I’ve lived in Norfolk, VA, almost five years now, so I think it’s pretty safe to say you can trust my awesome reasons to visit Norfolk. If you’ve ever met me, you know that food pretty much drives every ounce of my being, so it’s possible that restaurants may have heavily influenced my list. ;o)
None of the restaurants mentioned below are vegan, but they’re all awesome enough to have delish vegan options which show people that leaving animals off your plate doesn’t mean that your taste buds will suffer. And with that, I bestow upon you my top 10 reasons for visiting good ole Nawfick (10 – 2 in no particular order)*:
10. Red Dog: Say it with me: Half-off pizza (with vegan cheese!) on Thursday nights! Maybe the best part is the cold leftovers the next day—so yummy. I can never go wrong with cheap, delicious pizza. If I’m not feeling pizza (WTF), there’s always a standard veggie burger and several other options to devour.
9. Bardo: This tapas place is on the pricier end of things, but it’s definitely not disappointing! Edamame hummus, veggie spring rolls, faux beef & broccoli, and sweet potato fries are among my faves. I almost licked the hummus straight up off the plate once—for real.
8. Siam 21: Going to a Thai place, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ll find several vegan options, but this place makes my stomach smile every single time (maybe even sing—is that creepy?). Cashew tofu, veggie fried rice, spicy eggplant, and options with wide rice noodles are what I dish up regularly.
7. Pelon’s Baja Grill: This delish Cali-style Mexican restaurant can make almost everything on their menu vegan—from meatless carne asada tacos to faux fish tacos. My fave? A burrito packed with faux steak strips, refried beans, Baja rice, cilantro, onions, salsa fresca, and guacamole. The best part: It’s called the Vegan Dude. I love being able to ask someone I don’t know for a vegan dude. Hah.
6. La Bella: I just went here for the first time the other day for a friend’s birthday, and O-M-G. This Italian place blew me away—they’ve got vegan eggplant parmigiana, spaghetti topped with faux chicken marsala, vegan pizza, and VEGAN TIRAMISU. I almost drooled then passed out. Just sayin’.
5. Rajput: How can an Indian restaurant that has an all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet once a month steer you wrong? It can’t! Last time I was Rajputtin’ it up, I had veggie samosas, vegetable pakora, chickpea masala, and palak tofu (tofu with spinach). UNBELIEVABLE.
4. Kotobuki: Japanese food to make your stomach swoon! Avocado rolls, sweet potato rolls, vegan chicken teriyaki, yakisoba, edamame, veggie ham, miso soup, and much, much more. And oh yeah, Kotobuki also has deep fried chocolate cheesecake bites. Yes, I’m serious. And yes, they’re amazing.
3. San Antonio Sam’s: This tex-mex restaurant recently introduced a 28 item vegan menu (!) and some of my faves include the spinach enchiladas, vegan chicken cheesesteak, and the nachos (piled with Daiya vegan cheese, jalapenos, refried beans, and green onions). I crave this place on a regular basis.
2. Yorgo’s Bageldashery: This bagel joint is packed nearly every time I’m there. They’re always switchin’ things up, but standards include: vegan chicken salad on a toasted everything bagel; the faux sausage, tofu egg, and vegan cheese sandwich; and the tempeh BLT—not to mention the vegan cookies and other baked goods. Jealous?
1. PETA Headquarters is here! I know this isn’t a restaurant, but it’s definitely the #1 reason to visit Norfolk. If you’re ever in the area, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know! We can stock you up with free leaflets and stickers and you can check out our Merch store. We have a sweet dog park, too.
I apologize for making you unbelievably hungry, but what are you waiting for? Come visit Norfolk already!
* Honorable mentions go to Tortilla West (faux chicken sliders), Azar’s (hummus & falafel), YNot Pizza (vegan calzones), and Bangkok Garden (garlic tofu).