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
Location: 1001 N Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23230
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)
Location: 2934 W. Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23221
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).
Location: 2232 W Main St, Richmond, VA 23220
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
Location: 2929 W Cary St, Richmond, VA 23221
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.
Location: 917 W Grace St, Richmond, VA 23220
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.
Location: 1 N Belmont Ave, Richmond, VA 23221
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.)
Location: 3012 W Cary St, Richmond, VA 23221
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.
Location: 22 S Addison St, Richmond, vA 23220
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!
Location: 116 South Addison Street, Richmond, VA 23220 (but there are others too!)
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).
Location: my favorite one is at 2015 Norfolk St, Richmond VA 23230
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!
Location: 4023 MacArthur Ave, Richmond, VA 23227
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
Location: 2227 W. Main Street, Richmond, VA 23220 (there's also a roving food truck!)
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
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.
Location: 825 W Cary St, Richmond, VA 23220
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.
Location: 4 N Thompson St, Richmond, VA 23221
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.
Location: 1323 W Main St, Richmond, VA 23220
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!
Location: 1823 W Main St, Richmond, VA 23220
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!
Location: 1102 W Main St, Richmond, VA 23220
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.
Location: 1203 E Main St, Richmond, VA 23219
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.