I might be biased because I go to school near the Windy City, but Chicago is one of the best foodie cities in the US. Deep-dish pizza, Chicago-style hotdogs, Garrett popcorn—these classics are great in all, but how about some love for our vegan friends? Chicago has tons of options for those who eat a plant-based diet or are just looking to expand their palate. Here are the 11 best vegan restaurants in Chicago for anyone looking to ditch the meat and dairy.

The Chicago Diner

Starting this list is the beloved Chicago Diner. Famous for being "meat free since '83," it's got the comfort food and feel of your traditional diner without the health risks associated with eating processed meat. While you're here, try out their famous quinoa chili or award winning vegan milkshakes (pictured above).

Upton's Breakroom

Upton's Breakroom has what's considered the best seitan in the country. For those of you who don't know, seitan is a vegan protein made out of wheat featured in tons of Asian dishes. You can get everything from a bahn mi to barbecue. Upton's is the perfect place for when you're craving traditional Asian and/or Asian-inspired food.

Kitchen 17

Kitchen 17 was hailed as one of the best up and coming restaurants in Chicago, and for good reason. The restaurant has Greek staples on its menu like hummus and pita, a bakery, and on Wednesdays they serve vegan deep-dish pizza. Yes, you heard that right: a Chicago staple, normally filled with meat and cheese, veganized. It might just give the Lou Malnati's vs Giodarno's rivalry a run for its money.

Vegan Plate

Thai food has a special place in my heart. Really good pad Thai and tom yam can make me emotional. Finding an authentic place thousands of miles away from home that's actually healthy has made my heart cry tears of joy. Vegan Plate offers traditional Thai cuisine with a modern twist, so be sure to stop at either of its two locations to experience this hidden gem.

Loving Heart

Loving Heart is a small restaurant that's perfect for lunch in the city or a light dinner. All the ingredients are fresh and flavorful, and with a dedication towards serving organic and sustainable foods you'll feel great after eating everything from the Green Deva salad to the fresh summer rolls.

Chicago Raw

Chicago Raw is a vegan staple. Not only are all dishes plant-based, but they're also they're raw so you'll get the full benefit of all the nutrients. The spaghetti and meatballs (made from zucchini zoodles and seed-based protein) and muffins are standouts, but what's best to get are the smoothies and açaí bowls. Not only are they the most photogenic, but they're also some of the best in the Midwest.

Amitabul

Amitabul proves that you can make anything vegan. It serves Korean food, which is famous for having some of the best BBQ, but makes all the dishes plant-based and healthy. Most dishes range from $9-14, but with filling choices like vegan sushi rolls and spicy bibimbap, you'll surely get your money's worth.

Karyn's Raw Bistro

Named after the woman who is credited to making raw and vegan foods trendy, Karyn Calabrese is as talented as she is dedicated. Though she's had to close her first vegan restaurant, Karyn's on Green, and reinvent her brand, that hasn't stopped her from spreading her philosophy of total wellness and all-natural living.

Her newest storefront, Karyn's Raw Bistro, boasts an impressive menu full of delectable items like dim sum and crepes, and a raw vegan weekend brunch that's got a cult following.

Native Foods

Curious to have a taste of life in SoCal? You're in luck! Native Foods is a chain from sunny Palm Springs and has come to Chicago to bring its uniquely inventive eats. The Ensalada Azteca is one of the most popular dishes, with its refreshing mango-lime dressing and Mexican roots.

If you're not in the mood for Mexican, you can always get classic comfort foods like a jackfruit pulled pork burger and even other food trends like a plant-based poke bowl. There's no other place that's as eclectic and loved as Native Foods.

Green Zebra

At this upscale joint, you never know what you're going to get. That's because Green Zebra's menu is constantly evolving, but one thing is certain: you're going to get locally grown food and an experience like no other. At this restaurant, diners should expect to be attentive and fully present as they sample seasonal dishes like eggplant Parmesan or pomegranate salad. Just prepare to drop some major bucks, since it's on the higher end of the price spectrum. 

Molly's Cupcakes

Last but not least, I present to you the best vegan dessert place in Chicago: Molly's Cupcakes. Does that name sound familiar? Well, that's because Molly's Cupcakes won the Cupcake Wars season finale, and USA Today has hailed it as one of the "10 best cupcakes in the US." Though not all creations are vegan, Molly's Cupcakes has a decent selection to choose from, and they're all so decadent and sweet that you won't even know there aren't any animal products in them.

Hopefully I've left you inspired to try out some new places or, at the very least, hungry for some delicious vegan food. Go out there and pay these stops a visit the next time you're feeling adventurous or especially ethical. You won't regret it hitting up any of the best vegan restaurants in Chicago.