North Carolina’s Chapel Hill, also dubbed as the “Southern Part of Heaven” is a beautiful quaint town with a contemporary twist. With captivating art galleries, museums, historic places, relaxing hiking and biking trails and themed gardens, you’ll never fall short of fascinating places to visit in the area.

And when it comes to its dining scene, Chapel Hill has a good selection of bars, craft breweries and restaurants to suit all tastes.

You’ll find a tempting selection of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants in Chapel Hill ranging from classic favorites, comfort food to internationally inspired choices.

Let’s check them out!

friends around table full of food
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Five Exceptional Vegan Restaurants In Chapel Hill: Food Worth Waiting For!

1. Coco Espresso, Bistro & Bar

A modern, 100% vegan bistro and bar with a vibrant atmosphere serving globally-inspired cuisine, tempting deals and live music.

Located just a short walk from Oakwood Park, Coco Espresso, Bistro & Bar is a contemporary, bright and airy spot with a large array of American classics, as well as Mediterranean choices.

We think that you’ll love their modern interior with bright and sleek decor and large doors that open up on to the outdoor patio. Talking about that patio, you can still enjoy a cozy dinner during the colder months thanks to their outdoor heaters.

The restaurant owners have traveled far and wide to bring a diverse selection of cuisines and imaginative dishes to the area. It’s no surprise then that Coco Espresso, Bistro & Bar are renowned as one of the best vegan restaurants in Chapel Hill, as their creativity and attention to detail is showcased through the presentation of each dish.

From paninis, baguettes, sandwiches, burgers, soups, toasts, pancakes, waffles to smoothies, there should be something on the menu that you’ll like.

One of the popular dishes is their Wild Mushroom and Arugula Toast which is prepared with mushrooms sauteed with garlic, shallots, and basil pesto layered on toasted rustic country bread, topped with fresh arugula, pepper, and plant-based parmesan. But if you’re gluten intolerant, you can also choose artisan gluten-free toast!

Another great option is Coco’s Classic Impossible Cheeseburger served with a side of fries. Feel free to get creative with your burger by adding any toppings of your choice.

If you want even more bang for your buck, then join them for their Wine Down Wednesdays where you can enjoy half-price on wine from their carefully-selected list. And if you love an even more lively atmosphere, you’ve got to visit on Fridays when they host live music from 7pm to 9pm.

So whether you want to grab a quick bite for breakfast or lunch (they open as early as 7am!), or want to enjoy a relaxed evening around good food on their heated patio, this bistro never disappoints with its excellent choices. And that’s why they had to be the first on our list!

Coco Espresso, Bistro & Bar is open Monday to Wednesday from 7am to 5pm, Thursday from 7am to 8pm, Friday from 7am to 9pm, Saturday from 8am to 8pm and on Sunday from 8am to 4pm.

Address: 101 Glen Lennox Dr, Chapel Hill, NC 27517

Display of vegetarian sandwich
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2. Vegan Flava Cafe

A purely vegan cafe serving great quality fare, without compromising on taste to suit most dietary requirements.

If you’re looking for quality vegan food and great taste, we’ve got you covered with this first pick. Vegan Flava Cafe is an eatery serving a variety of wraps, salads, tacos, smoothies, as well as daily specials and Sunday brunch.

From mobile catering, to operating a food truck and now running a down-to-earth restaurant, the owners of Vegan Flava Cafe have brought the authentic and unique flavor that they’ve perfected in vegan food to the streets of Chapel Hill.

Although not open everyday, you can enjoy the great vibes and homemade meals from Friday to Sunday. The decor may not stand out, but one thing for sure is that the hearty portions and taste of each dish will!

One of the popular dishes here is the Too Tasty Tacos which consists of walnuts mixed with nutritional yeast, and garnished with organic tomatoes, organic mixed greens, and avocado. And if you happen to visit on a Saturday, make sure to not miss out on Daily Specials like the Curry Lentils, Fish Cakes, BBQ Jackfruit, Chana Masala, Taco Supreme, and Baked Spaghetti which always appear a winner with regulars.

The care put into preparing the dishes here must be mentioned too, since this eatery makes sure to only use quality ingredients. So expect organic, GMO free, soy-free and wheat-free food here, and the owners even go the extra mile by washing and preparing the dishes with Kangen water.

Vegan Flava Cafe is open on Friday from 5pm to 7pm, Saturday from 1pm to 7pm and on Sunday from 12pm to 4pm.

Address: 306 W Franklin St G, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Vegan tacos
Photo for illustrative purposes only: Unsplash+/Maryam Sicard

3. Spotted Dog Restaurant & Bar

Fido-friendly restaurant with quirky dog-themed decor, excellent vegan food choices, as well as sharing options.

We just had to include Spotted Dog Restaurant & Bar on our list of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants in Chapel Hill for having the most fun, funky and (of course) pet-friendly spot in the area, as well as the excellent array of vegan dishes they have on offer.

