We used to live in Tampa, FL. In fact, we resided there when we started Vegan Food Lover. Being Tampons for years, we learned where to find all the best vegan fare. Sadly, Tampa has very few all vegan/vegetarian restaurants, and if you do dine out, you’ll be mostly limited to Asian cuisine, which can start to get old. If you know where to go, however, you can definitely get some great vegan food.
Trang’s is a staple among vegans and vegetarians in Tampa. It’s been around longer than anyone can remember, and they even have a vegan buffet once a month. Trang’s is a Vietnamese restaurant that essentially has two menus: a regular menu, and an exclusively vegetarian menu that is mostly vegan. Vegan items are clearly denoted so there’s no confusion.
Trang’s is great for a number of reasons: it’s a friendly place; their food is unique and unlike the types of Asian cuisine you’re probably used to; it’s very inexpensive for a sit-down restaurant; and their menu is huge, so you can try something different every time you go there.
We recommend the Smoked Imitation Pork with Coconut Curry, the Vegan Fish with 9 Spice Sauce, and the Imitation Curry Chicken. They also have vegan desserts worth trying, such as the vegan cheese cake.
Yummy House is arguably the best Chinese restaurant in Tampa. It’s by no means a vegan restaurant, but like most Asian restaurants, they offer tofu dishes and use little to no dairy, which means they have a great deal of options for vegans. There are two locations of Yummy House: one on Hillsborough Ave that does serve alcohol and one on Waters that doesn’t serve alcohol, but allows you to bring your own bottle. It’s family-style dining, so expect exceptionally large portions at a price range of about $10 – $14 per item. This is definitely a place you go to with a large group of people who intend on sharing.
Some of their vegan dishes you should definitely try are: Salt & Pepper Tofu, Garlic Eggplant, and Chinese Broccoli with Garlic Sauce.
If the wait at Yummy House is too long, or you simply feel like something a little different, head on down the street to China Yuan. They have a generous selection of tofu and vegetable dishes that rival Yummy House but are completely different from anything you’ll get there. Their Tofu in Garlic Sauce and Eggplant with Garlic sauce are our favorites, and it’s worth going to China Yuan just for those two.
Udipi Cafe is a strictly vegetarian Indian restaurant, serving up the best and most authentic Indian food in Tampa, FL — of all places. It’s an inexpensive place but if you really want to get the most bang for your buck, you can try out their lunch buffet. Although lots of their food is vegan, you should still be careful because some dishes may contain dairy, and it can be difficult to tell what’s in a dish just by looking at it.
Pita’s Republic has a small vegetarian menu that offers the best vegan pita wraps in Tampa, just as long as you skip the feta and tzatziki sauce. We recommend the Hummus & Veggie pita with tahini sauce. Honestly, it’s the sooooo good. They have a loyalty program, too, which is nice because you can get a free pita after 10 visits. They also have several locations all throughout Tampa. This is one of the restaurants we miss most in Tampa because it’s affordable, fast, healthy and so delicious.
The veggie sub at Publix is seriously the best veggie sub we’ve had anywhere in the country. Their bread is delicious, and their veggies are always fresh. It never hurts to be friendly towards the person making your sub, because you will likely end up with the biggest veggie sandwich you’ve ever seen in your life. Totally worth the six bucks it costs to get a whole sub. You can also buy other foods in the produce department to add to your sub like avocado or Tofurkey deli slices, which is totally awesome.
Noodle & Thai is a little hole in the wall with food of a higher caliber than your typical hole in the wall. It might be the only place in Tampa where you can get a plate of perfectly cooked Thai food for just $7. They put a strong emphasis on vegetarian, so it’s easy to have most meals here made vegan upon request. Our favorite dish here is the Drunken Noodles with tofu and no egg. It’s hot and spicy!
Sate serves both Thai and Vietnamese cuisine at a reasonable price. The food is stellar and many of the entrees and appetizers are vegan by default, or you can simply choose tofu as your protein to make almost any meal vegan. We only got to eat here a few times before we moved, but we’re glad we did.
Ella’s Folkart Cafe is definitely not an all vegan restaurant. In fact, Ella’s is known for serving smoked ribs in their bloody mary’s. But, they do have a fair selection of vegan food, which makes it one of our favorite spots in Tampa. On their regular weekly menu, they offer a vegan pizza that is so tasty and satisfying. On Soul Food Sunday’s, they offer vegan mac and cheese and it is amazing! Definitely worth checking out, but there is always a long wait, so get there early.
Thus concludes our top picks for vegan dining in Tampa, FL. Remember, this is not a complete list, just our favorites.