On the Road Eats: Vegetarian Favorites

Vegans and vegetarians, Food Network has got your back. Check out this list of FN-approved restaurants featuring some of the best veggie-friendly dishes around the country.

Categories:
Vegetarian, Vegan

Herbivores, this one’s for you. The editors at FoodNetwork.com collected some of their favorite vegetarian dishes around the country. This rendition of On the Road Eats goes coast to coast to bring you the best in show, from spicy Thai dishes at Araya’s Place in Seattle to an egg poached to perfection at the Green Zebra in Chicago to a breakfast bowl fit for a veggie king in Asheville, N.C.

1. 3 Sisters Cafe — Indianapolis
For many diners, atmosphere is one of the most-important factors, and 3 Sisters Cafe has one of the best interiors you’ll ever see. This restaurant is located inside a beautiful blue Victorian house from 1896, and offers up delicious fare for vegetarians and meat lovers alike. Locals swear by the black bean burger, a tender patty grilled and served with lettuce, onions and housemade salsa on a whole-wheat bun. If you’re in a sweet mood, then make sure to order a slice of the divine Blueberry Goat Cheese Pie. Guy Fieri loved the vibe of 3 Sisters Cafe, nodding with approval and saying, “Well, somebody’s here to play.”
Recommended Dishes: Black Bean Burger, Blueberry Goat Cheese Pie

2. Araya's Place — Seattle
Aarón Sánchez visited Araya’s Place on Heat Seekers, claiming that it’s “a Thai restaurant that has some of the hottest food this side of Bangkok.” If you’re into spice, then you’ll love the vegan tom yum soup, a hot and sour tofu soup flavored with lemongrass, lime leaves, mushrooms, onions and chile paste. The entree of choice has to be the vegan Drunken Mushroom, a classic Thai curry featuring wide rice noodles stir-fried in garlic and chiles. The food is so flavorful here, carnivores won’t even realize it’s vegan.
Recommended Dishes: Tom Yum Soup, Drunken Mushroom

3. Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay — Las Vegas
When you think of Las Vegas, you probably think of casinos and flashy shows. What you might not expect is a gourmet burger restaurant located inside of a popular hotel; but at Burger Bar, that’s exactly what you get. Giada loved the textures and flavors present in these well-crafted burgers. Diners will appreciate the care that goes into creating the Vegas Vegan: slow-roasted eggplant topped with marinated and grilled Roma tomatoes, grilled zucchini and sauteed peppers, all sandwiched between two portobello mushroom caps. Don’t forget to try a side of their renowned, extra-crispy sweet potato fries.
Recommended Dishes: Vegas Vegan Burger, Sweet Potato Fries

4. Cafe Flora — Seattle
Recently voted one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Seattle, Cafe Flora is the place to dine this year in Washington. Its interior alone is enough to draw a crowd — diners may sit in a spacious, warm dining area featuring original artwork from the community or a beautifully crafted atrium. The menus here regularly change with the season, though you can’t go wrong with their Roasted Beet and Burrata Salad. This salad is also gluten- and soy-free, pairing watercress with fresh apples and cranberry balsamic chutney. You may also want to check out the locally beloved muffuletta sandwich that includes grilled portobello mushrooms drizzled with a Creole-spiced vinaigrette. 
Recommended Dishes: Roasted Beet and Burrata Salad, Muffuletta Sandwich

5. Dottie's True Blue Cafe — San Francisco
This restaurant may be tiny, but it’s worth the wait for one of the 40 seats. Dottie’s True Blue Cafe is one of those all-American diners that you’ll just love. Guy Fieri was obsessed with the fare here, even calling out the veggie chili for its complex flavors. If you’re in the neighborhood for brunch, then try some of Dottie’s Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes served with real maple syrup. There are also vegan options for lunch. 
Recommended Dishes: Veggie Chili, Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

