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Vegan/vegetarian

  • j
  • Joel Feb 20, 2002 07:50 AM
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We have a guest that's with us for a few weeks and is a vegan. It's funny asking advice here because we chowhounds eat anything and everything - but I need some suggestions anyway. I have told her about Buddha's Delight, Country Life and Bread and Circus. What else is out there for her? Maybe some vegan meals at other restaurants? The closer to downtown Boston the better.

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  1. Grasshopper in Allston is a vegan place with a slightly nicer atmosphere than some of the other places. Most Asian restaurants are a safe bet and almost any menu has vegetarian dishes. Of course, she'll have to ask some questions (I don't know how people survive as vegans).

    1. I haven't been there but I've heard that Sultan's Kitchen in the Financial District is good. I was a vegan for years-it's tough to eat out!

      1. There's also the Tibetan place on Holland Street just up from Davis Square. My sister, who is a vegan, eats there everytime she's in the neighborhood. Many good veggie choices. The veggie stuff is all vegan, but they also serve meat. So this is a great option for going out with vegans and omnivores.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Eric Eto

          Just wanted to second the House of Tibet Kitchen at 235 Holland Street in Sonmerville. I've fed both vegans and omnivores there without a problem, and the staff are very friendly too.

          Also, as other folks have mentioned, the Taiwan Cafe in Chinatown has a good selection of vegan dishes. We really liked the Ma Po Tofu when we went, as well as any of a variety of greens with garlic.

          T.B.

        2. My fiance is a vegan, so we have been through this at a number of restaurants.

          Grasshopper, as previously posted, is great if you want an all vegan experience.

          Centre Street Cafe in Jamaica Plain does all of their egg dishes at brunch with tofu for vegans and my fiancee loves going there. They also have great dinner entrees for vegans and non alike.

          The sous-chef at Tremont 647 was a vegan for a long time, and they have been soooooooooo great with a little advance notice.

          My fiancee also likes East Coast Grill on occasion, as they have a great veggie plate and understand what being a vegan means.

          As you may have noticed, alot of these recommendations are as much for the non-vegans in your group as for the vegan.

          1. I thought Galley Girl, our resident veg expert, would have jumped in by now...but it looks like her mind is on a pizza in NY.:) How about Taiwan Cafe?..they have an eggplant and basil dish that's awesome. Right by you, Blu has a veg tasting menu, as does Mantra..obviously higher end than most of the other suggestions. Penang had some very good veg dishes too.

            6 Replies
            1. re: 9lives

              Actually, I was refraining from comment because I have a point of view that I fear will be unpopular, yay, even offensive to some. Namely, that seeking vegetarian and vegan only restaurants is an often useless excersize in futility and lack of food knowledge...

              I eat fish, which takes me out of either extreme category, but for many years I eschewed that, and I have NEVER found any ethnic, or even mainstream rest. I could not get a meal in..And if you include ethnic, a great meal. I don't understand the concept of Buddha's Delight(which several mostly veg. friends I trust say is worthless) and several others(which I have not been to), when I can find a delightful tofu or vegetable dish in any Chinese, Vietnamese or Korean place I know...If you're careful about specifying lack of fish sauce (I know, that can be a problem) add Thai to the list..

              To me, it seems like a non-issue..I don't eat meat or chicken because I don't miss it; therefore,faux meat cuisine holds no appeal for me..That's the only thing these "vegan only" places have that the delectable rests. that I can share with my omnivore friends lack..

              Even gourmet level restaurants are catering to vegans with tasting menus, veg. specials, and an across-the-boards use of grains that gives you choices if you just ask. I find that veg. only rests. are often an excuse for getting away with less than delicious and less-than-creative cuisine becuase they cater to a "captive" audience...The ARE some fabulous, high-end, creative vegan restaurants that SHOULD be destinations for vegans AND omnivores..I've seen them and read reviews about them..Boston doesn't have one yet. But I don't know a single place where a vegan wouldn't find something delightful. Take your friend to the places you love, and if you have any doubts (can you get the risotto without chicken stock?), call and ask...

              Sorry about the rant; it's one of my hot-button issues!

              1. re: galleygirl

                OOh, forgot, my favorite vegan goi cuon is at Saigon, in Allston....Tofu, squash, and I think spinach, instead of the usual....

                1. re: galleygirl

                  But wait, there's more!! I totally forgot that one of our discussions during dinner at Addis Red Sea was that it would be a delightful place to bring vegetarians..

                  There were about 10 different veg. dishes, and if I recall correctly, they were made w/out butter....Heavy on the grains and legumes, with a richness and complexity of flavor that vegan often lacks...Check with them to make sure I'm not wrong about the butter; it's a wonderful place you would all enjoy.

                  1. re: galleygirl

                    Ya know, I just don't THINK in those terms, but as I started ruminating..9lives post got me thinking about the Taiwan Cafe, and I think their PREMIER vegan dish would be the Edame (edamame) with tofu and Special greens...fresh soybeans with tofu skin "noodles" and preserved mustard greens..Everyone loves it; really unusual.

                2. re: galleygirl

                  I'll second that, all of it. I didn't know what to tell Joel, because there are SO many options, and because I don't frequent the vegetarian places, for the same reasons galleygirl cited. As usual, gg, you beat me to it, and most eloquently.

                  1. re: galleygirl

                    Although I am not a vegetarian nor do I play one on TV I have been to Buddha's Delight on several occasions, usually with new-to-Boston vegetarian friends who have been told they simply _must_ try Buddha's Delight. On doesn't like to darken the day (and not to mention ruin one's palette so early in the morning) by spouting bile but I have never been impressed by the food emergent from their kitchen.

                    The staff has always been nice and my vegetarian friends always find it comforting that they have, for once, complete run of the menu ... but it's just never been all that good.

                    consistently,
                    Psmith

                3. Veggie Planet in Harvard Square and has wonderful pizzas and soups.

                  1. c
                    ChesterPrynne

                    I also agree that Addis is a great choice for veggie/vegan options as are many other ethnic restaurants such as Indian (e.g., Rangoli and Tanjore). A friend and I ventured to Grasshopper once about two years ago and found it a bit on the greasy side but perhaps it was an off day.

                    Another option worth exploring is sushi. Of course, avacado and tamago (I know egg’s not vegan!) are pretty standard. Many places will also have kanpyo which is sweet pickled gourd/squash (it’s much better than it sounds). It may not be listed on the menu as a roll but you should ask if it’s available. In fact, if you’re interested in trying veg. sushi, it doesn’t hurt to talk to the server. During such a conversation in a restaurant in Alabama, I had my first lotus root roll -- yum. There’s also inari – seasoned tofu pockets with rice which are quite nice. I’ve never been fond of Japanese pickles but they also appear on many sushi menus. Sushi Corner in Melrose has a tasty roll with mango in it. There’s a sushi place near Kowloon with a great sweet potato roll.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ChesterPrynne

                      A word about Indian food: you'll have better luck with South Indian places -- North Indian is more dairy-intensive. But not impossible. Most will have several vegan appetizers, mulligatawny soup, and maybe one or two vegan entrees.

                    2. If you are tired of Asian choices (as my vegan exboyfriend sometimes was) has anyone mentioned that Gargoyle's in Davis Square, Somerville, always has a vegan option on their daily menu? They are such a great classy place for any kind of food, if you are looking for something a little more upscale ($15-$20 range).