When I first moved to Baltimore for school last year, the most common question I received from friends and family was “What are you going to eat?!”
As someone who has been vegetarian for four years and vegan for one, people often react with doubt and disbelief when I explain just how easy maintaining a vegan diet is in a large city.
Contrary to popular belief, I don’t have to rely on small side salads and bread when I go out to eat with friends.
Baltimore is home to several fantastic vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants that are definitely worth a visit whether you’re a vegan, omnivore or even a carnivore.
Golden West Café
Located on “The Avenue” or 36th Street in Hampden, Golden West offers American and southwest-inspired cuisine in a cozy and uniquely decorated space.
Their menu boasts a wide variety of foods including burritos, burgers and sandwiches.
The true highlight, however, is the un-chicken.
Un-chicken can be substituted for meat in many of their sandwiches. It’s perfectly crispy and doesn’t taste too much like the real thing, which is always a good thing for those who don’t like the taste of meat.
In particular, I think that their BBQ un-chicken is extra good.
Another thing to keep an eye out for is the weekly delivery from the Donut Alliance, a Baltimore based bakery with amazing vegan flavors.
Lost City Diner
If you’re looking for the comfort foods of your childhood, Lost City Diner is the way to go.
Located in Station North and conveniently reached by taking the JHMI to the Film Center stop right before Penn Station, Lost City is also uniquely decorated with a neat space theme.
The diner has vegan versions of classics such as meatball subs, mac and cheese, milkshakes and much more.
They often taste uncannily similar to the meat-based originals, so you can easily go with large groups of friends who don’t want to eat plant-based alternatives.
And don’t be fooled into believing that the waiter got your order wrong if you think you may have been given meat — they’re just that similar.
Sometimes the various areas around campus designed for studying can create too much pressure when you’re studying for that big final.
Red Emma’s, a cooperative bookstore and café located in Station North on North Avenue, is the answer.
Perfect for spending a Saturday afternoon working on a paper, or cramming for a test, all the food in the café is vegetarian, with most of it being vegan as well.
Not only is the food good for you, it’s good for the environment as well, since the café proudly serves organic and locally-sourced produce and breads.
Who doesn’t love sushi? Traditional sushi contains raw or cooked fish, with most vegetarian options sticking to basics such as avocado and cucumber. Sticky Rice, however, takes this a step farther.
Located just off North Broadway in Fells Point, the sushi is not only incredibly made but also extremely creative.
While you can order classics like a California or spicy tuna roll, there are also options like “The Hot Hippy,” a vegan roll with tofu, scallions, peanuts, cucumber and carrots.
They also have both traditional and creative versions of noodle bowls and, of course, multiple options with Baltimore crab.
It may be a bit far from campus, but it’s definitely accessible: It’s within walking distance of the Charm City Circulator’s Inner Harbor stop.
Don’t let a little distance deter you from a truly excellent place to eat.
These are only a few of the many vegan restaurants that Baltimore has to offer, and I, for one, can’t wait to try the others.
In general, you will be able to find places with unique menus and histories wherever you go. And we’re lucky to live in a city with so many good options.
Explore them all for yourself, but when in doubt, I guarantee that these tried and true places won’t let you down, whether you go alone, with a friend or with a large group of varying diets.