Looking for the best vegan restaurants in Milwaukee? We’ve got you covered! Vegan and vegetarian restaurants are popping up all over the city, and most restaurants in Milwaukee have a few vegan dishes on their menus.
There are plenty of Milwaukee residents, and visitors to the city, who choose a vegan lifestyle. Whether it’s for ethical or health-related reasons, vegans avoid any food-related products that are animal-derived, obviously including milk, but also things like milk, eggs, and honey. Finding a good vegan restaurant in Milwaukee use to be difficult but not anymore.
Recently, a few vegan restaurants have opened, in addition to vegetarian restaurants that offer plenty of vegan options. Any great vegan restaurant offers creative takes on animal-free dishes, in addition to good prices and convenient locations. Read below for the seven best vegan restaurants in the Milwaukee area.
1. Beans & Barley
Located right on North Avenue in the heart of Milwaukee’s east side, Beans & Barley has been a favorite restaurant in Milwaukee for vegans and vegetarians since it opened in 1973. Beans & Barley offers a cafe, a deli, and a small convenience store with fresh food, frozen dishes, beverages and household items. It is often referred to by locals as the best vegetarian restaurant in Milwaukee.
Although the cafe serves limited meat dishes, and is perhaps best geared toward vegetarians, the restaurant is definitely vegan friendly, with clearly marked vegan options. The restaurant also offers a cozy environment and is conveniently located near other east side destinations like the Oriental Theater, Von Trier, and the Jazz Estate.
Beans & Barley offers really tasty food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a comfortable diner-like setting. For breakfast, try the tofu scrambled with tomatoes, mushrooms, scallions, and sesame seeds and served with parsley shallot potatoes. Any of the breakfast items can also be served with vegan sausage. There are numerous juice and smoothie options at Beans & Barley, in addition to one of the best vegetarian chilis in the city. For dinner, try the vegan burrito or sandwich options, like the balsamic tofu sandwich with spinach and red onion, or the tempeh Reuben sandwich.
- Address: 1901 E. North Ave
2. Beerline Cafe
Beerline Cafe is a stable vegetarian restaurant in Milwaukee that has been pleasing vegan and non-vegetarian customers ever since opening. The restaurant is vegetarian with abundant vegan offerings. The original location also holds a coveted four-star Green Restaurant rating, one of only about thirty-five restaurants in the country to hold such a high ranking, so visiting Beerline Cafe also supports environmental efforts. For those more concerned with just grabbing a delicious bite to eat before or after work, the Beerline Cafe is also certain to please.
The real highlight at Beerline are the sweet and savory crepes, like the Mexican Breakfast Crepe with chickpea chorizo and scrambled tofu topped with pico de gallo and cashew lime crema. Beyond really great salads, Beerline also offers plenty of tasty wraps and sandwiches.
- Address: 2076 N. Commerce St.
3. On the Bus
Located in the Milwaukee Public Market in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward, On the Bus is an area favorite for vegan cuisine. The small restaurant is housed in a vintage VW bus, and is counter-service only, although the Public Market offers plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. With great options for breakfast, lunch or dinner, On the Bus is a great destination for vegans looking for good food, and an ideal jumping-off point to explore other parts of the city. On the Bus is also perfect for vegans heading to a lakefront festival where meat-free options may be more limited.
There are quite a few tasty choices at On the Bus. The Date Shakes are a must-try, like the Blueberry Almond Shake, with blueberries, almond butter, bananas, almond milk and dates. There are also lots of acai and pitaya bowls, like the Sunset Bowl with acai, banana, pineapple, orange juice, and mango, and topped with goji berries, banana, and toasted granola. Beyond smoothies and fantastic vegan ice cream, On the Bus also offers various toast options, like traditional avocado toast, and sandwiches, like the BBQ Seitan sandwich with kale slaw, spinach, and red pepper on ciabatta bread.
- Address: Located in the Public Market: 400 N. Water St.
