Soul Vegetarian East

Chicago, Illinois

Reviews


rating star

Both times I've been to Soul Veg the wait has been awfully long. I will admit the first time was also with a Groupon within a week of it expiring and this last time was the night it expired, so my wait time may have been altered due to that. From reading Yelp reviews, though, it seems like the service is always pretty slow and the servers are rather scatter-brained.

To start, my friends and I split the battered cauliflower. Pretty much most vegetables battered and fried are tasty and the cauliflower didn't disappoint in this aspect. It is definitely something to be split among 3-4 people, though, because it would be too much fried food for just two people. Other appetizers on the menu are more battered things like mushrooms, onion rings, fries, and tidbits (seitan).

We got a side of carrot supreme salad which was absolutely amazing. If you get anything at this restaurant, get this salad. For $4.50, it could have been a meal! It was gigantic and packed full of awesome veggies. We got the creamy garlic dressing with it and I'm thinking they use fresh garlic because it was super garlicky, but the creaminess balanced it out.

For sandwiches, we had the East Coast BBQ Roast Sandwich and the Hand Burger. The BBQ sandwich was as to be expected: messy. They use their signature seitan tidbits and coat them in their own bbq sauce. Overall, it's a good kind of messy sandwich. I'd get this again for sure. My friend had the Hand Burger and he said it's the best veggie burger he's ever had (and he's an omnivore)! It is made out of lentils and various spices. My only problem with the sandwiches are that they come with no sides. It feels a bit like an incomplete meal to just have a sandwich. Of course, you can order a side, but you get what I mean.

My other friend had the dinner special. This dinner was something like $12 and for that price, there was SO much food. All three of us could have eaten this for dinner and been stuffed. It came with greens, steamed broccoli, breaded tofu (think catfish fillet style), a whopping piece of lasagna, and a choice of soup or salad (he got the soup, bean curd veggie, with fresh cornbread). I've had the greens from Soul Veg before and I always find them a bit too musky from the liquid smoke they use. The steamed broccoli was pretty standard, tender and healthy. Now, this breaded tofu business. One of my friends who was with me is from the south and the other grew up eating breaded catfish and both of them were as impressed as I was with the breaded tofu. The lasagna was alright. I didn't love it or hate it, but I wouldn't order it again. Just wasn't my thing - something about the taste of it. Lastly, the soup and cornbread were really tasty.

For a complete review, please see my blog here: http://veganmiss.blogspot.com/2012/04/vegan-chicago-restaurant-review-of-soul.html


rating star

I would have loved to have eaten here but after waiting 30+ minutes just to place an order we had to leave. It was really disconcerting to see other people in the restaurant receiving their meals before we were even acknowledged. If you decide to eat here (and you don't fit the stereotypical profile), make sure you have a few hours to burn.


rating star

Amazing food and service!


rating star

This place is what they say it is. The food is delicious. The woman who served me needs to keep her problems with men to herself and quit trying to convince the young ones. I could have ignored this if it was another diner. However this was staff. I should have been able to enjoy my dinner without hearing that garbage. More expensive false eyelashes, may help relations with men.


rating star

I thought Soul was pretty good. We ordered the onion rings for an appetizer. The first onion ring I picked up had a hair baked into it, which was disgusting... We ate the rest of them though, and they were really tasty. I ordered the BBQ rib platter and surprise, surprise... the first thing I noticed in them is another hair. One is gross, two (in two separate dishes!) is pretty ridiculous. The ribs were good, but not great. They could have used more sauce, and the consistency was kind of weird. I think my boyfriend got the carrot salad sandwich, and he really liked it. The saving grace of my meal was the scoop of banana soy ice cream I got to go. It was so creamy and flavorful. Apparently their soy ice cream is homemade.
I think next time I would rather check out Yah's.

Image for Benjamin Kutschied

rating star

Soul Veg rocked my world. I just ate there for the first time and had a great experience.

An employee told us that the entire menu was vegan although that was not indicated anywhere on the menu itself. We ordered the onion rings for an appetizer (totally unnecessary with Soul's generous portions). These were my first onion rings in many years and were totally worth the wait. The gyro was okay, but I was a little put off by whatever ingredient was giving it that unusually sweet taste. The steak stir fry was excellent. Unlike similar rice dishes I have had at other restaurants, Soul's steak stir fry did not skimp on the "meat" and veggies! I am a hot sauce fiend and would normally douse a plate of rice and veggies before even trying it. I'm glad there wasn't any within arm's reach because I wouldn't dream of putting anything else on this perfectly seasoned dish. Along with the onion rings, my partner and I made two full meals out of the visit.

