South Florida's Best Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants
|Load up on veggies at Darbster Waterside Bistro.|
South Florida isn't exactly awash in vegetarian-friendly choices, but it's not a total wash out, either. From Palm Beach to Broward, there are a smattering of restaurants that either focus entirely on meatfree dining, or at the very least, acknowledge that veggies aren't really interested in eating yet another damned iceberg lettuce salad or soggy portobello sandwich. Below are ten restaurants that are doing a fine job of catering to the meatfree lifestyle in South Florida. As always, your input is welcome. Know a place we missed? Leave it in the comments.
All vegan, partly organic, and thoroughly gourmet, Sublime has been a favorite of vegetarian and flexitarians for years. In addition to meals like eggless quiche, brick-oven pizza, and chicken-free picatta, you'll find organic wines and cocktails that take flavor from freshly squeezed juices and hand-torn herbs. These are carefully constructed and presented dishes that do nothing to call to mind the soggy portobello burger that passes as the go-to veg dish in many a restaurant.
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Indeed, there are charred slabs of beef and thick burgers on the docket, but look past that and you'll find an entire menu devoted to meatless versions of popular dining-out favorites. The Gardein section of the book includes more than a dozen meatless entrées like a spicy Thai chicken pizza, beef sliders, and penne with chicken. See a burger you like? Go ahead and sub in a Gardein patty for the beef. Vegetarian and gluten-sensitive? They've got that covered too.
Woodlands Vegetarian Indian Restaurant
Find South Indian cuisine with an emphasis on curries and zero meat (but lots of naan to soak up all of those creamy and spicy sauces). Fans rave about the crazy-diverse menu and rock-bottom prices on dishes like the behemoth dosai -- a crepe crammed with curry -- or any number of seasoned and curried stews. The atmosphere is no-frills, set as it is in a strip mall and with little embellishment, but vegetarians and fans of Indian cuisine will find plenty of choices to sate the appetite.
Green Wave Cafe
This is the place to head when you're feeling weighed down by all of the (admittedly delicious) sugar, processed grains, and booze that make up a good portion of the American diet. This organic, raw café has a menu that changes daily but with specialty dishes that include vitamin-packed treats like the Green Goddess salad or the nutrient- and flavor-rich spaghetti and "neat" balls. Hell, they've even got a raw, vegan pizza and a vegan cheeseburger, if you can believe it.
Indus Herbal & Indian Cuisine
The menu, including the appetizer portion, is helpfully divided into vegetarian and nonveg sections, allowing you to save valuable time and get more quickly to the task of downing plates of Indian food. Meat-free specialties are priced from $9.99 to $14.99, and there are ten kinds of naan and other freshly baked breads to use when scooping up the seasoned sauces and curries left over on your plate. There's also a full bar available and desserts like kulfi and kheer to finish the meal.
Field of Greens
Salad eaters will want to head immediately to the create-your-own salad line, overflowing with dozens of components, plenty of which never had a face. There's also the option of vegetarian chili, which you can get straight up, atop tortilla chips, or drowning a baked potato, proving that vegetarians are no strangers to gluttony. There also is a handful of meat-free sandwiches, burgers, and signature salads on tap at this small, three-restaurant chain.
A pioneer in the Earth-friendly franchise game, Pizza Fusion in Fort Lauderdale offers gluten-free and vegan pies, or you can simply go veg if you choose. Sun-dried tomatoes, casein-free soy mozzarella, eggplant, and pesto number among the available toppings, or you can take the guesswork out of it and go straight for the Farmer's Market, stacked high with hefty chunks of veggies, or the offbeat pear and Gorgonzola. There also are a couple of sandwiches and salads sans meat - the roasted beet and feta salad is a good place to start.
Darbster Waterside Bistro
It takes creativity and finesse to execute a menu of crowd-pleasing classics like the reuben sandwich, chicken parm, and sliders with nary a shred of meat in the house. Voted New Times' Best Vegetarian Restaurant in 2011, meatheads and rabbit-huggers alike congregate on the waterside deck to share plates of palm cakes -- a take on crab cakes, constructed with fried hearts of palm -- or a platter of Nachos Libre piled high with everything, including faux chik'n or beef.
With a name like this, it would a shocker if you couldn't get a pizza topped with tofu. (Don't worry, you can: Ask for the Mega Veggie.) Creative types can go off-menu and build their own pie with toppers like BBQ tofu and tempeh. Need a sammie? You've got cold options (the avocado or the Capri) and grilled eats, like the portobello and cheese, teriyaki-grilled tofu, or marinated tempeh. Lots of craft beers available on tap.
Sophie n Me
This new addition to the limited Boca Raton healthy-eating scene serves only organic vegetables, and the menu is littered with vegan and gluten-free choices, like vegan soups, a coconut curry, and pad Thai. Lunch means wraps stuffed with grilled veggies or beans and rice or a quinoa and pesto salad if you want to go light. Organic beer and wines are available. If you've got a sweet tooth, be sure to ask about the day's dessert; vegan cupcakes in rotating flavors are a common sighting.
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