Chicago Diner

Chicago, Illinois

Reviews


rating star

My husband and I, both vegan, recently ate here. As best as I can remember, I had the Thai chili lime wings appetizer (very good), a chocolate peanut butter shake (good), Mexican scrambled tofu (okay but not impressive), and since my husband and I always split our dishes and share them, the karma burger (also okay). For dessert we split a cinnamon roll (good to very good). All in all, there are better vegan restaurants than the Chicago Diner, but we weren't sorry we went, either. I would give it three and half stars.

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Fabulous. A must try when in Chicago!


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Oh. My. Goodness. I cannot say enough good things about my one-and-only experience at the Chicago Diner. Every single thing was out of this world. So much delicious vegan food!

Tony and I started with the poutine which was on special in June (I think?). If you're unfamiliar with poutine it's Canada's national dish. It's basically french fries with gravy and melted cheese. Chicago Diner did it with a pepper gravy over waffle fries. There was melted cheese and we added jalapenos, vegan bacon, and sour cream.

I had the Philly Cheese Steak sandwich with a side salad with vegan ranch. It was insane. After the poutine and the salad I was only able to eat a few bites of my sandwich but it was just as good (if not better) the next morning as we were getting back on the road.

Tony had the Reuben with a side of mac and cheese. I can't believe it, but I didn't even taste it. He says the Reuben was amazing and everything one would expect from a Reuben. He also says the mac and cheese was 'Okay'.

I had a strawberry shake with whipped 'cream'. Best vegan shake I've had (in five years).

The dessert menu looked absolutely insane but we didn't order anything because we were so stuffed! We thought we'd get something the next morning. And here comes my only complaint. We wanted to go in for breakfast but we were getting on the road at ten and they don't open until eleven. I was really really bummed about that. I seriously hope I get to go back, preferably sooner rather than later.


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Oh man, I am going to be in big trouble. I only live a 15min walk away from there. I will be there all the time! Some of the best vegan food I have ever had! Plus they have larger portions. Go there with an empty stomach!! Had leftover, reheated pretty well. Still enjoyed them the second time around. Can't wait to go back and stuff myself again! I am a forever fan.


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Add me to the list of fans! It's comfort food vegan style and I loved it.


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Every time I go to Chicago, I come here and order about 10 things off the menu. Everything they make is amazing!

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also ate here twice while in chicago...
the radical reuben lived up to its name. gigantic, delicious, and messy. oh so messy. i also had the el pastor tacos, but sadly, was not impressed at all. the flavor was lacking in the tacos, and i think spanish rice on the side is redundant, and uninspired, and theirs was both. if the tacos has some guac, salt, and more filling i think they'd have been okay-but lets nix that rice for some beans in mole sauce!? now, while we're at it, i'd like to add that my host for the weekend is a complete and total Mr.Bloody Steak and Taters, and after having one bite of my reuben he declared it motherf*cking good, and ordered one himself. if you knew him like i do, you'd take that in the utmost highest regards of badass vegan cooking.
one thing-if you're going to order a shake for your post-meal-walk, make sure you're walking home and not to a dance party because believe me, you'll be in too big of a hazy, stuffed food-coma to move. yummy food coma.....


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My boyfriend and I made this our first stop on a recent trip to Chicago. After being in the car all day and starving, the food here really hit the spot. I got the Dagwood with no onions and sweet potato fries for my side. It was excellent and definitely worth the $10. The sandwich was huge! My bf got the meatball sub which he liked very much, despite being a carnivore. :) The menu was huge and pretty much everything can be made vegan, which is great. We got the smores shake for dessert, and it was really tasty. The service was excellent. Our server was really attentive and made sure to ask us how everything was and keep us updated on how long our food would be, even though it felt like we barely waited long at all. I will definitely go back on future trips to Chicago.

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Lot's of Choices! Practically EVERYTHING is or can be made vegan. It was almost overwhelming to be able to order anything off the menu but sooo nice:) The home-made black bean burger was served with a yummy and creamy sauce on it plus mozzarella soy cheeze. The raw nachos we had for the appetizer wesn't very good so for raw food I would rate them lower but the vegan food was perfect I was with 3 other people one of which was a meat-eater and we all loved our meals.


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One of the very best restaurants of all time!

