Top 5 Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants

rugglesgreen.jpg
Ruggles Green.
After listening to The Smith's Meat is Murder album one too many times, I was a vegetarian for many years. And actually when I'm not setting out to sample a restaurant's most popular or signature dishes, I generally prefer to stick to the vegetarian menu options. When I'm going veggie, these are my top five picks:

5. Quan Yin

This Bellaire restaurant is the place to go if you're craving your favorite meat-based dishes but still wanting to maintain your cruelty-free diet. Everything is completely meat, seafood, egg, and dairy free. Soy-based products are used to recreate traditional meat dishes like barbecue "pork" and shrimp spring rolls that contain cute little shrimp-shaped soy patties. The place is a trip.

4. Ruggles Green

Though at peak times the noise can be deafening at the tiny Alabama location, lazy afternoons on the sunny patio make up for it. With items like Honey Fried Goat Cheese Salad with almonds and mangos, Veggie Nut Burgers, and Wood-Fired Quinoa Mac n' Cheese, there's a plethora of menu choices. Finish it up with a slice of their signature Pink Velvet Cake, and you've got yourself a good meal.

Thumbnail image for hobbitcafephotos.jpg
Jeff Balke
Brasil.
3. Brasil

As I write this, I realize that there seems to be something about vegetarian dining and patios that go hand in hand, because here is another case of a restaurant serving up great veggie options on a sunny patio that is ideal for wiling away an afternoon. A late lunch consisting of a steaming cup of jasmine tea, a roasted beet, goat cheese and walnut sandwich on freshly baked ciabatta bread, and a small serving of velvety chocolate mousse will make you forget about that roast beef in no time.

2. Hobbit Café

When I became a vegetarian at 14, this was the first place my mother took me to eat. New to the veggie thing and being a surly teenager, I was pretty opposed to actually eating vegetables. I loved to get the platters of beans and rice and tortillas and assemble them into tacos using various condiments. The Black Bean burger was another favorite, as were the veggie enchiladas, which had enough flavor to let me forget that I was eating plants. Now that I love vegetables, I still enjoy going and having a leisurely brunch on the patio or ordering a sizzling platter of Portobello fajitas.

1. Madras Pavilion
Let's face it: Indians know how to put together a vegetarian dish that will knock your socks off. I'm lucky enough to work across the street from Madras, so I can go down and feast on their purely vegetarian buffet almost any time I want. And as much I enjoy the various spiced chickpea, spinach, and potato dishes that fill the buffet line, the made-to-order dosai are the real treat. A crispy, crepe-like dish made from lentil or rice flour, it's available a dozen different ways -- all delicious, satisfying and completely vegetarian.



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Location Info

Venue

Map

Quan Yin

10804 Bellaire, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Ruggles Green

2311 W. Alabama, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Brasil

2604 Dunlavy, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Hobbit Cafe

2243 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Madras Pavilion Indian Cuisine

3910 Kirby, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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49 comments
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antiM
antiM

Also Udipi... and absolutely Pepper Tree.

Anon
Anon

I never thought I'd say these words, but Hobbit uses way too much avocado. I feel like whenever I go there, I leave a mound of green mush on the plate. Love Brasil's beet sandwich though, but I too am surprised that Barnaby's and Baba Yega didn't make the cut. I hate Pepper Tree though! Once you get past novelty of a wholly vegetarian buffet, the food is just bland.

TheW
TheW

Could not agree more. So frickin' much avocado.

TheW
TheW

Dear people about to use this list for vegetarian guests: please don't! This is quite a good list of vegetarian and near-vegetarian restaurants, but a terrible list of vegetarian-friendly restaurants. Trust me, most vegetarians (at least ovo-lactos) would greatly prefer to go to an omnivorous place with generally great food, not a so-so place with a ton of vegetarian options.

Also, if you want veggie Indian food, there are much better (and cheaper) places than Madras.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

No suggestions of other places, though?

TheW
TheW

Ask and ye shall receive:

- Veggie Indian food: Balaji Bhavan, Shiv Sagar, Bansuri truck (do not go to Sweet n Namkin - worst chaat of my life....didn't think it was possible to screw up chaat)

- Veggie-friendly restaurants (at least ovo-lacto-friendly): Dolce Vita, Da Marco, Feast (yes, veggie-friendly), Ibiza, Hugo's, Rabelais, Gravitas, Indika, Haven (though personally haven't been delighted by the veggie dishes at Haven), t'afia, the list goes on. On the more casual side, Zabaks, the Indian places mentioned above, Baba Yega, any decent burrito place, etc.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Great list! Although I have to disagree on Sweet n Namkin, of course. I love Bansuri, but I love Sweet n Namkin's dahi puri more. On the other hand, Bansuri's dabeli are the stuff dreams are made of...

