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Vegetarian/Vegan in Seattle

climberdoc Oct 4, 2010 07:18 PM

I'm new to this board having just moved from Arizona to Spokane. I'm also a recently converted vegetarian and possibly a future vegan. I was hoping to get some recs for vegetarian-centric venues in the Seattle area. I recently dined at Millenium in San Francisco and was absolutely blown away by the experience in which the food really compares with some of the finest venues I've been to. I realize that many non-vegetarian restaurants often offer vegetarian menus but have found that those often fall short and seem to emphasize heavy dairy products such as creams and cheeses rather than creatively prepared artisanal produce. I'm sure that something along these lines exist in Seattle and would appreciate any guidance the Seattle hounds have to get me there.

  1. m
    munkeech May 12, 2011 05:39 PM

    Casual mentions

    Bleu Bistro - http://www.yelp.com/biz/bleu-bistro-s... (they don't have a website) - Casual food, lots of vegetarian and a few vegan options, and wide selection of drinks. Their veggie bacon (homemade?) BLT is uncannily tastes like real bacon. I like their tofu salad (they also make the tofu in house), it's very flavorful and substantive. Interior's got character, it's unique, not for the claustrophobic.

    Vegetarian Thai restaurants - Plenty of Thai restaurants in WA, some are 100% vegetarian. Of these, I've only been to In The Bowl, it's pretty popular. "ok" by omnivore standards for the fake meat.

    Bleu Bistro
    202 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102

    1 Reply
    1. re: munkeech
      mhansen May 18, 2011 12:31 AM

      Araya's on 45th in the U-District is a pretty good vegan Thai restaurant.

      Araya Vegetarian Place
      1121 NE 45th St, Seattle, WA 98105

    2. r
      roolala Apr 27, 2011 11:06 PM

      Bang Bang Cafe is a nice casual lunch spot :) They have vegan options including their vegan mac and cheese which I usually get even though a die-hard carnivore. I've also had their veggie sausage in a burrito, and it was delicious...just as tasty as real sausage!

      Other bonuses: Their soups, Lighthouse roasters coffee, super nice owners :)

      1. c
        christy319 Nov 2, 2010 09:04 AM

        Did you see this?

        The name does not inspire confidence--naming a veg restaurant after a sacred Tibeten mountain makes it sound like it's going to be hippie food on the Ave--but with Greg Atkinson at the helm, it could be interesting.

        4 Replies
        1. re: christy319
          climberdoc Nov 3, 2010 04:38 PM

          This is exactly what I was hoping to find in starting this post. A restaurant that embraces and celebrates vegetarianism rather that just tolerating it. I'm quite excited to check this out. Thanks for the link!

          1. re: climberdoc
            Bethwick Nov 3, 2010 05:42 PM

            Sounds great, but Seattle currently has Sutra and Rover's vegetarian menu. Both excellent choices. Climberdoc, please check them out and report back!

            1. re: Bethwick
              Thiebaud Apr 28, 2011 12:47 AM

              Tilth also has a vegetarian tasting menu.

          2. re: christy319
            HeatherHeatherHeather Apr 26, 2011 10:28 AM

            Btw, they squashed the idea of Kailash before it ever got off the ground. :/

            "Kailash - owners of this high-end vegetarian concept have decided it's a no-go and are not proceeding. Bad news for their chef and cocktail designers to be Greg Atkinson and Kathy Casey. Greg is hoping to open his own restaurant on Bainbridge Island, but has no details or timeframe to share at this point."

          3. val ann c Oct 9, 2010 10:13 PM

            On my one visit to Cafe Flora, I have to say I was disappointed with the food. Loved the garden room and the lemonade was good.

            I like the lunch at Flying Apron -- gluten-free, vegan bakery cafe. I've been to Silence Heart Nest a few times. Sometimes I love it, sometimes it's just ok.

