Plant yourself in a seat at these awesome (and creative) meat-free spots.
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Meat is not on the menu at these vegetarian (and vegan) restaurants throughout the Boston area. Whether you’re searching for fast-casual grain bowls, street food-style snacks (falafel dog, anyone?), or fancier, more refined fare, we know a place to plant yourself.
Normally, Bostonians thumb their nose at anything that comes from (gasp!) New York. This Empire State import may be the one exception. Formerly known as By Chloe, the Back Bay outpost of the fast-casual chainlet is known for its hearty, protein-packed salads. But if you’re in the mood for something a little more decadent, the burgers and mac ’n’ cheese made with sweet potato–cashew cheese sauce and topped with (seriously addictive) shiitake bacon and almond Parmesan are also excellent choices. Must-order: The new “Burrata Bliss” summer salad with lavash chips.
399 Boylston St., Boston, eatbeatnic.com.
Clover Food Lab
This vegetarian standby has become almost ubiquitous in Boston ever since Ayr Muir, a grad of MIT and Harvard Business School, founded it as a food truck back in 2008. Clover Food Lab has moved on from its mobile days and currently has about a dozen locations scattered across the city. Each spot features a rotating menu of inventive items including soy BLT sandwiches, fresh meatballs made with the Impossible burger meat substitute (made entirely from plants, but with a similar mouthfeel to meat), and a new line of themed meal boxes for preparing food for the beach, brunch, or simply a dinner in.
496 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, and other locations, cloverfoodlab.com.
Billing itself as a “vegetarian fusion” outfit, this Union Square-side setup brings together North Indian, South Indian, and Indo-Chinese cuisines to create a menu that covers everything from curries to dosa, obviously—less expected, though, are the pizzas topped with everything from paneer tikka to fresh corn with coconut alfredo sauce.
447 Somerville Ave., Somerville, 617-764-3152, dosa-n-curry.com.
Owned by celebrity vegan chef, author, and wellness entrepreneur Matthew Kenney, this Italian restaurant and wine bar on Newbury has what many claim to be the best wood-fired pizza—plant-based or otherwise—in town. Kenney attributes this accolade to “00” flour, a finely ground Italian import, as well as fresh, flavorful toppings ranging from wild mushrooms to Tuscan kale. The eggplant Parmesan and pasta Bolognese (with walnut mushroom ragout) are also menu favorites. Must-order: The “meatball” calzone with cashew-and-rice mozzarella, macadamia ricotta, and almond Parmesan.
163 Newbury St., Boston, 857-350-3405, matthewkenneycuisine.com/double-zero-boston.
In the right hands, coconut milk makes the creamiest, dreamiest frozen dessert you can imagine—and that’s certainly the case at FoMu (a play on “faux moo,” as no cow milk is used), where the gelato-like scoops will satisfy even the most die-hard dairy-based ice cream fans. Creative flavors at the shop, which has expanded from its original Allston location to three additional outposts in Boston since opening in 2011, run the gamut from grasshopper pie to salted oatmeal cookie. Must-order: Peanut butter–chocolate cookie ice cream made with Teddie.
Multiple locations, fomuicecream.com.
Whatever your go-to Chinese takeout order is, you’ll find a nearly identical dish—only with faux meat replacements—at the OG of Boston vegan restaurants. Even tofu naysayers should try the tangy sweet-and-sour tofu with bell peppers and pineapple. Must-order: The kale-and-gluten “Supreme” in a spicy black bean sauce.
1 N Beacon St., Allston, 617-254-8883, grasshoppervegan.com.
The mother-daughter team behind this Egyptian street-food eatery radiates a friendly warmth that is reason enough to swing by their recently relocated Somerville restaurant. Even better, now that the vegan spot has larger digs, it also has a larger menu—one that rounds out its namesake bowls of sauced-up lentils, chickpeas, macaroni, and more, with lunch and dinner plates like moussaka, mushroom shawarma, and om ali (Egyptian-style bread pudding).
585 Somerville Ave., Somerville, 866-567-4274, kosharimama.com.
No list of local veggie restaurants is complete without a mention of Life Alive, a funky fast-casual chain guided in part by investor Ron Shaich, the Brookline-based founder of Panera Bread and Au Bon Pain. The menu is different at each location, but customers are bound to find delightfully creative salads, wraps, and grain bowls wherever they decide to go.