The service was not bad, but it could have been better. The first employee we spoke to was extremely enthusiastic and wanted to talk to us about the type of food they specialize in. The woman who actually served us, however, was indifferent. While eating we witnessed her blow off questions another customer had about vegan food and ignore someone waiting at the counter until he had to yell into the kitchen to get some service.

Really, the only disappointing thing about my visit to Soul Veg was knowing that (as a Minnesotan) it will probably be a while before I am able to sample more of their menu.


rating star

This place rules! I've been here before, but the most recent time I ate there on a Sunday morning, so they only had their brunch menu available. I was able to try a variety of dishes with the combo options they had: pancakes, sausage cakes, grits, hash browns, tofu scramble, and sprouts! My favorite parts were the small ones: lemon juice in the water, 100% pure maple syrup (and lots of it!), and complimentary organic fresh-squeezed apple juice (with refills). Nice atmosphere--definitely worth checking out if you're in Chicago!


rating star

I still can't believe the negative reviews this place gets due to service. My husband and I ate dinner here this past Sunday, and had one of the best vegan dining experiences we have had in Chicago.
The place is tiny, intimate and has an old-school mom-and-pop type of feel. We were seated immediately, received drinks, salads and bread instantly by a waiter who was brief and polite. This was a Sunday, so the menu was predetermined, but TASTY ('chicken' fried 'steak', greens, rice, veggies and pie). Our desert was brought to the table without our having to beg, and our water glasses were refilled several times.
The proprietor chatted us up as we paid the bill, and was just as welcoming and kind as any restaurateur I've met.
The truth is that if you like having your butt kissed by some server working for tips, like your food stacked in little towers on designer plates and served with an aspirin sauce, elderberry reduction or something like that - this is not your diner. If you enjoy damn good home-style vegan food in a restaurant you can have a conversation with your dinner guest, go here.
Yes, there is zero public transportation. However, the streets are a beautiful, well kept and enjoyable place to take a stroll on an autumn afternoon. I was overcome by the lovely old trees, rolling lawns and stately homes.
I cannot wait to come back.

Image for Dave Rolsky

rating star

This is one of my all time favorite restaurants. The food is fantastic, and the service is always friendly. Everything is good, but make sure to check out the onion rings, protein tidbits, and if you get a chance to go there for breakfast, do it. I think this is by far the best vegan breakfast I've had, at least in a restaurant.

A few caveats. First, it's not really all that cheap any more, though it's not obscenely expensive. While the service is friendly, it can sometimes be a bit absent-minded and slow. I've been here many times, and the service is what was the most variable, from absolutely no problems to forgetting items, or waiting 15 minutes just to order. The people who work here are super-friendly, but not always as attentive or professional as I might wish.

For me, it's worth it, because I really do love the food.

Image for conde.kedar

rating star

I loved Soul Vegetarian. The service was friendly and fast, the atmosphere was charming and worldly, and the food was delicious and perfectly priced and portioned. I haven't had soul food in a long time and found their cream of broccoli soup, cornbread, mashed potatoes, collard greens and country mock steak to all be wonderfully filling and tasty. My only gripe is with the location, which is hard to get to via public transportation. Otherwise, it's highly recommended.

Image for Lola

rating star

A few years ago, I wrote a very zealous review of Soul Veg (see below). However, after numerous steep price increases (with no real improvement in their mediocre-at-best service) I felt inclined to post another review. Soul Vegetarian fills a nice void in the South Side vegetarian community. There aren't many vegetarian restaurants down here and Soul Veg seems to have found catering opportunities at local grocery stores and on the University of Chicago campus.

That said, their food quality is highly variable and often makes me sick (probably because it is incredibly greasy). For example, on any given day the macaroni and cheese can be spicy or contain loads of nutritional yeast or be fairly bland and swimming in grease. It's difficult to tell just by looking at it. On many occasions, I have purchased Soul Veg food only to be sorely disappointed and subsequently end up throwing it away. Desserts are the only really consistent item from Soul Veg. I have, by and large, stopped going to Soul Veg but, when I do, I usually just go for the dessert these days.


