The following list is not meant to be an all-inclusive vegan restaurant list. Rather, my goal is to tell you about some of my favorite places that not only have excellent vegan options but also have good drinks, cozy atmospheres, and friendly crowds. I will update this page regularly as I try out new places and discover new favorites!
Avalon International Breads - Fresh baked bread and desserts, monthly specials, lots of vegan options. Seating is limited and it gets crowed inside but when weather is warmer try to grab a seat outside. Or take your treats to go!
Detroit Vegan Soul (D.V.S.) - Detroit's first all-vegan restaurant! Healthy soul food using mostly local and organic produce. In addition to using no animal products, D.V.S. prepares their food without any GMO's, refined flours, sugars, additives, or preservatives. The space small so it's not a good place to go with a large group.
Green Dot Stables - Sliders, fries, salads, and soups - all for just $2 and $3! Even the drinks are cheap. Most of the sliders are meat but there are a few vegan options. The old menus used to indicate vegetarian/vegan but the new ones do not. If you aren't sure ask - the servers are very knowledgeable. And I'll let you in on a little secret - the best place to sit is at the bar! Be prepared to wait when you go here, especially before or after any local sporting event. Or if college football is on TV. Or a good horse race. So yeah, just be prepared to wait.
Johnny Noodle King - What will you find at Johnny Noodle King? Why, noodles, of course! While the majority of their noodle bowls are meat-based, you will find one delicious veggie bowl on the menu. Their seaweed salad is also amazing!! The restaurant is great - super cute and the staff was friendly, attentive, and knowledgable about the dishes. There aren't many tables, however, so expect to wait at peak lunch and dinner hours. But it's worth it! Oh, and you might as well grab a sake while you're there. It's not my usual wine but hey, when in Rome...
Jolly Pumpkin Detroit - If you're a fan of sour beers, Jolly Pumpkin is the place to go. Personally I'm not a beer drinker but there's a nice Michigan wine - Peninsula Red - that I recommend. As for food, Jolly Pumpkin Detroit has a smaller menu than the locations in Ann Arbor and Traverse City but there are some good veg choices. Nothing vegan as is but you can leave the cheese off the most salads, pizza, and sandwiches and be good to go! The staff is friendly and knowledgable so be up front with questions and concerns. TIP: Try 2 small salads for more variety.
Motor City Brewing Works - In the winter, you can get warm and cozy inside with your pizza and beer (or red wine for me). In the summer try to snag a spot on the rooftop patio. There are many pizzas to choose from but vegans will need to build your own and hold the cheese. The pizzas aren't huge - if I'm hungry enough I can eat the whole thing myself.
Mudgie's - If you are in the mood for an amazing sandwich made with the best, most fresh ingredients, look no further than Mudgie's. There are 2 vegan wraps on the menu and both are delicious. Or you can build your own salad or sandwich if you want something different. They offer at least 2 soups a day and more often than not one of them is vegan. They serve Perkins Pickles, which are THE best pickles around! For dessert you can get a cookie from Pinwheel Bakery in Ferndale. They have an extensive beer and wine list and great Happy Hour specials. Plus the place is just so darn cute!
Ottava Via - A slightly more upscale but still relaxed Italian place, you can get pizza, pasta, salads, and small plates. There are a few vegetarian options that can be easily veganized. Things are a bit pricier here but it's definitely worth checking out. In warmer weather you can sit on the patio. Plenty of parking but be prepared to wait for a table at peak times.
Selden Standard - This just might be my new favorite food in Detroit. And the best part about it is you won't even believe you're in Detroit! I felt like I was in Chicago or San Fransisco. The food is nearly indescribable in terms of nailing down a type. It's small plates and entrees that are just damn good. The flavor combos and how everything is cooked is what makes it amazing. Everything I had was amazing - some dishes were even too delicious to share! It's a bit pricey but well-worth it. The only parking is on the street and be prepared to wait for a table.
Seva - Seva is exclusively vegetarian and vegan. The regular menu is pretty extensive and there is also a weekly specials menu that features a couple of soups, appetizers, and entrees, so you definitely have a lot of variety here. I have also noted changes to the regular menu over time. Some items that are not vegan can be ordered vegan. The space is modern and rather large, with outdoor seating in warmer months. I've never had to wait.
