Since I stopped eating dairy, I have been collecting a list of restaurants that are crowd-pleasers for both my family (who can eat anything) and me. Below is a review of some of my favorite Connecticut vegetarian (and vegan) restaurants, plus a few places that make it easy to feed carnivores and vegans in one place.
1. Blood Root is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Bridgeport, CT. The cute location has a beautiful outdoor patio and a water view. It also boasts a feminist bookstore in the back of the space to keep you occupied while you wait for your food—arguably some of the most delicious vegetarian food I’ve had. Try the Jerk “Chicken” with Coconut Rice and the Vegan Cheese plate. Save room for the Chocolate Devastation Cake and their other desserts.
2. Claire’s Corner Copia is located in New Haven, CT, and has been pushing amazing organic and vegetarian comfort food since 1975. The menu is extensive, the food is delicious, and the vibe is tremendously chill. Go here for the laid-back college/university atmosphere with zero pretension. Claire’s is a great weekend spot for families and a quick and healthy bite. All items are coded so you know if they are always made with gluten, eggs, or dairy (or not, so you know how to order to meet your dietary needs).
3. The Stand Vegan Cafe prides itself primarily on local and organic ingredients and is located in Fairfield. They offer a wide range of tofu and tempeh selections with various flavorful and original signature dishes. You must try the Tempeh Reuben sandwich and the Tofu Napoleon. And the non-dairy Potatoes Au Gratin are to die for.
4. Manna Toast in Westport is trying to show how easy and delicious it can be when you switch to plant-based eating. If you are like me and love breakfast all day, check out their Breakfast Wrap with eggs and avocado or their vegan Sour Dough French Toast. Rinse it all down with a Blood Orange and Pear Tea or one of their amazing coffee bar options (including Affogatto – espresso over dairy or dairy-free vanilla ice cream).
5. Organika Kitchen has locations in Southport and New Canaan, plus a new location in Ridgefield. Organika offers an impressive smoothie and juice bar menu. The locations always have an open and airy vibe, with a large selection of baked goods, breakfast toasts, acai bowls, and salads and wraps. You can even order online for yourself or for an event. Don’t leave without trying their Tofu Scramble, California Burger, or Avocado Toast.
6. ION Restaurant is an organic and sustainable vegan restaurant in Middletown, CT. They win for creative and inventive dishes and sophisticated flavors. It has a super cute atmosphere, plus a great ambiance for a quiet date night or girl’s night out. Treat yourself to their Southern Fried Tofu (with a lemon aioli dipping sauce) and their Kale Salad (which features garlic and olive oil massaged kale mixed with beets, carrots, and quinoa), and you will wonder why you don’t eat vegan more often.
7. Likkle Patty Shop in Windsor serves up a wholly plant-based menu of amazing Caribbean foods. Some of the best items are their Jerk Spiced Eggplant Patty, and their Baby Got Broc! Patty (which both often sell out). In addition to the patties, they have vegan scones and some great homemade drinks to keep you happy and healthy for your whole meal.
Some other restaurants I have heard good things about but haven’t tried yet are Catch a Healthy Habit Cafe in Fairfield and Vegan Bodega (which just opened in September 2022) in Hartford. In addition to those restaurants above, I have to shout out to a few “regular” restaurants that go out of their way to ensure everyone can eat vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free.
1. Capuli Restaurant serves up a fusion of Mediterranean-California fresh food in Westport, including lots of whole grains and seasonal vegetables, low in saturated fats, lean meats, and seafood. They have a variety of Bowls (and salads, of course) that are vegetarian or vegan, and don’t forget to check out their Eggplant Polenta Napoleon, which can be made vegan and gluten-free.
2. Tulmeadow Farm Store in Simsbury has an amazing variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and locally made smoked salmon and grass-fed beef. However, what impressed me the most was that their vegan ice cream list, with its 45 different flavors, is almost as long as their regular ice cream list. This will need to make it onto my ice cream round-up in the near future.
3. The Lime is a great natural food restaurant in Norwalk that has been promoting healthy eating since 1979. While their menu includes salmon, beef, and chicken items, they have a large selection of vegan and vegetarian options, including Vegetable Samosas, Falafel Wrap-ups, and a Vegan Quinoa burger is one of the best vegan burgers I have tried.