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Poll: Help the Vegetarians!

What, and from where, are your top three dishes (excluding desserts) that do not contain animal flesh?

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  1. I've got a lot of favorites....

    Oleana in Cambridge - http://www.oleanarestaurant.com/ They have a vegetarian tasting menu that is what ever the chef feels like but you can't go wrong with anything they serve it is a must. The Spinach Falafel, Tahini, Yogurt with Beets & Mâche are the out of this world.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chiclets_mb

      Ditto. Gotta be the best veg offering in the region.

      1. re: chiclets_mb

        Based on this post I went to Oleana on Friday night for a special occasion dinner with the boyfriend. WOW! It was AMAZING from beginning to end. Not only was the food spectacular, but the space and service were also fabulous. Before dinner I got the white port cocktail with mint and grapes. The BF got sangria. Both excellent. We did the vegetarian tasting menu with wine pairings. All courses were timed just right and the wine pairings were perfect. Started with 4 items from the pret a manger area of the menu. My favorite was the Spicy Carrot Puree & Egyptian Spice Mix with Nuts & Olive Oil, the BF loved the Whipped Feta with Sweet & Hot Peppers - but all were certainly worth ordering again. Other standouts from the next 4 courses were the spinach falafel, manchego cheese cakes with green chard, Ricotta & Bread Dumplings with Red Wine, Porcini and Kale, beet salad. There was more - all great - dessert was also a winner. A small chocolate cake, and ice cream with candied fruit. Considering we did a 6 course tasting menu with wine pairings with each course (and also got 2 additional cocktails to start), I think the $200 price tag was very reasonable. I can't wait to go back!

      2. The Vegetable Tagine Couscous with sultanas and dates from Sabur in Somerville is wonderful... my carnivorous dining mates eyed my dish with extreme longing :)

        3 Replies
        1. re: mipiace

          Roasted Garlic Polenta, Wood Grilled Artichokes, Tomato & Olives
          Vegetable Tagine Cous Cous, Sultanas and Dates
          From the menu it looks like the above two dishes may be vegan and gluten-free (no wheat, oats, barley, rye, spelt)?

          1. re: lgss

            mmmmmmmm, I think couscous is usually made from semolina wheat, which contains gluten.

            1. re: powella

              I missed the cous cous listed. Thanks for pointing this out.

        2. You should also try Pho Republic - the chow fun noodles with tofu and peanut sauce is one of my all time favorites. I go to Pho Republic weekly.

          1. I've not been in a while but Addis Red Sea onTremont St has lots of vegetarian options and the few times I've been I really loved my meal. The atmosphere is really fun.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chiclets_mb

              At Addis, you don't even need to worry about narrowing down your choices. The "Winnie Mandela Special" is a sample of all of their vegetarian dishes.

              Probably one of the first places I think of when someone asks for good vegetarian.

              My personal favorite is either the Nemeser Wot or Mittin Shuro Wot. I keep forgeting which wot is wot.

            2. The spinach and marscapone ravioli at Teatro is my #1.

              Tied for 2nd are falafel sandwiches from my back-and-forth spots, Rami's and Schwarama King. I thought I had committed to Rami's as the favorite (due to the hot sauce), but I'm wavering again.

              1. My favorite is the herb broth with a variety of tofu and vegetables (I get cravings for the watercress) at Little Q Mongolian Hot Pot on Hancock Street in Quincy.

                Most of the outstanding broths are vegetarian. and the scallion pancakes are some of the best in the region. It is definitely worth a detour for some of the most delicious broth and food without any worry about chicken stock. Just ask to be sure - five out of the six broths are vegetarian, if I remember correctly.

                My carnivorous family choose beef, and love the vegetarian broths.

                1. Definitely the Kaddo at Helmand,

                  The Helmand
                  143 1st St, Cambridge, MA 02142

                  1. I eat great vegetarian dishes all the time so to me that seems like an very broad question.

                    I second Rami's falafel sandwich with hot sauce (which I think is much better than Shwarama King).

                    How about a veggie kibbee platter from either Boston Shwarma or Reef Cafe? Delicious.

