Urban Vegan

Chicago, Illinois


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For starters, my friend and I had the grilled veggie dumplings, the house salad, and seafood tom yum soup. The portions are big! The dumplings were about what we expected - your everyday vegan frozen dumpling that was grilled. I think next time, I'd like to try the crispy chicken or chicken satay instead. They sound interesting! The house salad was filled with lots of veggies and I went with peanut sauce for the dressing. There is also tahini and Italian dressing. I've never had a Larb salad before since they aren't vegan, but that's the next salad I'm going to try here. The tom yum soup with seafood was interesting, to say the least. I've had vegan fish fillets before and vegan shrimp... but never the fish in a broth. Personally, the best preparation I've ever seen of vegan fish was in a light sauce and the fillet slightly seared. The seaweed wrapped around it to be the "skin" gives it that fishy taste quality. Vegan shrimp, for me, isn't really worth it. It's chewy and doesn't add much to the mix.

Our dinner entree's were the garlic pepper entree with pepper steak and the pad won zen with soy chicken. The pepper steak was pretty good and it came with rice, though I would have appreciated a few more veggies tossed in there. I liked the pad won zen very much (it has more veggies), but it was cold which kind of ruined the appeal (was looking forward to hot noodles!). Next time, I think I'd like to try the P.E.T. (pumpkin, eggplant, tofu) and the wonton noodle soup (I've missed wonton soup since being vegan - it was my staple at Chinese restaurants since I was a wee one).

Overall, I think Urban Vegan is a nice change from the normal Thai vegan dining experience (no fish sauce! no oyster sauce! no egg! tofu!). I'm definitely going to come back and try it again. It seems to be doing great thus far and the Chicago vegan community loves it.

For a complete review, please see my blog here: http://veganmiss.blogspot.com/2011/12/vegan-chicago-restaurant-review-of.html

rating star

This is a great little place with a large all-vegan menu, which is mostly Thai style food. The dining room is tiny and fairly plain, but the quality of the food is the focus. I had the Pad See-Ew with seitan and Freshy Rolls - both were very good. One unusual feature is that the menu features several different kinds of veggie "meat" including a veggie "fish", which I'll have to try on one of my future visits.

Image for conde.kedar

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I've been to a a couple dozen or more vegan or vegetarian Thai joints around the world, including in Thailand itself. As such, I had high expectations for Urban Vegan, and the restaurant mostly met those expectations.

My two non-vegetarian friends went straight for main courses, getting a red curry with mock chicken, a spicy basil leaves with mock chicken and a spicy noodles dish. All of the dishes cost around $10.

The red curry and the basil leaves were both excellent: spicy, savory and hearty. I am almost always unimpressed with curries and stir-frys I find in average Thai restaurants, but Urban Vegan manages to produce the robust flavors one hopes to encounter in Thai food.

It should be noted that my non-vegetarian friends loved the food as well and, like me, would call it the best Thai food they'd had in Chicago.

The spicy noodles was the only dish that didn't get a passing grade. This one was spicy, but not particularly flavorful otherwise and just fell flat.

For dessert we got the coconut ice cream, which is a wonderful dish to share. It's coconut ice cream packed into an actual coconut, complete with coconut flesh still sticking to the sides of the shell. This dessert was so tasty, in fact, that we ordered an extra one.

Urban Vegan is easily the best Thai food in Chicago, in my opinion, and a fine place in general. Keep in mind that it's a small cafe with only a few tables capable of seating four people; don't come with a large group. The service is friendly and prompt, and the restaurant also has reasonable prices and good portion sizes.

I will be returning to Urban Vegan whenever I'm in Chicago.

Image for treefrog

rating star

The food was all really good. It's exciting to see some of this stuff finally be made vegan,

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Urban Vegan is awesome! The menu had an incredible selection of vegan thai and (some) indian foods. I had the spinach noodles with vegan "shrimp" in a wonderful curry sauce, just to be daring...and it was awesome! The barbecue tofu also looked good, though I didn't try that. There are only 5 or 6 tables, so seating could be a bit scarce if you get there for the dinner crowd.

This place is definitely worth trying, it's my new favorite vegan place in Chicago!

rating star

The name of this restaurant sounds silly, but don't be fooled---this is a SERIOUS Thai restaurant. Everything here is vegan, and the menu is quite extensive. They had many dishes that you can't often find vegan, such as bean thread salad with soy beef. I tried a lot of different dishes, and all of them were yummy. The waitstaff was extremely nice, too. I came here in a group of 7, and they gave us all free miso soup, as well as a free mango slushy dessert that they were experimenting with.

As a warning, do NOT order your food extra spicy!!! The chefs are not kidding around, and the heat will bring you into a world of pain. But you won't be able to stop eating your painfully spicy dinner because it is that good.

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