4. Strange Town
Strange Town is a small yet classy bar and restaurant located on Milwaukee’s east side. This trendy neighborhood bar has an excellent craft cocktail list, in addition to tasty appetizers and small plates that are vegetarian and vegan. The menu changes frequently often highlighting seasonal ingredients. Parking can be a little difficult around Strange Town, so consider taking an Uber or walking.
The food at Strange Town is really great, often incorporating fresh non-meat ingredients with globally inspired flavors. Start your meal off with one of the creative cocktails, like the Kaffir Lime Gimlet or the excellent old-fashioned. For food, try one of the appetizers or small plates, like the mixed olives with orange and fennel, or the samosas with curried sweet potato. The Thai Green Curry is delicious, with winter greens, quinoa, and yuba noodles in a flavorful broth, or the Jumuk Bap, with marinated mushroom-filled rice balls and kimchi.
- Address: 2101 N. Prospect Ave.
5. The Green Kitchen
While it may be something of a cliche to send non-meat eaters to a salad restaurant, the Green Kitchen has to make any list of the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Milwaukee. Located inside of the Third Ward’s Public Market, the Green Kitchen specializes in awesome salads with super fresh ingredients, in addition to fresh juices and creative sandwiches. Be prepared to stand in line, since whether it is for lunch or dinner the Green Kitchen is a very popular destination in the city.
Custom build your own salad at the Green Kitchen by choosing from an extensive list of fresh ingredients and meat substitutes, like tofu, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Regular salads are and large salads are, or choose from the list of specialty salads, like the Pear-adise, with spring greens, pear, cranberry raisins, walnuts, and balsamic dressing. The sandwiches at the Green Kitchen are also worth ordering, most are. Try the Tempeh Avocado, with smoked tempeh, vegan chessar, tomato, avocado, and southwest veganaise, or the Avocado Sunflower, with avocado, sunflower seed spread, sprouts, cucumber, and tomato.
- Address: Located in the Public Market: 400 N. Water St.
6. Urban Beets
Urban Beets is one of the area’s trendiest vegan restaurants in Milwaukee. Whether it’s for a quick bite and coffee before work, or a tasty dinner with wine, Urban Beets is a popular destination for meat and non-meat eaters alike. With two locations, one near downtown and one in Wauwatosa, Urban Beets is also convenient for both city residents and tourists. There are a few vegetarian options at Urban Beets and plenty of vegan dishes. Be sure to arrive with an appetite since the food at Urban Beets is really outstanding.
Urban Beets offers smoothies and fresh juices, in addition to excellent smoothie bowls, like the Power Granola, with oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds, coconut, pepitas, chia, cinnamon, dried cranberries, fresh fruit, and choice of milk type. The Carrot Lox is also fantastic, with smoked carrot, a fresh bagel, capers, dill, red onion, and cashew cream cheese. For an entree, choose from numerous bowls or flatbreads, like the Buffalo Pizza, with buffalo chickpeas, green onions, cashew ranch, crema, sriracha drizzle, and spinach.
- Downtown Location: 1401 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Dr.
- Wauwatosa Location: 3077 N. Mayfair Rd.
7. Cafe Manna
For quite some time Cafe Manna in Brookfield has served as one of the area’s most popular vegetarian restaurants. Downtown travelers can reach Brookfield in about twenty minutes, and the trip is definitely worthwhile for some excellent vegetarian dishes. The restaurant also clearly marks vegan options, and the gracious staff can customize most of the dishes to make them vegan rather than vegetarian. The trendy interior and quality service make Cafe Manna an enjoyable restaurant to visit, regardless of dietary restrictions.
Start your meal off with the Crab Cakes, made from hearts of palm, chickpeas, panko crusting, and served with chive aioli. The Raw Nachos are also excellent, with tortilla chips, spiced nut meat substitute, cashew sour cream, and topped with some phenomenal guacamole. The salads are certainly worth a try, as is the excellent lentil soup ($4 for a cup, $7 for a bowl). For an entree, try the Coconut Potato Korma, a spiced Indian dish served with brown basmati rice and flatbread, or the Raw Thai Rolls, served with dipping sauce and cauliflower couscous ($14).
- Address: 3815 N Brookfield Road, Brookfield