                    I would say a curry tofu plate from Rod Dee, but that surely has shrimp paste. I don't know if shrimp paste in a curry sauce qualifies as animal flesh. Brown Sugar/The Similans has a good curry that definitely is vegan.

                    There are so many Indian dishes that fit the bill that it's impossible to pick one. I would just say do a search for good Indian restaurants and try the buffet or dinner. Namaskar's buffet is particularly good for vegetarians. Kebab Factory is great too.

                    Malaysian Buddhist delight at Aneka Rasa, with coconut rice, is excellent.

                    I can think of so many Asian dishes that it's basically impossible to narrow them down. All I can say is...I used to be a vegetarian, for like 15 years. I didn't want to trouble anyone and would eat wherever. But don't take me to some completely Western meat-centric place with one boring token vegetarian dish on the menu (or even worse, they are able to throw together some vegetables in the kitchen) and expect me to be pleased.

                    1. My favorite food is probably ma pa dofu and I often get it without pork or other meat. Shanghai Gate, Sichuan Garden, other places mentioned here make good versions. If you eat fish, Shanghai Gate has it with minced fish.

                      1. Hard to put a top 3, as it's like comparing apples and oranges, but here are some that I like.

                        Gluten puffs with edamame/mao2 dou3 and tofu skin/bai2 ye4 at New Shanghai in Chinatown. Also the appetizers like kao3 fu1 (gluten with pieces, lily stems in a dark sweet anise flavoured sauce), ma3 lan2 tou2 (chopped wild Shanghainese vegetables and tofu).

                        Similar dishes at Shanghai Gate in Allston.

                        Seaweed with garlic at Chung Shin Yuan in Newton.

                        Mezze plate at Sultan's Kitchen.

                        The mucver (zuchinni pancakes/fritters) at Brookline Family Turkish Restaurant (the yogurt's excellent).

                        Ultimate veggie platter at Cafe Baraka.

                        Gujarati Thali at Namaskar.

                        Daikon dumplings at O Ya.

                        O Ya
                        9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

                        Baraka Cafe
                        80 Pearl St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                        New Shanghai Restaurant
                        21 Hudson St, Boston, MA 02111

                        Shanghai Gate
                        204 Harvard Ave, Allston, MA 02134

                        Chung Shin Yuan
                        183 California St, Newtonville, MA 02458

                        Brookline Family Restaurant
                        305 Washington St, Brookline, MA 02445

                        Namaskar Fine Indian Cuisine
                        236 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

                        Sultan's Kitchen
                        116 State St, Boston, MA 02109

                        1. I can't wait to try some of these. I could go for a big dose of those noodles with tofu and peanut sauce right now. Yes, The Helmand is great, esp. the Kaddo. I didn't know Sabur had a whole vegetarian menu. (A respite from the usual menu jerk, "Ooh, that sounds--nope, shrimp; oh, this sounds pretty--nope, pancetta.") It looks great, and I drive by there all the time, for some reason without stopping, but now I know better. And I'll dream of spinach and mascarpone ravioli tonight.... And maybe eat some tomorrow. Thanks for all the great ideas.

                          1. The mujeddara and the ful mudammus at Cafe Barada on Mass. Ave. near Porter are terrific, and they always have one vegetarian special from a list of rotating specials. We usually start off with hummus and olives, then either the mujeddara or the special with a side of buttery rice, and sometimes try to manage a piece of very good baklava. Yum!

                            We also love the masala dosa at Bombay in Arlington Center, especially when you eat in so it's nice and crispy and light.

                            1. The white bean gazpacho I recently had at Salts was amazing.
                              Veggie cuban at Chez Henri
                              Bread at the Helmand.
                              Bread and garlic oil at Sabur.
                              The greek pizza and the vegetable ravioli at Croma
                              Malai kofta at Tanjore
                              Vegetable platter at Cafe Baraka
                              Corn and cheese platter at Macchu Picchu

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: shivohum

                                Where is Croma, and how do you pronounce "Sabur"? And thanks for reminding me of the veggie cuban at Chez Henri; I'd been wanting to get one.

                                1. re: pollystyrene

                                  I think it's "sah-boor" but I could be wrong :). Croma is on 271 Newbury...

