Dinner and Brunch Recs for a Vegetarian Visitor
I'm already taking my vegetarian guest to Oleana on Friday night. Any recommendations for a good veg-friendly spot for dinner Saturday? She doesn't want to spend too much, so the Degustation of Vegetables at L'Espalier is definitely not an option. I'm in East Cambridge, and am happy to travel to Beacon Hill, Back Bay, South End, Somerville, or JP. I'm also looking for a good brunch spot that won't break the bank. I'd really like to be able to make a reservation for brunch, though, so I know that rules out some of the best, chowish brunch places. Any advice?
A couple ideas for dinner on Saturday. Ten Tables (JP) usually has an interesting sounding vegetarian option as well as a vegetarian tasting menu for $25. In a similar price range (as long as you stick with the Cambodian side of the menu) would be Elephant Walk. I have only ordered from the Cambodian side of the menu at the Elephant Walk and while I can make no judgements on authenticity I have found the food to be really nicely spiced. Another good option might be Indian. One of my favorites is India Quality in Kenmore Square.
Ole in Inman Square has some tasty vegetarian options. Tanjore in Harvard Square or Diva in Davis work well for Indian. Helmand near the Cambridgeside Galleria has excellent Afghan food and very tasty vegetarian. Try Cabot's in Newton for a fantastic ice cream sundae place afterwards.
Brunch: try Soundbites Cafe near Davis (though there's usually a line), or Lucky's in East Boston (they've got a Sinatra brunch).
For Indian food, I'll enthusiastically second Tanjore and India Quality, but would definitely avoid Diva; other worthy options would be Tamarind Bay and Cafe of India (both in Harvard Square). Helmand and Soundbites are also first-rate, though note that the latter is a solid hike from Davis Square (it's in Ball Square, several blocks away). Lucky's is OK.
If it's ice cream you're after, I'd much sooner recommend Toscanini's, Herrell's, or Emack and Bolio's, all of which have a Cambridge location easily reached by subway. Cabot's is a tricky series of bus rides to get to, and they unfortunately don't make their own ice cream (they use Richardson's, though it is good).
If you want vegetarian Chinese, Buddha's Delight in Chinatown is a decent option, though the service can be pretty perfunctory and the digs are typical Chinatown grungy. I've seen positive things on this board about two other vegetarian spots, Grasshopper (Allston) and Veggie Planet (Cambridge), but I'm much less a fan of these. There's also a macrobiotic spot in Waltham, Masao's Kitchen, which is at least serviceable though not at all fancy.
If you're looking for options that are simple and no frills: Bukowski's in Inman has good and cheap vegetarian bar foods (veg chili dogs, meatball subs, and the like). Zoe's on Mass Ave (the diner, not the chinese restaurant) is a good inexpensive brunch option and they have vegetarian sausage on the menu. There are many other options out there but those would be my top picks for the cheap and vegetarian combo.
i cannot recommmend the brunch at east coast grill more highly. while it is not a complete vegetarian menu, there are plenty of veggie-friendly options, and there are always several specials in addition to the regular menu. i have also had a great meal there putting together a few side dishes. dinner at the east coast grill is generally good, but a little more hit or miss than the brunch.
i have also eaten brunch at ole, and while the quality of the food was ok, we were really diasppointed that all four people in our party ordered different dishes so we could all share, but when they brought the food out, they were all pretty much the same eggs and veggies on all of our plates. i would not recommend the brunch at ole.
Centre St. Cafe in JP for brunch if you go on the late side, lines dwindle down then. Aquitaine in the south end takes reservations for their Sat. brunch (I assume Sun. too). Union is easy to get into for brunch.