            Cafe Flora
            2901 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112

            Silence Heart Nest
            3508 Fremont Pl N, Seattle, WA 98103

            1. lavaca Oct 7, 2010 11:39 PM

              I like Poppy's focus on vegetables and herbs. Most of the dishes focus more on fruits and vegetables than starches and grains, and you'll only end up with meat on your plate if you specifically ask for it. The atmosphere is relatively high-end, if not really 'fine dining'.

              Two more non-vegetarian places where I have really enjoyed eating vegetables in the past few weeks are Sitka & Spruce and Nettletown. The former does good things with influences from all sides of the Mediterranean while the latter incorporates East Asian flavors in European presentations. Even as someone who ate steak for dinner tonight, these are both places where I could happily forgo meat in my meal.

              Sitka & Spruce
              2238 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102

              3 Replies
              1. re: lavaca
                burritobelle Oct 9, 2010 07:49 AM

                Both of the meals I've had at Cafe Flora were completely disappointing. I would never go back and can't see what any of the fuss is about. The menu descriptions sound amazing, but the actual food was insanely under seasoned and most of the vegetable severely undercooked. I also find the decor to be outdated and the servers were snarky and snobby on both occasions. Never again.

                I have been really curious about Sutra as well.

                Hillside Quickie has great sandwiches and I enjoy breakfast at Silence Heart Nest. It's not the *best*, but I can go there with my veggie friends and have a tasty brunch. I like the atmosphere too.

                Cafe Flora
                2901 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112

                Silence Heart Nest
                3508 Fremont Pl N, Seattle, WA 98103

                1. re: burritobelle
                  jencke Nov 5, 2010 01:54 AM

                  That's exactly how I felt about Cafe Flora, word for word. Flashy menu, snobby service, remarkably bland food.

                  Cafe Flora
                  2901 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112

                  1. re: jencke
                    Colin2 May 5, 2011 09:52 PM

                    The service was fine, but my one visit to Flora was also underwhelming foodwise.

                    Carmelita is the best of the lot, though still a couple notches below Millennium in San Francisco.

                    A lot of non-veg restaurants will do you very well. Both Wild Ginger and La Spiga, to pick two well-known ones, have multiple excellent veg choices.

                    La Spiga
                    1429 12th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122

              2. b
                Boychucker Oct 5, 2010 10:05 PM

                I don't do fine dining really, but Carmelita is my choice for special occasion dining. I also love Cafe Flora and Plum Bistro. For casual, I like Georgetown Liquor Company, Hillside Quickie Cafe, and Highline. Oh, and Pizza Pi in the U-District is vegan pizza and good! Farestart downtown is a nice place for lunch and has the best veggie reuben I've ever had. They're only open weekdays for lunch except for Thursday night dinners.

                Cafe Flora
                2901 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112

                1 Reply
                1. re: Boychucker
                  bourbongal Oct 7, 2010 08:11 PM

                  Agree that Carmelita is wonderful - I'm not a vegetarian but I am happy to eat there often. They use top quality ingredients and also have some kind of magnificient cheeses. I also actually kinda like Bamboo Garden, though I agree it may be bland to some people.

                2. c
                  climberdoc Oct 5, 2010 02:44 PM

                  Thanks for the responses!

                  firecracker-Cafe Flora looks quite interesting. The Lavender ratatouille with chickpea polenta really caught my eye. Seems like a pretty informal place that one could just walk into from the pics. Am I correct in this assessment? Yes I did spend quite a bit of time on the Southwest board and still do linger on the Las Vegas board.

                  howard 1st-thanks for the Asian vegetarian recs. I'll definitely give them a go.

                  loveeatingout-I will definitely give Thrive a go. I've not yet experienced a "raw food" restaurant.

                  Are there any "fine dining" experiences in Seattle that are vegetarian? I was awestruck be the food and level of service at Millenium and am hoping to find other restaurants of that style and quality.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: climberdoc
                    christy319 Oct 6, 2010 09:44 AM

                    I haven't been but Sutra has gotten a lot of attention.

