-allergic, Celiac suffering, vegan, pescatarian. 1312 Spruce Street, (215) 732-3478,
41. Zahav – Owned by Chef Michael Solomonov, recipient of the 2017 James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef, and restaurateur Steven Cook, this Society Hill destination satisfies veg-lovers, carnivores and gluten-free diners alike with modern Israeli fare: hummus, vegetable salads, skewers and much, much more. 237 St. James Place, (215) 625-8800,

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