I have traipsed around to all of the Nashville vegan restaurants looking for my best options. I've been to high end restaurants and dives, and in each place I have searched the menu high and wide for the best options for the non-meateaters.
Over the last few years, Nashville has seen a surge of new vegan and vegetarian restaurants, as well as improved options at "regular" places. There are now many restaurants that either offer a veg entree or two, and some even offer a separate menu. Others have only side dishes that you can piece together into a meal.
We also have two Whole Foods grocery stores and two Turnip Trucks, as well as The Produce Place in Sylvan Park. All of them have great veg food and hot and cold bars with good food.
And then there are the grisly few that give the vegans no option whatsoever. I even spoke to one once that said, "This is a steakhouse. We don't serve tofu!" Awful. For this guide, we are going to ignore those establishments, just like they ignore us!
This Nashville vegan restaurants guide is organized by category: completely vegetarian restaurants and restaurants with many vegetarian options. I include the websites to their menus, when available.
The Wild Cow
The Wild Cow is a fully vegetarian restaurant in East Nashville, off Eastland Avenue. This Nashville vegan restaurant itself has great ambiance and is always filled with an eclectic mix of people, a sight I love to see. Their menu is completely vegetarian, but most dishes either are also vegan or can easily be veganized.
Wild Cow's online menu:
In late 2012, a new Nashville vegan restaurant popped on the scene in Berry Hill, right off Thompson Lane. They focus on farm-to-table food prepared fresh daily and served on a hot and cold bar line. You can choose from one of their specials and pair it with a few sides, or you can just assemble three or four of your favorite choices into one plate. They also serve local kombucha and desserts from Vegan Vee.
I love their salad bar style serving because it's a beautiful treat for the eyes and it's very quick. I love being able to see my food before selecting it.
Sunflower's veggie burgers are a big hit. This meal was accompanied by sesame kale and curried chickpeas.
Sunflower Cafe's online menu:
Right down the street from Wild Cow in East Nashville is the tiny Khan's Desserts. Though it only houses four tables, Khan's makes desserts that are sold all around Nashville. And they're really, really good. And gorgeous. The owner, Karina Khan, used to cook and bake at Wild Cow and you can still find her desserts there.
Khan's also makes awesome vegan sandwiches, like this vegan crabcake with red pepper aioli above and this breakfast burrito with vegan sausage and tempeh below.
Khan's online menu:
Grins Vegetarian Cafe
Grins is actually located on Vanderbilt's campus, but anyone can eat there. Their menu changes daily, but usually has great vegan options. Just make sure to ask how things are made. They are very accommodating and the prices are nice and cheap. Definitely check out this Nashville vegan restaurant.
Woodlands Vegetarian Indian Restaurant
One might not naturally think of Indian as an option for a Nashville vegan restaurant, but it's a great option. This is a great Indian restaurant, one of my favorite in Nashville. On the weekend they have a yummy, inexpensive buffet lunch with many chapati, salad, soup, desserts, and several main entrees.
During the week, we like to share one of the special dishes that has an assortment of different entrees and comes with a soup and drink. You do have to ask what is made with ghee, the clarified butter, and also if any cream or milk has been added to the dishes. They are very helpful with finding vegan options.
They don't have a menu listed online.
While not an official restaurant, Vegan Vee is a gluten-free, vegan bakery in Nashville from which you can special order desserts. Her desserts are also sold at most of the vegan restaurants around Nashville.
I first tried her brownies and blondies at Sunflower Cafe, but after liking her on facebook, I saw that you can find her all over.
I mean, if you saw this on facebook, wouldn't you drop everything and drive however far it took to get a slice of gluten-free vegan blueberry cake? I did.
Vegan Vee's website:
Bongo Java is part of a family of restaurants including Grins Vegetarian, and Fido. It is actually a coffee house, but it serves some yummy dishes that many students in the area munch on while studying. There are picnic tables outside and little nooks inside with tables and chairs. Another cool thing about Bongo Java is that they have a theater upstairs where you can hear live music.