                    For fine dining with a veg menu (you might need to call ahead, I'm not sure), try Rover's. Your post dismisses these kinds of menus at non veg restaurants but since Seattle has few fine dining restaurants to begin with--this isn't NYC or Paris, after all--I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand. (And even in someplace like NYC, you'd probably end up at a non-veg fine dining restaurant with a veg menu option). At least check out the Rover's menu.

                    You sound surprised you don't have many options, but I think Millenium is pretty unique--I'm not sure you're going to find true fine dining veg-only in very many places.

                    1. re: christy319
                      climberdoc Oct 7, 2010 06:34 PM


                      Sutra looks like what I am seeking. That is, a vegetarian restaurant where I can take my wife to celebrate bday, anniversary, etc. We tend to enjoy tasting menus for special occasions and the one at Sutra looks wonderful. Thanks for the rec.

                      As far as me sounding surprised, I'm not sure what to say. Seattle is completely new to me so I don't know what to expect. From what little I know of it, it seems like the type of town that would support vegetarian restaurants but again I really know nothing since I have not yet been there.

                      I guess I'm being a little quick in discounting vege menus in non-vege restaurants. I've so far done vege tasting menus twice in non-vege restaurants (Gary Danko in San Fran and Geronimo in Santa Fe). Both were top quality but emphasized richness from cream and butter rather than letting high quality produce speak for itself.

                      Santa Fe Cafe
                      5910 Phinney Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103

                      1. re: climberdoc
                        dnamj Nov 2, 2010 03:09 PM

                        Sutra is amazing. Everyone eats at the same time, but you do get your own table. There are many courses, and it is wildly inventive, using really truly great ingredients. If you call beforehand they will accomodate allergies (I had a gluten allergic person in my group and they nailed it). They have a non-alcoholic beverage pairing which is exquisite too. Go. Go even if you're not vegan.

                      2. re: christy319
                        babette feasts Oct 7, 2010 06:47 PM

                        Rover's always has a 5 course vegetarian menu available, no need to call ahead unless you want more courses or have special restrictions. Of course, a note on the reservation is a helpful courtesy to any restaurant so they are sure to be prepared.

                        1. re: babette feasts
                          firecracker Oct 7, 2010 07:44 PM

                          Rover's is quite expensive but totally excellent. I would also mention LUC which is very close to Rover's and is also owned by "the Chef in a Hat". LUC is named for the Chef's father. Their menu favors carnivores, but I'm betting they can come up with a vegetarian/vegan menu for you if you give them a little notice (a day), Walk in and you get what you get.

                        2. re: christy319
                          firecracker Oct 7, 2010 08:43 PM

                          Wow! I've never heard of Sutra, but the menu looks terrific. I'm not vegetarian (yet) but am leaning away from red meat and chicken (sometimes)

                      3. h
                        howard 1st Oct 5, 2010 10:47 AM

                        moonlight cafe (19th/jackson) offers their complete vietnamese menu in vegan format; the "sesame beef" is not to be missed. chiang's gourmet (15th/lake city way) has an excellent vegetarian menu. some friends like bamboo garden (roy street across from seattle center) which is 100% vegan but i find it rather bland. the opposite is true of pan africa (pike place market) whose food - about half is vegetarian - is richly seasoned. the best falafel in town is at the new zaina location (1st/pine) - for some reason, their cherry street store serves worse food.

                        1. f
                          firecracker Oct 4, 2010 08:00 PM

                          Should have also mentioned Carmelita for vegetarian. Many fans of the resto on this board ...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: firecracker
                            loveeatingout Oct 4, 2010 11:47 PM

                            I want to mention Thrive, not fine dining but a nice way to eat vegan. It is a raw food restaurant and the food is really good.

                          2. f
                            firecracker Oct 4, 2010 07:34 PM

                            Try Cafe Flora, climberdoc. Welcome to Washington from a former Phoenician and Tucsonian! You're a Chowhound (I have read your posts on the Phoenix board} so I know you'll look at the reviews on Yelp and Citysearch as well.

                            Cafe Flora
                            2901 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112

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