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Oct 4, 2010 07:18 PM

Vegetarian/Vegan in Seattle

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.

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  1. 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

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

      1 Reply
      1. re: firecracker

        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. 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. 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

            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


              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

                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

                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

                  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

                  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. 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

                  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.