One of Philadelphia's most famous residents may have also been one of its first vegetarians. It is said that when Founding Father Benjamin Franklin was a teenager, he read a book about a vegetables-only diet and became convinced that eating just vegetables would free him up to read more books. For years, Ben Franklin followed a simple diet of boiled potatoes, garden vegetables, rice, bread and raisins, although later on he ate fish. Today, Philadelphia is home to innovative vegetarian cuisine, so check out CheapOAir's flights to Philadelphia and get yourself to the City of Brotherly Love for the kind of meatless entrees Ben Franklin could only have dreamed of.
Soy Cafe at 630 North 2nd Street in Philadelphia makes it clear in its name that it is a dairy-free, vegan-friendly place for hungry passersby. A favorite hangout among locals, Soy Cafe is known for its fresh roasted coffees, vegan baked goods including cinnamon rolls, muffins, and cupcakes, and healthy smoothies made with fresh ingredients. Obviously, soy milk is in abundance at this cafe, and the Milli Vanilli is one of its more popular smoothies, made with bananas, peaches, homemade soy milk, vanilla and honey. Soy-based vegan wraps, salads, and sandwiches are also available.
Singapore Kosher Vegetarian Restaurant won't burn a hole through your wallet, and the food with its Southeast Asian flare is flavorful and thoughtful. Borrowing from Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim culinary traditions, Singapore Kosher is vegetarian with vegan options available. Entrees for lunch can include vegetarian dim sum, sesame "chicken," fried stuffed eggplant, or "shrimp" with Szechuan sauce. Prices range from $4.50 for soups to about $10 for faux meat entrees.
If you're craving more American food than Asian, check out HipCityVeg for vegans on the go. Vegan fast food? Yep! Burgers, fries, salads, wraps, HipCityVeg serves just about anything you'd find at a typical fast food drive-thru. Try a different version of a Philly cheese steak with HipCityVeg's Philly Steak with grilled onions, mushrooms, lettuce and tomato and on a long roll. Or how about the Bistro Bella with an herb-glazed portabella mushroom, Dijon mustard, olive tapenade, tomato, artichokes, red onion and arugula.
Within just five years of opening, Mi Lah Vegetarian has become Philadelphia's top vegan restaurant with entrees that span the globe, from Southeast Asia to the Caribbean. Open for brunch, lunch and dinner, Mi Lah merges global culinary influences to create highly creative meals, like the Cambodian amok with spinach, eggplant, tofu in coconut, lemongrass, and dried chili sauce. Dinner entrees range from $7 for the butternut squash coconut soup appetizer to $17 for African peanut stew in tomato curry sauce over acorn squash and brown rice. Or for $15 try the traditional tofu-based Pad Thai.
Don't feel bad about wanting dessert—after all, you've been eating vegetables and tofu all day! Sweet Freedom Bakery whips up sweet treats and pastries that are gluten-free, vegan, and free of corn, wheat, peanuts and soy, not an easy task in a city known for its cheese steak sandwiches and giant soft pretzels. Choose upon rows and rows of brownies, blondies, cupcakes, breads, cookies, donuts, muffins, and the funky tomato pie. Many pastries are baked with garbanzo bean flour, rice flour, coconut milk, and gluten-free oats, among many other ingredients. The bakery is open until 7 pm Tuesday through Saturday, until 4 pm on Sundays, and closed on Mondays.
For more information about visiting and dining in Philadelphia, visit http://www.visitphilly.com/.
Do you know of any other great vegetarian restaurants in Philadelphia? Let us know on the CheapOair Facebook page!
Photo credit: Chris DiGiamo