They serve all day breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but most of their breakfast items are made with eggs. They do have a side option for veggie sausage, ham, or turkey, but you would need to ask if the fake meat has eggs in it. You could always go with a standard bagel as well, just watch out for sweetened bagels which sometimes have eggs, butter, and/or milk.
For lunch and dinner, there is a black bean chili and a salad option, as well as a few hummus dishes and a black bean quesadilla that can be made without cheese and sour cream. They also have a black bean burger served on a multi-grain bun.
Here is their menu:
Bongo Java also has an East Nashville location with many of the same food options as the Belmont location, making it another top option as a Nashville vegan restaurant.
This is their menu:
Fido is the brother to Bongo Java and has much of the same coffee house cool atmosphere. It's located in Hillsboro Village.
Their breakfast items have more vegetarian and vegan options than at Bongo Java. For instance, several of them either have tofu scramble instead of eggs or fake meat replacing the usual meat (again, check for eggs in them.) They also have the bagels and sandwiches, one with hummus, another with peanut butter and banana.
For lunch, they serve a mean black bean burger (request it without mayo), and a grilled portobello and eggplant sandwich (request it without cheese.) For side dishes, they have hummus, fries, corncakes, and yummy sweet potato fries. A few of their salads can also be made without cheese for a vegan meal.
Here is Fido's dinner menu:
One of my favorite places in Nashville is this Ethiopian place tucked away on Thompson Lane near Nolensville Pike. Their food is all cooked in oil, and in many African countries dairy products are avoided altogether, so it's rare to find something that would be vegetarian instead of completely vegan in their cuisine.
They have a few appetizers, but we go straight for the vegetarian combination. It comes with 5 or 6 types of food, usually 3 are bean dishes and the remaining ones are vegetables. We've always had green beans and carrots with ginger and a cooked cabbage dish, but once we had a beets and potatoes vegetable dish. As for the beans, they're all good. They have a yellow lentil puree, a regular lentil puree called Miser W'et that's kind of spicy, and our favorite is the chickpea puree called Shiro W'et. It is outstanding!
You eat everything with your hands and grab bites of food with a delicious buckwheat bread called Injera. It's made much like a crepe, but without the eggs. I've read that certain Ethiopian restaurants take pride in their buckwheat flour being authentic.
They also make their own blend of spicy iced tea. I prefer the unsweetened version, but they do make a little Southern-style sweet tea that will make your tongue click on the roof of your mouth.
The Smiling Elephant
My favorite Thai restaurant with vegan options is The Smiling Elephant. It's in a small building off 8th avenue south, across the street from Fiddle Cakes. The tables are very close together, but service is fast and friendly, and they are make every dish to order, so you can specify to your heart's desire.
To start, we love the fresh rolls appetizer. They have great vegetables and a small pickled thing on top, and the dipping sauce is delicious. Their coconut milk-based soup and lemongrass soups are both refreshing and light.
They bill themselves as the best pad thai in Nashville, and that may be true. We get ours without egg or shrimp paste and it's still tasty. There are also several other entree noodle dishes that can be made without animal ingredients; all you have to do is ask.
Here is The Smiling Elephant's menu:
Jasmine is another great Thai restaurant in Brentwood, right off I-65. Their restaurant is located in a strip mall, but has a nice fresh ambience.
We found they are very willing to help accommodate both vegetarians and vegans, and all you need to do is specify up front how you want the dishes prepared, and specifically remember to ask for no eggs, fish sauce, shrimp paste, or dairy products.
They have a nice fried vegetable spring roll and a fried tofu appetizer. For entrees, there are two sections that contain options for vegans; noodles and entrees. In both sections, you can choose vegetables or tofu, or a combo of both. They have some nice sauces such as a ginger, cashew nuts, and peanut sauce to choose from, as well as a stir fried veggies dish and spicy eggplant.
This definitely deserves to make the list of Nashville vegan restaurants.
Flyte is my husband's favorite restaurant, and while it's not a pure Nashville vegan restaurant, they always have a few options for us, or are open to creating something unique. It's chic and upscale, but has a friendly atmosphere where the owners are out in the main room and remember their frequent visitors. They support local farms and try to serve humanely raised animals.
