8 local veg go-to’s from a registered dietitian.
When I moved to Columbia seven years ago, it seemed like the only options for casual dining were burgers and barbecue. Now, don’t get me wrong. Despite being a dietitian, I’m all about a good burger when the mood strikes – preferably one involving bacon and pimento cheese – but sometimes I feel like grabbing a casual bite with friends without spending the rest of the afternoon in a food coma.
Thankfully, in the years since I’ve moved to Columbia, dozens of new restaurants have opened offering healthier cuisine than the usual bar fare. I’ve also discovered a few local gems that were there all along.
If you’re looking for a fresh and tasty meal on the plant-based side of the spectrum, I’ve put together a list of eight of my favorite vegan meals in Columbia. 👇
Vegan Banh Mi | Rosewood Market & Deli | $10.95
This spicy sandwich swaps pan-seared seitan for the traditional pork and paté, and I promise, you won’t miss the meat.
Photo by @rosewoodmarketsc
Mushroom Potato with Romesco Taco | White Duck Taco | $3.45 each
Hold the feta to make this one vegan, and enjoy with a side of watermelon and mint – and a fresh margarita.
Photo by @rachaelhartleyrd
Veggie Plate | Lamb’s Bread Vegan Café | $13 for large or $10 for small
Vegan soul food is a thing, and it’s really, really good. Don’t miss the yams.
Photo by @lambsbreadvegancafe
Raw Tacos | Good Life Café | $10.95 for two or $13.95 for three
If you’re not in the mood for tacos, try literally anything else on the menu – the entire restaurant is vegan!
Photo by @columbia_veg + @goodlifecaferaw
Tofu Bibimbap | Blue Cactus Café | $7.50
Hold the egg, add the tofu, and don’t skimp on the spicy chili sauce.
Photo by @annewolfepostic
Coconut Quinoa and Kale Salad | Publico | $7.99
You didn’t think we were going to make it through a list of vegan meals without at least one salad, did you?
Photo by @enthusiast_oflife
Falafel Sandwich | Boeshreen | $5.99
It would be impossible to survive as a vegan without falafel.
Photo via Boeshreen - Columbia, SC Facebook page
Veggie Combo Platter | Harambe Ethiopian Restaurant | $11
Try delicious vegetable stews over injera bread. Plus, who doesn’t love eating with their hands?
Photo by @djlakegang
If you have strict dietary restrictions (rather than someone omnivorous who’s craving a plant-based meal), be sure to ask your server about your dish, as ingredients can change.
For those who have other dietary restrictions, like gluten free or food allergies, check out Good Life Café, Poké Bros for a make your own poke bowl, Basil or Grill Marks for plenty of options. And shoutout to Gorilla Boost, a new vegan + food-allergy friendly vendor at Soda City.
Pro tip: For ongoing info + conversation, join the local Facebook group Columbia Veg.
Reader tip: COLAToday reader Charlene encourages Cola vegans to check out Black Bean Co. in the Vista – and order the Green Festival Wrap with tofu + a vegan chocolate chip cookie.
–Rachael Hartley, RL, LD, CDE, CLT