Former Review:

What can I say, I go to Soul Veg every Tuesday with the University of Chicago Vegan Society and I΄m still not sick of it. In fact, the weeks that I don΄t make it with the other U of C vegans, I end up going by myself either on Monday or Wednesday. The food here is amazing, the prices are unbeatable and the people are really really nice (and will start to know you by name if you eat here often enough). Heck, they even gave me free orange soy ice cream on my birthday. Where else can you get that?


rating star

I had the opportunity to eat here this past month when I was in Chicago for training. I had never been and boy was I in for treat. I don't think I have ever been to a place where I could order anything I wanted from the menu. I went for the special which was a vegan steak with gravy, rice, Lima beans, and greens. The dish was fantastic and my taste buds were tingled. I also got to try the onion rings and protein tidbits. Everything was so yummy. I got dessert to go it was a chocolate peanut butter cake. The great thing is that everything was vegan. Also I won't forget the happy little boy jumping up and down as his mother carried a large to go back. He was happily repeating Protein tidbits. Boy was this little guy excited to eat those when he got home!

Image for Cass Danger

rating star

Hands down, the best soul food ever. This is also the nicest Soul Vegetarian restaurant I've been to, as it has a large dinning room and not just a take-out area. The vegan mac-n-cheese is really good, as are the fried tofu tidbits. You can't go wrong with the Sunday dinner, which is a huge plate of soul food, usually something like: fake meat, greens, potato, and corn bread.


rating star

These guys have been selling their food on the U of Chicago campus for a while now, and it's pretty much the only thing I eat. The vegan mac & cheese with fried greens is pretty good, but I love their jerk tofu and jerk steak wraps. I also tried their Garden of Eden salad (spinach, carrots blended with a delicious sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, and cilantro dressing), and it was one of the few times that I actually got excited about a salad. Definitely excellent food.


rating star

Yum! I got the BBQ protein tidbits, which more than lived up to their recommendations! The veggie gyro was a little heavy on the sauce, which was also on the sweet side for me, but the vegan cornbread was by far the best I've ever eaten! Next time, I'd go just for protein tidbits, some greens, and cornbread.


rating star

ahh - soul veg. my best advice, order ahead of time- see if you can snag one of the few to go menus and call ahead. i go back because i don't have to worry about being vegan here- all vegan, all the time- and i know some people who bust their ass to make the food good, not timely, just real good- expect to have some conversation ready, unless you get a dinner- most of the time i get take out. newest great thing on the menu- jerk tofu wrap.


rating star

I've been going to Soul veg for over 6 years and as far as I'm concerned, it's been 6 years of second chances with that place. The food's pretty good, although not "healthy" by any means as everything's deep fried, which results in the sick feeling I'm sure anyone who's eaten there understands. Nine times out of ten the service is horrible, items are forgotten, food comes out all out of order- three people in the party have completely finished their meals just as someone else in the party's salad comes out. There's no excuse for that- especially not with the recent price jumps. Dinner will now run you about $15. For that kind of money I expect my salad to come out before my sandwich and I expect my water glass refilled at least once. No thanks, 6 years of disappointment's enough for me.


rating star

On Sundays, Soul Veg has a planned meal available instead of menu options. The meal I had was incredible, and the other patrons were very friendly.


rating star

We planned an entire trip to Chicago around eating at Soul V. This place is legendary. You've got to try the protien tidbits. Their soup is really garlicy and wonderful. The two friday nights I've eaten there, they've had lasagne as their special, and it's fabulous. The BBQ twist is great, and I have never had such good lemon merengue pie, vegan or otherwise, in my life. If you live out of town, be sure to buy a bunch of their cookies for the road. The coconut shortbread ones last quite a while, and they're fantastic.


rating star

Ahhh, the legendary Soul Vegetarian East! So, this is THE BEST food I have ever eaten. And everyone who I have been there with agrees that it's great (even the meat-eaters.) It is absolutely amazing what they can do, I actually don't know where to start. I loooove the BBQ twist. They have soft serve vegan ice cream that is amazing. Even the salad dressing will blow you away. Creamy cucumber or garlic, both delicious. If you go on Sunday you don't get to order off the menu, they usually just have one platter. But don't worry, its always awesome and pretty filling too. If I could eat here everyday I would, no doubt. And its rather inexpensive too. Its very cozy and it has a real nice community vibe. SVE may be the answer to all the world's problems.


rating star

I love the battered cauliflower.

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