A Guide to Richmond's Best Gluten Free and Vegan Eats

The first few years I lived in Richmond, VA, I ate everything without any restrictions. I then took the leap to be vegetarian back in 2010, and in 2012 found out about allergies to wheat and dairy, which pushed me to finally become vegan while ALSO being gluten-free. For a while, it felt like my food options were EXTREMELY limited, and I was the most frustrated by eating out. It felt like menus were just long lists of all the things I couldn't have... but I'm so grateful that doesn't feel like the case as much anymore!

I've been eating my way around Richmond for quite a while now, and I've discovered so many places where it's extremely easy to be vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or any combination of the three!

In the list below, I focused mainly on places that had more than a few options, but there are MANY more restaurants around RVA that have GF alternatives available, or that have veg options on the menu (although they aren't always GF), or that have GF meals that are meat-based... so this isn't an exhaustive list by any means!

I only share things here that I've personally tried and loved -- I'll keep this post updated over time as I try more spots out and eat more delicious things!

Enjoy eating your way through RVA!

FYI: This list is in NO particular order! Also-- I'm using the cost rating scale that Yelp uses: 

  • $ is inexpensive, under 10
  • $$ is moderate, 11-30
  • $$$ is pricey, 31-60
  • $$$$ is ultra high-end, above 61

En Su Boca

Location: 1001 N Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23230

Cost: $$

Highlights: Awesome street art/murals outside, a great patio, close to the Flying Squirrels diamond, three awesome salsa options when you order chips, super hipster vibe

Noms I recommend: bottomless chips with three homemade salsas, the rajas taco, the locally sourced Twin Oaks soy chorizo taco, and the black bean taco (without cheese)


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The Daily

Location: 2934 W. Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23221

Cost: $$

Highlights: fresh, local, healthy, tons of gf and vegan options, awesome atmosphere, slightly upscale, great cocktails, lots of seating, outdoor patio, in the heart of Carytown

Noms I recommend: BBQ tofu sandwich (get the sweet potato fries as your side); the mushroom and kale pizza (gf crust w/ daiya cheese).


Sticky Rice

Location: 2232 W Main St, Richmond, VA 23220

Cost: $$

Highlights: dark, intimate, slightly-grungy vibes, right in the heart of the Fan, great drinks, awesome Asian food but also buckets of tots, super hipster (if you get their logo tattooed, you get $1 PBRs for life, if that tells you anything), great sushi menu

Noms I recommend: tofu bites; tofu lettuce wraps; Asian sesame noodles with tofu


Don't Look Back

Location: 2929 W Cary St, Richmond, VA 23221

Cost: $

Highlights: This is a tiny, hole-in-the-wall kind of taco place in the middle of super fun Carytown, and it's one of my absolute favorites. Expect tattooed, all-black-wearing hipsters to serve you, and only sit on the back patio if you like being around smoking.

Noms I recommend: always order tacos here. I usually get 2, guys or hungry people get 3. I go with one tofu and one portabella, both classic style, on corn tortillas. Splurge on the chips with salsa and guac. Also, get a house margarita. So good.


Ipanema Cafe

Location: 917 W Grace St, Richmond, VA  23220

Cost: $$

Highlights: all vegetarian menu! underground kind of vibe, great seasonal options, VEGAN CREME BRULEE

Noms I recommend: the menu rotates frequently so it's hard to recommend things, but if there is a vegan creme brulee on the menu, GET IT. Amazing.


Stuzzi

Location: 1 N Belmont Ave, Richmond, VA 23221

Cost: $$

Highlights: fun little local Italian place with a great brick oven, they play old black and white movies inside, there's a fun little outdoor seating area, there's never ANYBODY there so you'll always have a table!

Noms I recommend: the marinara pizza (comes without cheese!) on gluten-free pizza crust. DELICIOUS. (also the only thing I've ever eaten here.)


Mellow Mushroom

Location: 3012 W Cary St, Richmond, VA 23221

Cost: $$

Highlights: super funky and eclectic vibe inside, great beer/cider menus, lots of fun pizzas, in the heart of Carytown

Noms I recommend: I get an all-veggie pizza with Daiya cheese on gf crust! And the cider flight is awesome, too.


Fresca on Addison

Location: 22 S Addison St, Richmond, vA 23220

Cost: $$

Highlights: this is one of the easiest places to eat-- the whole menu is veg, and so much of it is gf too! It has a fun diner-ish vibe, and there are tables outside too.

