Over the last year, we’ve tried really hard to eat less meat and have been almost entirely on a plant-based diet. We’ve been very successful while eating at home, but have had the occasional sushi or cheese curds when eating out. We suppose you could call us pescatarian, even though 95% of our meals are vegetarian or vegan.
Big cities like New York, Chicago, or LA, have tons of vegetarian and vegan restaurant options, but we live in Milwaukee, where the plant-based dining options are much more limited. Not only is Milwaukee simply smaller than those major cities, but it’s famed diet primarily consists of beer, bratwurst, and cheese…
There are, however, some amazing spots throughout town where you can eat delicious vegetarian and vegan food! This is our guide to the Best Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants in Milwaukee.
1. Riverwest Co-op Cafe
The Riverwest Co-op Cafe offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. You can sit-in or order to go. It’s an unassuming spot from the outside, but offers some of the best vegan and vegetarian food in Milwaukee. Plus, it’s in the eclectic Riverwest neighborhood.
We think it’s great to stroll to into the morning after a few too many drinks at Foundation Bar the night before. The cafe is also connected to a small grocery store where you can buy more vegan and vegetarian things to cook at home!
Our Favorites: World’s Greatest Vegan Pancakes (blueberry) and the Seitan Gyro.
2. Beerline Cafe
This is definitely another somewhat hidden breakfast or lunch spot in Milwaukee for all the vegetarians and vegans. The Beerline Cafe is located right by the Milwaukee River tucked in-between the Riverwest and Brewer’s Hill neighborhoods.
Most of the items on their menu can be made vegan but can also have an egg added if you aren’t fully plant-based. After you are done with your meal, enjoy a walk along the river walk or stop in at the famous Lakefront Brewery!
Our Favorite: Spartichoke Savory Crepe
3. Beans and Barley
Beans and Barely might just be the most famous vegetarian and vegan restaurant in Milwaukee, solely based on its location. It’s located right in heart of the East Side on North Ave., near the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Much like the Riverwest Co-op, Beans and Barely has to-go options at a counter, a small grocery store, and a small restaurant area. However, the dining area at Beans and Barely is a little bigger than the Riverwest Co-op.
The food here is great, even if the parking isn’t. Their menu also includes some non-vegetarian options if you’re dining with others looking for meat. They offer a breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch as well.
Our Favorite: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burrito
4. Bombay Sweets
If you like Indian food, Bombay Sweets is an absolute MUST. Not only is the food amazing but you cannot beat the prices. Bombay Sweets is located on the south side of Milwaukee in the Morgandale neighborhood. Everything on their menu is 100% vegetarian. They have a variety of Indian breads and desserts that you can order too or take some to go because they are just too good not to pass up.
Our Favorites: Paneer Masala Dosa and Gobhi Parotha Platter
5. Strange Town
Strange Town is a newer 100% plant based/vegan restaurant in the East Side neighborhood of Milwaukee. It is an hip, lush, quaint place with, of course, delicious food. Their menu changes weekly, so every time you go you can treat yourself to a new item! It is a wonderful place for an intimate date night or just to indulge in some delicious plant-based eats in Milwaukee.
Our Favorites: Tacu Tacu and Samosa Chaat
6. Urban Beets Cafe & Juicery
Another wonderful vegetarian and vegan restaurant is Urban Beets Cafe & Juicery. It’s relaxed vibe makes it the perfect place to go for a lunch break or to get some work done!
They have a coffee shop-like atmosphere with a good selection of sandwiches and breakfast items. They are located just outside Milwaukee in Wauwatosa, but have excellent food and juices!
Our Favorites: Sunnyside Smoothie Bowl and Poke Bowl
7. On the Bus
On the Bus is located inside the Milwaukee Public Market in the Third Ward. They offer sandwiches, acai bowls, shakes, vegan ice cream, and more! There is also a little “store” to buy some vegan snacks and ingredients to use at home.
