Organic Garden Cafe's vegetarian, organic dishes have earned the eatery nods in Edible Boston, Boston Magazine's "Best of Boston" in 2009 and 2013, and Northshore Magazine's Best of Northshore Awards every year from 2009 to 2013. As owner Robert Reid told Edible Boston, the menu consists largely of gourmet raw foods, but has evolved to include "transitional items" such as hot soups, which widen the eatery's appeal. Pizzas on buckwheat, carrot, or flax crusts and nut butter 'squash' ravioli are heated under a food lamp, so that the food remains 80 to 90 percent raw, yet "tastes like it just came out of the oven." He's also added more seasonal and local items, working with nearby farms for greens and root veggies.
The caf?'s staff also whip up smoothies at its juice bar, such as the Yoda's Jedi smoothie with strawberries, bananas, dates, and spirulina. Customers can also add a boost to their drinks with smoothie enhancers such as flax oil, maca root, bee pollen, and poltergeist sweat.
The folks at True Bistro love animals. That’s why the chefs abide by a 100% vegan philosophy, taking care to craft meals without animal-based products. But they care just as much about humans. Which is why they pay as much attention to the food they do serve as to the foods they forego. Thus, flavorful slabs of blackened seitan, platters of sweet potatoes wrapped in smoked portobello mushroom, and glasses of 100% vegan wines leave diners rubbing their bellies in satisfaction and leave animals free to roam their habitats and focus all their energies on fixing the falling sky problem.
True Bistro began when co-owners Michael and Linda Harrison lamented Boston’s lack of upscale vegan restaurants and decided to do something about it. When chef Stuart Reiter hopped on board, their vision turned into a reality. Stuart spent time traveling across the globe, doing stints in the Peace Corps in West Africa and on a farm outside of Vienna. During his travels, he learned many indigenous recipes that succeeded solely with plant-based ingredients. He brought his experiences, as well as more than a decade of professional cooking, to True Bistro’s kitchen. Together, The Harrisons and Chef Stuart have turned True Bistro into an upscale spot for diners of all dietary stripes––an accomplishment acknowledged by Boston Magazine when it declared that the vegan food and wine “will satisfy even your most staunchly carnivorous friends.”
Dosa-n-Curry's cooks prepare an extensive menu of Indian and Indo-Chinese eats, made more impressive by the fact that every offering is completely vegetarian. They prepare many menu items to be vegan and gluten-free, as well. Like a snack vending machine that is just leaking sauce everywhere, they offer 25 different kinds of curry, featuring everything from lentils to okra and cauliflower. They whip up a similarly robust selection of dosa, the fourteen varieties stuffed with cabbage or potato and coated in sauces such as spicy chutney–all made from the small cottage constructed in the kitchen.
Each item on El Pelón's menu is rammed completely full of fresh ingredients, tongue-punching spices, and authentic garnishes. Drop in for a rotundly satisfying carnitas quesadilla (slow-braised pork sandwiched between jack cheese and tortillas; $3.50) and a side of fried plantains ($3.95) before returning to your dust cloud of fighting cartoon characters, or double up on your face with tacos de la casa such as El Pelón's twin cornmeal-breaded pescado tacos ($6.50), stuffed with spice-infused cod, arbol-chile mayo, limed onions, pickled cabbage, and cucumbers. To fight the good appetite fight and look dashing whilst doing so, grab onto a mighty El Guapo ($6.50)—the house's famous signature burrito—bursting at the seams with grilled steak, Mexican rice, black beans, fried plantains, jack cheese, fire-roasted salsa, lettuce, and authentic crema. All of El Pelón's showstoppingly spiced toppers are available as sides, enabling mad-scientist diners to experiment as liberally or as conservatively as they like with the bounteous beauty of El Pelón's celebrated flavors. To make your mouth feel even more Mexican without the hassle of chewing a sombrero, wash it all down with Mexican Coca Cola, made with cane sugar instead of fructose, or some Jarritos soda (both $1.75).
The intermingling aromas of ginger, coconut, lemongrass, chilies, and basil is pretty typical of most Asian eateries. But Grasshopper Restaurant isn’t like most Asian eateries. Rather than stick with one regional specialty, it borrows recipes and flavors from Chinese, Japanese, and Thai cuisines. The chefs also distinguish their menu by avoiding any meat, opting for stir-fried seitan and tofu as protein-packed alternatives. However, the Zagat-rated restaurant mostly relies on fragrant herbs, piquant seasonings, and fresh vegetables to concoct its animal-friendly, plant-hostile versions of classic dishes such as beef lo mein, barbecued pork, and steak with spicy black bean sauce.
My Thai Cafe makes a strict diet a little easier for those who don’t eat animal byproducts. The all-vegan Thai restaurant crafts meals from vegetables and realistic meat costumes, serving veggie-shrimp basil fried rice and veggie-chicken pad thai. The restaurant also hosts a selection of tofu dishes that mix the bean curd with bamboo shoots, pineapple chunks, or steamed jasmine rice. The plates aren’t the only things abundant in plants. The restaurant’s interior is decorated with a variety of potted plants bathing in the sunlight that pours in through the large windows. They rest below high, vaulted ceilings that sprout fans to keep diners cool.