6. Early Girl Eatery — Asheville, NC
Rachael Ray recommends checking out Early Girl Eatery, a husband-and-wife-owned establishment that she says “serves up Southern fare with a gourmet flair.” Early Girl focuses on offering locally sourced and farm-to-table dishes that are both healthy and flavorful. Start your day off at this retro-fab diner with the Veggie Breakfast Bowl: black-eyed peas, spinach, scrambled eggs and farmstead cheese smothered in a housemade herb cream gravy. If you’re in the mood for lunch, try the vegan Avocado and Sprout Sandwich: local alfalfa sprouts, tomato and house hummus on a kaiser roll.
Recommended Dishes: Veggie Breakfast Bowl, Avocado and Sprout Sandwich

7. Edelweiss — Norridge, Ill.
Visiting Edelweiss is like traveling to Germany. This Chicago favorite has been family-owned for over 30 years and is a popular location for a hearty family dinner or a night out with coworkers. Jeff Mauro loved the vibe, calling out the festive decor. While Edelweiss offers a variety of meat-heavy dishes (as expected), they also have some delectable vegetarian options. Be sure to order the Kasespatzle: pan-fried German egg noodles with roasted vegetables, mushrooms and Swiss cheese. 
Recommended Dish: Kasespatzle

8. Escopazzo Organic Italian Restaurant — Miami Beach
Escopazzo means “a little crazy” in Italian, and people said the owners certainly were when they opened the country’s first all-organic restaurant in 1993. However, Escopazzo has undoubtedly proven itself. From its quaint and rustic charm to its fantastic Italian cuisine, locals recognize this restaurant as a Miami Beach institution. Rachael Ray called it “such a gem,” and loved the asparagus flan with fontina and provola cheese. After your appetizer, order a plate of scamorza-filled ravioli with oven-roasted tomatoes and mint pesto. 
Recommended Dishes: Asparagus Flan, Scamorza Ravioli

9. The Farm Cafe — Portland, Ore.
Duff recalled fondly that the Farmhouse Veggie Burger at this Portland establishment was one of the best things he’s ever eaten, calling it amazing. This burger includes homemade zucchini pickles, roasted peppers, caramelized onions, baby greens and spicy brown mustard in an artisan bun. In case the veggie burger isn’t enough for you, try the locally acclaimed herb-crusted tofu or baked Brie. You’ll soon find yourself returning to this charming restaurant, emblazoned on the side with a neon-red sign simply reading, “FARM.”
Recommended Dishes: Farmhouse Veggie Burger, Herb-Crusted Tofu, Williams Baked Brie

10. FIG Restaurant — Charleston, SC
Alex Guarnaschelli cited FIG Restaurant and said of her meal there, “It’s absurd. It’s insane. It’s over-the-top. How did they do it? I have to have it.” Her enthusiasm is shared by Charleston regulars for the menu that is updated daily with local specialties. Some recurring favorites include the tomato tarte Tatin, a savory French dish that caramelizes plum tomatoes in wine and sugar. While this appetizer is delightful, enjoy the laid-back eclecticism of this restaurant over a plate of ricotta gnocchi. It’s mouthwateringly good, and you’ll be eager to return.
Recommended Dishes: Tomato Tarte Tatin, Ricotta Gnocchi

11. Get Fresh Cafe — Norfolk, Va.
Located at the Five Points Community Farm Market, Get Fresh puts the spotlight on local and organic ingredients. Nic, the chef, creates side dishes that vary based on what looks best in the market that day or what is growing in the gardens out front. Guy Fieri doesn’t always like vegetarian food, but even he fell in love with the vegan sloppy joe. Low in cost and high in flavor, this sandwich is dynamite. 
Recommended Dish: Vegan Sloppy Joe

12. Green Zebra — Chicago
Giada loved the Green Zebra in Chicago, appreciating its beauty both on and off the plate. The interior of this restaurant is remarkably zen, allowing for a comfortable and serene dining experience. This focus on harmony comes across in the vegetarian tapas as well. One neighborhood favorite is the poached egg on smoked potato puree and sourdough bread, which Giada said was “like tasting smoked bacon.” That being said, Green Zebra has a lot to offer, and the regulars suggest the five-course tasting menu to allow for maximum enjoyment.
Recommended Dishes: Organic Farm Egg, Chef's Tasting Menu

