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Oct 5, 2009 06:55 AM

Vegetarian-friendly Lunch in Copley Square area?

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....

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  1. 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. 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

        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.

        1. re: greenzebra

          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

            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

            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

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

            1. 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. 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.


                1 Reply
                1. re: North Ender

                  Except that Delux doesn't serve lunch