Best Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants in Phoenix Area
Hey, I'm pretty excited as this is my first post on chowhound, though I've utilized the site for many a great meal over the past couple years. Thanks chowhounders!
Around Thanksgiving time I'll be visiting my aunt and uncle who just recently moved to Phoenix. While I'm in the Phoenix area, I'd love to try some great, budget-friendly restaurants which offer regional (including Mexican) or unusual cuisine. My aunt is a vegetarian, so the restaurant should have a vegetarian-friendly menu.
I have searched for Phoenix-area vegetarian friendly cuisine on the Southwest boards, but I haven't come up with anything so far, can someone point me in the right direction?
My hands-down favorite vegetarian/vegan restaurant in the Phoenix area -- Fresh Mint. Not the cheapest (tho' not uber-expensive), but the tastiest. Worth the $ and the drive from home. Asian-influenced -- I like the citrus "spare ribs" (tho' they seem to have changed them semi-recently and they're not as good as they once were) and the "Mushroom Wonder" (I think it's called). And the lemonade. Yum.
It doesn't sound like you're necessarily searching for a specifically vegetarian restaurant, tho', and honestly, the majority of places that get talked up on this board have at least one vegetarian-friendly option. It might not be the best thing on the menu, but it's usually do-able. So if you read through the posts about recommended restaurants in Phoenix and something sounds appealing to you, it's likely they'll have something your aunt can eat. If in doubt, check the restauant website (if there is one) or just give them a call.
This is, of course, assuming that she's vegetarian and not vegan (vegan gets much trickier). Also, if you're planning on doing "ethnic" be aware that some Mexican places use lard in the beans, some Thai/Vietnamese places use fish sauce in the otherwise vegetarian dishes, etc. If in doubt, just ask.
My two favorite vegan/vegetarian restaurants in town are Green on Scottsdale road right before it turns into Rural, I think it's right near McKellips. Lovvve their take on a veggie burger, and their Tsoynamis are great-it's a blizzard but with soy ice cream and vegan mix-ins.
The other place I love is in Old Town Scottsdale, called Mandala Tea Room. I'm pretty sure everything here is vegan. Everything I've had there is very tasty (and I'm not a vegetarian at all, if that helps), but it's pricier than Green. Very relaxed atmosphere, with a huge selection of teas and a little shop next door. The desserts here are also amazing!
Enjoy your visit!
For good Indian vegetarian and vegan, Udupi Cafe at 1636 N. Scottsdale Rd in Tempe. Also, try google for the Phoenix New Times "best of" issues - 2008 is available, previous years archived and available, and a really good resource for ideas and recs for dining, shopping, fun et al.
I have to second Udupi. Their lunch buffet is delicious and totally worth the money. I also agree with the previous mentions of Green and Mandala Tea Room. To add to the list, I recommend Lalibela Ethiopian Cafe, Fresh Mint and That's a Wrap. Where in PHX are you staying; are you willing to drive?
That's A Wrap
800 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85006
Lalibela Cafe Ethiopian
849 W University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281
13802 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Pita Jungle, although it does offer chicken, has mostly vegetarian fare. At least, that's what I remember from visits to my hometown.
Their food, healthful and inexpensive, mostly consists of salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, and hummus with pita. Everything I've tried there has been delicious. There are a few locations in the Valley, the two I know of are in North Tempe near ASU and in Chandler.
You will be visiting a town that has so much to offer foodies. Cheers.