The Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Boston

Vegetarians and vegans have excellent dining options in Boston
Vegetarians and vegans have excellent dining options in Boston | © Brent Hofacker / Alamy Stock Photo
Brendan Sullivan

Boston has a reputation for being a socially conscious city thanks to its universities and medical research institutions, but its ethical foodie roots go back further than you might expect.

A native of Boston, Benjamin Franklin adopted vegetarianism as a teen (although he eventually gave it up because it was too limiting in his day). A few centuries later, the growing foodie scene has brought in talent and flavors from all over the world, making the city’s vegetarian options diverse and delicious.

Life Alive Organic Cafe

This popular café, with locations in the Back Bay, Brookline and Cambridge’s Central Square, specializes in innovative grain bowls, as well as noodles, sandwiches, salads and juices. The Brookline location also offers ramen or udon soups and curry cauliflower. The vibe is a mix of hippy and foodie and attracts students, professors and just about every other social group you might find floating around these college towns. It’s a great place to bring your veg-skeptic friends, too, as there are appealing and delicious options regardless of whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian or Ron Swanson.

Veggie Galaxy

Imagine Johnny Rockets grew up, went to MIT and learned how to cook. The result would probably look a lot like Veggie Galaxy. Complete with ’50s retro decor, Formica tables, vinyl booths and an all-vegetarian greasy-spoon diner menu, this is a popular place for comfort food. Come for the reuben sandwich, omelets and burgers, but save room for home-made vegan desserts from its bakery or a scoop of coconut-based ice cream from FoMu.

Sofra Bakery & Cafe

This buzzing Watertown lunch spot from the same folks behind Oleana and Sarma specializes in Turkish meze. As you wait to order at the counter, take a gander at the colorful, appetizing small plates and spreads behind the glass. Everything from spinach falafel and corn salad to incredible hummus and pita is home-made and served fresh. While not entirely vegetarian, the majority of dishes here are, so it’s a great place to visit with a group and try several items.


Inside Bow Market (Somerville’s hip pop-up mini-mall), Saus is a tiny spot that specializes in bar food that also happens to be vegetarian. You might even completely miss the fact that it’s vegetarian (with the option to make anything vegan). Just steps from a brewery and a wine bar that don’t serve food, it’s a perfect option for those looking to soak up a few suds with some bar food. Specializing in fries with house-made sauces (hence the name), it also serves Impossible Burgers and cauliflower falafel. A second location is near Boston’s Faneuil Hall.

Clover Food Lab

With its stark white walls, high-definition TVs and hosts roaming around to take your orders on iPads, Clover feels a bit like a visit to the Apple Store. But as its name implies, this place takes a scientific approach to running a restaurant, complete with data-driven experimentation with its food and pricing, which you can read about on its website. Brand idiosyncrasies aside, Clover specializes in vegetarian café food such as overnight oats or root and egg bowls for breakfast and barbecue seitan or Impossible meatballs for lunch and dinner. With 12 locations and counting, its experiments seem to be working.

Red Lentil Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurant

Watertown’s Red Lentil is a veggie tour of the world. Chef Pankaj Pradhan split his culinary training between India and France and cooked for hotel restaurants and cruise ships before opening this restaurant. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the menu takes dishes from around the world and gives them a veggie spin. Expect a broad range of influences on the menu, from Thai and Mexican to Greek and Indian. The restaurant makes it a priority to accommodate all kinds of dietary restrictions, which makes it a very welcoming place.

True Bistro

Regularly gracing Boston’s best restaurants lists, True Bistro provides a fine-dining experience with seasonal vegan food. Committed to sustainability and its community, it offers sophisticated cooking but an approachable menu. You’ll see traditional items such as ravioli and shepherd’s pie, but with twists of cashew cream and smoked tofu. As its creativeness has made it quite popular, the restaurant has expanded over the past few years to accommodate more diners.

Blue Nile

This Ethiopian restaurant in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood makes up for its diminutive size with huge flavors and atmosphere – especially when compared to the many quick-serve restaurants on this list that cater to efficiency over ambience. Here, vegetarians and vegans are spoiled with options, from fragrant lentils to delicious injera dishes. Get ready to eat with your hands and be pleasantly overwhelmed by the choices.

Veggie Crust

This 100 percent vegetarian pizza joint doesn’t let its meatless status be its only defining characteristic. With its unique flavors and ingredient combinations, every dish is a new thrill for the taste buds, from its Hawaiian Manchurian pizza to its Curry Leaf Pesto Portabella pie. For the risk-averse, there are also comforting classics and pasta, as well as vegan desserts and smoothies.

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