So, you’re a Miami student and your friends want to grab a quick bite to eat in Uptown, Oxford Ohio. However, if you’re vegan/vegetarian, this may pose some issues. While there are many places Uptown where vegan options are nonexistent (I’m looking at you, Steinkeller), no need to fear. Of course, there are plant-based options available at most places to eat, but there’s always the question of if they’re actually good. If you feel like you’ve been ordering the same salad with no cheese every time you go out to eat, know there are better options! Being a vegan myself, I first hand experienced food from local uptown locations that are more than satisfactory.

1. Pho19

   A beef pho restaurant? What could a vegan possibly get there? Well, they don’t just have pho. Pho19 includes lemongrass marinated tofu on their menu, which is just as good as it sounds. The cold noodle dish, called Bun Cha on their menu, is a great vegan option that features rice noodles. When I ate here, being a noodle freak, I immediately ordered the Bun cha with the crispy, lemongrass tofu as a protein option. It was everything I could ever want - the noodles paired with hoisin sauce and assorted raw veggies was an interesting meal that was reminiscent of salad, but better. However, I made the mistake of using the dressing that originally comes with the cold noodles. To my vegans, the dressing does contain fish sauce, so opt out for hoisin instead. Trust me, it’s just as good.

Isabella Corder

2. No.5

   Continuing on the Asian food trend, I found that Asian restaurants actually are the most vegan friendly in terms of cultural food. There’s no cheese and commonly no milk, and tofu is almost always an option, it’s just the eggs and fish you have to look out for. No.5 is one of the asian restaurants I can rave about all day. Their vegetarian section is abundant in all the different veggie stir-frys one can dream of. It keeps me coming back as a regular, and as of current I can vouch for their Di Xan sin, Eggplant and garlic, and their bean curd soup (made with vegetable broth!) No. 5 is typically garlicky and pepper heavy on their stir-frys, so for those more interested in the Thai variety, Phan Shin is also great with vegan options. In actuality, Phan Shin's menu isn’t protein-specific, so you can literally order the General Tso’s with tofu instead of chicken! Plus, their curries are dairy-free, so go ahead and order that green curry with tofu.

Isabella Corder

3. Fridge & Pantry

   While I have yet to try their vegan veggie wrap, Fridge & Pantry’s smoothie bowls are part of my Saturday morning routine. They're variety of toppings and the thickness of the smoothie base keeps me coming back every weekend for breakfast. Obviously, most smoothie bowls everywhere are vegan friendly, but Fridge & Pantry specifically includes ingredient descriptions so you know for certain you’re not getting a smoothie bowl that contains a heap of yogurt or honey. If you'd like to know more about Fridge & Pantry, which has been recognized as a pretty key establishment to Uptown, Oxford, check out this article.

Isabella Corder

4. Kofenya

     Same as Fridge & Pantry, Kofenya has become part of my weekend routine. Kofenya includes a range of vegan options instead of just a few things on their menu. Their toasts overall are amazing and vegan friendly. Now, as an avocado toast fanatic like 90% of the world, I officially detest that Kofenya has the best avocado toast I ever had versus any other cafe. And I am for sure certain the secret is in the fresh sprouts and hazelnuts they pile on top of the bed of avocado. However, make sure to ask for no butter upon ordering. Another option is the Honey Bunches ordered with no honey, which is the classic combination of almond butter and sliced banana. Kofenya also has a veggie wrap heaped with sauteed veggies, sweet potato, black beans and guac. It is divine in a southwestern themed breakfast wrap. If you’ve been to Kofenya, you’ve seen the delicacies of baked goods on display by the counter. Vegans, you don’t have to miss out on a pastry to pair up with your latte. Kofenya houses Chubby Bunny (a vegan, gluten free local bakery that is more than good) products that are always available. Also, sometimes Kofenya will have a vegan baked goods crafted by themselves in addition to Chubby Bunny, if you’re lucky. 

Isabella Corder

5. Rapid Fire

    In all honesty, upon becoming vegan I really didn’t miss meat. But you know what I did miss? Pizza. So you could imagine how happy I was when I found out Rapid Fire had vegan cheese and used vegan dough for all their pies. And guess what - it’s good. I enjoyed my pizza piled with veggies and paired with the classic marinara. Make sure to check which sauces specifically are vegan, though, as some do contain dairy. The cheese was obviously different from regular cheese, it was more so creamier when melted and was almost like a ricotta in terms of texture. But it was still good! Yes, Rapid Fire’s vegan cheese may not be the perfect replica of actual cheese, but it still satisfied my craving for a good, classic pizza. 

Isabella Corder

    See? There are vegan options in Uptown, Oxford Ohio that will more than satisfy whatever you’re craving. While these are just the places i’ve been to this past semester, I'm sure there’s a variety of plant based options littered around the local Oxford area. So don’t worry, go out to eat with your friends, and don’t be afraid to ask for accommodations when ordering upon being vegan. It’s just a matter of asking for your toast unbuttered keeping you from the best avocado toast.