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Vegetarian in El Paso, Texas

I'm new to Chowhound, so I don't know if this is an acceptable thing to do. I'm a vegetarian in El Paso, Texas, and I noticed that when I searched for "el paso vegetarian" I didn't easily find recommendations. So, I thought I'd offer up a few of my own. I live in the Central part of town, so there's a good possibility I don't know other vegetarian-friendly places further away. I'll break up the suggestions by food type:

Mexican: This food often is cooked with lard, or beans can be cooked with a ham hock or some other meat added to the pot. Some places that don't use lard or meat in the beans (at least the last time I asked):
1) Delicious Mexican (on Fort Boulevard) has great burritos.
2) Kiki's (on Piedras) also has great burritos.
3) Casa Jurado (on Cincinnati or Doniphan) has good Calabicitas (squash) enchiladas and good tostadas.

4) La Posta (in Mesilla, NM) is a fun place to go, and I'm pretty sure their beans are vegetarian.

Vietnamese:
Pho Tre Bien (on Viscount) is fantastic. Amazing Vegetarian Spring Rolls. It has many tofu dishes, but be sure to ask about the broth in the soups. And there may be fish sauce in some of the dips, such as the one served with the spring rolls.

Thai:
1)True Thai (on Fred Wilson) closes early, so I've only managed to go there twice.
2)Bangkok Pepper (on N. Mesa) is surprisingly quite good. They have a good selection of tofu curries.
3)Singapore Cafe (on N. Mesa) can be decent, but overall is rather hit or miss. They recently added brown rice, which is nice. Their Ginger Tofu is good. Also, they can make a coconut-based Tom Kha Gai soup vegetarian upon request. The same thing goes for most of the rest of their dishes.

Absolutely not recommended is the new Pei Wei Diner (an offshoot of PF Chang's) the vegetarian selection is really limited. And they have the worst tofu I've ever tasted. Yuck. A very unpleasant dining experience.

Chinese:
Sam's Chinese (on Yandell) is the best locally-owned place I've found. The Shanghai Tofu is nice, especially when paired with the Asparagus with Black Bean Sauce.

Italian (Pizza):
1) Ardovino's (on Cincinnati or Resler) has great 'gourmet' pizzas and a nice ambiance. Their marinara is vegetarian. Obviously, you can order any pizza without meat. The "Joanna's" is the local favorite. And the "Garden Greens" salad doesn't have meat in it.
2) Ardovino's Desert Crossing (in Sunland Park, NM) also has great pizzas, which they cook in a wood-burning stove. Be aware that they are very traditionally Italian, and some of their sauces aren't vegetarian, but the marinara is. They also have other vegetarian dishes, but I'm a creature of habit and never order them.

'Gourmet':
1) Thyme Matters (on Mesa) has a good selection for vegetarians. I'm partial to the Risotto with Truffle Oil and the Corn Poblano Chowder.
2) GeoGeske (on Stanton) has had one vegetarian dish on its menu since opening, as well as a few sides. Their margarita french fries are quite delectable. This restaurant's a decent option if you're dragged there by non-vegetarians.

These are all the places that are coming to mind now. I hope this is useful information for someone.

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  1. Very helpful-am planning a trip soon to El Paso and know nothing-how far are these places from Shadow Mtn. Drive area-what area are they in??Can you help me to visualize this please???I love vegetarian food also-but in Texas I will indulgence in barbeque and ribs.

    2 Replies
    1. re: marlie202

      are there any juice bars/smoothies places??cafes?sit and read and hang out type places with good coffee and snacks??

      1. re: marlie202

        Hi, Well the vegetarian-friendly places I mentioned are really all over, but some are located on the Westside, which is where Shadow Mountain is. I'd just google whichever places seem interesting to you.

        As far as coffee shops go, El Paso is unfortunately really lacking. I can think of five independent coffee shops on the Westside/Central area. The first is called Cactus Cafe. It's on Mesa St. Another one, with less character recently changed names, but I think it's called Kinlay's. It's close to UTEP at Kerbey and Mesa. But, really, it doesn't have much personality. It's virtually a mirror image of Starbuck's (one of which is literally across the street from it), but with terrible tasting coffee. I hate to say it, but it's true. Close by is another place called Il Vicino. It's on Boston b/w Stanton and Mesa. It's really cute, but I honestly have only been once, so I don't know much about it. There's also a nice place downtown called Lumenbrite. Unfortunately, it has limited hours that basically follow a normal work day, 9 - 5. But, if you're planning on seeing the EP Art Museum, which I'd recommend, it'd be a good place to stop by. Lastly, also downtown, there's a really quaint, comfortable coffee/sandwich place called Pike Street Market. It also has limited hours; I think it closes at 2:30 or 3:00. One perk, though, is that all their coffee and espresso drinks are half price the last hour they're open.

        I only know about one smoothie place (it's very possible there are more). It's a chain called Keva Juice. It's on Mesa between Robinson and Cincinnati. I personally don't like it because their smoothies aren't very natural. They use sorbet, or some other artificial sugary-something (I can't remember what exactly) in them. That turned me off.

        Hope this helps.

      2. Another Vegetarian Restaurant in El Paso:

        I can't believe I forgot it in my first post.

        El Paso has an Indian restaurant called India Palace (on Mesa). The proprietors are a really lovely bunch of people. And the food's quite good. As is to be expected, there are plenty of good vegetarian options. They also have a very reasonably priced buffet during the day.

        1. A friend of mine reminded me that I should mention that Kiki's Mexican Restaurant serves excellent spicy, but not too spicy, black beans (also vegetarian). They're great. I don't know any other restaurant in El Paso that serves black beans.

          Also, he wanted people to know that GeoGeske serves a mean Mac and Cheese. I've tasted it. It's decadent to be sure.

