Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurant Roundup

Taco PartyA taco at Taco Party. Photos by Adrianne Mathiowetz.

Veggie Crust

What if there were a magical place where no one ever had to sacrifice pizza for paneer masala or vice versa? Well, that place is now a reality, and it’s located right on Somerville Avenue.

Veggie Crust, which opened its doors in 2016 and is run by the owners of Dosa N Curry, is the long-awaited answer for the indecisive vegetarian or, frankly, anyone who loves good food. The menu features fascinating speciality pies like coconut corn pizza with alfredo sauce (can be vegan), paneer tikka masala, garden veggie manchurian, and fresh jalapeno. You can even build your own pizza with a choice of sauce (ranging from marinara to pesto to masala) and toppings including mushrooms, sweet corn, and paneer. Of course, the traditional Italian varieties of pizza are well represented at Veggie Crust, as are paninis, salads, and pastas. The only animal product within the Veggie Crust building is cheese, and all dishes can easily be made vegan or even gluten-free.

Veggie CrustThe creative menu at Veggie Crust was the product of four years’ planning and craftsmanship by the owner, Raj Verma. He has been in Somerville since the 1990s, and was inspired to open his own vegetarian restaurant when his parents joined him in the early 2000s.

“My whole family, my ancestors, were all vegetarian,” Verma explains.

Verma wanted a place where he, his parents, and other devoutly vegetarian and vegan folks could find plant-based food without the usual stress. Verma does not eat eggs, for example, which he often found out were in other restaurants’ pizza dough.

Verma requests his staff not bring any meals containing meat or eggs over the threshold of the restaurant to prevent any possibility of cross-contamination.

For both awesome veg pizza and a heartwarming dose of Verma’s thoughtfulness, Veggie Crust is the place to be. And veggie-lovers can rejoice at the fact that Veggie Crust is looking to expand into Brookline.

445 Somerville Avenue • vegcrust.com • 617-764-4605

 

Dosa N Curry

Dosa N Curry has long been a favorite all-vegetarian Indian restaurant that specializes in cuisine from both the northern and southern portions of the subcontinent, as well as Indo-Chinese dishes. The restaurant’s multi-regional focus is a delight, but the fact that it’s all vegetarian, all the time, is certainly the cherry on top of this ethical and eco-friendly sundae.

Dosa N CurryOne of the things that sets Dosa N Curry apart is found right in its name: dosa. Lots of dosa. For those who don’t know, dosa is a South Indian specialty that doesn’t always grace your typical New England Indian restaurant menu. Some might compare dosa to a thin pancake or a crepe, but it’s really on a level of its own. Much larger than a pancake or crepe, Dosa is warm, stretchy, and doughy, with a hint of lentils inside. These huge circles of joy can be filled with any combination of sauces and stuffing. Options include potatoes, masala, cabbage, and other veggies. They also can be served classically—with nothing but ghee (butter!).

At Dosa N Curry there are over 15 varieties of just dosa to choose from, proving that the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle is anything but limited. If you manage to pry your eyes away from the dosa section of the menu and explore other options—which include more bread varieties such as poori and tandoori roti—you can also find Jain dishes. Those who practice Jainism, an ancient Indian religion that has some common ground with Buddhism and Hinduism, avoid eating onion, garlic, and other root vegetables.

As if the food wasn’t enough of a draw, the restaurant is perfect for sitting down or carrying out. The interior is warm, with an abundance of green booths and gentle lighting that offer a calm and welcoming atmosphere. The Dosa N Curry kitchen is completely free of any eggs, meat, fish, or animal products. Cheese (usually in the form of paneer) and other dairy is the only animal product available.

447 Somerville Avenue • dosa-n-curry.com • 617-764-3152

 

Taco Party

Keith Schubert needed a change. He had been working as a drum technician traveling with bands for 13 years, and was growing tired of living out of a suitcase.

“I was sitting on a plane, right when food trucks were taking off, and it just struck me … ’taco parties’ … I got home and immediately started working on it,” he says. The Taco Party idea, in fact, came from his weekly “taco Tuesday” parties at home with his wife and friends.

Taco PartySchubert took his Taco Party to the streets in a brightly painted food truck in 2013. But in 2015 he decided that after “all the headaches that come with a literally rolling kitchen,” it was time to find a brick and mortar party house to go along with the taco truck. To Somerville’s good fortune, that home ended up on Broadway.

With tempting options like the tiki taco (soy ginger marinated tofu and grilled pineapple), the cornmeal crusted mushroom taco (mushrooms, arugula, and salsa roja), or the chorizo seitan taco (spicy ground seiten, green cabbage, and chipotle salsa), it’s impossible to go wrong at Taco Party. It even offers nachos, tortas, and sweets.

While Schubert has many inventive versions of these favorites, he likes to keep things from getting overly indulgent or unusual.

“We have a fryer and we have seitan, but half of our menu is straight up ‘I know what that vegetable is,’” he says.

Why go veg? It’s pretty simple in Schubert’s eyes: “It’s good for the planet, and a bunch of animals don’t die.”

Schubert’s fun, welcoming attitude is not only immediately apparent when you chat with him, but it’s also reflected in the restaurant’s decor. With retro-style black-and-white tile floors and its walls and storefront painted cactus green, Taco Party is a cute place to grab some seriously delicious veggie tacos. And it doesn’t even have to be a Tuesday.

711 Broadway • tacopartytruck.com • 617-764-0683

 

True Bistro

With white table cloths, delicate lighting, and vases of fresh flowers, True Bistro is not your typical vegan option. A gourmet restaurant with a seasonal menu, True Bistro is an excellent place to find masterfully creative flavors like a sweet potato ravioli with fresh turmeric pasta and lemongrass coconut cream or a Kata Nest dessert with pistachio, rose water, white chocolate mousse, and fresh fruit. Yes, that’s right, this is all vegan. True Bistro also offers an extensive drink list that includes fine wine, beer, specialty cocktails, and non-alcoholic house drinks.

Stuart Reiter, who hails from San Francisco, is head chef, co- owner, sommelier, beer selector, and pastry chef of True Bistro, which opened its doors in 2010 in Teele Square. True Bistro expanded its bar area in October 2017, which allowed it to bump its seating from 30 to 53.

True BistroReiter notes there’s been an explosion of vegan/vegetarian options in the fast food and casual dining sector, and while many amazing sit-down restaurants in the area are happy to accommodate, he thinks there’s room for more vegan gourmet. In fact, his inspiration for opening True Bistro was a response to that lack of gourmet vegan/vegetarian options in the Boston area, he says.

Reiter enjoys the adaptability that comes with the seasonal mission of True Bistro. “Mother nature forces my hand,” he says, “I try a new dish almost every week.” is winter he’ll be serving up roasted winter squash with salsa verde, cashew sour cream, and pepitas. To the boon of Somerville vegans and omnivores alike, there’s much flavor and art to be spooned, sipped, and savored at True Bistro.

1153 Broadway • truebistroboston.com • 617-627-9000

 

This story appears in The Wellness Issue Scout Somerville, which is available for free at more than 220 drop spots throughout Somerville (and just beyond its borders) or by subscription.

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