While Philadelphia is known for being a cheese-steak haven, the city also boasts plenty of vegetarian/vegan restaurants and dining hotspots.
Here are three restaurants to check out in/on South Street, Chinatown and Reading Terminal Market.
1. Gianna’s Grille
Located: 507 S. 6TH Street, Philadelphia, PA
Gianna’s Grille is a popular hotspot near South Street, which serves both regular and vegan cuisine. They’re open 12PM-8PM Sunday-Thursday, 12PM-9PM Friday-Saturday and are closed on Mondays.
Because of their wide selection of foods, this is a place you can come to whether you eat meat or not. The menu is divided into sections for carnivores and herbivores, and some of their premiere vegan dishes include vegan cheese-steak, vegan pizza, and vegan cheesecake (Actually, with the exception of their soft-serve ice cream, everything on the dessert menu is vegan.) Other sandwiches include the “Freebird,” (vegetarian chicken and cheese,) the “Fighting Dog,” (vegetarian sausage, chicken and cheese,) the “Veggie Griller,” (grilled Portobello mushroom, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli rabe and cheese,) and the “BBQ Bacon Burger,” (veggie burger and cheese, onions, BBQ sauce, veggie bacon.)
Sandwiches typically cost around $5-$7, are served in large portions, and must be ordered by name (to not be confused with the meat options.) You also have your choice of various vegan cheeses, including American, Provolone, Cheese Whiz, Soy and Mozzarella.
2. 1010 Cherry
Located: 1010 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA
1010 Cherry is a casual, Chinese, 100% vegan/vegetarian restaurant located in Chinatown on Cherry Street. They’re open seven days a week, and are guaranteed kosher, while being extremely affordable.
All meat products on the menu are made from a type of wheat gluten called “seitan,” while many of the dishes include a delicious, one-of-a-kind Thai soy sauce. All recipes are based on meals served at Buddhist festivals when participants couldn’t eat meat. I recommend the “Mushroom Mushroom” or “Dynasty Mock Chicken,” as well as eating in their low-key dining area.
3. Basic Four Vegetarian Café
Located: 1136 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA
Basic Four is a vegan/vegetarian café nestled in the bustling midst of Reading Terminal Market in Center City, Philadelphia. They’re open 10AM-6PM Monday-Friday and 9AM-5PM on Sunday.
They serve a mixture of natural and vegan goods, including herbal iced tea, veggie burgers, mock tuna fish, tofu turkey, vegan cheese-steaks and vegan hoagies. Try the chicken salad hoagie or the sweet potato pie.
This is also a great place to go if you need a break from work or shopping, or if you want some affordable vegan take-out while you surf the net.