                              2. Tons of favorites as well, but here's my top 3 (at least today):

                                Veggie platter at East Coast Grill. Sounds boring, but damn I crave that all the time. Vegan or vegetarian option - either rocks.

                                Veggie chef's whim at Craigie Street Bistrot (I know, it's not a dish, but I've never had anything less than an amazing meal there).

                                Homemade veggie burger at Christophers. (The ones at Publick House and Atwood's are quite tasty too).

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: weathermasta

                                  Weathermasta, you're reading my mind. Ditto on the Christopher's burger. It's important to get the housemade one, not to other one -- it can get confusing if you don't know better, and I equally love the Publick House's version, also made on premises.

                                  And to ChrisVR upthread, god that kaddo is to die for, isn't it?

                                  1. re: litchick

                                    Yeah, I was so skeptical because, really, how could pumpkin be THAT good? And yet it was soooo good.

                                  2. re: weathermasta

                                    Weathermasta, can you remember some of the items on the Veggie Platter at ECG? I have a friend who loves that place, but I never go with him because the menu doesn't look too good to a vegetarian. If there were something I craved there, it would make his day!

                                    And I've heard talk of this legendary veggie burger at Christophers, but, like the veggie cubano at Chez Henri, I keep forgetting it's there. Now I'll have this great thread as a constant reference/reminder.

                                    1. re: weathermasta

                                      I've been working my way through this entire post, and finally had a chance to do the Chef's Whim at Craigie Street (I did a 6 course tasting menu). It is now firmly in my top three vegetarian dishes. If I have to pick just ONE thing from that menu that was truly a standout, that would be the polenta dish included in last night's whim. I've always liked polenta, but after trying this I thought I'd gone to heaven! Other standouts from the tasting menu were the celery root soup and Olive Oil-Taza Chcolate Mousse - however, it was all fantastic and I can't wait to go back. The service was impeccable and chef Tony Maws came out to speak with us which I thought was a really nice touch.

                                      1. re: weathermasta

                                        The Druid does a very good veggie burger as well.

                                      2. All casual places - I have not done high-end veggie in Boston.

                                        -Bean veggie burger at Audubon Circle
                                        -Veggie burger at Atwood's
                                        -Veggie tasting platter at Enormous Room (although I haven't done that in like 3-4 years).
                                        -(I cheat with one more) Luke Park's Veggie handrolls at Rivergods - mmm mmm good.

                                        1. - The rasta pasta at Something Savory
                                          - the roasted garlic polenta at Sabur
                                          - the veg options from the antipasto table at Vinny's at Night

                                          1. Wonderful unusual salads and chard/caramelized onion/goat cheese pizza from Veggie Planet!
                                            Amazing spicy satisfying soups from Sultan's Kitchen

                                            Sultan's Kitchen
                                            116 State St, Boston, MA 02109

                                            1. • Masala Dosas from Namaskar.
                                              • Florentine benedict from Sound Bites.
                                              • Royal Tofu from East Asia.
                                              • the daily veggie special at EVOO. Last night I had parsnip cannoli, and they were amazing.
                                              • Veggie ramen from Sapporo.
                                              • the Dolmen Veggie Burger from The Burren.. it's a sort of curry patty.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Boston_Otter

                                                There's a daily veggie special at EVOO? Do you mean in addition to the one veg entree they've always got on the menu?

                                                1. re: pollystyrene

                                                  Sorry for the confusing wording. I meant that they always have at least one veggie entree on the prix fixe menu, which changes depending on what's fresh and in season.

                                                  1. re: Boston_Otter

                                                    Thanks for clarifying. I'm actually a bit relieved; I thought I'd been missing out on a secret special!

                                              2. This is an old thread, but one that I fully support resurrecting. I know a lot of fantastic veggie food has popped up in Boston over the last couple of years.

