Try These Hidden Vegan Options When Near Atlanta, Georgia
What’s your biggest stress traveling as a vegan? Finding food, right? And not just food, but good and exciting food. Sure, in a pinch you can eat vegan at Taco Bell. Or have the ubiquitous hummus or black bean burger that every restaurant seems to rely on to be their veg*n option. Yawn.
The flip side of this is that seeking out new and exciting vegan options in new places is one of the joys of traveling. We’ve certainly been known to plan whole trips around places we want to eat. We usually find out about these restaurants through word of mouth, actively searching, and Happy Cow.
Happy Cow is the best resource for finding veg*n food when you land in a new city. But it isn’t perfect. You’ll find all of the main most popular options listed there. But it often misses the off the beaten path options. Part of that is by design. I think they avoid non-veg restaurants with just a few veg*n options. And part of this is because users just aren’t submitting those options.
So I thought I’d start off this series “Hidden Vegan Gems” before we even start on our journey. These are restaurants that have outstanding or unusual vegan options that you might never find out about without a little insider information. This post and series are that insider information!
Hidden Vegan Food Near Atlanta, Part 1
La Calavera Bakery
747-C East College Ave, Decatur, GA, 30030 (404) 998-8389
I’ve known that La Calavera Bakery has vegan options for some time, but I’m ashamed to say that this weekend was our first visit. To be fair, I did try to go to their stall at the Grant Park Farmer’s Market last Fall, but they weren’t there that week.
La Calavera has lovely artisan bread, and I’m sure you’ll want to pick up a loaf while you’re there. But what I want to tell you about is the Mollete. According to Wikipedia,
A mollete, native to northern Mexico, is made with bolillos sliced lengthwise and partially hollowed, filled with frijoles refritos, and topped with cheese and slices of jalapeño or serrano peppers. It is then grilled in an oven until the cheese melts.
The mollete at La Calavera is vegan! Their version was the bread covered with refried beans, fresh salsa, locally made Pure Abundance cashew cheese, sliced grape tomatoes and a sprinkle of cilantro. Holy moly was it good! And it’s more filling that it looks.
But that’s not all. They also make vegan whole wheat sticky buns. Don’t be put off by the whole wheat. They were plenty soft. And the glaze had a nice caramel flavor. They also had gluten-free vegan piggy cookies which we’ll have to try next time. They mark vegan items on the shelf for easy browsing.
Oh, they also have licuados. It’s a smoothie made with ice, so it’s slushy and they use almond milk. Mine was called the Rosa, I think. It had beets, ginger, and, uh, other things in it. I should’ve taken a picture of the menu board!
For our take home bread, we chose the spelt carrot loaf, and it’s been a struggle not just to sit down and eat the whole thing. I think Kevin would disown me if I did.
We Suki Suki
479-B Flat Shoals Ave. SE Atlanta, GA 30316 (404) 430-7613
We Suki Suki has a small menu of Vietnamese favorites: Banh Mi, Pho, and Bun. (The pho is on the menu during the colder months, and then they switch to bun for the warmer months.)
“Wait, what are those things?” you ask. Delicious things you need to put in your mouth!
A banh mi is a sandwich on a crusty french roll. It traditionally has meat on it, but We Suki Suki has two vegan options: tofu and eggplant. I get the tofu because I have a problem with eggplant texture. But I have tasted it before, and the flavor is excellent. The sandwich comes with vegan mayo, jalapeno, pickled carrots and daikon radish, and sriracha.
Pho is a rice noodle soup and finding one with a vegan stock is the holy grail. We Suki Suki’s stock is mushroom based. In addition to the rice noodles, you’ll find tofu, mushrooms, bean sprouts and I can’t remember what else is in there. Our stand procedure is to each get a pho and split a banh mi.
Bun is a non-soup rice noodle dish. And I can’t remember if she does a vegan one, but I’m about to find out because as I’m writing this, it’s the last few days of pho for this season. I’ll update this post once I know.
763 Dekalb Industrial Way, Decatur, GA 30033 (404) 299-2062
Ethnic restaurants can be an excellent place to find hidden vegan food near Atlanta. Gokul Sweets is a vegetarian South Indian restaurant. When ordering, just ask for no dairy and they will hook you up.
For a first time, I’d recommend the Masala Dosa: it’s a big, crispy lentil flour pancake wrapped around a potato onion mixture. If you like spicy food, get the Mysore Masala Dosa. The inside of the dosa will be covered in a spice mixture. Don’t worry, it’s not burn you up hot.
If you’re feeling peckish and want to try many different things, get the thali. It’s an assortment of curries, soup, and vegetables and it comes with rice. Remember, ask for no dairy.
I almost forgot – Gokul Sweets also has Indo-Chinese dishes like Hakka Noodles. I’ve haven’t tried them yet because when I’ve had them in the past, they’ve been OH MY GOD THIS IS KILLING ME spicy.
1707 Church St C-7, Decatur, GA 30033 (404) 633-5595
Chat Patti used to be in another part of town but is now in the same complex as Gokul Sweets. My advice above applies here as well. But what Chat Patti has that Gokul Sweets doesn’t is Indian Elvis. You’ll just have to see it to believe it. He’s awesome and will take care of you.
My standard order here is the veggie combo. That gives you two dishes, usually one bean and one vegetable, served with rice. And maybe I’ll get a samosa to go with it. Remember, no dairy.
1341 Collier Road – Atlanta, GA 30318 (404) 352-8881
Korean-Mexican fusion? Yes, please. Ask for the vegan menu. Tofu tacos and bibimbop can be made vegan. You must get the sesame fries. MUST. And check their Facebook page for specials. If they have the fried avocado taco, run, don’t walk.
This place is a little divey, and we like it that way. If you’d like the same food with a full bar, try their sister restaurant Takorea, two locations in Atlanta.
San Francisco Coffee
676 North Highland Ave. NE Atlanta, GA 30306 (404) 607-8082
Now we get more specific. Let’s move from hidden vegan food near Atlanta to hidden decadent desserts near Atlanta.
Finding a real vegan dessert can be a challenge. Sometimes you just need a piece of cake! San Francisco Coffee carries some nice vegan cake options, at least the Poncey-Highland location does. I haven’t been to the others so I’m not sure about their selection. And they have non-dairy options for you coffee too.
425 Church St, Decatur, GA 30030 (404) 378-5002
Java Monkey also carries vegan cakes and has non-dairy options for your coffee.
Southern Sweets Bakery
186 Rio Circle Decatur GA 30030 (404) 373-8752
The two coffee shops above and many of the veg*n restaurants around town get their vegan cakes from Southern Sweets. They will knock your socks off! These are not dry spelt hippie cakes. They’re just awesome cake that happens to be vegan. Ask which ones are vegan when you go in. You can buy it by the slice. You may be able to buy a whole one on the spot, but you should order ahead to be safe.
So, this is by no means an exhaustive list of hidden vegan food in Atlanta. I mean, I haven’t given you any Ethiopian recommendations yet! There will at least be a part 2 for Atlanta, and maybe a part 3. Future posts from new locations probably won’t be this extensive as we plan to cook at home much of the time. But I will definitely be making an effort to seek out these types of hidden vegan gems and share them with you.
About the Author
vegan. full-time traveler. rv dweller. food lover. cow petter.