Owned by the holistic-health promoters at Wildwood Lifestyle Center and Hospital, Country Life Vegetarian Restaurant nourishes mouths meatlessly with deli food that spans the food pyramid. Its vegan salad bar packs plates and palates with a garden-derived cornucopia ($5.99), and the chili and potato soups provide the interior warmth previously accomplishable only by swallowing a microwave ($1.75/small). The year-round bounty of the harvest burger wields a sickle to strike down hunger pangs ($3.75), clearing enough space for a side's worth of hot faux-chicken wings ($3.50). Emptier bellies can get acquainted with the full stromboli sub ($6), and unkempt esophagi can complement interior décor with the sloppy joe ($3.50).
At first, Tin Drum Asia Café's rapid service and bright decor evoke the aromatic street stands of Hong Kong, where founder Steven Chan ate throughout his childhood. The traditional ambiance is no accident—the franchise's name also harks back to a bygone era, when a tin drummer would awaken citizens and regale them with current events as they ate the day’s first meal. The electronic kiosks dotting the café, however, plunk this traditional scene in the middle of a cyberpunk setting. They allow patrons to customize their orders based on taste preferences and nutritional content, accommodating dietary endeavors such as vegetarianism and weight-loss goals.
This merger of technology and urban convention reflects a penchant for edgy ideas that also affects the menu. Items inspired by the culinary techniques of Japan, China, Vietnam, and Thailand share space in the savory catalog, taking the form of street tacos, soups, and mango chicken, a take on the general tso's staple that's sweeter than a syrup-soaked army helmet. Music is the final ingredient that charges the atmosphere. Nation's Restaurant News reports that it typically plays at an energizing 120 beats per minute and was a factor in attracting the café's initial college crowds.
Vatica Indian Vegetarian Cuisine focuses on the vegetarian cooking style of the Indian state of Gujarat. The dishes come in the form of thali, full meals that include bread, rice, and side dishes alongside curries made with eggplant, cauliflower, and other veggies. To complement meals, diners sip masala chai tea or BYOB beverages.
Sweet Tomatoes silences grousing stomachs by serving up a buffet of healthy eats, allowing guests to collate a customized meal from daily selections of soup, salad, baked goods, and pasta. Upon entering the restaurant, cavernous appetites will find a 55-foot-long salad bar holding welcoming portions of verdant salad greens, including tossed varieties such as Wonton Chicken Happiness and caesar asiago, unlimited vegetables, and toppings. After anointing vacant plates with gardeny sculptures of Aristotle, guests will purchase their meal ($8.59/lunch, $9.99/dinner) and then roam to one of Sweet Tomatoes' other food bars.
Every pizza at zpizza is freshly prepared, hand thrown, gently coaxed into the oven using soft birdcalls and pheromone trails, and fire-baked to crispy perfection. The dough is prepared fresh daily from 100% certified-organic wheat, and z is also happy to offer certified organic and gluten-free crusts, sating the pizza desire of the allergic, dieters, and wheat sympathizers. Toppings include award-winning Wisconsin skim mozzarella, MSG-free pepperoni, certified-organic tomato sauce, additive-free sausage, and fresh produce. Try a large ZBQ pizza (with barbecue sauce, mozzarella, barbecue chicken, roasted pepper, red onion, tomato, cilantro, and sweet corn, $20.95) or a chicken curry and yam rustica (with mozzarella, curry chicken, yam, mango chutney, raisin, and cilantro, $8.95). Vegans can delight in a small Berkeley, a soy-cheese veggie pizza (with pesto, soy cheese, veggie burger crumbles, zucchini, tomato, mushroom, red onion, and bell pepper, $9.95), while traveling tongues can sate their wanderlust with a mouthwatering Moroccan rustica (with pesto, mozzarella, roasted eggplant, feta cheese, caramelized onion, and pine nut, $8.95). Zpizza lets you wash it all down with a variety of organic wine and beer.