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Veggies in Boston?


I'm visiting Boston next week for the first time. I'm staying with a friend who lives in Brookline (who's also new to the Boston area). We plan on exploring the city and towns surrounding, and I know for sure we'll be in Cambridge for a day. We're both vegetarians and looking for interesting places to eat. They don't have to be vegetarian restaurants per se, but suggestions for veggie friendly places would be great!

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  1. For a splurge, I know the following restaurants in Boston and Cambridge offer vegetarian tasting menus:

    Upstairs on the Square
    Craigie Street Bistrot

    For less stratospheric prices, a few of my favorites for my veg friends:

    Baraka Cafe (Central Square) - Algerian and Tunisian, great couscous
    Addis Red Sea (South End) - Ethiopian
    Helmand (East Cambridge) - Afghan
    Christopher's (Porter Square) - mid-scale pub fare. I love their homemade veggie burger with pesto and roasted red pepper.

    1. Don't know how strict you are. Many of the vegetarian dishes at Dok Bua and Rod Dee (in Brookline) probably have shrimp paste or fish sauce. If you're cool with that, I recommend them. Regardless, you can probably find dishes to your liking there. Others to try:
      Falafel sandwich at Rami's in Coolidge Corner
      Middle Eastern food at Reef Cafe in Allston, Boston Shwarama near the MFA, and Sultan's Kitchen downtown
      Tamarind Bay for Indian in Cambridge, or Bombay Club nearby for the mostly vegetarian lunch buffet
      Rangzen for Tibetan in Cambridge
      Vegetarian friendly bar food and good beer lists at Bukowski's in Boston and Cambridge and Christopher's in Cambridge
      Elotes (sauteed green beans) and mole cheese enchiladas at Forest Cafe (a Mexican pub/restaurant near the Harvard campus)
      Pizza, cannoli, etc. in the North End (lots of threads on this)

      There are a handful of fully vegetarian restaurants in the area, including some Buddhist Chinese places with faux meats. The one I would recommend most is Veggie Planet in Harvard Square, though I think the vegetarian food at the other places I mentioned is as good or better.

      I'd recommend Helmand for something more upscale but still comfortable and totally vegetarian friendly.

      1. In Harvard Sq. are Veggie Planet(veggie): http://www.veggieplanet.net/, Casablanca(Middle Eastern): http://www.casablancarestaurant.com/, Tamarind(Indian) Bay: http://www.tamarind-bay.com/.

        1. YOu can also do a search with the word "vegetarian" and toms of stuff will come up...

          Himalayian Bistro in W rox
          Wonder SPice in JP
          Village Sushi in Rosi

          1. You could also check out Grasshopper Cafe in Allston. Not the best vegan food around, but decent job with seitan. If you are fish friendly, I would second the Dok Bua suggestion!

            5 Replies
            1. re: Science Chick

              Grasshopper is not merely not the best, it's pretty crappy. It's garnered a great deal of negative opinion on this board.

              1. re: Karl S

                Yeah, it's pretty horrible. That's based on multiple attempts with a vegetarian friend as people kept telling her she just wasn't ordering the right things. For that sort of food, go to Buddha's Delight right over on Harvard Ave in Brookline where they're staying instead. A little more spartan looking but the food's much better.

                Another cheap ethnic lunch option is Reef Cafe on Brighton, which always has a number of good vegetarian options.

                I'll second the falafel at Rami's which I finally tried for the first time. Yum

                1. re: psora

                  Buddha's Delight Too is OK, and much better than Grasshopper imo. The best thing about it is the large selection of fresh fruit shakes. The worst thing about it is that it's a big, sterile, quiet place that has been completely empty when I've gone (say, at 1pm). It's worth a try if you like or have never tried Buddhist Chinese places, but I've had much better in other cities. It could be that Grasshopper's higher popularity is due to its being a bit closer to BU.

                  1. re: fenian

                    I agree. BD is decent, occasionally good, frequently empty. Not great. The fact that it's way better than Grasshopper says more about the latter....

                    1. re: Karl S

                      The one in Brookline changed to a thai/bubble tea place. The service is terrible. I would rather go to grasshopper personally.

            2. Also the veggie plate at the East Coast Grill is awesome!

              1. Shanghainese cuisine can be very vegetarian (and vegan) friendly. Many dishes feature mock meats made with gluten. I've liked the versions of such dishes at New Shanghai (Chinatown) and Shanghai Gate (Allston).

                Gujarati cuisine is essentially vegetarian. I'd recommend going for the Gujarati dishes at Namaskar in Davis Sq.