This quirky and unique hole-in-the wall restaurant is housed in a stunning brick wall building which has a spotted dog statue at the entrance, so it should be easy to find. You can even enjoy food with your four-legged friend if you dine on their outside patio. As for the interior, you’ll find an eccentric, but tasteful decor that incorporates dog themes, not surprising given it’s name.

Although not exclusively vegan, Spotted Dog Restaurant & Bar offers veggie-centric food and whether you’re vegetarian or vegan, you’re sure to find something right up your street thanks to the large selection of vegan dishes. The choices range from handhelds like burgers to bowls and even tapas-style dishes such as platters and many more choices.

We highly recommend starting with their famous Carolina Crab Cakes – just ask for the vegan option of this dish and enjoy the excellent taste and flavors! But if you’re in a group of friends, we would suggest going for their tapas-style options such as the Spot’s Basket, Puppy Ciao, Veggie Wings and their Knock-Me-Down Nachos.

As for the mains, one of the dishes that stands out the most has to be the scrumptious Chick-Faux-Lay Burger which is prepared with soy chicken, vegan mayo, mesclun greens, tomato, & red onion. Another popular favorite is the Veggie BBQ Burger which consists of slow-cooked shredded soy chicken, marinated in their house-made vinegar-based eastern style NC barbecue sauce and topped with coleslaw.

Spotted Dog Restaurant & Bar is open from Thursday to Tuesday from 11:30am to 9pm, and on Wednesday from 11:30am to 4pm.

Address: 111 E Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510

vegetarian burger with lettuce and onions
Photo for illustrative purposes only: Unsplash+/Maryam Sicard

4. Sage Vegetarian Cafe

Down-to-earth cafe serving Persian cuisine and other globally-inspired fare, all prepared with quality ingredients that are seasonally available.

If you want to have a taste of Persian cuisine, without having to worry whether all the ingredients are purely vegan or vegetarian, then Sage Vegetarian Cafe is the ideal place to be.

Why? Well, this quaint little cafe’s team is very passionate about serving quality dishes by using organic and local ingredients whenever available.

When it comes to the decor, expect a simple seating plan with colors and patterns that hint at a cafe in Tehran. However, this restaurant might not be ideal if you’re looking for a quick bite and rapid service. Past customers have said the service can take a little longer than expected (that’s no surprise as they cook with fresh organic ingredients), but if you visit with good friends who enjoy great conversation, you’ll enjoy the dining experience better.

Sage Vegetarian Cafe not only serves Persian cuisine, but also a nice selection of internationally inspired vegan food. One of the most recommended dishes has to be their Fesen-Joon – a Persian classic which incorporates sweet and sour flavors of pomegranate juice & agave nectar, ground walnuts & herbs blended with grilled tempeh, served with rice & a side of shirazi.

If you want to opt for cuisines other than Persian, then we recommend the Carib Bowl which is prepared with Caribbean style black beans, rice, avocado, grilled spicy tofu, & grilled pineapple squares. Or how about a classic Italian favorite of Gnocchi Arabiatta? That’s prepared with a delicious tomato, garlic & basil sauce and is a house favorite at this cafe.

Sage Vegetarian Cafe is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 4pm to 8:30 pm, but is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and Sundays.

Address: 1129 Weaver Dairy Rd X, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Poke bowl with avocado and tofu
Photo for illustrative purposes only: Unsplash+/Maryam Sicard

5. CholaNad Restaurant & Bar

Excellent South Indian food served in a modern and lively atmosphere, with exceptional vegan choices.

Craving for some rich, hearty and flavorful dishes from a restaurant that doesn’t shy away from spices? Yes you guessed right, we can only be talking about South Indian cuisine.

CholaNad Restaurant & Bar has created the perfect balance between traditional and contemporary as they’ve mastered the authentic taste of South Indian food, yet serves it up in a sleek, spacious and polished setting.

Although not solely vegan, this choice on our list of vegan-friendly restaurants in Chapel Hill lives up to its hype thanks to the amazing vegan options on offer and its lively atmosphere.

Why not start with the delicious Dal Fritters or Masala Navratan Tartlets which is similar to Panipuri – a hollow crispy wheat bowl filled with sauces and veggies like potato, onion, as well as some spices.

As for the mains, one of the standout vegan dishes here is the vegan option for the Traditional Tamil Combo. That gives you the opportunity to experience the authentic taste of different Indian vegan food. You can also go for the Gobi Manchurian on Tomato Pulao Rice which is a scrumptious dish prepared in a Manchurian style with cauliflower florets which are mildly sweet ʼnʼ sour flavor.

CholaNad Restaurant & Bar is open Monday to Thursday for lunch from 11:30am to 2:30pm, and for dinner from 5pm to 10pm. As for Friday and Saturday, the operating hours are from 11:30am to 11pm, and on Sunday from 11:30am to 9:30pm.

Address: 310 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Photo for illustrative purposes only: Unsplash+/Meir Clancy