Aside from their food being outstanding, their location in the Milwaukee Public Market makes it another ideal place to get your vegetarian and vegan food in Milwaukee because there are plenty of other dining options for whomever you’re with in the Public Market.
Our Favorites: Breakfast Bagel and the Rueben Sandwich
Celesta is another newer, 100% vegan restaurant in Milwaukee on the Lower East Side of Milwaukee. Celesta is one of our favorite restaurants in Milwaukee. It’s a small, cozy restaurant that doesn’t have tons of room for seating, so we recommend a reservations if you are dining out during busy times.
They have a wide variety of options on the menu in addition to offering some tasty cocktails and desserts to-go! On Friday’s they even offer a “no-fish” fry. If you are vegetarian or vegan and visiting Milwaukee or Wisconsin, Celesta’s no-fish fry is perfect for you! You can participate in a Wisconsin tradition, while still eating vegetarian or vegan.
Our Favorites: Arancini and Southern Plate
9. Dead Bird Brewing
Milwaukee is definitely big on beer. After all, it was basically built on it. Therefore, there are a lot of breweries, big and small, all over Milwaukee. Dead Bird Brewing is one the newest breweries in Milwaukee with their recently opened taproom in the Halyard Park neighborhood. It’s located a little off-the-beaten-path, but is less than a mile from the Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee River, and other great places to visit in Milwaukee.
Dead Bird Brewing offers all vegan food to go along with their outstanding beer selection. They have a variety of appetizers and are constantly adding new ones. There are board games and about 20 different old arcade games for you to play. Dead Bird also offers their own original sodas for those not wanting alcohol and their own hard seltzer! There are guest brewery taps too with gluten-free options!
Our Favorites: Shishito Peppers and Vegan Nachos
10. Tricklebee Cafe
Tricklebee Cafe is a pay-what-you-can community cafe that has a daily menu including bakery items, paninis, soups and salads. It’s located on 44th St. and North Ave.
While Tricklebee Cafe has great reviews, it’s still on our list of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Milwaukee to go to. We’ll make sure to update this as soon as we eat there.
11. Next Level Vegans
Next Level Vegans is the best vegan restaurant in Milwaukee for home cooking, like meat, greens, and mac n’ cheese. It’s located on the North side in the Sherman Phoenix Building, which is former bank that has been converted into a food hall, wellness center, and a cultural center.
While Next Level Vegans has fantastic reviews, it’s still on our list of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Milwaukee we have to go to. We’ll make sure to update this as soon as we eat there.
While the list above of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Milwaukee is fairly extensive, we felt as though it was also important to include some Honorable Mentions in our list. This way you have the best, most complete list of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Milwaukee when visiting this wonderful city.
These restaurants are not necessarily 100% vegetarian or vegan, but they do offer numerous plant-based options on their menus.
1. Alem Ethiopian Village
Alem Ethiopian Village is located right on Wisconsin Avenue in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. This authentic Ethiopian restaurant is a favorite and has excellent vegetarian options!
Meraki has an ever-changing menu. We recommend you order the Chef’s Experience. It is a multi-course meal where the chef uses the seasonal ingredients they have to craft a meal to your liking. It can be ordered completely vegetarian or vegan. It’s probably the most expensive option on this list, but is worth it for a special occasion.
3. Comet Cafe
Comet Cafe on Milwaukee’s East Side has plenty of vegetarian and vegan options on their menu and has been a staple of Milwaukeeans for years.
Casablanca now has two locations: Brady Street and Brookfield. They have plenty of meat here, but their delicious completely vegetarian lunch buffet is why Casablanca gets an honorable mention of our list of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Milwaukee.
There are obviously other fantastic restaurants in Milwaukee to find yummy vegetarian and vegan food. However, these are the best of the best that we have found according to our…ummm….market research.
Hopefully, this list helps you find some local places to eat at and continue your plant-based diets in the city most famous for beer, brats, and cheese!