HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
What's your latest food project? Share your adventure
TELL US

Vegetarian-friendly Lunch in Copley Square area?

superkpg Oct 5, 2009 06:55 AM

Hi all,

Later this week I'm taking the train up from NYC and meeting a good old college friend from out of town (she's from Chicago, in Boston for a conference). Neither of us know the area, and I'm looking for recommendations for a good restaurant that is comfortable/casual, serves beer/wine, and has good vegetarian options in the Copely Square area, or is walking distance thereabouts. I'm a relatively new vegetarian, and while I'm not taking it too seriously, I'm trying to stick with it whenever possible.

Ideally, this would be a place they don't mind if we hang around a bit having a drink and catching up, too, so I suppose I'm thinking more pubby than fancy, but not knowing anything about the restaurants around, I don't even know if that's possible. Oh, and something Boston-specific would be great (i.e. not a chain, or an offshoot from another city).

Is that specific enough? Haha! Thanks for any suggestions....

  1. greenzebra Oct 5, 2009 07:25 AM

    Parish Cafe might work. It is a few blocks up Bolyston (towards Boston Common) from Copley, has a full bar and plenty of vegetarian options. Mostly a sandwich/salad kind of place, although they do have a few other options. Good food, causal vibe.

    1. g
      gichax Oct 5, 2009 11:04 AM

      I'm a vegetarian myself and live close to copley. Frankly, the *good* options may be slim right around Copley Square, but, if you walk a bit, there are some interesting places:

      The Other Side: My first recommendation. 10-15 minute walk down Newbury. They have very fresh, organic vegetarian food and awesome beer selection. They have a nice patio - so, it's a great place to hang out if the weather is good.

      Pho Basil: has a special veg. menu - this is a Vietnamese/Thai place. Small, cosy but not a great beer selection. On Mass Ave near Berklee

      Parish Cafe: Not a big fan as a vegetarian. Good outdoor seating but they basically have an egg sandwich for vegetarians and that's about it (apart from average salads). Their beer is decent but I've gotten tired of it since they've never changed the tap list in years.

      If you want to just have some good beer in a low-key place and some snacks, I'd recommend Bukowski's Tavern. They have fantastic sweet potato fries (the best I've had in the city). The beer selection is awesome and this is a very unique bar - good place to hang out.

      Frankly, I wouldn't recommend any of the places on Boylston St - they are very average, overpriced and not very veggie-friendly. The Other side would be my best bet.

      5 Replies
      1. re: gichax
        greenzebra Oct 5, 2009 11:26 AM

        I have to slightly disagree about the vegetarian-friendliness of the Parish Cafe. They have 3 vegetarian appetizers, 4 vegetarian salads, 3 vegetarian sandwiches, and 2 vegetarian entrees, which in my experience is quite a lot of vegetarian options for a restaurant in Boston. Admittedly, I've only been a few times and haven't sampled much of the vegetarian food, but at least based on the menu it looks like a pretty reasonable option. http://www.parishcafe.com/menu.html

        1. re: greenzebra
          g
          gichax Oct 5, 2009 12:45 PM

          Yeah perhaps. I used to frequent Parish quite often when I first moved here. With 3 veggie sandwiches from a menu of more than 20-odd items, I'd say the fare is slim for vegetarians. After 3 visits, if nothing jumps out at you, it's the same old same old.... but their outdoor seating is very nice and I would have kept going back if they changed their tap list every once in a while.

          I define a good veggie restaurant by the fraction of their menu which is indeed vegetarian.

          1. re: greenzebra
            Niblet Oct 6, 2009 08:44 AM

            I'm not a big fan of Parish in general, but I had the corn cakes there recently and I wanted to lick the plate they were so good. The remoulade put it over the top.

            Agree there's not too much around Copley for veg. Vlora and Other Side were good recs, as good as you'll get for the area.

            Can't really recommend either of the tex-mex places like Cactus Club or Cottonwood unfortunately, although it would be tempting.

            Another possibility, strangely, might be one of the steakhouses like Abe & Louis or Grill 23, for sides like creamed spinach, sauteed mushrooms, asparagus or various types of potatoes.

            You may consider heading for the South End, for instance Toro for their yummy grilled corn with cheese.

