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nice place for VEGAN dinner?

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Hi folks - I'll soon be taking a lovely VEGAN around Boston. Can you please recommend a good place for vegan fare? I'm looking for atmosphere as well as decent veg-friendly selection... I think the ideal would be a place with ALL or MOST vegetarian items on the menu, so that she doesn't have to settle for the 'mixed vegetable plate of the day', but I have no idea where that could be. Expense is not a consideration, but T-accesibility is. Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, or Allston/Brighton would be ideal.

Many thanks!

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  1. Never been there but have heard the Grasshopper in Allston is nice, there's also a new vegg pizza place next door. Corner of Cambridge St & Brighton Ave

    2 Replies
    1. re: B_Line_HAC

      Please DON'T take your friend to Grasshopper. Incredibly mediocre asian-vegan. I wish I had a better suggestion, but Boston is severely lacking in this category. I believe that OM in Cambridge has some choices, but I've not been there, myself (meaning to go......if you do, please report back!).

      1. re: Science Chick

        Yeah, Grasshopper isn't quite what I had in mind... the food is so-so/greezy, the service terse, and it has the a distinctly dingy ambience. I'm looking for a DATE NITE spot where a vegan will feel comfortable and welcome. I'd like choosing the meal to be easy. Don't vegans go out for nice dinners? I wish I knew some to ask, but I don't...

        I'm heard about OM doing something vegan, but only in passing. Anyone know about it?

    2. Among slim pickings, I think Ethiopian and Eritrean are among your better vegan restaurant options. Consider Addis Red Sea (South End or Porter Square), Fasika (near Sullivan Square), and Asmara (Central Square).

      1. Elephant Walk (www.elephantwalk.com) is a very small local chain of French/Cambodian restaurants (I think 3 restaurants total). They have a vegan section of the menu with several options. There are locations in Boston (near Kenmore Sq./Brookline border - Saint Mary's T-stop on C-line) and Cambridge (Porter Sq.). I have been there a few times and generally like the atmosphere, food and service.

        1 Reply
        1. re: LauraB

          My oldest daughter is a vegan and she loved Elephant Walk so much when I took her last month that I got her a gift certificate so she could go back with her boyfriend. We went to the one in Cambridge. She was particualrly happy with a cold avacado soup. It was a lovely place. Good drinks, wine by the glass and food for non vegans. I would say that our only disappointment was the desserts. She could only have the sorbet. It was good sorbet, but I think it would be great if they could offer a vegan friendly dessert.

        2. Buddah's Delight in Chinatown or Veggie Planet are the only two edible vegan/veggie-only restaurants. Grasshopper is dreadful.

          1. Shabu-Zen has a vegetarian option which I can't see as having anything objectionable for a vegan. Just be sure to ask for the vegetarian broth when you order because they default to broth not suitable for vegans.

            I'll second the Ethiopian options MC Slim JB suggested, suggest that Grasshopper is nothing to write home about (and neither is Masao's Kitchen in Waltham), and that Buddha's Delight in Chinatown is barely a step up from there.

            1. The Elephant Walk is a great suggestion, since the food and atmosphere is lovely, and they're very accomodating with their special menus. Upstairs on The Square (in Harvard Square, Cambridge) isn't normally vegetarian, but they're doing a special 4-course "Harvest Vegan Dinner" on Wednesday, September 19 @ 6:30. Their regular vegetarian tasting menu is good and creative, and the decor there is really fun, so it might be a good bet if the timing works out!

              -----
              Upstairs On the Square
              91 Winthrop Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

              1. This may not be exactly what you're after, but Oleana has a vegetarian tasting menu (5 courses and dessert, $40) that is inventive and mind-bogglingly good. It is definitley not a consolation-prize-type choice. The chef Ana and her husband Chris own the local Siena Farms, and nearly all their vegs come from their own land. If you tell the hostess when you make your resv that you'll be getting the tasting menu, but need it to be vegan, they absolutley can do that for you. The atmosphere is excellent, and it's definitely a place you can show off to visitors.

