Tuesday, October 12th, 2021

A Vegan Foodie Hits Columbus Ohio

Published on February 22, 2012 by   ·   38 Comments Pin It

Columbus, Ohio may not be the first place you think of when we say “vegan food hotspot,” but Sarah Mai-Miller is continuing her love letter to Columbus (read her first installment here,) spotlighting some of her favorites all over the city, from downtown to the Short North to Reynoldsburg and Powell.

There are so many stellar eats in this Midwestern city, no matter what neighborhood.

The North Market is a great place to start. It’s perfect for lunch or your go-to spot for local flowers and groceries.

There are plenty of food vendors with everything from Indian to Vietnamese to German traditional cuisines. There are also bulk spices, artisan bread, fresh flowers and a local chocolaterie.



Nida’s has some lovely curries made with tofu and lots of fresh vegetables and spices. On my most recent visit, I chose the red curry, full of ginger, pineapples, carrots and onions.



Jeni’s has the most amazing sorbets…really unique flavors like Riesling Poached Pear and Cherry Lambic.

My other favorites in the market are Pure Imagination Chocolatier (most of the dark chocolates are vegan), Bubbles (wonderful Bubble tea with soymilk), and Lan Viet (which serves vegetarian ham).


Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace is great for a casual lunch. The name alone doesn’t exactly call out to vegetarians, but names can be deceiving. Dirty Frank’s has as awesome guide on their menu to the vegetarian and vegan options they offer. They have a Tofurky veggie dog, a veggie Polish Sausage and a veggie Brat. They have endless toppings with lots of great suggestions on how to combine them for the best experience.


Several hot dogs offer coleslaw on top, which I found very intriguing. I ordered a vegan version of Lara’s Pittsburgh Princess which includes coleslaw and malt vinegar soaked fries. When it arrived, it was sans coleslaw (which makes it vegan). I was hoping to find vegan coleslaw…maybe if there’s more demand (hint, hint) they’ll stock Vegenaise in the future. They do currently stock vegan chili and Coney sauce, which is a huge plus.

Overall, it’s a really cute spot with lots of personality and tons of vegetarian choices (at really cheap prices).


For dinner, there are choices galore. If you like Indian food, Banana Leaf is a fully vegetarian Indian restaurant. I tried their Samosas, vegetable filled dumplings, and their Chole Bhature, a chickpea curry. Both were so flavorful, spicy and complex. And their portions are quite large – I had plenty of leftovers.

I took my dinner to go, but if you’re dining in, they have a Grand Buffet that I hear is quite spectacular.


If you’re craving Mexican, as I often do, Mad Mex is the place to go.

The amazing thing about Mad Mex is that they offer tofu, vegan cheese and vegan sour cream. I was expecting a vegan sour cream like you buy in most grocery stores. However, what I got was exactly like a homemade cashew cream version. It was incredible.

I ordered the Herb O’vore’s Tofu Tacos with crispy tofu tossed in a sweet-soy-citrus sauce, bean sprouts, sliced avocado, cilantro and avocado-tomatillo salsa. The vegan sour cream, black beans and rice accompanied the tacos.


Loving Hut Columbus is actually in Reynoldsburg, but it’s worth the drive. My nephew and I stopped in for a bite not long ago, and it’s become one of his favorite restaurants.

I love Thai Iced Tea, but most Thai restaurants don’t offer a non-dairy option. I was thrilled to see it on Loving Hut’s menu with soymilk as the only option.


I started with the Lady Fingers, crispy thin rolls filled with a red bean paste, served with crisp carrots and broccoli.


My nephew had the Golden Nuggets and vegetables with tartar sauce. The nuggets were gone in a matter of minutes; the vegetables took a little more coaxing.


And I followed up with the Kung Pao, crispy veggie protein sauteed with Kung Pao sauce, peppers, cabbage, onion and cashews. This dish was really satisfying and I absolutely love the addition of cashews.


For dinner with the family, Mellow Mushroom is a great choice. They offer endless toppings, including several flavors of tofu (BBQ, Jerk & Pesto), tempeh and Daiya mozzarella cheese. My mom and I shared a pie with broccoli, tofu, onions and roasted red peppers that was extremely flavorful with a lovely golden brown crust. There were seven us for dinner, consisting of four carnivores, one pescetarian and two vegans, all of us very content.


Most vegans know Whole Foods is a blessing while traveling, and the Columbus location really stands out in my opinion. Specifically, their vegan blueberry muffins are one of my favorites. Just sweet enough, loaded with blueberries and a great texture.


As far as cheese-less vegan pizza goes, this pizza wins hands down. Spinach, red onions, sundried tomatoes, garlic and mushrooms baked in a wood fired oven…it’s absolute perfection.


I hope you’ve enjoyed my latest installment…further proving the Midwest is a vegan force to be reckoned with. I visit Columbus often, and I’m sure I’ll have much more to share in the future. If you have any recommendations, please let me know in the comments section below!

You can see Eating Vegan in Columbus, Ohio . Part I here.

Eat Pure…A Monthly Taste is a monthly installment on GirlieGirl Army from Sarah-Mai Miller – the foodie behind Eat Pure, a vegan food + travel blog.

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Readers Comments (38)

  1. linda says:

    thanks for taking us through columbus, vegan style! everything looks delicious and there are so many choices! what a great place to be. especially for the cashew based sour cream from mad mex and the vegan thai tea from loving hut, yum!

  2. Laurel says:

    These pictures are amazing and it looks like you really enjoyed your stay! I love vegan posts that show how amazing all your meals can be when traveling! Bravo!

  3. karma says:

    Wow, some of these places even I didn’t know about! Loving hut is my favorite,and the people there are great!!

    • sarah-mai says:

      There are so many places that are not vegetarian, yet serve great vegetarian/vegan options. I love featuring these places in particular since most people don’t know they exist!

  4. I need to take a trip to Ohio!

  5. Laure says:

    I definitely need to come back to taste everything !!!

  6. Janis says:

    Thank you for this post I have to travel to Columbus for work and I will be there for 5 days … glad to see I will be able to eat!!

  7. Vanessa says:

    I was googling vegan Columbus and found your site. I realize I’m way late to the party but here are a few more vegan options:

    1.) Portia’s Cafe in Beechwold is all vegan (and gluten free.) Many items on the menu are raw, although not all. The Thanksgiving Quesadillas and Raw Broccoli Soup are to die.

    2.) Whole World Pizza and Bakery in Clintonville is all vegetarian and many items can be made vegan (I know they have vegan cheese, I think they have Veganaise but I can’t remember for sure.)

    3.) Blue Ginger in Dublin is an Asian Fusion place with many veg options (and they are willing to make other items veg on request.) Their peanut/avocado and fried sweet potato sushis are amazing. There are many Asian restaurants with vegan options, but the selection and quality of non-fish sushi here is marvelous.

  8. Tracy says:

    I’m Tracy! The owner of Beans! A unique Vegan Diner opening soon in Newark, Ohio. It features fresh Tempeh and real sourkraut. We are planning on opening around early May. I wonder if you would help us get the word out by sharing these links? Thanks so much!




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