13. Jestine’s Kitchen — Charleston, SC
This cozy establishment is known for having lines down the block, and it’s easy to see why: Jestine’s Kitchen serves up some of the most-authentic Southern food in town. With hearty portion sizes and a big menu, vegetarians and meat eaters alike will find something they love here. Try the okra gumbo, a big bowl of modestly priced warmth and comfort. Rachael Ray said of this feast, “It’s fantastic food. What a treat!”
Recommended Dish: Okra Gumbo

14. Jimmy’s Serious Sandwiches — Little Rock, Ark.
The namesake of this establishment got his start when he won the National Sandwich Contest in 1979 with a specialty called The Garden: spinach, green onions, green pepper, mayo, lemon juice, mushrooms, alfalfa sprouts, sunflower seeds and three kinds of cheese on pumpernickel. Impressed? Little Rock locals sure are. The Garden has been a best-seller for almost 30 years, and Jimmy’s Serious Sandwiches is known as a local legend.
Recommended Dish: The Garden Sandwich

15. Julia Blackbird’s New Mexican Cafe — Denver
You might not expect to find great New Mexican cuisine in Colorado, but the warm and inviting atmosphere at this restaurant draws in folks from all over Denver. Owner Julie Siegfried blends Native American, Mexican and Spanish cuisines to serve up tasty options that fit anyone’s diet. Try the Rellenos Norteno: two fire-roasted Chimayo chiles stuffed with goat cheese, dusted in blue cornmeal and flash-fried, served with rice and beans.
Recommended Dish: Rellenos Norteno

16. Memphis Taproom — Philadelphia
On Triple D, Guy’s used to trying some strange flavor combos, but he was totally wowed by the flavors at the Memphis Taproom. In particular, he deemed the vegan Smoked Coconut Club with tomato mayo “off the hook.” Located in an unassuming brick building, the Memphis Taproom has a fun vibe to match its creative fare. Bare light bulbs are strung across the ceiling over large wooden picnic tables. If you’re brave enough to face the cold (or wait until spring), sit outside on the patio and try a slice of the deliciously gooey, vegan peanut butter pie.
Recommended Dishes: Smoked Coconut Club, Peanut Butter Pie

17. Real Food Daily — Santa Monica
Bobby Flay was as impressed with the food at Real Food Daily as he was with its chef, Ann Gentry. Ann founded the restaurant 20 years ago and hasn’t looked back since. She’s renowned for combining her passions for good vegetarian cuisine and organic food in this illustrious location. Stop in for the Sea Cake, a popular croquette consisting of butternut squash, yam and sea vegetables served with pesto and sweet chile aioli. For your main meal, do yourself a favor and go with what’s in season and on the specials board. When you’re finished, take the short walk to the Santa Monica beaches.
Recommended Dish: Sea Cake

18. Silver Grille Cafe & Wines — Silverton, Ore.
In Silverton, the locavore movement is doing quite well with restaurants like the Silver Grille Cafe. Chef Jeff Nizlek and Bobby Flay talked about the cafe's dedication to utilizing foods produced in the area. One favorite dish that’s been created is the Gorgonzola bruschetta atop a sourdough baguette with herbs and hazelnuts. In case you’re looking for something a little heartier than this appetizer, be sure to try some of the polenta lasagna featuring eggplant, red and yellow peppers, fresh tomato sauce, ricotta, cheddar, Parmesan, garlic, herbs and spinach. 
Recommended Dishes: Gorgonzola Bruschetta, Polenta Lasagna

19. Sonsie — Boston
The next time you’re in Boston, Giada insists that you check out Sonsie. She says that it’s “perfect for people watching and gourmet pizza.” These delightful pies are cooked in a brick oven, and there’s a good ratio of year-round classics and seasonal specialties. Try the butternut squash pizza with blue cheese and toasted walnuts, or the goat cheese with sweet roasted peppers and kalamata olives. Snag one of the French bistro-style tables and settle in. This locale is especially nice in the summer when the front is open and fresh air pours in. 
Recommended Dishes: Butternut Squash Pizza, Goat Cheese Pizza