Noms I recommend: I'm loyal to the vegan chicken salad wrap on a gf tortilla with the potato salad side. I've ordered it every time!


Lamplighter Coffee Roasters

Location: 116 South Addison Street, Richmond, VA 23220 (but there are others too!)

Cost: $

Highlights: three locations around town (the Addison Street one is my favorite), incredible coffee, great chai lattes, amazing food, really cool and totally RVA vibe.

Noms I recommend: I'm partial to the chai lattes (hot or iced) and usually order the TLTNA sandwich (amazing).


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The Urban Farmhouse Market and Cafe

Location: my favorite one is at 2015 Norfolk St, Richmond VA 23230

Cost: $$

Highlights: this is like my ultimate dream coffeeshop vibe-- open, airy, cozy, natural, often has live music, has great food, you can sit and stay for hours, lots of different locations all around town... so good. 

Noms I recommend: the menu here changes seasonally as well, and there are lots of local options -- I'm a fan of the hummus sandwiches on gf bread, or occasionally whatever tuna sandwich variety they have going on!


The Mill on MacArthur

Location: 4023 MacArthur Ave, Richmond, VA 23227

Cost: $$

Highlights: this is in a cute little area of Northside in RVA, has a great vibe inside, is small and cozy but always full of people, great food, great drinks

Noms I recommend: the crispy BBQ tofu appetizer, the banzo burger


Sugar Shack Donuts (GF Donut Truck)

Location: find truck locations here

Cost: $

Highlights: GLUTEN-FREE AND VEGAN DONUTS. Need I say more?

Noms I recommend: all of the gluten free donuts. Especially any sort of fritter. Amazing.


Mean Bird

Location: 2227 W. Main Street, Richmond, VA 23220 (there's also a roving food truck!)

Cost: $

Highlights: You feel like you're eating fried chicken!!!

Noms I recommend: the cajun fries (always) as your side, and the veggie bird (not sure it's GF, but I take my gluten pills and risk it, because it's so worth it).


Tio Pablo Taqueria

Location: 1703 E Franklin St, Richmond, VA 23223

Cost: $$

Highlights: this feels like a legit taqueria (like the ones I went to in Mexico), it's down in Shockoe which is a fun area of town, it's ENTIRELY gluten-free which is incredible!

Noms I recommend: the fish or shrimp tacos (not vegan, I know). the rice and black beans as your sides! and eat all the chips and salsa, of course.


821 Cafe

Location: 825 W Cary St, Richmond, VA 23220

Cost: $

Highlights: lots, lots, lots of veg options, great brunch, down in the VCU area of town, bottomless coffee, you get really cozy with the tables around you, total classic diner feel

Noms I recommend: the tofu scramble with rosemary potatoes and fruit as your sides. the best scramble I've ever had.


Ellwood Thompson's

Location: 4 N Thompson St, Richmond, VA 23221

Cost: $$$

Highlights: an awesome juice bar, an incredible salad bar/hot bar (that has brunch too!!), all the local/organic/specialty items you could want in a local market grocery store

Noms I recommend: any of the juices on the menu at the juice bar, and all the vegan things at the hot bar! especially the potatoes at brunch time.


Postbellum

Location: 1323 W Main St, Richmond, VA 23220

Cost: $$

Highlights: an amazing rooftop bar/eating area, really cool art/history on the walls, classy feel, tons of seating, amazing champagne cocktails

Noms I recommend: ask about their specials -- they've always had an incredible tofu option when I've been, and they've been DELICIOUS-- brunch or dinner!


Goatocado

Location: 1823 W Main St, Richmond, VA 23220

Cost: $

Highlights: the food truck is at every festival I've been to, which is so great! now the actual physical location is right near my house in the Fan, which is awesome.

Noms I recommend: the Mediterranean bowl is my favorite, served over organic quinoa+baby greens, just hold the feta!


Pit and Peel

Location: 1102 W Main St, Richmond, VA 23220

Cost: $$

Highlights: so many juices, so many amazing food choices, such a great little spot in the heart of VCU's campus

Noms I recommend: any of the acai bowls, the immune booster juice.


Citizen

Location: 1203 E Main St, Richmond, VA 23219

Cost: $$

Highlights: in the downtown area, amazing brunch menu, really clean and sleek vibe, limited menu but fresh food always.

Noms I recommend: I've always gotten two black bean tacos without the feta, with the cumin cauliflower as my side. delicious.


I'm ALWAYS looking for more great spots -- if you've had awesome vegan or gluten-free food in RVA, let me know!