Their menu varies with the seasons, and so do their options for vegans. They have some great appetizers that aren't on the main menu-- they are a la carte items written on a little menu like a sushi menu. I love their hummus, olive plate, and they usually have a bean spread, last time it was a white bean spread with garlic and rosemary.
They also have a few salads and soups that are made without cream and are delicious. On the main menu, there is always one vegetarian dish that can be made vegan, and they are very open to satisfying the customer by making what you need.
Here is Flyte's menu:
Tayst is the only green certified restaurant in Nashville, and it always offers a few vegan options. They use local ingredients and also stick to humane non-vegan food. The servers are very aware of the vegan diet and will often offer you the choice to have the chef prepare a "vegetarian specialty," which is basically a unique preparation of the best vegetable and legume options they have in the restaurant.
We had a nice anniversary dinner there once that even ended with homemade coconut milk ice cream, which I appreciate. Sometimes vegans can feel left out at dessert time, and it's nice to have a little "vanilla ice cream" just like everyone else.
Here is Tayst's menu:
Sloco is a sandwich shop which is actually the sister restaurant to Tayst. Jeremy Barlow is the owner-chef behind the 12th South restaurant, and again, they stick to local, seasonal produce in their sandwiches.
There are three vegan options on the menu, and some of the other sandwiches can be made vegetarian as well. It's a cute shop with tasty vegan sandwiches like a meatball sub, a sliced seitan, and a grilled veggie, and it's definitely worth a visit. They even have bike delivery if you work or live close by.
Tin Angel is a cute little restaurant on West End Avenue that considers itself one of the original neighborhood restaurants.
They have a Mediterranean salad that comes with shrimp and feta, but you can request it without and it's very tasty. They also have a similar pasta with the same ingredients, and again, you can get it without cheese. They also have another pasta, and at lunch they serve a veggie dish and a quesadilla that can be made without cheese and sour cream.
The prices are a little higher, but still affordable. On a side note, they use filtered water rather than serving bottled water in an effort to reduce plastic waste!
Here is Tin Angel's menu:
California Pizza Kitchen
This may seem like an unlikely selection to see on this page, but CPK does actually have a few vegan options, and they are really tasty.
We tried their asparagus soup, which is creamy without cream, as an appetizer since I wasn't in the mood for their other vegan option; hummus.
Their grilled vegetable salad is awesome; it's made with asparagus, green beans, corn, onions, and avocado, and tossed with a vinaigrette. We also had a mushrooms pizza, which was tasty, but we would love it with a whole wheat crust. Their crust options are either the standard white or a honey-wheat crust.
Here is California Pizza Kitchen's vegetarian menu:
This is a great upscale restaurant with a nice outdoor patio, and where supposedly you can spot celebrities. I haven't seen one there personally, but that's the word on the street.
They have a tasty hummus starter that can be brought out without feta cheese, and a few salads that can be adapted to be vegan. For entrees, they have three dishes that I zeroed in on: an Asian stirfry, a Mediterranean pasta, and a veggie pasta called voodoo. The Mediterranean is great and vegan, as is the stirfry. When ordering vegetarian voodoo, ask for a different kind of pasta as the original dish is made with egg noodles.
They also have a few great side dishes like steamed veggies, quinoa pilaf and sweet potato fries. The prices are a little higher here, but still reasonable for vegetarian entrees.
Here is Sunset Grill's menu:
Calypso is a Caribbean style Nashville vegan restaurant that is very vegan-friendly. Their menu specifies which items either are vegan or can be made vegan with substitutions. This seems like a simple way to make all your guests happy (meat-eaters can just ignore the little symbol), but I am surprised that more restaurants don't add it to their menus.
I love their take on "beans" and three, which gives you a choice of three sides like a wild rice mix, spiced sweet potatoes, bean and corn salad, mustard greens, and fruit. They also have a veggie burger option.
Check out Calypso Cafe when looking for Nashville vegan restaurant options. Yummy!
