Here’s Where to Get the Best Plant-Based Dishes in Greater Boston

readers say readers recommended 30 restaurants, including one with a “dynamic” chickpea fritter pita sandwich.

The chickpea fritter sandwich is a popular item at the Clover Food Lab. Photo courtesy of Clover Food Lab

The movement to eat less meat in the diet has taken hold in Boston, with many restaurants offering plant-based dishes. There are a number of benefits to consuming fewer animal products, from environmental reasons to health and ethics. Since November is World Vegan Month, we wanted to find the vegan or plant-based dishes that readers enjoy the most.

There has been worldwide interest in plant-based diets, and WGBH reported last January that the movement is “having a moment,” with more plant-based options available in supermarkets, restaurants, and fast-food chains. Ayr Muir, founder and CEO of Clover Food Lab, said he attributes this growth to increased awareness, as well as the availability of delicious food options.

“Have we made the kind of change that would benefit us all? Not yet,” Muir said. “We are quite far from that. But it’s a pretty powerful moment. There’s a sense that a lot of changes are happening, and a lot more people who are used to a meat and potato diet are excited to try different things and maybe learn about a vegetable they don’t know the name of.”

There are several ways to eat a plant-based diet, which we define as having a focus on foods that come primarily from plants. This type of diet is the least restrictive, which means it doesn’t necessarily completely eliminate the consumption of animal products. Vegetarian diets can be a spectrum, but typically involve giving up meat, poultry, and fish, and may allow other animal products like dairy and eggs. A vegan diet consists solely of plant-based foods and excludes eating anything derived from animals.

We asked readers where they look for their favorite plant-based or vegan dishes, and we received nearly 300 responses. Clover Food Lab was the readers’ first choice, with 19% of the vote.

Below, find a reader-recommended guide to restaurants offering the best plant-based dishes, including a full list and map of all the recommendations.

Readers share the best plant-based dishes in Greater Boston:

A 🏆 means a restaurant was in the top 5 in both 2021 and 2022. The best restaurants are also marked by how each defines itself as serving vegetarian (🌱) or vegan (🌱🌱) plates.

  • PlantPub, known for its vegan food bar, expands to Fenway

  • Fast-Casual Vegan Restaurant PLNT Burger Opens Its First Boston Location

5. Life alive 🏆 🌱

This plant-forward chain of cafes offers vibrant meals, smoothies and juices that are meant to restore guests and nurture their love of life. While the meals are all vegetarian, Anna Tou, Life Alive’s vice president of marketing, said the restaurant aims to appeal to everyone, even carnivores. The menu includes breakfast items, grains, ramen, acai bowls, and cold-pressed juices. Readers said they come for the spicy peanut noodles and dishes like the Adventurer Bowl, which is served with red beets, broccoli and kale. Tilda from Arlington said she enjoys the “Green Goddess Bowl—it ​​has everything to love: veggies, warm brown rice with lemon and garlic, avocado, and a delicious soy sauce and ginger tamari dressing. The presentation is a delight, to eat in or to take away. This bowl makes me happy to be alive.” Life Alive got 8.4% of the vote.

multiple locations

Healthy dishes from Life Alive. – Photo courtesy of Life Alive Café.

4. Vegetable galaxy 🏆 🌱

A classic American restaurant in Central Square, Veggie Galaxy, which garnered 11% of the vote, puts a twist on traditional comfort food: everything on the menu is vegetarian and can even be made vegan (🌱🌱). Readers say they enjoy the waffles, while they also enjoy the Reuben sandwiches and mac and cheese bites. the nachos and Vegan mozzarella sticks were also recommended, as was the “Blue Plate Special,” which is currently a Moistmaker Sandwich, made with leftovers from Thanksgiving. Dorchester’s Mitch said: “I usually order the Great Galaxy sandwich, the buffalo steaks and the club sandwich, not all at the same time (but maybe sometimes all at the same time). Veggie Galaxy has a way of making food for the truly indulgent eater that is vegan-friendly: everything is so flavorful, [is] sometimes messy and [is] affordable and accessible.”

450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

3. Green Lulu 🌱🌱

Offering fully vegan culinary options, Lulu Green uses fresh, organic ingredients to produce baked goods, breakfast and lunch items, and juices. They got 11.4% of the votes for their healthy offerings. Readers raved about the shawarma sandwich, made of seitan, pickled turnips and lemon tahini in a homemade pita. They also pointed to the avocado toast and yuca fries. Smoothies include the Namaste on Vacay, which has tropical flavors of Thai coconut and pineapple, and the Over Achiever, made with kale, spinach, mango, strawberry, and more. South Boston reader Brian S. said, “It’s all about brunch! They have the best ‘brunch sandwich’, cinnamon buns, vegan omelet and espresso drinks with house made syrups. The baristas also said cocktails are coming soon. We love this place!”

