Students Pick the Best Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants in Boston
Some of these inventive dishes will even appeal to carnivores
Once upon a time, vegetarians and vegans had limited local food options. Now the number of plant-based restaurants that exist in Boston alone prove that there’s a huge market for Beyond Burgers and soy cheeses.
In addition to the health benefits, many say, they switch to plant-based meals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Nationally, spending on plant-based foods increased 27 percent in the last year, growing two times faster than overall food sales in 2020, according to the Good Food Institute, a nonprofit focused on alternative proteins.
For insight to where the best meat-free takeout is, we asked five Terriers who have transitioned to vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. Even if you haven’t made the switch to a plant-based diet, ingredients that you didn’t think could be transformed to resemble meat can make the most dedicated carnivores happy.
The meat-loving Guy Fieri switched up his habits and gave this Cambridge-based diner and vegan bakery a try on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Veggie Galaxy serves an all-day breakfast, as well as salads, burgers, and frappes. Everything is made from scratch, but each item is vegetarian (and can be made vegan), no exceptions.
Grace Shaver (CGS’21, CAS’23) gave up meat three years ago, so her expertise is in vegetarian Boston-based bites. Shaver recommends the “Great Galaxy,” on the all-day breakfast menu, a medley of hash brown potatoes, over easy egg, tempeh bacon, cheddar cheese, arugula, and garlic mayo on a toasted bun.
Cava’s founders infused their Greek roots into what some people have referred to as a Mediterranean-style Chipotle, serving salads, bowls, and pitas. A fan of the assembly-line style fast-casual eatery, Abbey Flannery (CAS’21) suggests Cava for anyone looking for a lot of customization—you choose your base, rice, protein (vegetarian or not), toppings, and dressings.
The lentil avocado bowl is the latest chef-curated creation available at Cava. Start with the dish’s creamy avocado, lentil tabbouleh, and falafel, and add more as you please.
If you have an insatiable appetite, Hadwin Belcher (CAS’22) recommends the massive portion sizes at Grasshopper. The extensive menu boasts Asian vegan specialties, most notably faux meats that resemble beef, chicken, shrimp, and squid.
If you’re playing it safe, they’ve got rice and lo mein galore, but their crispy taro nest, an edible noodle basket with veggie meat and seafood, is a hidden gem. Having trouble deciding between dishes? Their third Sunday buffet is a monthly indulgence of several menu items, all for $12.85 a person.
Even though Deirdre Shahar (COM’21) would hardly consider herself a vegetarian, the reuben on rye at Veggie Grill is her go-to order. It’s as if they’ve reinvented bar food with a plant foundation, touting Chickin’ wings, nachos, chili dogs, and more on their menu.
Thanks to the constant addition of menu items, customers can dabble in inventive new dishes.