Hi, I'm Lu!

A PhD Student at University of Chicago who loves discovering the world and trying new eats! Hope you enjoy!

The Chicago Diner

The Chicago Diner

P1100257 Vanilla chai shake
P1100257 Vanilla chai shake

We wanted to get together with some of our friends who are vegetarian so we decided on The Chicago Diner, which is rated as one of the best vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Chicago by a number of magazines.  And after going, this place changed my mind about meatless food (don't get me wrong though, I'd still go for a rack of lamb any day).According to past reviews, you should not pass up the shakes, and I'm glad I didn't.  The vanilla chai shake was a refreshingly rich but fluffy drink that allows room for the actual dinner (Note: you'll want the large).

Poutine - Canadian style waffle fries topped with melted Teese Vegan Cheese, country gravy, green onions, bacun, sour craem and jalapeno
Poutine - Canadian style waffle fries topped with melted Teese Vegan Cheese, country gravy, green onions, bacun, sour craem and jalapeno

To share, the poutine is the perfect appetizer.  And boy was I surprised!  I love my poutines and was very skeptical about this vegetarian version at first, but after my first bite, I changed my mind.  All the savory flavors were there with an added kick from the jalapenos, and above all, it's healthier than any other poutine I've had before!

Dagwood Classic - house recipe corned beef, sliced turkey, bacun seitan, melted cheeze, lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber and vegan thousand island on marbled rye
Dagwood Classic - house recipe corned beef, sliced turkey, bacun seitan, melted cheeze, lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber and vegan thousand island on marbled rye

I've had veat (apparently the word for vegetarian/imitation meat) before and was definitely NOT a fan.  Yet, this Dagwood Classic sandwich is stufed with veat that imitates corned beef, turkey and bacon in color, texture and taste!  If I hadn't known that it was vegetarian, I probably would have thought it was real meat!  Meat lovers on a low fat, low cholesterol diet, this is why you should go to the Chicago Diner!

Cajun black bean burger - spicy black bean veggie patty topped with sauteed onion, mushroom, spinach, tomato, fried jalapeno, cheddar sauce and creole mustard
Cajun black bean burger - spicy black bean veggie patty topped with sauteed onion, mushroom, spinach, tomato, fried jalapeno, cheddar sauce and creole mustard
Buddha's Karma Burger - curried sweet potato tofu patty, grilled pineapple, lettuce, onion and chimichurri sauce
Buddha's Karma Burger - curried sweet potato tofu patty, grilled pineapple, lettuce, onion and chimichurri sauce

The burgers here are superb, although the selection isn't very large.  Everyone agreed that the Buddha's Karma burger was the tastiest, and I think the grilled pineapples really did the trick.

The Soul Bowl - seasoned quinoa, spicy blackened tofu, chimichurri sauce, charred balsamic brussels, mashed sweet potatoes and fat free black beans
The Soul Bowl - seasoned quinoa, spicy blackened tofu, chimichurri sauce, charred balsamic brussels, mashed sweet potatoes and fat free black beans

Finally, we also ordered a soul bowl, which was filled with vegetarian goodies.  All mixed up, the combination was a dense delight, but I wasn't exactly a fan of the firm, blackened tofu, which was flavorless and definitely not spicy.

Overall, I am impressed with this diner, and I would love to go again for some healthy vegetarian cuisine!

Tips:

  1. There is probably a wait if you go during normal meal times, but there are some interesting shops on Halsted (mostly sex shops, head shops, and a cool toy store) along with bars so go check those out!
  2. Even if you are not vegan or vegetarian, this is a delectable place to go!
  3. Parking is difficult during busy hours so take the CTA to Belmont or use sidecar/lyft.
The Chicago Diner on Urbanspoon
3 charming Michelin stars at The Restaurant – Meadowood

3 charming Michelin stars at The Restaurant – Meadowood

Battle of the Burger: Chicago