St. Cece's - A warm and cozy Corktown pub that serves an eclectic seasonal menu using local produce. They also serve Michigan beer and wine. There are usually a few vegan items on the menu along with a special of the evening. I've sampled the chef's food at events outside of the restaurant and been highly impressed, as well. I've also found the servers to be knowledgeable and friendly so feel free to ask questions. This is the kind of place you could have a nice dinner for 2 or hang out with a group for hours. I've done both!
Supino Pizzeria - You want the best pizza outside of Italy? You want the best pizza in Detroit? You want the best pizza PERIOD? You go to Supino. Dave Mancini knows how to do pizza right. The crust is thin and light, chewy yet crisp. The toppings are fresh and creative. Always perfection. The space is small and basically busy at any time. The pizza is best eaten fresh from the oven while it's still steaming. Eat it in your car if you have to. You won't regret it!
Woodbridge Pub - This may be the last one my list but it's only because I alphabetized it! Woodbridge is another favorite and a great place for mixed-diet couples. Their seasonal, local menu has meat as well as vegetarian and vegan options. It's a cozy comfortable atmosphere with friendly servers and bartenders. We love to hang out at the bar, especially on Tuesday nights when they have signature handcrafted cocktails for only $5. On Sundays they have brunch and pizza night (both with vegan options).
Buddy's Pizza - There are 10 locations for Buddy's across Southeast Michigan but I most often go to the Dearborn location. I actually don't eat here too often (it doesn't stack up to Supino or Motor City) but it's a good option. The crust and sauce is vegan and you can either go cheese-less or get it with Daiya (not my fav but GO BUDDY'S for having vegan cheese!)
La Pita - Dearborn has countless Middle-Eastern restaurants. I haven't been to enough to say that La Pita is the best but I've been there often and I like it. The prices are pretty good, their bread is fresh and warm, and the hummus is creamy and not too garlicky. That's how I like it. I don't find the waitstaff particularly friendly but they get the job done.
O'Sushi - This is our go-to carryout dinner for a night in watching Brian Williams. It's convenient and close and the sushi is good. It's not your fanciest sushi around but we're not fancy people. The owners expanded the restaurant and it's never busy so there is plenty of room to eat in. We just prefer to eat ours in pajamas in the comfort of our own home. That way when I have a coughing fit from too much wasabi only my Brian is there to see.
The Lunch Room - The Lunch Room serves up a hearty slice of vegan heaven on earth in Ann Arbor, MI. Everything on their menu is vegan and from the things I tried, I don't think you'll be disappointed with anything you order. There are plenty of gluten free options, as well. I haven't eaten here often enough to have favorites - yet.
Revolution Brewing - A craft brewery worth the drive or El ride from downtown! Their menu features your usual brewpub food with a few vegetarian/vegan sandwiches - Tempeh Reuben and Tofu Revolution. When we were there I had a pizza with vegan seitan that isn't on the menu anymore but perhaps they could make a vegan pizza if you ask. It was so good I had it twice!
Native Foods Cafe - This has become my favorite place to eat when we visit Chicago. It's fast, fresh vegan fare in a casual environment. The menu offers appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, and burgers. Everything is vegan; everything is amazing! The place is always busy but we've never had to wait for a table after ordering. Friendly staff. There are 3 locations in Chicago, several more in other states out west.
On the Road
Potbelly - There aren't many sandwich and salad options here (check the menu, however, because it does change) but there are a few vegan soups. You can veganize items if you omit ingredients but it doesn't always leave you with much. Note that only the white bread is vegan.
Starbucks - If you're out and need a quick vegan breakfast, turn to Starbucks for their Perfect Oatmeal (either Classic or Blueberry.) Both are made with steelcut oats and you have options of nuts and dried fruit, agave or brown sugar. Their plain and multigrain bagels are also vegan. Don't forget your coffee!
Subway - Pretty much if we're out somewhere without other vegan options this is my go-to dinner. You can find a Subway just about anywhere. On vacation in northern Washington State? Subway. Great Lakes Relay and the Marquette Marathon? Subway! As far as I can tell from my research, the only vegan breads are Italian and Sourdough - but I've never actually seen Sourdough being served so I always get Italian.