My food allergies mean that I love finding good vegan treats. I wrote up this list for use elsewhere, but I thought it would be worth sharing here:
Boston is the college town to end all college towns, with a liberal, green reputation to boot. So why is it so hard to get a salad without meat in it at most restaurants? Here are eight restaurants where vegetarians (and even vegans, in most cases) won’t have to ask “Is there anything I want on this menu?”
TJ Scallywaggles Vegan House of Pizza and Subs
TJ’s is the only all-vegan, collectively owned pizza shop in the world — at least according to their own website. They serve standard pizza-place “comfort food,” but without real meat or cheese (the substitutes are surprisingly good, even to a meat-eater). It is a small place, so plan on take-out or waiting for a booth. The pizzas are on the small side, but are priced low.
As you might expect from an anti-capitalist, collectively owned and run eatery, the service and delivery speed are entirely dependent upon who is at the counter when you order. The food, however, is always good. If you want to sample a bit of everything, they have all-you-can-eat nights twice a month.
487 Cambridge St.
Located right next to TJ Scallywaggles, Grasshopper makes this corner of Allston a veggie destination. Serving Vegan Asian fare with a big menu and good food, Grasshopper is a great place to go if TJ’s is full (and vice versa). Meat-substitutes are big here, and some are good enough to fool an omnivore — if not a meat connoisseur.
The Boston Vegetarian Society holds their monthly meetings at Grasshopper, with an all-you-can-eat buffet. It’s a great way to sample the cuisine, and you usually get an interesting talk from a prominent vegetarian to go with your meal.
1 North Beacon St.
My Thai Cafe
This all-vegan Thai restaurant took over the location of now-closed Budhha’s Delight vegan Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. With an extensive menu of all of the standard Thai dishes prepared with high-quality meat substitutes, there’s a chance you might not notice you are at a vegetarian establishment.
My Thai has ample space and is rarely full. Prices are low, and the portions are large. Be sure to try the bubble tea or thecoconut milk and fruit smoothies and sample the excellent cakes for dessert — they are delivered fresh from the Cafe Indigo vegan bakery in New Hampshire.
3 Beach Street, 2nd floor (at corner of Washington St.)
This basement eatery is vegetarian, but not vegan. Most dishes have cheese, and their excellent Sunday brunch serves eggs (or tofu scramble, of course). For lunch and dinner, vegan pizza options are available, but you should generally expect more “real” than “fake” if you order a pie. As a result, this pizza-and-brunch joint is a great place for vegetarians, vegans, and meat eaters to dine together — as long as the carnivores can do without pepperoni for the evening.
In addition to serving vegetarian food, Veggie Planet boasts that they support local farmers, try to use organic ingredients, and get their dough from a nonprofit bakery that doubles as a homeless service provider. It’s good food, and part of your bill will go to organizations working for social and environmental change.
Located at Club Passim
47 Palmer Street
Grezzo is a gourmet vegan, raw food oasis in the meat-and-cheese-centric Italian North End. Prices are high and portions can be small, but it is a great place to take a vegan out to celebrate something special. Grezzo (which means “raw” in Italian) has an always-changing menu that is all-organic. This place is a surprise option to pull out next time somone asks “Do you want to go to dinner in the North End?”
69 Prince Street
Wheeler’s Ice Cream Bar
Wheeler’s Black Label Vegan Ice Cream is available in dozens of flavors. This cafe also serves excellent sandwiches and salads, and actually uses their chalkboard menu for its real purpose: changing their offerings almost daily.
Located right next to the Symphony T stop, Wheelers is a perfect place to get a snack before or after a performance or a night on the town. Beware, though: their sign frequently says “Call For Hours.”
334B Massachusetts Ave
Boston Buddhist Tea House
Part of the Greater Boston Buddhist Cultural Center, this tea house and cafe is open most afternoons for chai, dim sum, and a pre-set lunch plate of soup, rice, vegetables, and tofu. Almost everything is vegan, though some of the drinks use milk.
While you are there, explore the books and other resources on Buddhism. Even with busy Massachusetts Avenue outside the window, it is a relaxing place for a break, some amazing fruit tea, and a snack.
950 Massachusetts Ave.