246 W Broadway, Boston

A vegan wrap from Lulu Green. – Photo courtesy of Lulu Green

2. True bistro 🏆 🌱🌱

A fine-dining establishment in Somerville’s Teele Square, True Bistro, which garnered 18% of the vote, offers vegan cuisine inspired by different parts of the world. Chef and co-owner Stuart Reiter has lived abroad in many countries, and the food draws influences from Africa, Latin America and parts of Europe, among other places, according to general manager Carlos Camarena. While the menu changes frequently, Camarena said the red and black peas and the Thai red curry and rice cake are popular items. “Each person [working] in the restaurant is vegan,” he said. “These people are easier to work with, so we can all ‘save the planet’ and fight for animal rights. Even customers know these ideas and love them.”

Lilly from Somerville said: “One of my favorites on the dinner menu is the crispy oyster mushroom appetizer – they are absolutely delicious and complement any main dish. For brunch, I love to order scrambled tofu and a scone for dessert to satisfy my sweet tooth (scones have different flavors in different months but consistent perfection). Something special about True Bistro is that there is something on the menu for everyone, whether you’ve been vegan for decades or new to the idea of ​​plant-based food.”

1153 Broadway, Somerville

The Sugarcane Beet Salad with Smoked Feta at True Bistro – Photo courtesy of True Bistro

1. Clover Food Lab 🏆 🌱

Vegetarian empire Clover has 15 restaurants in the Boston area, with the goal of getting customers to dream of meatless dishes and hope to one day be as big as McDonald’s, according to its website. Guests drop in for the ever-popular chickpea fritter, brussel sprout sandwich, and sweet potato breakfast sandwich. The local chain, which garnered 19% of the vote, recently opened an Assembly Row location that houses the company’s first grocery store, selling items like hummus, coffee beans and lunch boxes. Founder and CEO Ayr Muir told that his hope is not necessarily to target people who are already vegetarian or vegan, but to reach out to carnivores and encourage them to explore a different diet.

“Nine out of 10 of the customers who eat at Clover are not vegetarian or vegan, they eat meat,” Muir said. “When I feed someone who is already vegan at Clover a meal, I don’t have any environmental impact, because they wouldn’t be eating meat anyway. But if I’m feeding someone who loves to eat meat, and they walked past a Chipotle or a Sweetgreen and didn’t get a chicken salad…I’m creating a really big environmental impact.” in the future where you could run a vegan-only menu and have the same stat, but today, I don’t think that’s the case.”

South End reader Alyssa said, “The chickpea fritter pita sandwich is one of the only dishes I can repeat and never get tired of.” [of]. It’s dynamic, with different flavors of pickled vegetables, crispy fritters, creamy hummus, and tahini. I could not ask for more!”

multiple locations

Honorable Mentions 🏅

Littleburg: This Somerville spot, which started as a pop-up, serves up vegan Mediterranean cuisine, inspired by the flavors of Greece, Turkey, Morocco, Israel and more. Readers clamored for the gyros, made with seitan or oyster and portobello mushrooms, as well as the pide, a stuffed flatbread. 5 Sanborn Ct., Somerville 🌱🌱

Readers say: “Their yuba breakfast sandwich is the best sandwich I’ve ever had. Period. The yuba has a similar texture to a scrambled egg but with a bit of grilled charcoal, then there’s a thinly sliced ​​roast potato, some kind of heavenly creamy sauce, fresh herbs and it comes on a homemade black sesame bun. . You’ll want one every day.” -Amory S., Quincy

taco party: A playful spot serving meatless Mexican food, including a creative selection of vegetarian tacos, this restaurant promises to have a good time. Try the tinga de jaca taco, topped with avocado and chipotle mayonnaise, or the chimichurri tempeh, which comes with cashew cream. 711 Broadway, Somerville vegan 🌱🌱

Readers say: “If you’re looking for an affordable plant-based meal, I can’t recommend this place highly enough. The cashew cheese on their nachos is creamy and fabulous; I recommend you try them the first time you visit. As for tacos, my favorite are the crispy fried tofu and lentil al pastor tacos.” -Brittany H.

All the best places to get a plant-based dish, according to readers:

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