Chicago's reputation of a heart-attack-on-a-plate town is as dead as Al Capone. The steak and lobster dinner has become more of a special occasion option and Chicagoans are choosing more organic, wholesome, plant-based fare in their daily lives. That doesn't mean the tired pasta primavera or watery garden salad of old, either. Locals flock to the new crop of fast casual spots like FARE, Veggie Grill and Protein Bar. We're embracing bold vegetable forward food from the Middle East, Asia and the local farmer's market.
Many on our list are new but healthy dining hotspots such as Heartland Café and Amitabul have been nourishing locals for decades. Several eateries offer raw, vegan or vegetarian dishes and there are plenty that include meat options, too, albeit grass-fed and pasture raised.
Vegan diners head to Amitabul on the city’s far northwest side because Chef Bill creates magic with his family's Korean dishes. Try RAW to see if your skin begins to look like a million. Found's flexitarian menu and lovely environs are a call to be good to ourselves and the planet. The cash-only family run Sultan's Market serves inexpensive, home made Middle Eastern fare with plenty for vegetarians. Even the bar program at Clever Rabbit includes doses of veggies and teas in cocktails and even in some of the beers. The fact is, there are plenty of greener pastures in Chicago.