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This is a landmark restaurant for vegetarians in Chicago. While the food (for me) has been hit or miss, its wide array of choices, great staff and cool atmosphere make it a great place to visit. The cheesecake here is probably the best I've ever had, vegan or otherwise. Also try the hot chocolate! Anything that sounds bland probably IS bland on their menu; on the other hand, anything that sounds exotic or and tasty is probably exotic and spicy and tasty. Portion sizes are huge, so expect to take home plenty of leftovers. Prices are high, but the portion sizes more than make up for that.


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A must visit for anyone in Chicago

Image for Cass Danger

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You can't go wrong here. The food is great and the atmosphere is amazing. It's a 20+ year old vegetarian diner that serves up everything from fajitas to gyros to tofu scramble and French toast at brunch. They make the best vegan milk shakes I've ever had (using Chicago Soy Dairy ice cream).


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I made a pilgrimage here while visiting Chicago. I had a hard time with the menu -- not reading it, but making a selection. After being vegan and dining in omni restaurants, it can be intimidating to read an entire menu and know that you can get anything on it made vegan.

I went with the reuben and was very pleased with my decision. Not only was my seitan reuben delicious, with sauerkraut, melted vegan mozarella, and vegan thousand island dressing, but it was generously sized and overflowing. I had to cut it into thirds rather than halves in order to eat it. I had been thinking that I should have ordered an appetizer, but I was stuffed by my sandwich and breakfast potatoes and a mocha milkshake. The cakes looked amazing, but I haven't had a milkshake since going vegan or, rather, the experience of having a milkshake brought to your diner table in a sundae glass. Again, another tough call but I don't regret my decision. And I bought a double chocolate monster cookie for the road, though, which I highly recommend doing.


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It's nice how everything on the menu can be made vegan. They were out of Cookie Dough Ice Cream when I went, but the Temptation Chocolate milkshake was quite good. My friends got nachos, which were quite tasty. The Polenta Fiesta entree was good, but was a little on the dry/bland side and needed some extra salsa poured on top to help it out.

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The Chicago Diner has a wide variation in the quality of their food. At first glance, the menu is a bit overwhelming, since it is rare that a vegan stumbles across a restaurant with such an extensive menu of foods that can be made vegan. However, after eating there no fewer than 50 times, I have a better sense of which items are worth ordering. The milkshakes at the Chicago Diner are AMAZING. I get one every time that I go. The macaroni and cheese is pretty good, as are the quesadillas, Philly cheesesteak sandwich and lentil loaf. I am a huge fan of the french onion miso soup, which often shows up on their list of specials, as well as the lasagna, red pepper ravioli and Argentinian empanadas. In general I am not a fan of the cakes, although the cookies and cakes that they make for special occasions (Easter, Valentine┬Ęs Day etc.) are quite good.

Note: I wrote the above review about a year ago. The Chicago Diner has changed their menu considerably since then. There is much more emphasis on raw foods options, but some of my old favorites (the lentil loaf, Argentinian empanadas and red pepper ravioli) are no longer there.


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Since they now offer a different raw food dish a week I went last week to try them out. The gazpacho soup was excellent with the flax crackers and I love the selection of juices. They also had a delicious raw cheesecake.


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Whenever I would travel to Chicago, Chicago Diner would be one of the first places I would hit up. I hadn't been back for over 5 years, so I was really excited to eat there last week. Once again, it lived up to everything I had hoped. I always get the reuben sandwich. The best vegan reuben in the country. Plus, now Chicago Diner offers vegan options for all of their sides, which include mac and cheeze, mashed potatoes and gravy, cole slaw and more. But the real treat is dessert. I tried the blueberry cheesecake, which was really good, but not the best. I did make sure to buy a cake to take home with me. The cookies and cream cake used to be a little better, but the german chocolate cake was awesome as always.


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I'm really worried that when I move to Chicago, I'm going to blow all of my money on vegan milkshakes. They are just too delicious. Also, the non-dairy cream of cauliflower soup last weekend was phenomenal!


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The Chicago Diner has always been pretty decent, but recently they've gotten a lot better. (They got a new chef, maybe?) It's pretty serious quality now.

Especially recommended: the seitan reuben, the chikin parmigiana, and the barbecue wings (made from seitan, I think).

Also, they have 100% vegan soy cheese, so vegans can get all sorts of traditional favorites in adapted form.


