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Plant-based Eats: Five Vegan Cafes to Try in Columbia

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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This mouthwatering fried “chicken” sandwich is one of the tantalizing vegan offerings at Peace of Soul.

No eggs, no cheese, no butter, no seafood, no meat—no problem? Then you’re probably a vegan.

Whether chosen as a matter of health, conscience or both, it’s a lifestyle that requires a bit of research to ensure a truly vegan experience when patronizing South Carolina restaurants. After all, you’re in the land of barbecue, macaroni and cheese, shrimp and grits, fried chicken and biscuits, which can pose more than a few dining challenges.

If you’re a vegan dining out in Columbia, there are vegan-friendly restaurants waiting to exceed your expectations. Here some that cater to the plant-based loving crowd:

A Peace of Soul Vegan Kitchen

If you want to indulge in all your favorite meat dishes without the meat, A Peace of Soul Vegan Kitchen is the place for you. Though the cuisine is purely plant-based, this cafe doesn’t give off a heavy health-food vibe. You can still dig into a chili-cheese dog without ingesting one iota of animal product.

Satisfy your craving for soul food, too, with sides like creamy mac and cheese, locally grown collards and black-eyed peas. Even chicken and waffles make an appearance from time to time. Open for breakfast and lunch.

Vegan raves: Mac and cheese, fried chicken slider, purple cabbage, carrot cake


Spring rolls at Good Life Cafe in Columbia
Good Life Café’s fresh spring rolls are stuffed with kelp noodles, crunchy fresh veggies, avocado and mango.

Good Life Cafe

Fresh, local, organic—that’s what you get when you dine at Good Life Cafe. Your taste buds will thrill to the flavors of the dishes here, most of them original recipes. The comprehensive menu features raw vegan dishes, fresh juices and smoothies. They also have a coffee bar, grab-and-go market and a variety of cocktails made with fresh-squeezed juices. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.

Vegan raves: Buffalo cauliflower bites; eggplant Parmesan burger; chocolate banana smoothie; cucumber mojito

Tasty As Fit

A grab-and-go eatery, Tasty As Fit offers smoothies, salads, wraps and vegan chili and other seasonal fare. For the vegan sweet tooth, the no-bake turtle brownies, chickpea truffles, chia seed pudding and lots of other tasty options.

Vegan raves: Thai crunch salad, vegan soups, Lucky Charm smoothie


Saucy mock chicken nuggets from Reizod Experience
At the Reizod Experience, you will never miss the meat.

Reizod Vegan Experience 

An eclectic menu woven with raw dishes, soul food and Indian cuisine draws a discerning crowd to the Reizod Vegan Experience. The proprietors pride themselves on operating a restaurant that strives for a non-GMO, organic and largely soy-free lineup of dishes. If you’re considering adopting a vegan lifestyle, at this cafe you’ll find plenty of tasty reasons to follow through.

Vegan raves: Philly Cheezsteak, Jerk Chikin, empañadas, samosas, fresh juices

The Local Buzz

This bakery, coffee shop and sit-down cafe specializes in vegan offerings while also catering to vegetarian, gluten-free, keto, paleo and other dietary needs. Located in the Five Points section of town, The Local Buzz draws a heavy college crowd along with mindful eaters of all walks of life. Open for breakfast and lunch, with a vegan brunch served on the weekends.

Vegan raves: Cinnamon rolls, mac and cheese, chicken pot pie, hummingbird cake, quiche

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.