A Beginner’s Guide To The Best Vegan Dining Options In Dallas.

Finding a five-star steakhouse or BBQ joint in Texas is as easy as all get out.

Throw a rock in any direction and you’ll hit at least one person who has been waiting in line for over an hour at one of the best meateries in the country in the hopes that there’s still some food left by the time they finally reach the order counter. (We’re looking at you, Pecan Lodge.)

Far less easy a task? Finding a vegan dish in this town that’s worth its weight. Texas has some great qualities, you guys. A bevy of readily available vegan options, however, isn’t necessarily one of them.

It’s not all bad, though. There is a building vegan restaurant scene to experience here in Dallas — assuming one just knows where to look. And, beyond just that, other restaurants around town are finally catching up with the times: These days, most of Dallas’ top dining spots are sure to offer menu items that cater to meat- and/or guilt-free lifestyles. Again: It’s just a matter of finding the better of these options that’s the problem.

In an effort to perhaps make things a little easier on this front for the more conscious eaters among us, we’ve put together a list here of some of the best vegan dining options in town.

Consider it just the beginning of your quest. And remember: Sometimes, the pleasure really does come from the journey instead of the destination.

5430 Gurley Avenue

Technically, it is the “Best Vegetarian” designation that Kalachandji’s seems to earn on an annual basis from various publications around town, but vegans have been known to graze here, too, and with good reason: The menu is, like, 98 percent vegan save for some daily dishes that may contain dairy. Perhaps most interesting about Kalachandji’s, though, is that it’s really just a Hare Krishna temple. The fact that the inviting, buffet-style restaurant is housed within the temple — with its beautiful outdoor garden seating environment in the courtyard — is just a bonus. Bring a date or maybe come here to get your mind and body right. It won’t cost you too much; the food is totally affordable. You can fill up a plate at the buffet and seat yourself. Don’t feel bad about the wonderful, in-house servers decked out in traditional garb that swing by to clear your tables, either; it’s their job. And, yes, they offer dessert, too. Pro tip: If there are two dessert options, get both of them served on one dish. Don’t ask questions. Just eat it.

Spiral Diner
1101 N Beckley Avenue

With locations in both Dallas and Fort Worth, Spiral Diner — known simply as “Spiral” to its regulars — is one of the most truly legit and gushed-about vegan spots in North Texas. Rightfully so: It’s the one place in town where vegans can go to eat and order “milkshakes” or things with “cheese” and not have to think twice about it. Although their menu includes breakfast at any hour of the day, the brunch Spiral Diner offers on Sundays isn’t to be missed, assuming you enjoy all-you-can-eat pancake buffets. And who doesn’t? Seriously, though: These pancakes are an absolute must-eat-before-you-die kind of dish. But don’t let this stop you from ordering the Hot Nacho Cheese & Chips as an appetizer on top of the syrupy buffet. These two plates don’t pair famously or anything, but they’re two of Spiral’s most wanted. And you won’t regret mixing it up, either. Again, be sure to save some room for dessert, too: If you can’t decide between the amazing baked goods and the I-Scream, just go ahead and ask for the Martha the Librarian shake and prepare to have your mind blown. Finally: A place where a vegan can go to be a fat kid.

Cosmic Cafe
2912 Oak Lawn Avenue

Like Kalachandji’s, Cosmic Cafe is another restaurant where you can find vegan-friendly food options and get your meditation in for the week. Inside and out, Cosmic Cafe is painted with lively colors and covered with Hindu decor. The environment is inviting, and the bottomless Chai tea will keep you seated for hours. While the entire menu is vegetarian, most dishes can be altered to be vegan as well. The Taco Trinity is a must — and, with a simple “86 the cheese,” you’re good to dig in.

Suma Veggie Cafe
800 E Arapaho Road

About three years ago, Suma Veggie went entirely vegan. But that hasn’t stopped vegans and carnivores alike from flooding the small diner on a daily basis. Here, you can pick up a selection from their tiny all-Chinese-inspired buffet and take it to-go. Or you can dine in just the same. The vegan meat selection is made with 100 percent soy product and contains no eggs, preservatives or dyes. We highly recommend the Vegan Chinese Dumplings or the Sweet & Sour Chicken in particular.