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I always know I can get a good meal at Chicago Diner. I definitely have my favorites on the menu. Anything with their fabulous seitan is a good bet if you like fake meat. The Seitanic-Cesear, Fajitas, Nachos, Reuben, and Philly Cheesesteak are some of the stand-outs. I love the biscuits and gravy with scrambled tofu during brunch. Their new Bolognese Lasagna is also wonderful. They have a great rotation of specials, in addition to their regular menu. The soy shakes are amazing. Yummy! The desserts can be hit-or-miss, but they seem to be improving over time. The service has also gotten better since I've been going there for about 5 years. I love this place.


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My husband and I were both very impressed with the extensive menu. The Seitan-ic Caesar Salad was excellent, and my husband enjoyed the Tofu Scramble. A little pricey but the ingredients tasted very fresh and great flavor. We will definitely be regulars!


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Sometimes the food from the Diner is tasty, others it's extremely mediocre. Brunch especially always strikes me as overpriced; I'll happily pay >$50 a plate for a good meal at an elegant restaurant, but neither the food nor the atmosphere here is elegant. It's a diner. Better vegan french toast can be had down the street at Pick Me Up Cafe; the diner's featured crusty whole-grain bread for a lot less taste and a lot more chewing required. The gyros were very good; a burger was OK. The Diner Wellington is fantastic and festive, a good choice for taking home and heating up for a special vegan meal. Things may have changed in the past 3-4 years, but when I tried a blueberry tofu cheesecake I was decidely not impressed; it may have been nonhydrogenated but it wasn't cheesecake! (Since trying a Sticky Fingers cheesecake I don't think I'll be able to return to those tofu pretenders.)

On the whole, I want to like the Chicago Diner. The menu is so vegan-friendly for a Chicago restaurant, the employees and owners seem like nice people. However, with so many other good food options in the neighborhood, I can't say I feel compelled to go back much.


rating star

The Diner is an outstanding place to eat. I've been able to bring my vegetarian and non-vegetarian friends here, and all have been quite satisfied. In addition to the great food, the service is excellent; I just wish they would stay open later and serve breakfast at all hours.


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The Chicago Diner is a veggie heaven. My family always leaves full & happy
& with leftovers (the portions are huge).
The soups are always vegan... the broccoli creme fantastic. Sunday biscuits & gravy & hash scrambler is great. Buckwheat pancakes & Scrambled Tofu Deluxe as good as it gets. Power smoothies & vegan shakes & fresh juices.
The staff is knowlegable & quite friendly. Even free parking nites & weekends. We always get notdogs & tempeh burgers for the Cub games a few blocks a way. Thank you Chicago Diner!


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Most of the vegan desserts are quite tasty (which is enough to keep me coming back), but the entrees are kind of hit-or-miss. Most of the lunch and dinner items are vegetarian or vegan versions of "normal" food, which is not necessarily appealing to everyone. I like the shepherd's pie, and the Philly "Cheesesteak" sandwich is great. I also took my parents to breakfast one Sunday morning, and it was really bad. My tofu scramble left much to be desired, and neither of my parents liked what they had. The prices are a little on the steep side, but I'd recommend making the trip if only to get a piece of the vegan carrot cake.


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Joe Vegan recommends: Give it a try if you're in the area and hungry.

August 2003. I went with a couple of my meat eating friends. They had the pasta primavera and thought it was good (once they'd spiced it up a bit). I had the fajitas--I think they were tempeh--and they were okay. I'd read raves about the cakes, so I asked about the German Chocolate. Unfortunately they were out; I had the chocolate mousse cake instead. Again, it was okay. All in all, I'd say they definitely get cheers for having such a wide selection of vegetarian fare. I just wish it was a little more exciting.


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i get all shivery just thinking about the cakes. the cakes are very delicious, with really intense frosting, and apparently they have no saturated fats in them either. if you're looking to buy their cakes though, i suggest going to the whole foods on north ave-- they sell chicago diner cakes for a dollar less than the restaurant. the cake slices are all very big, and if your'e getting a slice in the restaurant and you smile really hard, your'e bound to get an extra big slice. their zucchini muffins are also good. their entire bakery is vegan. everything on their regular menu can be made vegan (the restaurant is entirely vegetarian, and mostly vegan), except they unfortunately do not have any sort of cheese substitute. their portions are Huge. appetizers can easily turn into meals. i recommend their peanut thai tofu dish. my friend likes their reuben, but my dad doesn't. i'm fond of their smoothies. their french toast is good, but not super exciting. the waiters and waitresses are all very nice and pretty.


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The desserts here are excellent.

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