Here is Calypso Cafe's menu:
Margot Cafe and Bar
Margot is a cute little upscale French and Italian restaurant right at the corner of Five Points in East Nashville. While they are not vegetarian, they have one vegetarian dish available on the menu, which changes seasonally. They also have a few starter items that can be made vegan; such as the herb infused olive oil (made without cheese) and the housemade potato chips (served without aioli.)
Here is Margot's menu:
I applaud Taco Mamacita for having a completely separate vegan menu, and each time I've gone, I've been so excited to be able to order straight off a menu without substitutions. I am hugely disappointed to have to report that we've yet to be even a little impressed by the actual taste of the food.
I really wish I could give it a good review, but the salads I've had were made with iceberg lettuce and the rest of the ingredients were flavorless.
We tried enchiladas, tacos, and tortilla soup, and each time come out feeling the same way: disappointed.
They do have amazing margaritas though. Love the Elvez.
If you go, ask the host for a vegan menu and good luck with a better experience than we've had.
The first thing I ever heard about this restaurant were rave reviews.I heard the food was amazing and possibly the best Thai in Nashville. The person telling me hadn't been to Smiling Elephant, but they still told me I had to get to Thai Phooket.
A few things about the place intrigued me. One, of course, the cute name. And the second draw was that their entire restaurant is in a trailer parked right across from Titans Stadium. We hightailed to dinner, but we were... disappointed.
We ordered their signature Thai iced tea, and it was so sweet it was literally undrinkable. Granted, I never drink sweet tea, so I'm not the best judge. My husband loves sweet things though, and he couldn't finish it.
We had their spring rolls, and they were boring; not many vegetables inside and a nothing-special dipping sauce.
We tried two kinds of vegetable stir fry dishes, both of which came with rice, and both of which were just okay.
Maybe it was just an off night for Thai Phooket, but I don't have much interest in trying it again. It's a bummer because they have the potential to be a good option in the Nashville vegan restaurants department; just check out the menu:
Restaurants With Veggie Burgers
You will need to check with your waiter to see if they are vegan, but a few places do have a good veggie burger:
Nashville vegan restaurant options are not hard to find, although there are not many. Another thing you can do is look for places with great appetizers or side dishes and order several of those. Just make sure to ask if the items were cooked in butter, made with eggs, milk, or cheese, or have a stock made from animals. It sounds like a lot to ask, but once you get comfortable with the process, it's no big deal. Then you can make your own Nashville vegan restaurant!
I hope you enjoyed this Nashville vegan restaurant guide! If you find any other options for Nashville vegan restaurants, please contact me and I can add it to the page.
Have you traveled to Nashville and found great places to eat? Share your experience here. We'd like to know where you went, what you ate, and whether you'd recommend the restaurant. If you live in Nashville and have a recommendation for a Nashville veg restaurant, we'd love to hear your story as well.
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Gojo Ethiopian Restaurant Nashville
Gojo Ethiopian Restaurant is in Berry Hill, just off of Thompson Lane at the intersection with Nolensville Road. All the vegetables are cooked without …
Sitar Indian Cuisine
I am vegetarian now for over 20 years. I love the Sitar Indian Cuisine at 116 21st Ave N, Nashville. (I think they also have locations in Knoxville, …
Firefly Nashville Restaurant
Firefly has a great chef who accommodates vegans with a seasonal plate of delicious salads, roasted potatoes, and creative medleys of veggies, nuts and …
Taco Mamacita's Vegan Menu Not rated yet
Taco Mamacitas in Edgehill Village (by Music Row) has a full vegan menu. They don't give it to you at the table buy you can request it. They have the …
Zoe's Kitchen Nashville Veg-Friendly Not rated yet
Zoe's is also a great, vegan-friendly eatery! The food is always delicious and super fresh. I love their Greek/Mediterranean menu. And you can't beat …
Finding Vegetarian Food in Nashville Not rated yet
Hi Cathleen, After a week in Nashville, I managed pretty well. I stayed at the Marriott Courtyard Downtown on 4th and Commerce (closer to Church). There …