431 Boylston St., Back Bay, 857-239-8239, and other locations, lifealive.com.
Those missing their yiayia’s homemade Greek cooking—and even those who don’t have a yiayia—will find something to love at Littleburg, a former pop-up that moved into a converted auto garage in Somerville’s Union Square in spring 2021. For now, the top-notch Mediterranean fare, from gyros to stuffed flatbreads, is available for takeout only. Don’t live nearby? No problem: The business also offers prepared meals—from veggie-stuffed kreatopita (savory Greek pie) to build-your-own gyro kits—delivered to your door. Must-order: The seitan gyro with almond tzatziki and fried potatoes.
5 Sanborn Ct., Somerville, 617-863-6652, littleburgveg.com.
Sisters Mary and Nada Lattouf planted Lulu Green in Southie in 2020, tapping their healthy-living know-how—plus the talents of chef Brian Corbley—to grow a delightful cafe specializing in vegan, Middle-Eastern-inspired fast-casual. Shawarma sandwiches, fresh salads tossed with za’atar croutons, and indulgent baked goods (like berry cheesecake buns) are all on the agenda. So are smoothies and cold pressed juices like the “Mood Ring,” a “calming mood balancer” of lemon, lavender, maple syrup, and butterfly-pea flower.
246 W Broadway, South Boston, 617-420-4070, lulugreen.com.
My Thai Vegan Cafe
One bite of the popular “avocado medley” (yellow-curry vegetables, tofu, and faux chicken served inside of a freshly cut avocado), and you’ll understand why this Chinatown restaurant has been a staple on the vegan dining scene for decades. It’s worth the climb to the second floor for fresh, authentic plant-based Thai dishes that taste as good as—if not better—than they look. Must-order: The “Bird’s Nest,” a.k.a. fried taro root filled with veggies and proteins. Chinatown, mythaivegancafe.com.
3 Beach St., Boston, 617-451-2395, mythaivegancafe.com.
There’s a reason that so many A-listers—from Ben Stiller to Zendaya—have been spotted at this Kendall Square restaurant in recent months. Between the elevated comfort food from chef Mary Dumont (of Harvest fame)—think kimchi burgers, barbecue pulled “pork” pizzas, and more—and local craft brews, it’s become a bona fide destination. Also promising to be a home run is a larger PlantPub location in the Fenway, which is slated to open this summer. Must-order: The fried “chicken” sandwich with all the fixings.
675 W Kendall St., Cambridge, 617-714-5452, plantpub.com.
You might be surprised to find a national chain—inside the Ink Block Whole Foods, no less—on our list of top vegan restaurants in Boston. Those who’ve tried the decadently accessorized Beyond Meat burgers from celeb chef Spike Mendelsohn, though, know exactly why. Complete the upgraded-fast-food experience with chicken nuggets (made from pea protein), fries, chili, and shakes. Must-order: The burger with caramelized onions, NewFields cheddar cheese, mushroom bacon, and housemade barbecue sauce.
348 Harrison Ave., 617-767-0728 plntburger.com/location/south-end.
Oasis Vegan Veggie Parlor
There are juice bars, and then there are juice bars. With ingredients ranging from fresh-squeezed ginger root to anti-inflammatory turmeric root and sea moss, the blends at this Four Corners favorite are refreshing and healthy. They also pair perfectly with the grain bowls, soups, and stews inspired by the owners’ Jamaican and Ethiopian roots. Must-order: The “Oasis Everything” plate with two grains, two stews, and two veggies.
340 Washington St., Dorchester, 617-237-9033, oasisveganveggieparlor.com.
It’s worth heading to Watertown for this simple but spiffy little gem, where the menu features vegan shepherd’s pie, sesame encrusted seitan strips with sweet miso-horseradish dressing—and of course, red lentil soup. (Also notable: most of the menu is gluten-free.) Chef Pankaj Pradhan is clearly passionate about veggie cooking: You can taste it in his food, and see it in his commitment to the university-based vegan cooking programs he runs to turn young people on to meat-free eating.
600 Mt. Auburn St., Watertown, 617-972-9188, theredlentil.com.
Owner Tokuma Kobayashi was the owner of 12 successful restaurants in Japan when he bet it all to move to America and open a plant-based ramen spot on Newbury Street. The bet has paid off: With hearty noodles; creamy, flavorful broth; and a variety of veggies—as well as mock meats and tofu—his ramen is so good, omnivores won’t even miss the egg. Must-order: “King & Queen” ramen made with soboro (veg meat and tofu), leeks, spinach, truffle oil, and crispy onion.
294 Newbury St., Boston, 857-277-0609, redwhiteboston.com.
Rhythm ‘n’ Wraps
The wraps, tacos, and burgers always hit the right note at this feel-good spot, where the globe-spanning menu offers a little something for everyone. Situated in Packard’s Corner just steps from the BU campus, it’s a popular place for young vegans and non-vegans alike, who come for the lovingly made plant-based sandwiches and desserts and stay for the fun ambiance—including upbeat world music. Must-order: The “Big Shug” burger made with Impossible meat and topped with grilled mac ’n’ cheese and avocado on a pretzel bun.
