It's no secret that Colorado is full of healthy, hippie restaurants - but for out of state students, or those of us moving to new towns, it can be challenging to find places that align with dietary restrictions or lifestyle choices. Never fear, we've rounded up the best places around Fort Collins' quaint Old Town district to satisfy you, and any animal-conscious friends. It's never been easier to eat vegetarian in Fort Collins!

1. Tasty Harmony

Tasty Harmony is a vegetarian restaurant serving picture-perfect, plant-based, organic dishes. Most of the food is vegan or can be made vegan, and a ton of their food and baked goods are gluten free (like their huge pumpkin cinnamon rolls!). Their dishes have generous portion sizes (the local college kid budgets have noticed) and include trendy ingredients such as cashew cheese, jackfruit, or smoothies with cacao and goji berries. 

#SpoonTip: if you're out with meat eaters, I recommend the Kentucky Fried Freedom. Although they use seitan in place of chicken, even my carnivore friends devoured it!

2. Rainbow Restaurant

Ok, with a name like Rainbow, I'm sure we can all expect this to be a beautiful place. Rainbow is an adorable converted cottage serving lunch and breakfast in multicolored rooms, and on an equally charming patio. When most students have family and friends coming to town that don't eat meat, this is the first place people recommend as a vegetarian in Fort Collins.

This is a great spot to bring family and friends; Rainbow takes classic diner fare and gives vegan options or creative twists. There's pumpkin bread french toast, guacamole veggie burgers, and of course, their famous sweet potato latkes.

3. The Gold Leaf Collective

The Gold Leaf Collective is a beautiful spot perfect for a date-night tucked across from CSU's famous Oval courtyard. The restaurant is a charming space with string lights and exposed bulbs strung throughout the forest-themed dining room - and the food is just as beautiful (and tasty!) to match.

Part of what makes Gold Leaf so unique and delicious is the care they put into their entirely vegan menu: a ton of their ingredients are locally sourced and even foraged! Food and Wine has even named them "best Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurant in Colorado" as of 2017

4. The Fort Collins Food Co-op

Although this little market isn't a restaurant, their deli has a daily, rotating selection of meat, vegetarian, and vegan sandwich options - as well as vegetarian/vegan soup and vegan breakfast burritos served daily. Most of the ingredients are local too, from baguettes baked across town to specialty made tempeh from a local restaurant, it's easy to taste the care that is put into these meals.

Bonus: while you're in the shop, you can stock up on farm-fresh produce, bulk bin items, local products, and well known plant-based brands like Kite Hill, Daiya, and Bobo's Oat Bars to name just a few. 

5. Avogadro's Number

"Avo's" is definitely a college hangout. This spot - located right across from CSU campus - is both a restaurant offering breakfast/lunch/dinner, a bar, and a music venue. The fare is late-night bar food, with options for omnivores and plant-based people alike. They make their tempeh in-house, which goes on everything from pizza, to Ruebens, to the base of their veggie burgers. This is the place to be on a weekend night crowded around a table with friends. 

6. DGT

DGT stands for "Damn Good Tacos," and boy do they live up to this name. Aside from the classic meat options like carne asada and slow roasted pork - their vegan and vegetarian tacos are where things get creative. The "Earth Wind and Fire" features sweet potato puree, kale, local tofu, and tomato-ginger sauce. Or get the "Tofu Thai Taco," which comes drizzled in Thai peanut sauce.

#SpoonTip: if dairy is in your diet, opt for the quesadilla chips: house fried tortilla chips each individually topped with lacey-crispy melted cheese - their spin off of nachos! If you're dairy free, their horchata is made with coconut milk, cacao, and cayenne for a surprising warmth. 

7. The Alleycat Cafe

The Alleycat is a well known and loved coffee shop located in (surprise) a twinkle-light strung alley off campus; it's open 24/7 so it's the perfect spot to cram for exams, or finish those (very) last minute projects. 

What's little known about Alleycat is their menu of not only great drinks (with all of the alternative milks for vegans!) but delicious food. They have a variety of sandwiches made on fluffy house-made vegan focaccia, a massive plate of veggies and scratch-made hummus, and for the real late-night snack: vegan desserts, rotating from fudgy brownies, coffee cake, or even pop tarts! If you're going to get some studying done, why not motivate yourself with a brownie the size of your calculator at the end of it? 

8. Maza Kabob

If you're looking to switch things up from the routine of dining hall fare, head to Maza Kabob for authentic Afghanistan cuisine. The vegan-vegetarian options here are abundant and flavorful. Part of being a vegetarian in Fort Collins (or lets be real, anywhere) is keeping your options exciting and varied, and the diverse spices and seasoning at Maza make every meal special: Veggie kabobs, platters, and dumplings are all excellent choices, and the menu does a great job of labeling the vegan/ vegetarian options - including their sides! (Naan FTW)

9. Mt. Everest Cafe

Speaking of Naan for the win, who knew a small Colorado mountain town could have such diversity? Mt. Everest Cafe features Nepali cuisine served by a family with incredible backgrounds, including a former monk and a sherpa! 

This is the best place to go to feast with friends - it has already become popular amongst students for birthdays and celebrations because of the massive quantities of fun food and the familial atmosphere. Vegans and Vegetarians have tons of options, my personal favorite (and all four of my vegan friends!) is the coconut curry, heaped on fluffy basmati rice, with their cooked-to-order naan. There are also traditional veggie "momo" dumplings, dahl soup, and various curries or paneer dishes to choose from. They also offer a full buffet service! If my adventure isn't climbing Mount Everest, it's tackling a mountain of good food with good friends. 

10. FoCo Cafe

    FoCo Cafe is a nonprofit restaurant relying on a pay-what-you-can donation, or even service-based, payment system. The ingredients are primarily local and organic, and are also helped payed for by community donations. Eating at the FoCo cafe feels good: building and helping the community, but with the bonus of vegetarian and vegan soups and salads! The menu changes daily to best support seasonality of ingredients, but past favorites have been smoked butternut squash soup, potato and spinach parmesan, or cumin-scented lentil with cilantro and lime. Before you drop your donation when you order, don't forget to ask for one of their gluten free corn muffins or almond cakes!

Finding food to fit your lifestyle in Fort Collins isn't just easy, it's a fun experience. With a passion for supporting local farmers and producers, and the diverse international options available, there are exciting places to eat as an omnivore or plant-based person just minutes away from campus.