Loving Hut
14925 Midway Road, Suite 102

Loving Hut is one of the only vegan restaurants in town that is a chain. That’s right: Loving Hut serves gourmet cuisine to vegans nationwide. Their two North Texas locations are in Addison and Arlington, which can mean a hike. But it’s worth the trip, as their cuisine isn’t just for one palette at all. In addition to vegan standards like fried rice, they also offer vegan burgers, sandwiches and even a grilled ocean filet.

9780 Walnut Street

D’Vegan is another one of those restaurants that vegans, omnivores and carnivores all swear by. It helps that the restaurant does a good job vegan-izing its Vietnamese classics like Pho and Bahn Mi. Get past the weird strip mall vibe and strange decor, and you’ll find that dishes like the Tofu Lemongrass are divine. The seitan D’Vegan uses in some of their Pho is made in-house, as is their vegetable stock. It’s the kind of place where you can really dig in — and feel good about doing so.

New Start Veggie Garden
2330 Royal Lane

For whatever reason, most vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Dallas seem to have an Asian flare. And, yeah, New Start Veggie Garden may be part of that crowd. But it has its own special story, too: The owner is a cancer survivor who believes that converting to an all-vegan diet led, at least in part, to her recovery. Here, it’s easy to fill up — for an affordable price, we might add — on the sushi and kimchi selections that New Start Veggie Garden offers up as part of their buffet. They also offer a small selection of packaged vegan foods for sale at the checkout counter, too.

Sundown at Granada
3520 Greenville Avenue

If you’re willing to make small sacrifices, Sundown at Granada — although not a vegan restaurant, per se — is definitely up to the vegan challenge. With the right substitution and/or take-away, Sundown actually offers a pretty descent vegan selection overall — or at least enough to get you by if you find yourself there on a date. Take, for example, their stuffed avocados: You can totally order this in-demand dish vegan-style (and, yes, that still includes all three separate flavors). Their vegetative state wrap is worth ordering, too, even sans cheese. Other vegan options include a quinoa-veggie patty, the Buddha Burger (when ordered without the slaw or chipotle cream sauce) and some excellent salad choices, too.

Tough Cookie Bakery
No set location. (Phone: 214-699-6834.)

Any time we happen upon a vegan bakery, we find them surrounded by rays of sunshine and birds singing in cartoon-like singsong. Or so it seems. As uncommon as vegan restaurants are, though, vegan bakeries are even harder to come by. But, if you’re lucky enough to find the Tough Cookie Bakery that sets up at the White Rock Market from time to time, you’re in for some dreamy vegan treats. In addition to simply avoiding animal byproducts, Tough Cookie also focuses on organic ingredients, and they utilize local farms as much as possible, too. So you can basically just snarf down one of their delicious cinnamon rolls with absolutely zero guilt.

Zombie’s Food Truck
No set location. (Phone: 817-405-9624.)

Zombie’s is like Tough Cookie. If you’re lucky you’ll stumble across them while they’re on the go, you’re in for a delight. Although Zombie’s is technically a Fort Worth-based food truck, the husband-and-wife duo that runs it makes sure to visit Dallas fairly often anyway. Lucky us, Dallas: On their menu, you’ll find an eclectic assortment of sloppy Joe’s, tacos, chorizo and BBQ tofu, on top of other rotating specials. Also? Your meal will cost you $10 — tops. Stumbling upon this truck after a long day at the office or out at an event is, well, perfection. Total and complete perfection.
Sad news, dudes: The Zombie truck apparently got hit with a proverbial headshot a little ways back and no longer roams these parts.

Good Karma Kitchen Food Truck
No set location. (Phone: 817-995-9801.)

Good Karma rules because their menus is both vegetarian and gluten-free. Yes, I said vegetarian, but they’ve got some vegan plates on the menu, too. Here’s all you really need to know, though: Order the Asian Street Tacos. You’re welcome in advance.

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