Remember when eating out as a vegetarian meant ordering grilled cheese and fries or a sad side salad? Those days weren’t that long ago, but thankfully, they’re no longer. The new Birmingham dining scene may celebrate the pork arts and other meat-loving specialties, but it offers delicious meat-free choices as well. Here’s our roundup of menu picks by neighborhood for a food-loving vegetarian in the city.
Urban Standard is a standout option, offering the broadest array of non-meat entrees, including a veggie reuben, hippie gumbo, and a veggie burger of mushrooms and barley. And despite our complaint about the grilled cheese as a default option, you’ll very much want their grilled cheese.
El Barrio offers guacamole, chile rellenos, veggie quesadillas, and enough delicious meat-free sides to craft a meal of your choosing. We highly recommend either the sopa seca or the oaxacan donuts for brunch, depending on your sweet or savory preference.
Continental Bakery Downtown has a solid veggie option in every menu section, including peasant garlic soup, a salad featuring stone’s hollow goat cheese, a roasted eggplant sandwich, and red pepper farci.
Post Office Pies not only has a classic margherita pizza with house-made mozzarella but also seasonal salads like the roasted corn and tomato.
Melt is another grilled cheese feature, but it’s not relegated to the kids menu. Other options include pimento cheese, fried pickles, the mac melt (mac ‘n cheese grilled cheese), and tomato basil soup.
Hotbox has a small menu, but they’ve made room for five spice tofu and spicy soba noodles. Try a side of marinated edamame or cucumber kimchi while you’re at it.
Slice Pizza & Brew offers baked feta (!), raw kale salad, and an impressive array of veggie pizzas, not to mention the build-your-own option.
Babalu boasts tableside guacamole, a black bean burger, veggie tacos, and a host of meat-free small plates.
Cantina‘s molletes (basically a spanish bean sandwich), vegetarian tacos, and cheese enchiladas cover your entree base, along with great sides like saffron rice and beans and corn in a cup.
Surin West is your place for vegetarian noodle dishes and tofu-based stir fries at varying degrees of spiciness, along with tofu coconut soup.
The Garage Cafe has loaded veggie sandwiches of your own design, served warm or cold on hearty Big Sky bread.
Other neighborhood favorites are pizza options galore (Cosmo’s, Mellow Mushroom, Little Italy’s), Golden Temple’s menu of meat substitutes and latin-inspired bean plates, and the falafel and seasoned fry arts at Mediterranean staples (Al’s, Purple Onion, Makario’s).
Rojo‘s veggie choices like black bean burgers, summer burritos, Kate’s salad, and totchos (tater tot nachos) are tempting even for meat eaters. The menu’s broad enough you could probably eat here weekly and still want to come back.
There you have it. If you’re a vegetarian who fancies living within walking distance of great local food, consider this your neighborhood cheat sheet.