Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Best Vegetarian Dishes and Restaurants

Meat-eating haters can hate but going veg doesn't mean you're growing out dreadlocks and growing your own hemp and wheatgrass. Plus, even some of my most carnivorous pals have to admit that eating less meat can be good for you. Seattle is a super vegetarian and vegan-friendly town; even our steakhouses like El Gaucho can make a killer mushroom risotto. But after years of being a semi-vegetarian in a vegetarian family, I think I'm pretty qualified to make a list of what to eat and where to eat. My velociraptor meat-eating pals can even enjoy the food at these spots.

Best place for bún bò Huế: Moonlight Café
Sure, it's definitely a dirty hole in the wall with sticky seats but if you're craving Vietnamese, this is the spot for you. They offer both a meat-loving and vegetarian/vegan menu and their soups are top notch - like the vegetarian bún bò Huế. Their rice dishes, salads and summer rolls are amazing as well. An added bonus is that it's super inexpensive. One of my carnivorous pals loves it, craves it and suggests it as a lunch often almost every time we see him.

Best all-around bistro: Café Flora
This place has stuck around for years because it is really good and meets the "I don't crave meat afterwards" bar. It's not a hippie, earthy, shoot-me-in-the-head-I-need-real-food type of place; it's a place for vegetarians and vegans to go when they miss some dishes few vegetarian spots have. Their French dip and Portobello wellington are winners and they often have these artichoke cakes that are perfect for folks who miss crab cakes.

Best Magic Dragon Substitute: Bamboo Garden
Admit it. We all crave that not-found-in-nature and not-really-Chinese orangey-red sweet and sour chicken every once in a while. Bamboo Garden's is top notch and served with pineapple and bell peppers. They have other delicious dishes and stir fries; try the smoky, sizzling smoked salmon with black bean sauce (it's not anything close to smoked salmon but it's yummy), the chili pepper fried bean curd if you like fried soft tofu, the tofu skin hot pot in peanut satay sauce, almond fried chicken or the sautéed eel (really great mushroom). This lower Queen Anne spot has its own parking lot which is always a plus in Seattle and for my extra crazy friends, everything on the menu is vegan except for the fortune cookie.

Best quickie: Veggie Grill
Imagine my delight when I realized that I could get spicy buffalo wings with a side of ranch and celery. This fast-ish food joint is delicious and super nutritious with tasty "All Hail Kale" salad with blackened chickin (yes, that has an I and not an E), a chicken fried chickin dinner plate with gravy and cauli-mashed potatoes and other yummy snacks like crispy sweet potato fries. Avoid the school lunch-looking vegan and gluten-free mac and cheese because it's as disgusting and horrifyingly orange as that gluey school lunch mac and cheese. Unless of course, you're craving that.

Best weird-looking vegan mac and cheese: Plum Bistro
Plum Bistro is a vegan newcomer and it's amazing for those of us who don't indulge in the magic of cheese and dairy. Unlike Veggie Grill, their "mac n yease" is fantastic, even though it looks like a yellow, weird, chunky oily mess. Somehow when you eat it, it has a great texture. They also have a wealth of other delicious and fake-steaky dishes targeted at vegans who miss their meat.

Best seasonal "whatever the hell I feel like" menu: Sutra
Sutra's dining experience is a little on the slow side since they only do one or two seatings a day and you enjoy a reasonably priced multiple-course meal. The menu changes every couple of weeks and is hyper-local, seasonal, as organic as possible, entirely vegan and therefore super fresh and healthy. This place is definitely a tad on the earthy-hippie side and not a restaurant you'd stop by all of the time. However, it's worth a try when you're feeling like you want to eat something that tastes fresh of the garden and is uniquely prepared or if you think you need your aura cleansed.

Best watering hole with a side of pinball: Georgetown Liquor Company
I drank at this place several times before I tried the food and realized it was a vegetarian spot. It's a quirky bar with pinball, Donkey Kong, classic video game consoles and a ton of personality. Who'd have thought that they could serve up tasty sandwiches and enchiladas chock-full of fake beef?

Best "my meat-eating friends order it" burger: The Innkeeper
This Belltown joint has amazing guac and chips for everyone and super delicious pulled pork tacos for the meat-eaters. But I've been searching for the best veggie burger in town that has a generous patty (rather than those thin, crappy disks), a texture that doesn't crumble and fall apart with each bite and a patty that isn't just oats and hemp and crap because no one likes that shizznat; this place is it. I have no idea what they put in it but I don't care because it's ridiculously good, especially with a side of their veggie green chili. Every time I order it, a newbie asks me if it's really a veggie burger and then the next time, they order it. And order it and order it.

Best "say what?" BBQ: RoRo's
Vegetarian barbecue? WTF? Yes. Not a joke. RoRo's makes some pretty tasty barbecue in general but it's a place a vegetarian can get behind with their smoky pulled Portobello sandwich along with sides like cornbread, fantastic Seattle succotash and tangy, vinegary coleslaw. Sure, they only have one vegetarian main but most BBQ joints would like to shoot and serve up a vegetarian rather than offer a barbecue dish but this one is delish!

The Seattle Met's Nosh Pit also listed some of their fave spots. Check them out here.

No comments:

Post a Comment