Best vegetarian restaurant
Most of us omnivores have a hard time believing that you vegetarians out there ever really enjoy your eats - until, that is, you cajole us into joining you for a meal at Grasshopper. Sure, we scoff as we enter the casual, nondescript café and steel ourselves for a sampling of - what's that, battered gluten? Sautéed seitan? Vegi-squid? But then we take a bite: of garlicky greens and crispy fried dumplings, of curry-coconut noodles and hot-and-sour soup - and maybe just a smidge of that "pork" in black-bean sauce, stir-fried with scallions and peppers. Are we sold? Well, let's just say we're ready to talk turkey - uh, tofu.
Equally gung-ho green and communally committed, while not at all holier-than-thou or humorless, is Veggie Planet, Didi Emmons's Harvard Square hole-in-the-wall (or rather hole-in-the-floor, given its basement site adjoining Club Passim). Indeed, this pizzeria serves up the sassiest, spunkiest pies on the plant-eating planet, sporting everything from romesco sauce and caesar salad to peanut curry and black-bean purée. From another planet entirely, meanwhile, is the menu at the Organic Garden Café, in Beverly, where mushroom-nut burgers and zucchini "lasagna" prove that raw goods don't have to be a raw deal.
Grasshopper, 1 North Beacon Street, Allston, (617) 254-8883; Veggie Planet, 47 Palmer Street, Cambridge, (617) 661-1513, www.veggieplanet.net; Organic Garden Café, 294 Cabot Street, Beverly, (978) 922-0004, www.organicgardencafe.com.