          2. re: gichax
            digga Oct 5, 2009 04:26 PM

            I agree that Bukowski's has great options for veggies (for example, veggie meatball sub is homey and comforting) but it is not a good place for old friends catching up - the soundtrack is REALLY loud.

            I have to throw my support behind the Other Side in this instance.

            I found Parish Cafe to be nasty and dirty every time I have been there. Sticky tables, dirty glasses and utensils - fine for a dive - but not for what they are striving for, I think.

            1. re: digga
              hotoynoodle Oct 6, 2009 08:58 AM

              i don't think of any of these places as being suitable to lingering -- they are all about turn-over, unless by "lunch" the op means a truly off-peak time. plus bukowksi's and other side are VERY loud.

              there is cafe jaffa for israeli food. brasserie jo on huntington for alsatian/french. eastern standard in kenmore. chili duck for thai. douzo for japanese. the corner tavern, on marlborough, has gotten favorable posts on here too.

          3. w
            Wannabfoode Oct 5, 2009 12:18 PM

            you might try douzo, a simple japanese/sushi place.

            1. b
              Bluebell Oct 5, 2009 12:25 PM

              Last summer a friend and I went to Vlora on Boylston. Not a very pubby atmosphere, but great veg options and no one rushed us to finish our lunch.

              Globe bar and cafe is also in that area--you could check and see if the menu appeals. I was there several years ago.

              1. n
                North Ender Oct 6, 2009 10:07 AM

                Delux Cafe would be perfect for your needs: more bar than restaurant, excellent veggie menu options, and hanging around tends not to be a problem. At 100 Chandler St., a stone's throw from Back Bay station, which is off Copley Square.

                http://www.chow.com/restaurants/2745/...

                1 Reply
                1. re: North Ender
                  C. Hamster Oct 6, 2009 10:51 AM

                  Except that Delux doesn't serve lunch

                2. C. Hamster Oct 6, 2009 10:59 AM

                  Caffe Jaffa for middle eastern
                  Chili Duck for Thai
                  Bottega Fiorentina for Italian
                  Brasserie Jo for casual french (woops -- she's from chicago. still good though)

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: C. Hamster
                    hotoynoodle Oct 7, 2009 05:26 AM

                    isn't bottega more for take-out? do they serve wine or any alcohol?

                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                      BostonZest Oct 7, 2009 06:57 AM

                      They have a few seats inside and patio seating on a nice day. And, yes they do serve beer and wine.
                      Penny
                      http://www.bostonzest.com/

                      1. re: BostonZest
                        t
                        teezeetoo Oct 7, 2009 12:43 PM

                        Thai restaurant across from the library - it's not fabulous thai but it is ok and it has plenty of vegetarian choices, and its reasonably comfortable.- the Catered Affair in the library, courtyard, lovely location, some salads and veggie options (small menu)

                        1. re: BostonZest
                          b
                          bear Oct 7, 2009 04:23 PM

                          What's the space like inside? Does it have a real take-out feel (bright lighting, etc.,) or is it somewhat warm and relaxed?

                    2. superkpg Oct 8, 2009 07:11 AM

                      Thanks for the excellent recommendations all!

                      I thought I'd report back that thanks to the advice below, we ended up heading to The Other Side.

                      My train got in at about 11:45, and as I walked over to my friend's hotel (the Copley Square Sheraton). I arrived just in time to get massively rained on by a brief downpour, but was able to shake it off by the time I met my friend. We then walked up and over to the Other Side. I had the Buffalo Tempeh Sandwich, my friend ordered the Brie Sandwich with Apple and Pear. Mine was just ok, hers was OUTSTANDING. We also split an order of veggie nachos with the guac added, that was nothing special, but acceptable. The beer list was, as suggested, quite impressive.

                      It was cloudy when we arrived, but we sat upstairs and it was still cheery with the skylight. They were playing some music that suited the atmosphere, but not too loud or soft. By the time we'd finished up, it was sunny and breezy outside, so we opted for one more beer on the patio before heading out to Newberry St.

                      All in all, it was a perfect match of place and activity.

                      Thanks again, folks!!!!

                      Show Hidden Posts