HipCityVeg is a relatively new arrival on the Washington D.C. restaurant scene, and is notable for its 100% vegan and plant-based menu. Located in the bustling Chinatown neighborhood, HipCityVeg has plenty to offer for gluten-free diners as well as meat-free ones, so don’t let the abundance of tofu scare you away from this health-conscious eatery.
Started in Philadelphia, this location is HipCityVeg’s first outside of the Keystone State. It would be easy to toss the restaurant aside, presuming that it offers unappetizing, taste-free food that’s more of a punishment than a pleasure. However, I am happy to report that HipCityVeg is anything but this dreary stereotype of vegan eateries.
Open since June of this year, it’s clear that HipCityVeg is quite the destination for health-focused foodies, as there was never a point during my visit when there wasn’t a line of customers stretched across the store. With quite the hype built up, I couldn’t wait to check out HipCityVeg for myself.
Aligning with their vegan philosophy, everything at HipCityVeg is vegan, which means no meat, dairy, eggs, or other animal products. Produce is organic, and locally sourced. Gluten is used in the kitchen, but gluten-free options (with modifications noted) are highlighted on the menu. Soy, another major allergen, is also present in the kitchen, but it should be noted for those that can consume it that HipCityVeg uses 100% organic and non-GMO soy ingredients.
I loved the focus on compostable packaging and food scraps and other environmentally conscious measures that make eating here both good for you and the environment.
I ordered the arugula taco salad, which comes with black beans, corn, pico de gallo, avocado, and tortilla chips tossed in a cilantro dressing. The portioning was quite large, and I was definitely satisfied by the entirely plant-based bowl. The produce was all notably fresh, and each component of the salad was in perfect proportion and created a nice textural contrast. I loved the crisp saltiness of the tortillas, the vibrant notes of cilantro from the dressing, creaminess of the avocados, and perfect distribution of lettuce, beans, corn, and pico throughout the salad.
I am not a salad person by any means, but I would undoubtably order this again in a heartbeat.
For dessert, I ordered the banana whip, which is simply frozen bananas whipped to smooth creamy perfection. A one-ingredient wonder, optional toppings can be added (including peanuts, chocolate chips, etc.), but I chose to forego those to focus on the frozen treat.
Although I knew the banana whip was healthy, it didn’t take away at all from the decadence and indulgence of cold, creamy, soft serve. The banana flavor is not too overpowering at all. It reminded me of a Wendy’s Frosty, but HipCityVeg’s version far surpasses my memories of that fast food specialty. I have to crown the banana whip as my favorite dessert in the District to date, and look forward to future visits where I will dress it up with toppings.
Although not a dedicated gluten-free restaurant, HipCityVeg definitely impressed me and checks the boxes as a place where I don’t have to worry about dairy cross contamination. I loved my salad and banana whip, which both packed a dual punch of being delicious and nutritional powerhouses. Whether on Meatless Monday or any day of the week, I commend HipCityVeg for bringing plant-based goodness to the people.