                It's an equal walk from Kendall or Central T stops, I'd guess.

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                Oleana
                134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

                1. I discovered that Citysearch has a Vegan section. There is an interesting looking restaurant just 11 miles outside of Boston called the Elephant Walk. It boasts a large vegetarian section and the style of cuisine is Cambodian-French. It seems a bit on the pricey side, but if the food is good as the rave reviews say it is, I think you may be in for a treat. Thier contact info is the following: 663 Main St Waltham, MA 02451 Phone: (781) 899-2244 I will mention that one reviewer had a very bad experience here, so just incase, here's an alternative: The Organic Garden Cafe. It got one really good review; the menu is entirely vegan/vegetarian and its cheeper. Thier contact info is 294 Cabot St Beverly, MA 01915 Phone: (978) 922-0004

                  I hope that helps. Have fun! :-)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Karamoon

                    Just so you know, Karamoon, the Elephant walk has a few branches including the ones mentioned by LauraB above. The one in Cambridge is right in the geographic zone and public transport accessibility requested. In addition, the food is quite good though not great, although it's been a couple of years since I ate there last.

                    Both Waltham and Beverly are likely way too far out of the way for our original poster.

                  2. This has been very helpful!! Thanks ev'ryone. Oleana is a place I've really been wanting to try; it's been reccommended to me many times, but I didn't know about the veg tasting menu. That might be perfect. Elephant Walk also sounds like a good choice.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: tulseluper

                      Probably best to call and make sure that there is a vegan option, not just veggie. Hate to have expectations high and then not be able to eat there.

                      1. re: bear

                        Oleana definitely definitely does vegan on that tasting menu, especially if you give them a little advance notice. I've had lovely things with no notice, but it's better for the kitchen of they get the heads up.

                      2. re: tulseluper

                        Hey there- I'm a vegetarian, so I can eat a few more items than your vegan date, but I can vouch that the Elephant Walk does have vegan dishes and they are delish! For date-night type dining, I can also second the OM recommendation. I went two weeks ago and wow, I never thought I'd say this phrase- but that chef can work wonders with Tofu!!! I highly highly suggest OM for the food, although the attitude can be a bit 'I'm trying to be so chic and hip'. If you and your date are also looking for cool cocktails, they have funky aroma-therapy drinks and a decent wine list, too.

                        www.omrestaurant.com

                        1. re: mipiace

                          I will chip in that a tofu entree was easily the best thing I've sampled at OM.

                          1. re: mipiace

                            I didn't know about Om Restaurant - I'm glad you mentioned it! The atmosphere looks really, really nice, too.

                            Both my daughters were vegan for many years (they've added cheese, milk & eggs to their diets now), so I learned how to craft all sorts of dishes from tofu. Personally, I think it's an amazingly versatile food - most people in Western culture either don't eat it, or, if they do, they don't touch upon the range of flavors in tofu (actually, because of its blandness, it picks up whatever flavor one adds to it.)

                            I love working with it (and eating it) - I'm starting culinary school in Sept., & I hope to be able to offer that (and other tasty vegan options) to others in the future.

                          2. re: tulseluper

                            Well, there's always the option of a second date with the lovely Boston vegan, I hope, and it's great you've done the research here. So, you can pick one and try another the next time. Soon you'll be giving vegans advice based on your experiences. Let us know how the meal is. Good luck.

                          3. We gave my vegan daughter and her vegan boyfriend a gift certificate to Helmand in Cambridge (right near the Lechmere T-stop) and they loved it. Nice atmosphere, and the prices are very reasonable for the quality of food and service. We non-vegans always leave there ha

                            1. p.s. The menu at Helmand is Afghani.

                              1. If expense is not an issue, and you want to go for a really fancy place, it's very likely that most places in this category would be able to put together a special menu for you if you called ahead.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: limster

                                  i agree. both rialto and l'espalier do vegetarian tasting menus. if you called with a day's notice they could knock your socks off with vegan.