                1. I am vegetarian and went to OM in Harvard square with a friend who is not vegetarian. There was a vegetarian entree called general OMs tofu. We both ordered a 5 course tasting menu with wine pairings. Tasting menus are offerred on the menu, but if you mention that you are vegetarian, the chef is more than willing to create a veg menu. Its nice to be able to eat at an upscale restaurant and have options. I had a wild mushroom terrine with truffle vinaigrette, okinawa ravioli with thai chili broth, parpadelle with porcini cream & candied walnuts & general oms tofu. everything was excellent. the tasting cost $65

                  1. Had lunch at Grasshopper two days ago. Best hot and sour soup I've ever had. Got an appetizer plate that was spectacular. Vegan cheesecake is fabulous. Have been there just three times in the past four months and it has been great every time.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Pastramiman

                      Shouldn't it be vegan "cheese"cake. How do you make a cheesecake without cheese, or do I want to even know?

                      1. re: Wineack

                        it's probably frozen silken tofu cake. i've had pleasant enough versions of this.

                        btw, i thought grasshopper had the worst hot and sour soup i've ever had, so... the polarized reviews are really puzzling.

                    2. A lot of great suggestions here. A few others:

                      - In the Fenway area, very good Italian can be had at Trattoria Toscana, and Brown Sugar is right across the street for a wide ranging and very flexible Thai menu.

                      - Katmandu Spice in E Arlington has some very interesting and different food. I haven't tried the buffet yet, but enjoyed dinner there.

                      - If you want fancy in Cambridge, Upstairs on the square usu has one veggie option, and also a yummy grilled cheese and tomato soup. It's just a fun place to try lunch. On the lower end, Cambridge 1 has terrific pizza and good salads (and so does Za in E Arlington, but they are not open for lunch)

                      - In Brookline, the Public House (formerly Anam Cara) has a few veg options, but if you don't like beer, it's probably not worth your time.

                      - In JP, try Cafe D - several veg options

                      Of the places other folks mentioned above, I enthusiastically agree about Namaskar, E Coast Grill, Helmand, Oleana, Rami's.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Bluebell

                        Brown Sugar has a vegetarian ham option in many of its dishes that is really tasty, good choice.

                      2. As a rule of thumb [or spoon]: India is a vegetarian country [the muslims are an exception] so you can depend on Indian restaurants to have a good selection of vegetarian fare. Asian restaurants also will feature vegetarian. And of course the pastas, etc. at the Italian restaurants are a nice option. Chef's at the better Boston restaurants have told me that they enjoy the challenge to be creative if you don't find anything on the menu that works for you.

                        1. For a Veggie Burger and fries- I reccomend Rivergods in Central Sq., Miracle of Science in Central Sq., or Christophers in Porter Sq. Also at Christopher they have awesome tofu wings. Christophers also has nice salads and good beer. The Burren in Davis Sq also has a great veggie burger. If you want a good tofu wrap, go to Blue Shirt cafe and get the spinach wrap. However not all of their wraps are good.

                          For Thai food I like the veggie ham at Brown Sugar Cafe.

                          For Chinese- New Asia at the Arlington location is great. They have good temple's meats. However other locations are not as good. I also have no problem with Grasshopper but I understand why people don't like it. Some dishes are really good, some are not and the cleanliness in that place is not so good.

                          I also like Le's(pho Pasteur for Pho soup and tofu dishes. Good fresh spring rolls as well.

                          I love the Veggie plate at East Coast Grill in Inman Sq.

                          In the south end, Delux makes good vegetarian food as well. You can go to Tremont 647 and ask the chef to make you a special vegetarian meal. We did that once and it was excellent.

                          I also love the appatizers at Helmand! Yums! Their entrees for vegetarians are not good though.

                          One other sugestion is the Turkish Family Restaurant in brookline. They have great vegetarian options.

                          1. David, you forgot to mention Rangzen in Central Sq. 24 Pearl St. They have delicious and inexpensive healthy Tibetan food. Try the momos (dumplings) and the tofu and veggie dish is very good as well. The atmosphere is pleasant.

                            Helmand is also really good, but I would recommend ordering several appetizers. Be sure to include the pumpkin dish, Kaddo. The atmosphere there is very nice and the house red wine is inexpensive and good.

                            1. Oh - another ethnic place with pretty atmosphere and lots of veg apps is Sabur in Teele Sq, just up the road from the Davis T stop. Their cuisine is billed as Balkan/Mediterranean, so you can get some interesting things there.

                              1. Thanks for all the suggestions & advice! I'm looking forward to my trip!

                                1. If you find yourself around Downtown Crossing at lunch time during the week, grab a vegetarian chacarero from the Chacarero stand. www.chacarero.com