1096 Comm. Ave., 617-566-4144, rhythmnwraps.com.
Saus at Bow Market
When Saus, a Faneuil Hall-side favorite for French fries and gravy-covered poutine, opened a second location in Somerville’s Bow Market courtyard, its team decided to build an entirely-vegetarian menu (vegan diets can be accommodated by request). Impossible Burgers are topped with BBQ sauce and crispy shallots, a cauliflower-falafel sandwich receives pickled cabbage and chickpea mayo—and of course, there’s plenty of poutine slathered with miso mushroom gravy.
1 Bow Market Way, Somerville, bowmarketsomerville.com/saus.
As its name suggests, the tacos from this popular food truck turned brick-and-mortar are truly worth celebrating. Choose from an assortment of foldable delights—including jackfruit tinga and lentils al pastor topped with almond cotija cheese—and be sure to leave room for the menu’s other delights (including the delightfully named “Big Salad”). Must-order: The fried tofu or chorizo cutlet torta on a housemade bun.
711 Broadway, Somerville, 617-764-0683, tacopartytruck.com.
Marking a special occasion or trying to impress a date? There’s no better place to do it than at this high-end vegan hot spot, where the dining room is elegant and the gorgeously plated dishes appeal to everyone on the herbivore/carnivore spectrum. The desserts, meanwhile, are what sweet dreams are made of—especially the bourbon-chocolate-pecan pie. Must-order: The creamy cauliflower gratin with cashew cheese and Violife Parmesan.
1153 Broadway, Somerville, 617-627-9000, truebistroboston.com.
Vegetarian and vegan pizzas are the focus at this pair of restaurants in Somerville and Brookline. These pies get creative with their toppings: fresh corn is paired with coconut alfredo sauce and smoked mozzarella; sweet pineapple is coupled with spicy Manchurian sauce; and paneer is complemented by fresh ginger and house-made BBQ sauce. You’ll also find pasta dishes and panini, as well as a fresh juice bar and ice cream courtesy of FoMu.
445 Somerville Ave., Somerville, 617-764-4605; and 8 Cypress St, Brookline, 617-383-5884, vegcrust.com.
Veggie Galaxy has long been one of the most popular vegetarian destinations in the city, thanks to its meat-free spin on a classic diner atmosphere. The service is friendly, the decor is delightfully retro, and the kitchen serves up veggie takes on greasy spoon standbys: Think breakfast omelets and tempeh bacon for breakfast, black bean burgers topped with roasted garlic mayo for lunch, and dinner plates like a “loaded” mac ‘n’ cheese with an herbed panko crust. And the Southern-style, seitan “chicken” and waffles? That’s available all day long.
450 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, 617-497-1513, veggiegalaxy.com.
Craving a sandwich or rice bowl, stat? For a quick lunch break, the Harvard Square location of this national chain is a smart bet, with lightning-fast turnaround time and generous portions. In addition to burgers, handhelds include a convincing tuna melt, Reuben, and Cajun fish sandwich. Must-order: The seven-layer bowl with brown rice, ranchero beans, faux cheddar cheese, pico de gallo, chipotle crema, and mashed avocado.
57 John F. Kennedy St., Cambridge, 617.430.4004, veggiegrill.com.
This Newton restaurant crafts highly creative, seasonal menus using ingredients sourced from local farms. The results? Well, you’ll taste the freshness—and finesse—in artichoke hearts stuffed with sundried tomatoes and spinach; soy-based “chicken” breast served piccata-style, with white wine, capers, and wilted spinach; and portobello steak with truffled mashed potatoes. A nice little selection of organic wines rounds it out.
1203 Walnut Street, Newton Highlands, 617-964-1029, walnutgrille.com.
Zhu Vegan Kitchen
Normally, we don’t advocate for ordering dessert before dinner, but Zhu’s creamy-on-the-inside, crisp-on-the-outside fried ice cream just might be the exception. You’ll want to leave room, though, for the variety of Chinese, Japanese, and Thai dishes on the dinner menu—including General Tso’s soy protein, kung pao eggplant, and pad thai. Must-order: The cold noodle appetizer made with organic green-tea noodles tossed with peanut sesame sauce. Brookline and Arlington, zhuvegankitchen.com.
220 Washington St., Brookline, 617-232-0000; and 166 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, 781-646-7600, zhuvegankitchen.com.