          1. There's a nice new restaurant in El Paso called "Ripe" (on Redd Rd). (www.eatripe.com) It was opened about four months ago by a brother and sister team.

            It has a kind of a deli-counter style. Basically it has simple staples like grilled sandwiches, pizzas, as well as a variety of sides made with somewhat more creative or gourmet ingredients. Also, every day there's a different dinner special in addition to the normal menu. I believe they have breakfast options as well. There are plenty of vegetarian-friendly options.

            It has a comfortable, almost homey atmosphere. The decor is stylish and tasteful. It's a nice place to hang out. It doesn't seem like the kind of place that would discourage people from lingering, so I think it could probably serve as another El Paso coffee shop.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ailbheca

              The local Ripe Eatery and Market was a nice touch of fresh and simple cuisine that made for an excellent lunch option (Turkey Pesto Panini with a cup of the soup du jure - already lost the name, but began with a "M." Thanks for the suggestion. The dining area is cozy, but I do recommend a rental car, although I did make it from UTEP up to Ripe and back via the "14" on the Sun Metro. Two hours of sight seeing along routes I might otherwise have never traveled.

            2. For Vegetarian Tamales: Go to Gussie's Tamales on Piedras. There are very tasty Green Chili and Cheese tamales for vegetarians. All her tamales are popular with vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ailbheca

                I LOVE tamales-thanks for a great rec. Ripe is also a wonderful rec-I checked out their site. Here in NYC I buy tamales from Mexican people who sell them at a weekend flea market--they are delicious-they serve them with a spicy avocado cilantro sauce-which I believe is an original recipe-wonderful. Thanks for all your recs and if you think of anything else-please let me know

              2. I think you got most of the best.

                Sunny Cafe on Yandell is excellent
                and economic--there aren't many vegetarian options explicitly on the
                menu, but Norma, the owner is happy to make you anything you ask for.
                Some of my favorites are bean and rice burritos with lettuce and
                tomato and long-green sauce on top; burritos with beans and
                calabacitas; spinach enchiladas with or without the cheese; potato
                tacos or gorditas; create your own dish from ingredients she has. She
                uses no lard in her beans and no chicken stock in her rice.

                The Greenery has a few options (pasta, tacos al carbon with portobello)
                but the vegan options are limited.

                Al-Zaituna and Sinbad are two middle eastern restaurants that offer falafel platters and sandwiches among other vegetarian/vegan options.

                Jaxon's on Mesa and I-10 or thereabouts has a Veggie burger, but it's not vegan. Fuddruckers will make you a portobello mushroom burger without the burger...their fries are good....strict vegetarians might not like the fact that everything
                is cooked on the same grill.

                Lorenzo's in Las Cruces and Mesilla has some great
                vegetarian pasta and pizza (cheeseless for vegetarians).

                Lemongrass (Thai) in Las Cruces explicitly lists vegetarian options on their
                menu.

                Real Burrito next to Al-Zaituna has some great options--assemble your own burrito or torta from their ingredients: refried beans, black beans, rajas, avocado, papas a la mexicana,...plus they have great mexican sodas.

                The Vegetarian Society of El Paso just had a Restaurant Hoppers event at Mango's Cafe and Mexican Eatery--good stuff. Again, they don't have vegan or vegetarian options explicitly on the menu, but they are very accomodating. Apetizers included tortilla chips with mango salsa and papalotes (basically spiralled potato chips) with salsa. I had a great green salad that was actually green (the iceberg lettuce that you get at most restaurants is nutritionally pointless) with a balsamic vinaigrette. My group also ordered a great nopal (cactus) salad--possibly the best I've ever had. Entree choices included poblanos stuffed poblanos and bean enchiladas. Sides included a lemony white rice with cilantro, green beans and potatos. You can add any of 3 sauces to your meal (complimentary and on the table): tomato sauce, avocado sauce, and hot salsa. They will be opening a second location in a nursery on Doniphan and will be offering international cuisine.

                You can always feel welcome to call the Vegetarian Society of El Paso for more options at 877.3030

                Enjoy!

                1. Thanks ailbheca, et.al., for the vegetarian options in El Paso. It couldn't be more fortuitous for me as I am going to be in town next week, April 22 - 26 for a conference. Fantastic! What a God send...

                  1. Fairly New Italian Restaurant:

                    There's a fairly new restaurant on the West Side (Mesa close to Resler) called Cafe Italia. They built their own wood-burning oven on the premises, which is visible from the dining area. They specialize in pizzas, pastas, antipasti, soups and desserts. Everything, including their dough and mozzarella, are homemade. There are several vegetarian options, and the staff is very accommodating. Actually, they seem very passionate about their food. I asked if a tomato sauce could be added to a non-tomato-based pizza and the chef came over and joked that I was making a huge mistake and that I was offending him. I compromised by getting the sauce on the side. He was right, I would have ruined the pizza.

                    The night I went my party began with a antipasto consisting of their amazing fresh bread with garlic butter and an assortment of olives, cheese, and meats. The staff kindly separated the meat from everything else. It was a wonderful starter. I dream about that bread.

                    Likewise, the two pizzas we had were excellent: Portabello and Fennel (for which I asked for the tomato sauce on the side) and Margarita Pizza. They were a nice balance together.

                    A friend ordered a linguine dish with shrimp and loved it. And my father reported that the spaghetti and meatballs were the best he'd ever eaten.

                    We ended with a totally decadent chocolate cake with warm chocolate inside. If I had to choose one sweet to eat for the rest of my life this would be the one.

                    One should be warned: the restaurant is very intimate. It consists of one room with about 10 tables. This is a welcome departure from many of the mega-chain restaurants in El Paso. Once you're actually seated it's well worth any wait.

                    And it's BYOB.