Washington isn't all monuments and politics. The DC restaurant scene has become a reason in itself to visit the nation's capital. Although our current president may eat exclusively at fast food chains and his own hotel, exploring local dining hotspots is a staple of city life for most Washingtonians, and there is no shortage of healthy, plant-based options. Vegan or not, you'll find something satisfying and Insta-worthy at all of these locations, and you'll have no questions why they're the best vegan restaurants in DC.

1. Fruitive

vegetable, herb
Alyssa Cronin

Located in City Center, Fruitive is the nation's first certified organic fast casual restaurant, and it has an entirely plant-based menu. You can order everything from sandwiches, salads, wraps, and tacos to "liquid meal" smoothies, cold-pressed juices, activated lattés, and superberry bowls. Not to mention they have the absolute best avocado toast in DC.

2. Beefsteak

salad, vegetable
Alyssa Cronin

A clever name and a veggie-centered menu? Beefsteak isn't even strictly plant-based, and it's still one of the best vegan restaurants in DC. Developed by Chef José Andrés, this fast-casual spot is equally healthy and trendy. Head to Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom, or Tenleytown to build your own bowl and experience "vegetables, unleashed."

3. Sticky Fingers 

Sticky Fingers has been serving vegan sweets in Columbia Heights since 1999, and now there are plenty of hearty eats on the menu as well. Quesadillas, breakfast burritos, burgers, tacos, pancakes, and donuts are popular menu items, but the vegan cupcakes are the true stars. They've won founder Doron Petersan two Cupcake Wars titles, and $1 of each cupcake sale is donated to the charity of the month.  

4. HipCityVeg

Shoutout to Philadelphia for sharing this 100% plant-based establishment with us Washingtonians. HipCityVeg is located in Chinatown and has a fun fast food vibe. The Udon Noodle Salad is amazing, and a side of sweet potato fries is a must. You can even get a vegan Philly cheese steak, chicken nuggets, or a burger made from tempeh or portabella. 

5. Fare Well

From the masterminds behind Sticky Fingers comes another vegan venue: Fare Well. This plant-based diner, bar, and bakery is located on H Street and specializes in "veggie-centric comfort food." With options like French Toast Casserole and Cookie Dough Pancakes, you'll definitely want to take advantage of the all-day breakfast menu.

6. Chaia

carrot, vegetable, chicken
Alyssa Cronin

Although technically just vegetarian, this female-owned taco shop is totally one of the best vegan restaurants in DC. Just ask for your tacos vegan, and you're good to go. Focusing on local ingredients, Chaia serves perfectly-roasted seasonal veggies on hand-grilled corn tortillas. Treat yourself to a taco trio next time you're in Georgetown. 

7. Elizabeth's Gone Raw

This fine dining experience is only offered on Friday nights in an upscale L Street townhouse and costs $75 per person. Elizabeth's Gone Raw offers a seven-course meal featuring aged cashew cheese, watermelon salad, and coconut bacon ice cream. In addition to being vegan, the entire menu is raw, which means nothing is cooked over 118 degrees.  

8. Shouk

Everything offered at Shouk is "'whatever your diet is' friendly," so you can bring all of your friends to this plant-based K Street eatery. Choose from seven different pita creations, or go for the rice and lentil bowl option to enjoy your veggies sans-pita. You can also get a pita pizza, fries, soup, salad, a tomato "burger," and house-made drinks.

9. Evolve

With a full vegan bar and nightly Happy Hour, Evolve is the District's only full-service vegan restaurant. Noted for its friendly atmosphere, which is self-described as "casual sophistication," Evolve is also located in Takoma and offers a various vegan takes on traditionally cheese- and chicken-centered dishes, as well as rotating chef specials.  

10. Equinox

If Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bill Gates, Al Gore, and Larry David have all eaten here, it must be pretty, pretty, pretty good. Equinox is not exclusively vegan, but gourmet plant-based options are plentiful, and their vegan brunch buffet is a local favorite. Chef Todd Gray owns this Connecticut Ave venue with his vegetarian wife, Ellen, and insists on using organic ingredients grown within 100 miles of the restaurant.

11. NuVegan Café

If you're ever craving fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, or mac and cheese, there's no need to ditch your vegan diet, thanks to NuVegan. They believe soul food should truly nurture and satisfy the soul, so they've recreated traditional American comfort food with natural, plant-based ingredients. Stop in the Georgia Ave café, or look out for their food truck around DC.

12. Soupergirl

With flavors like Summer Squash Tahini and Barley Chickpea Kale, Soupergirl will have you craving soup all year long. The menu is entirely plant-based, features local ingredients, and also includes fresh salads, homemade breads and desserts, and to-go soups. In addition to café locations in Takoma and on M Street, you can find Soupergirl at local health markets.

13. Khepra's Raw Food and Juice Bar

Coconut Crab Cakes, Almond Hemp Burgers, and Avocado Nori Wraps are just a few of Khepra's drool-worthy entrées. The raw dessert menu is just as tempting, with options like Apple Pear Goji Pie and Cashew Cheesecake. Wash it all down with a Super Juice or smoothie, and you'll already be planning your next visit to H Street on your way out the door.

14. Senbeb Café

On the DC-Maryland border in Takoma lies another vegan comfort food spot that has been around since 1988. Senbeb is a natural market with made-to-order meals that are entirely plant-based. Seafood, ribs, steak and cheese, potato salad, and whoopie pies have all been veg-ified for this menu.

15. Union Market

Alyssa Cronin

While not quite a restaurant, Union Market features too many vegan-friendly pop-ups to overlook. Whether you're craving tacos, pasta, ice cream, or a smoothie bowl, there's a plant-based version available at this trendy indoor farmer's market. 

So, yeah, that stereotype that all vegans are deprived and only eat kale definitely doesn't work in Washington. When you're eating at the best vegan restaurants in DC, a plant-based diet seems like anything but a sacrifice.