                                                My additions (we're a bit Camberville-centric):
                                                -Clover Food Lab: BLT
                                                -Pizzeria Regina: magherita pizza
                                                -Lemon Thai: cashew stir fry or anything with peanut sauce + brown rice and tofu (these prolly have fish sauce)
                                                -Taipei Tokyo: peanut avocado rolls with brown rice
                                                -Cafe Barada: hummus and mujaddara
                                                -Ten Tables: veggie tasting menu--spectacular and reasonably priced
                                                -Veggie Planet: Henry's Dinner (butternut squash, goat cheese pizza)
                                                -Solea: Buٌnuelos de Alcachofas y Espinacas (Artichoke & Spinach Fritters)
                                                -Za: lots of the seasonal pizzas + their Black bean avocado & roasted beet salads
                                                -Yak & Yeti: palak kofta

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: tazia

                                                  Most of the best stuff was already mentioned, like Oleana and Helmand. Grendel's Den has some good veggie options and during their half price hours its an amazing deal. For newer places The Gallows is a good choice.

                                                  134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                  1. re: tazia

                                                    I'll nominate the pistachio-encrusted, grilled tofu and the deep-fried cauliflower at Red Lentil,
                                                    Hon. mention: Anything with eggplant in it at Istanbul'u

                                                    Red Lentil
                                                    600 Mt Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

                                                  2. Just 3 is tough. We like various different dishes at Life Alive. We've eaten at the Lowell location and see that the Central Square, Cambridge location is opening soon! Various dishes at Martsa on Elm (Tibetan, Davis Square, Camb), the veg plate at Asmara (Eritrean, Central Sq, Camb), Pulse near Davis Sq has great food. We're vegan and I'm gluten-free and we find food we like, even more choices for others.

                                                    Life Alive
                                                    194 Middle St Apt 3R, Lowell, MA 01852

                                                    1. Lalla Mussa Dal - Black lentil simmered overnight in spices offered at Tamarind Bay, Harvard Sq.

                                                      Tofu pad thai at Thai Moon, Arlington.

                                                      Pie Tee (A.K.A. Top Hats) shredded jicama, cucumber, carrot, and tofu cake in a crispy hat shape shell, topped with fragrant fried shallots at Island Hopper, Back Bay.

                                                      Tamarind Bay
                                                      75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                      Thai Moon
                                                      663 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

                                                      Island Hopper
                                                      91 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115

                                                      1. just want to caution some people that this thread goes back many years and some of the restos mentioned no longer exist.

                                                        for me:
                                                        ginger deep fried bean curd at Mary Chung's, Central Sq, Cambridge.served in a unique slightly sweeet sauce w/ julienned ginger. also GREAT and refreshing if eaten as a take-out or leftover lunch.

                                                        rice stuffed baby eggplant at Eastern Lamejun Bakery, Watertown (take out only)

                                                        eggplant salad - Toro, South End ; could eat this for my entire meal.

                                                        Mary Chung Restaurant
                                                        460 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                        1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                                                        1. love this thread.
                                                          I'd have to my number one favorite veggie dish is the pho chay at pho pasteur...mmm

                                                          followed closely by a regina Margherita

                                                          1. I would also recommend the BLT from the Clover food truck, YUM!

                                                            1. Top three tofu dishes:
                                                              homestyle tofu from Qingdao
                                                              yu hsiang tofu from Mary Chung
                                                              pad kee mao with tofu from Rod Dee

                                                              Top three non-tofu vegetarian dishes:
                                                              fried eggplant from Red Lentil
                                                              falafel from Rami's
                                                              dry fried green beans from Qingdao or Mary Chung

                                                              Mary Chung Restaurant
                                                              460 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                              Red Lentil
                                                              600 Mt Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: maillard

                                                                good post bringback! Are there ANY faves from North of Boston??

                                                                My minds a blank right now..all i can think of are a couple favorite ordinary comfort dishes.. Spinach pie (does have feta though) with greek green beans and roasted potato and the greek salad at Brothers Kouzina Peabody, avocado rolls and veggie tempura at Sushi Island, and the homemade angel hair with vegetables at Calitris Danvers. Just make sure to ask for no chicken broth, as it is questionable as to whether its used in their seasoning.. might depend on the chef that day, but they make sure its not if you ask.

                                                                Brothers Kouzina
                                                                25 Newbury St, Peabody, MA 01960

                                                              2. Pan Seared Breaded Portabella Strips from Red Lentil in Watertown
                                                                Trio of Pies at Vlora in Boston
                                                                Burrata at Il Casale in Belmont

                                                                545 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                Red Lentil
                                                                600 Mt Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472