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Vegetarian's Guide To Indianapolis

In my continuing list of Hoosier Guides, I present some of Indy's best vegetarian and vegan dishes.

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SoBro Cafe

"Thank you SoBro Cafe for proving to me that Indy actually does offer some vegan options and can do them well," one reviewer said -- and it's absolutely true. At this favored restaurant, you can find SoBro Cafe's extremely famous chai tea, the delicious Good Burger (loaded with avocado and sprouts), the West Indies Veggie Scramble, the Garden Maki Rolls... it's practically impossible to fit everything on this list. Whether vegetarian or vegan, there are many options that will pique your interest.

The Sinking Ship

Just a heads up -- this place is hipster. Very punk, very hipster, but this 21+ bar has a surprisingly great vegan and vegetarian friendly menu. The great eats include seitan BBQ wings, the vegan chili, and their vegan burgers. Grab a brew, grab a burger, and enjoy the atmosphere -- it should be a regular stop!

3 Sisters Café

Recently awarded the Best Local Vegetarian/Vegan Joint by NUVO Magazine, this place is a big favorite for many Indy foodies. Many, many options including the Three Sisters Sandwich (brie, berries, and apples on multigrain wheat!), Veggie Club, the Black Bean Burger, and the plethora of egg scramble options will get everyone excited.

Fat Dan's Deli

Cate Pickens from United State of Indiana told me to include Fat Dan's Deli on this list. "You have to," she said, referencing the delicious Not-So-Fat Black Bean Burger. Other options include the Peyton’s Grilled Cheezy, the coleslaw, and the cottage Cheese and fries. Never forget the tator tots and french fries, always one of the best vegetarian sides wherever you may go in Indy.

Cate: Yes. You must include this. As a vegetarian, I love nothing more than the side of holier-than-thou that comes with ordering the vegan quinoa burger when my friends are all chowing down on burgers and fries. But let's be real, on a Friday night after a long week, that quinoa burger doesn't really cut it. Enter Fat Dan's Deli, creator of the Not-So-Fat Black Bean Burger. Vegetarian? Check. Healthier than a Big Mac? Absolutely. Still greasy and Delicious? Hell yes. Fat Dan's has the only true equivalent of burger and fries for vegheads; all the delicious satisfaction of a burger with none of the animal flesh. Boom.

On another note, the fries are legendary, but if you think that you can eat a side with your burger at Fat Dan's then you're mistaken. The burgers are huge and the fries overflowing. To properly enjoy Fat Dan's, follow this formula: Cate + the hot bartender I met at a wedding last month + 2 burgers + 1 order of "The Best Fries in the Universe" + 2 local beers = Indianapolis is the best city on Earth

Henry: PTL.


Either you love Yats, or you love Yats. I'm serious -- with the cash-only, I-Owe-U policy, there's no excuse to not stop by. There's a whole menu for vegetarian cajun options: the Spinach and Mushroom Étouffée, Vegan White Chili, and B&B compliment the atmosphere and aesthetic. It's the perfect comfort food: very filling, absolutely delicious.

Santorini Greek Kitchen

Santorini was voted Best Local Greek Restaurant by NUVO readers, but what makes this place really special is their selection of great vegetarian food: the Santorini Tomato Balls, the vegetable Souvlaki, the delicious Vegetable Combination, and Spanokopita are all going to fill you up while not skimping out on portion sizes.

Shoefly Public House

First thing's first: Shoefly Public House has a superb beer menu on tap. Secondly, the vegetarian and vegan menu is surprisingly good: the No-Meat Meatloaf is impressive, the Escarole Salad and Beans are great, the Yucca Fries are delicious, and the Vegan Chili and Cheddar is perfect for those bitterly cold days. I definitely recommend stopping by in the near future.

Café Patachou

Café Patachou's got some phenomenal vegetarian and vegan options on the menu: from the vegan omelette and cuban breakfast, to the vegan field roast and ensalada fresca, no one has to worry about being stuck with a bland and unoriginal menu. Don't forget the fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts to beautify your plate!

Spice Nation

Offering nothing but vegetarian dishes, this buffet-style Indian restaurant is a haven for herbivores that like their food spicy. With dishes like mango halava, creamy mango pudding with cherries and pears, spring rolls, dosa, and vegan chai tea, you'll never go wrong. (Another reason to celebrate, most of the dishes are vegan as well!)

