Herbivores, rejoice! Denver’s vegetarian and vegan dining choices are better than ever. Maybe you’re new to plant-based eating or maybe you said goodbye to meat years ago — either way, Denver’s vegetarian and vegan restaurants will delight you with fare that ranges from light-and-crisp creations to sumptuous comfort foods.


Somebody People

This vegetable-forward restaurant is one of the coolest reservations in town. First, there's the vibe — all pastels and Bowie murals that look great on your Instagram grid. Then there's the no-waste ethos that minimizes plastic and maximizes locally grown. (Yes, this is the type of place where diners might bring their own to-go containers.) And maybe coolest of all, there's the food. A dozen or so Mediterranean-inspired dishes that showcase the best local produce with killer flavor combos. Go with a group so you can try them all and fight over your favorites. 

Extra Yummy: First-timers should start with the Feed Me menu, where you'll get to try everything from multiple veggie plates to pastas to dessert. 


Next Level Burger in Denver, ColoradoNext Level Burger

There are no written laws stating that carnivores should be the only ones enjoying the killer combo that is a burger and fries. (And why not throw a shake into the mix, too?) At Next Level Burger, you can choose among a quinoa and mushroom-based patty, a fiery chipotle black bean or the classic smash patty — just make sure that whatever you pick is paired with fries. (Bonus points for topping those fries with special sauce, grilled onions and melted cheddar cheese.)

Extra Yummy: Does it get more satisfying than an American Chzburger, fries and peanut butter cup shake? 


Wellness Sushi

Wellness Sushi doesn't just accomplish what we previously thought of as the impossible task of making sushi without the fish, but this East Colfax restaurant is making some of the best sushi in all of Denver. Every roll, onigiri and aburi oshi (torched-pressed sushi) is 100 percent plant-based, and we guarantee you won't miss the aquatic proteins one bit. If you're looking to warm up, they make five soul-heating bowls of vegan ramen, too.

Extra Yummy: All 11 rolls are delicious, but the Kakiage Supreme Roll with tempura veggies, their house krab salad, avocado, cucumber and spicy and sushi sauces is one of the original rolls that got even die-hard traditional sushi lovers on the plant-based train. 


WaterCourse Foods

“Ahhh, home.” That’s what WaterCourse Foods feels like if you’re a vegan or vegetarian. Close your eyes, point to the menu and rest assured that anything your finger lands on will be vegan and delicious. Fortunately, WaterCourse is just as welcoming to omnivores, too, with its cheery, sunny interior, gleaming bar and seriously satisfying dishes. On a recent visit, there were folks from all walks dining happily: a business lunch, a pair of hipsters, a table of what appeared to be Phish fans, and a police officer. Breakfast is served all day (yesssss!), there’s an ambitious craft coffee program, kombucha is on tap, and a full beer, wine and cocktail menu sweetens the deal. Serving an all-vegan menu since 1998, WaterCourse simply has it down pat, and Denver loves it.

Extra Yummy: Start with finger-lickin’ cauliflower or seitan wings and move onto the Gyro with shaved marinated seitan, tzatziki and grilled peppers and onions. 


Vital Root

What makes Vital Root a standout vegetarian option is its inventive menu (take your time to peruse it all) and the fabulous back patio, walled in by vertical gardens. Vital prides itself on the fact that 99 percent of its food can be prepared vegan or gluten-free, and all of it is prepared fresh in its from-scratch kitchen. Just step up to the café counter to order (from staff who are patient with any dietary questions or requests for recommendations), then grab a seat for quick service.

Extra Yummy: The Vital Cobb Salad with seaweed "bacon," egg, dates, lentils, mung beans and toga-ranch-i is a favorite, as are the Banh Mi Tacos that pack a healthy (and flavorful) punch. 


City, O’ City

Sister restaurant to WaterCourse Foods, City, O’ City isn’t strictly vegan (though you’ll find plenty of vegan choices on the menu), but it is most certainly meatless and tasty. City O’ City emits an effortless artist/poet/punk-rock vibe. It’s not pretentious or put-on, and for that reason, it is beloved by Denverites. Sidle up to the weathered, wooden bar in the back, or sit below an illuminated icicle-like light installation in the front, and let the experienced wait staff point you to the right pizzas, sandwiches and entrees on the extensive menu.

Extra Yummy: The Chicken-Fried Cauliflower and Waffles for breakfast or any of the pizzas later in the day. 


Corner Beet

From fancy toasts and salads to cold-pressed juices and lattes, Corner Beet is always fresh, easy and gratifying, with a focus on all-organic produce. A soothing space in the Capitol Hill neighborhood is framed in exposed brick and wood walls with well-patinaed hardwood floors — a warm, contemporary ambiance.

Extra Yummy: The House Toast crowned with beet butter, toasted pistachios and honey is pretty much perfection, and when it’s a salad you’re after, the Thai Peanut is just the ticket.


And let's not forget dessert...

The Cake Bar

At Capitol Hill's The Cake Bar, you can have your (vegan, plant-based, often gluten and nut-free) cake and eat it, too. It all started when Angie Wells's pandemic cake business outgrew her home kitchen. To meet demand for her custom cakes, she took over the former Make Believe Bakery space next to City O'City, also slinging vegan croissants, cookies, pastries and brownies from local vendors, and adding her best-selling cake cups - mason jars loaded up with your choice of cake, frosting and toppings. 

Extra Yummy: Try a vanilla funfetti cake cup with strawberry buttercream and rainbow sprinkles and pretend you're a kid again. 


Photo credits: Somebody People (lead photo) by Chelsea Chorpenning and Next Level Burger (side photo) by Stephanie Kelly.