Vegetarian in Michiana
I live in Michiana, and while I will taste meat once or twice a year, so far I haven't liked it, so I like to stick to vegetarian food.
Some people like to look for the best version of a food they're familiar with, but I am more interested in trying new foods and new flavors these days. I know where to get acceptable Indian, Chinese, Thai, and Italian food in Michiana (acceptable; I don't expect great). Also I grew up with Caribbean food, so I'm not looking for that. I would love to hear about where to try foods of other cuisines that maybe I'm not so familiar with or that might surprise me. Is there any good Middle Eastern food in Michiana? Or some sort of African food? Vietnamese? Preferably somewhere I can get some vegetarian options.
In case you're wondering, I like strong and complex flavors but I can't take too much pepperiness. I don't have much appreciation for some textural things that other people rave about, like the perfect pizza crust or light fluffy rice or the texture of pasta.
I don't know what it is about Elia's, but I really really dislike the place. I love Mediterranean food, I love falafels and baba ghanoush and hummus, but I refuse to go to Elia's anymore. There's something that's just "off" about the place that I can't put my finger on. There's a new Mediterranean place that opened in South Bend - Olive Mount Grill on Edison and Hickory (somewhere around there); I haven't been there yet, but they do have the standard Mediterranean fare with hummus, baba ghanoush, falafel, etc.
Michiana=(northern Indiana(like around South Bend) and Southern Michigan).
I have a sneaky suspicion African is going to be hard in Michiana. But given your description you might want to consider looking for Ethiopian. however I can't find anything closer to Michiana on the web than Chicagoland, Indy or Detroit.
I would imagine with the large Seventh Day Adventist population Berrien Springs might have some vegetarian restaurants.As far as Elia's I enjoyed my meals there.I mean someone from Egypt might say its no good because they dont use some herb in their baba ghanoosh or some stuff like that or the Arab Christians dont like the way the Muslims make this or that but i'd give it a try.In Michigan City there is Eat at Moe's another MIddle Eastern restaurant.Someone just today told me they liked Alladin PIta in Merrillville and he is Lebanese.Everyone thinks no one can make it like their grandmother anyway so any review has to be looked at that way.Michiana is a pretty meat and potato place.Outside of Oriental restaurants and pasta I am at a loss.Obviously many restaurants are trying to put in more vegetarian options.Berrien Springs also has a large African population with many associated with the University.Again there maybe some restaurants catering to that population or the Koreans there also.A lot of people have very nice things to say about Stop 50 pizza in Michiana Shores just outside Michigan City.They do the wood fired Neopolitan thin type of pizza.Good luck
If you're veg, Elia's is definately worth a try. I like their food, and the owners are really a delight to deal with. Mishawaka Brewing Company has a killer portabella sandwich ( I recommend it with swiss and grilled peppers and onions). Shoreline Brewery in Michigan City also has some good veggie food - like fried green tomatoes!
I'm a 20-year vegetarian - I happen to love Elia's. (Lebanese cuisine) I don't usually like the notion of sqished up eggplant- but I love their babaghanouge - also their hummus, falalfel, lentil soup, midadara... endless choices. Casa Del Rio doesn't use lard in their beans, but don't eat the rice (chicken stock). Star of India works well for me and Politos has a great veggie stuffed pizza. I haven't tried the new Olive Mount Grill yet on Edison. Good luck
I tried this new Ali Baba's on Edison next to the Enterprise Rent a car across from Bonefish Grill in Mishawaka.They have a number of vegetarian options.I enjoyed the hummous,tabouleh,grape leaves,The kibbe was a bit dry and the meat pie (svehah?) maybe was yesterdays but I would give it another shot.The vegetarian combo was about 11 bucks I think.
I don't know how far Mishawaka is for you, but I'll drive quite a bit out of my way to get to Sunny's Korean Restaurant. They say they'll make just about anything vegetarian--I love the chop chae which has sweet potato glass noodles covered with great stuff and their gaagie eggplant appetizer (it's really spicy, though, so may not be up your alley). With all the fun condiments to add to each dish, they're definitely about complex flavors. They have outside dining to look forward to when we all thaw out:)
You can find a menu at their website:
Sunny's Korean Garden Patio
512 S Spring St
Mishawaka, IN 46544