Top Ten Seattle Vegetarian Joints

Spinach salad with sherried mushrooms and carrots. (Photo by: Anjelika Gretskaia/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Vegetarians have long had to languish in the salad section of restaurant menus, begging the wait staff to disclude the obligatory bacon bits and hoping for the addition of some simple chickpeas or a handful of parmesan. Not so in Seattle. Whole restaurants exist for the very reason of vegetarian sustenance, and not just a few. The vegetarian scene is alive and well in Seattle. Here go the best ten vegetarian (and vegan) places in the Emerald City.

Cafe Flora

Cafe Flora is elegant but comfortable. You can feel fancy without being fancy. Their American-style vegetarian food is thoughtful and creative in execution, and the menu changes with the seasons (as they should). Get a seat in the atrium and much on yam fries and a slice of chanterelle pizza. Also, brunch is an important thing in Seattle, which Cafe Flora has in spades.

Chaco Canyon Cafe

This organic cafe is entirely vegan and partially raw. Their inventive approach to food illustrates how important they feel food is to them and to their patrons. Farm-grown vegetables are cobbled together into delicious and healthy dishes that don’t end in you grabbing your stomach from grease pain. There is nothing missing from this food. It is perfect as is.

Pizza Pi Vegan Pizzeria

Pizza is often a fond and distant memory for many vegans. Absent cheese, pizza is decorated dough with no cohesive quality to it. Pizza Pi proves this wrong. You may not feel entirely healthy while eating the creamy and garlicky vegan slices, laid heavy with fake cheese, but you will feel like a person eating pizza, which is really the point.

Plum Vegan Bistro

Plum is the familial evolution of a vegan sandwich shop called Hillside Quickies, started by the mother of the owner of Plum Bistro. The menu, just as the name, matured and continues to do so as it branches out across Seattle and beyond. Entirely vegan and organic, Plum’s menu offers a great deal of variety: burgers, pizza, salads, fake chicken-fried steak. Hit up their amazing happy hour to get a taste of all of it, plus some cheap beers.

Wayward Vegan Cafe

Wayward serves hangover food for hungry vegans. Their breakfast menu, served all day, is vast and delightfully greasy. But you could just as easily drift over to lunch or dinner, something to sate the vegan midwesterner in you, maybe the Mac Daddy (a familiar fast food facsimile) or the Fried Tofu Fingers. If you’re feeling guilty, stop by Whole Foods on the way home for some kale and a smoothie.

Araya’s Place

Thai food has always seemed almost accessible to vegetarians. Hidden in that glistening and fragrant tofu dish, there could be fish sauce waiting to ruin your day. Be not hesitant at Araya’s, as anything you can point to on the menu is entirely vegan. A number of options might be overwhelming, now that you’ve got a whole menu to bite your lip at. No worries. Pick a curry at random and a bottle of whatever beer they got. You made the right decision.

Bamboo Garden

Take hungry carnivores to this typical-looking Chinese restaurant. After they’ve demolished a whole plate of Kun Pao Chicken, they will be surprised to hear that they were momentarily vegan and loved it. If you are a fan of the fake meat, come to Bamboo Garden. It will feel exactly like any other Chinese place, in a good way.

No Bones About It (food truck, various locations)

It’s exciting to be able to include a food truck in this list. While most food trucks cater to the over-the-top every-type-of-obscure-meat crowd, No Bones About It caters to no-meat-but-you-wouldn’t-know-it crowd. Seriously great food that anyone can enjoy. Try the Crispy Cauliflower Wings. And then everything else.

In The Bowl

This cute little Thai place on Capitol Hill has a dedicated following, and the regulars to prove it. Don’t let the clip-art laden Office 95 menu detract you from experiencing the joy of all the wonderful “episodes” (sections?) In The Bowl has to offer: lots of delicious fake meats intermingled with sauce and noodles. Don’t be a hot shot and order it too hot. They will make you pay for your second try. And, yes, it is normal to lick your plate.

Jhanjay

Another Thai place to close out on. There’s no reason to have just one anyway. Jhanjay has the usual fare you expect in a Thai place — curries, noodles, fried rice — but the appetizers stand out. The corn patties, the potato puffs, the wontons. Really you should just get the sampler. Why withhold from yourself? Don’t come for the fake meat, though. Tofu remains king here, and for good reason.

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