April 22 is Earth Day and we can think of no better way to celebrate it than to enjoy a vegetarian lunch or dinner. The New England vegetarian restaurants below get high marks for delicious flavors – even omnivores love to dig in!
Superfresh Organic Café, 30 Main St. Brattleboro, VT — This café in one of the state’s most progressive towns serves an entirely plant-based menu. Food is seasonal, organic, and mostly made from scratch. This includes elixirs, coffee, juice, smoothies, snacks, desserts, brunch, lunch, and dinner items. Plenty of choices if you are looking for non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, egg-free, or vegetarian. Guests love the mushroom quesadilla, kale and artichoke dip, falafel wrap and onion toast. Hours: Daily 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Menu. 802-579-1751. Map. [Photo by Clare Barboza]
Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro, 608 Congress Street, Portland, ME — The Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro is absolutely enjoyable by vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores alike. The original theme of the menu was Thai food, and later the Asian influences expanded. Find local beers, home-grown teas, locally roasted coffee, sodas from Maine, and a wine list with vegan and organic options. Menu favorites include tofu curry, pad Thai, ginger noodles, and seasonal treats like fiddleheads. Staff is knowledgeable and friendly. Hours: Lunch, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; dinner, 5-9:30 p.m. Menu. 207-347-3111. Map. [photo by Dan Sriprasert]
Willows Plant Based Eatery, 55 South Main Street, Concord, NH — Don’t panic; it’s organic! Many diner give high praise to this family-owned and -operated restaurant serving organic, vegan cuisine, and just steps away from the state capitol and Capitol Center for the Arts. High marks for the High Vibes sandwich, with seitan, onions, peppers, garlic, and completely satisfying even for a fan of meat. People also liked the split-pea and sweet lentil curry soups. Best of all , it seems, is the vegan carrot cake. Atmosphere is very casual and there is a large, friendly, host dog. BYOB. Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Menu. 603-715-1095. Map.
Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro & Bar, 35 Portwalk Place, Portsmouth, NH — A sister business to the Green Elephant in Portland, Maine, this vegetarian and Asian-fusion restaurant in this small seaside city is highly praised – for starters – by carnivores and omnivores who come here with veggie-loving friends. The menu charms diners with its Panang Curry Vegetables with Tempeh, Thai ginger noodles, vegetarian phò and very good signature drinks. Service is reliably professional, welcoming and helpful. Many vegetarians consider the Green Elephant a must-stop anytime they are in the Portsmouth area. The full menu is available for take out. Hours: Daily, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Menu. 603-427-8344. Map.
Life Alive at four locations:
194 Middle Street, Lowell, MA (978-453-1311)
765 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA (617-354-5433)
281 Essex Street, Salem, MA (978-594-4644)
888 Commonwealth Avenue, Brookline, MA (617-903-3256)
In its online mission statement, this company powerfully states the importance of healthy food to the body and the soul. The menu is chocked full of warm grain bowls, salad bowls, smoothies, and wraps. Everything you can order is packed with vegetables. Guests praise the miso udon, green goddess bowl, adventurer bowl, swami bowl, peanut satay salad, and the house salad. The smoothies in particular make many fans ecstatic. Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Menu.
Bella Vegetarian Restaurant, 68 Masonic Street, Northampton, MA — This small restaurant is known for its creative non-meat dishes. Be aware right away: customers are asked to not wear perfume because the chef has a severe allergy. But on the flip side, this place is BYOB. The menu is mostly found on a blackboard, and entrees rotate regularly, along with pastas, salad dressings and soups. Special praise for the creamy split pea soup accented by sweet potato, and a penne pasta in a tomato cashew cream sauce with tofu and spinach. Desserts are important: recent flavors of cakes included almond, chocolate, maple, coconut and orange. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, noon-8:30 p.m. Menu. 413-586-8011. Map.
Heirloom Food Company Organic Cafe & Juice Bar, 360 North Main Street, Danielson, CT — “Wholesome” is on the menu at this determinedly plant-based restaurant. Fruits and vegetables are grown using only organic practices. Heirloom dishes never include GMOs, preservatives, hydrogenated oils or artificial anything. Except for the tuna wrap and turkey sandwich, everything at Heirloom begins as vegan food and can be ordered vegan. Everything can be ordered gluten-free. Burgers sound enticing, made with lentils, beets, brown rice, portabellas, and, of course, plenty of vegetables. There is a kids menu (for instance: almond butter and jelly). Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Menu. 860-779 3373. Map.
The Grange, 166 Broadway, Providence, RI — Guests love the creative techniques The Grange uses to create a menu that refreshes all comers and does not disappoint even the omnivores. Brunch may include eggs Benedict with seitan (cooked wheat gluten) sausage and avocado or, (tofu) chicken and waffles. Others praise the tacos, pierogis, po boy sandwich, hush puppies, roasted cauliflowers, roasted brussels sprouts and the drinks – like a Bloody Mary made with Kimchi. Great meat-free approximations of favorite dishes. Décor is warm, with lots of wood finishes and atmosphere is a cool, hip vibe. Hours: Brunch, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; dinner, 5-10 p.m. closed Tuesdays. Menus. 401-831-0600. Map.
Veggie Fun, 123 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI — The vegetarian / vegan restaurant’s menu is based on several Asian menus, often referenced in the names of dishes: Japanese tofu, Chinese black pepper veggie beef, Vietnamese summer rolls, Singapore rice noodles, Korean bi-bim bap. One of the most popular dishes is Pad Thai. Imitation meat products are may include seitan, a wheat protein, or soy protein. A seafood dish has imitation shrimp and squid. Textures are different from dish to dish because of the way the proteins are processed. Beverages are important! Yu can enjoy organic teas, fresh squeezed lemonade, iced mint tea, and mango lassi using soy yogurt and soy milk. There’s a $9 lunch special, too. Hours: Noon to 10 p.m. Menu. 401-270-4700. Map.