Red Lion Grog House

Bekah Pollard from The Lala recommended this restaurant to me when talking about this article. "It's a bit upscale," Bekah told me, but she said that Red Lion has homemade vegan and veggie burgers, a vegetarian portobello and swiss sandwich, and meat-free stuffed portobellos. They also have hand cut chips (fries, for the uncultured Yankees out there) that are served with curry sauce. Head on over to Fountain Square if you're interested!

Ripple Bagel & Deli

Mandy Crandell / Via

With an extensive vegetarian selection, Ripple Bagel & Deli in Broad Ripple will never disappoint. Many people have suggested the Deer Creek, a favorite for vegetarians: cream cheese, smoked cheddar, avocado, lettuce, tomato, sprouts and mustard on bialy. Also, be sure to check out the China Cat Sunflower, Aunt Pin's, and the Shakedown -- man, my mouth is watering.

Pita Pit

While Pita Pit is a national restaurant chain, it doesn't hurt to have more and more vegetarian and vegan options for Indy locals! Pita Pit's got a number of toppings meant to keep you happy: falafel, hummus (regular, garlic, or red pepper), babaganoush, spicy black bean patty, and the all vegetable garden variety are all great. If you're looking to eat vegan, when you order the falafel or black bean patty, be sure to let the staff know so they can either microwave it or wash off a section of their grill.

Pure Eatery

When talking to my roommate about great vegetarian dishes around Indy, he was very quick to recommend Pure Eatery. "Yeah, it's right next to Red Lion Grog House. I used to eat at Pure all the time!" Pure Eatery's the perfect place for affordable, delicious vegetarian and vegan food. They've got the Hot Vegetarian, the Pita Pizza, Gouda-Stuffed Jalapenos, an amazing selection of vegetarian signature sandwiches, and so much more. Also, they serve LICK ice cream -- they've some of the best vegan ice cream flavors out there!

Georgetown Market

Think Whole Foods, only smaller and on the West side of Indianapolis. There is an incredible amount of vegan and vegetarian foods in bulk, deli items, and juices/teas in a mini-supermarket style setting. Looking for healthy foods that you wouldn't find at a Walmart or Trader Joe's? It's probably at Georgetown Market -- reviewers from all over were extremely thankful to find everything they might need: even the rare and eclectic foods found almost nowhere else.

Broad Ripple Brewpub

A few days ago, I was emailed an incredible list of places that I missed initially. For these next five entries, I will be including what Laura Frank had to say about each one. They're real good, and in her words, they "trend towards the 'something for everyone' restaurants."

Laura: "I love this place because Indy bars and brewpubs tend to push the bacon/burger craze. Vegetarians like to drink too! They have many many veggie items on their regular menu, plus they always feature a couple of vegetarian items on their special menu, which changes every few weeks. Try Nancy's Nutty Burger (to die for!) or the Spinach Melt, which they took off the menu briefly and everyone protested until they brought it back. This place is my go-to stand-by."

Chatham Tap

Laura: "Again, a bar that has a lot of really great vegetarian options. I almost always get the Smoked Gouda Apple Melt, but lately I've been on a Lord Byron pizza kick (feta, lemon, peppers & hummus). A friend of mine who eats meat always gets the black bean burger here, too. Two locations too: Mass Ave. and 116th Street."

Twenty Tap

Andrew Hamilton / Via

Laura: "Another restaurant with a superb beer selection. They have veggie buffalo wings on their appetizer list (made with good!); their soups are often vegetarian; their vegan banh mi sandwich is amazing; and pimento mac and cheese (enough said)."

Upland Tap House**

Laura: "Sensing a theme here? Ok, this one is in Carmel (or Bloomington), so technically not Indianapolis. But they deserve a mention for the seitan tenderloin and seitan philly. The wit mac and cheese is pretty darn awesome, too!

And this one is completely vegan."

**Yep, not TECHNICALLY Indianapolis, but real close!

Three Carrots

Laura: "Three Carrots is in City Market. Since it's a counter, it's best for lunch or carryout. Very good. Try the Pulled Seitan Sando or the Banh Mi Sando. I also got the very mushroomy solstice loaf for Thanksgiving."

At the end of the email, she also added: "I think it goes without saying, but there are so many great ethnic Indianapolis restaurants that have good vegetarian options, too. But I think that's the case in all U.S. cities. Other countries do veggie way better than us 'Mericans."

Too true, Laura. Thanks for the amazing submissions!

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