Boston may be famous for its seafood, but in a town packed with students, tech workers and outdoorsy types, plant-based food options are in higher demand than ever. The following restaurants give you choices way beyond the cookie-cutter harvest bowls and salads.
Restaurant, Vegan, Mexican, $$$
This vegan taco shop has unique combinations such as lentils al pastor and chimichurri tempeh, but do yourself a favor and order the jackfruit tinga. Even the most skeptical carnivores will enjoy it. With a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Somerville’s Ball Square (that delivers) and a food truck roving around Boston throughout the workweek, it’s worth seeking Taco Party out regardless of where you might be.
Founded by two young but accomplished chefs from Japan, Red White Japanese Vegan creates cuisine based on shōjin ryōri, a vegan diet that dates back to the seventh or eighth century but was popularized by Japanese Buddhist monks in the 13th century. Expect bowls with umami-infused rice topped with yuzu citrus, curry, ginger or other delicious and healthy flavors.
This cheerful bohemian restaurant has slowly crept down to Boston after years of building a devoted following on Massachusetts’s North Shore. Now open in the Back Bay and Brookline (in addition to its popular Cambridge location), Life Alive offers abundant vegan options, including killer spicy peanut noodles. If you’re not hungry, stop in for a drink. Satisfy your curiosity with a blue-green algae latte, or play it safe with kombucha on tap.
FoMu gets rave reviews for its coconut-milk- and cashew-milk-based ice cream, available in its cafés around Boston (South End, Jamaica Plain, Fenway and Allston so far) and at select restaurants around the city. With flavors ranging from vanilla bean to George Howell Cold Brew, it’s worth seeking out to satisfy your sweet tooth.
By CHLOE is a popular chain serving vegan American comfort food. A favorite with the lunch crowd, the restaurant has flavorful dishes such as tempeh burgers, cashew mac and cheese, and portobello meatball subs on the menu, so you can feel good about what you ate for lunch, even if you’re in a food coma afterward. Additional locations are in Back Bay and Fenway.
Another great place to satisfy your sweet tooth, the super-popular Veggie Galaxy boasts a bakery that is 100 percent vegan (plus, it serves FoMu ice cream). If that’s not enough to draw you out to this retro diner in Cambridge’s Central Square, anything on its main menu can be made vegan as well.
While sweetgreen makes your standard salads and bowls, it focuses on fresh local ingredients and customizable combinations. This salad chain for the start-up generation has received a lot of press in recent years for its progressive employment practices, including extended parental leave, which is pretty unique in the food industry. It is extremely popular with the lunch crowd, so it’s best to order ahead if you’re looking for a quick lunch. It has locations throughout Boston and Cambridge.
Revolution Health Kitchen is a tiny, plant-based health-food café that makes everything from scratch, earning it a loyal set of customers from local office workers to Back Bay and South End residents. The owners, a husband-and-wife team, are usually here and happy to talk to you about their options and what might work best for your lifestyle and health goals.
Anything at this tiny, vegetarian bar-food joint in Somerville’s Bow Market can be made vegan. Swing in and grab an Impossible Burger with fries to go, and bring it next door to pair with a pint at the excellent Remnant Brewery. Saus specializes in fries with house-made sauces (hence the name), but other dishes such as cauliflower falafel and vegan hotdogs give you options. Afterward, you can check out the retail shops selling various hipster staples such as records, indoor plants and camping-chic knick-knacks.
Located in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood, My Thai Vegan Cafe offers delicious Thai food, and everything here is completely vegan and very affordable. Try its pad thai or ‘chicken’ fingers made with tofu. Also, order a fresh-fruit bubble tea. Pro tip: The restaurant lies on the second floor, via a staircase, so don’t be alarmed if the stairway doesn’t look like it leads to the restaurant. It does!
True Bistro is an upscale vegan eatery in Somerville. Enjoy a candlelit, artistically presented meal, and try out its seitan skewers and Thai green curry. Both vegans and non-vegans will enjoy a high-end plant-based meal here.
This vegan destination serves food made with seasonal ingredients and also offers gluten-free dishes, as well as beer and wine. Try its Gobi Manchurian with Indian-seasoned cauliflower that is fried and finished with a sweet tomato sauce. The vegan shepherd’s pie is also a hit.