20. The Sparrow Tavern — Astoria, NY
When Guy came through Astoria on Triple D, the only word that could accurately describe his experience here was “righteous.” This rock-and-roll diner has a lot to offer from snazzy lighting to great service, but even the carnivores leave talking about the veggie burger: a homemade patty on a whole-wheat pita served with hand-cut spiced fries. Another consistent local favorite is the fanciest grilled cheese sandwich you’ve ever had. Melted fontina and manouri are drizzled with truffle oil and topped with radicchio and herbs in this fresh take on a classic meal. 
Recommended Dishes: Veggie Burger, Grilled Cheese

21. Sprouts at Marriott Camelback Inn — Scottsdale, Ariz.
Bobby Flay is known for his creative combinations of flavors, so when he’s impressed with someone’s kitchen skills, you can bet that the results are ingenious culinary creations. Bobby loved sipping on the Detox Margarita, a refreshing blend of fresh aloe and agave nectar. Sprouts has a delightful, sophisticated interior with wide windows that provide stunning panoramas of the surrounding desert. Pair your margarita with the Spa Eggs Benedict atop an English muffin with avocado and freshly made basil pesto.
Recommended Dishes: Detox Margarita, Spa Eggs Benedict

22. Sweet Home Waimanalo — Waimanalo, Hawaii
Everyone knows that Guy gets serious about his burgers, and he fell in love with a tofu burger that has “outrageous flavor” down in Waimanalo. Owner Joanne Kapololu created a restaurant that’s impressively dedicated to all things fresh, local and sustainable. The food is so fresh that it’s literally coming from right outside the door! With extremely friendly staff ready to serve up smoothies and veggie meatloaf, there’s really no reason not to take a break from the hustle of Honolulu and settle in. 
Recommended Dishes: Tofu Burger, Veggie Meatloaf

23. Tofu Ya — Los Angeles
Jeff Mauro was so enamored of the owners and flavors at Tofu Ya that he acknowledged that, in the case of mutual tears, man hugs would be acceptable forms of compassion. Jeff ordered the seafood tofu soup, and happily devoured the various banchan just to see if he’d get refills (he did). Banchan, or Korean side dishes (such as bean sprouts and spinach) that traditionally come with the meal, are known for being fresh and delicious. Carnivores will enjoy the spicy chicken bulgogi, a Korean BBQ dish. 
Recommended Dish: Seafood Tofu Soup


24. Tommy’s Restaurant — Cleveland
Tommy’s is committed to providing tasty but nutritious food and has basically become a local legend in Cleveland. There’s something for all diners here, whether you’re a vegan or meat lover or somewhere in between. Tommy’s still features a custom omelet designed by Rachael Ray, but diners are allowed to combine the plethora of ingredients to create their dream breakfast. The regulars recommend the Wildflower Falafel: fried bean cakes with veggies, mushrooms, baba and sesame sauce on a pita. Make sure to save room for an extra-thick mint chocolate chip milkshake.
Recommended Dishes: Custom Omelets, Wildflower Falafel, Mint Chocolate Chip Milkshake

25. Trattoria Grappolo — Santa Ynez, Calif.
Giada takes her authentic Italian cuisine very seriously, so you know it’s a high compliment that she recommends the food at Trattoria Grappolo. Begin the evening with one of the delicious antipasti, such as the melanzane alla Parmigiana, a dish starring baked eggplant with tomato sauce and fresh cheeses. Giada appreciates the delicacy with which these ingredients are handled, and suggests a pizza from the wood-burning stove. The Pizza Carciofi is a play on the classic Roman appetizer of deep-fried artichokes. This cozy, romantic locale is the perfect place to celebrate special events.
Recommended Dishes: Melanzane alla Parmigiana, Pizza Carciofi