Bruce R
Bruce R

It's been a couple years since I've eaten at Mardras and Geri says it has improved since then. But based on my memory from two years ago, I'd say every Indian buffet in the Clear Lake area has a better vegetarian buffet than Madras. And they also serve meat. The restaurants I'm thinking of are India56, Cuisine of India, Moghul, and Bombay Tadka.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

Excellent. I have a couple of vegetarian house guests coming & this is useful! I'm also always looking for veggie foods for before/after yoga classes. Thanks!

SPS
SPS

Bhojan and Balaji Bhavan are way better than Madras Pavilion. The Kirby MP has really fallen off a cliff lately.

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

I hate vegans with a passion. You know what happens to animals? They die. And it has already been proven that plants can feel pain. Hypocrites.

That said, the only meatless thing in town worth eating is the felafel at Zabak's and the Tofu at Mo Mong. Thank me later.

Kyle
Kyle

There are a number of different reasons people choose vegetarianism, only one of which is suffering of animals. Furthermore, an omnivore may occasionally feel like eating something that isn't meat for one particular meal. No need to hate, just live and let live. Nobody's making you change the way *you* eat.

KP
KP

Both vegetarian and equal-opportunity friends moan (in the best possible way) over the veggie burger at Natchee's Supper n' Punch.

Just putting it out there ... I'm sure there's a Top 5 Vegetarian Dishes in our future.

SirRon
SirRon

Oh please tiny, adorable baby Jesus, let there be more Top 5's in our future.

KP
KP

Let's get specific! Top 5 Meatless Burgers? Top 5 Uses of Beans? Top 5 Mostly Brown Vegetable Patties with Some Spices and Maybe a Pepper or Two on a Bun? Top 5 Atmospheres to Enjoy Said Mostly Brown Vegetable Patties with Some Spices and Maybe a Pepper or Two on a Bun?

Please know that I mean no sarcasm. I would read all of those.

Stef
Stef

T'afia, hands down is the most veggie/dietary restriction-friendly restaurant in the city! Most others have been very disappointing to me...

Geri
Geri

T'afia is a fab choice. Agreed.

Tbonesandtofu
Tbonesandtofu

Love all of these options, but would agree that Baba Yega, Barnaby's, Indika and Pepper Tree deserve a place here. But so do some "fine dining" establishments like T'afia, Backstreet and Hugos.

Geri
Geri

I agree. As I was compiling the list, I realized how many good vegetarian friendly places we have in town. Go Houston!

Stef
Stef

I must agree with Pepper Tree as well, very good, especially the weekend buffet!

Bruce R
Bruce R

I found Madras Pavillion to be disappointing. And the best things at Hobbit Cafe contain meat. Their black bean burger is too dry.

Geri
Geri

The first time I went to Madras, I was very disappointed. But that was several years ago, and since I was forced to go back once, it was delicious and I've been very happy since.

antiM
antiM

Madras has cut way down on their spices... the last two times I've eaten there it's been a big difference. Opting for Udipi, even though it's a father drive for lunch.

Filenedemarc
Filenedemarc

Hobbit! Yes. And even better with...great craft beers and wines by the glass...on the patio, or outside bar watching the 'stros do battle.

On drawback, lunar-like parking lot.

Thursday Girl
Thursday Girl

Gotta throw in another good word for Baba Yega. Their Veggie Club sandwich is fantastic! Plus it's a great place to take a mixed group of both vegetarians and meat-eaters - that's not always an easy thing.

Ray of Spite
Ray of Spite

Indika!!!!!!

Geri
Geri

Indika is one of my favorite all times certainly!

Am_Bro_Se
Am_Bro_Se

Pepper Tree is awesome too. Been vegan since Ash Wednesday, and although I'm about ready to break, it's places like these - and Aladdin - that have kept me going. Oh, Cali Sandwich has an awesome tofu selections too.

Geri
Geri

Girl I did the vegan thing for a minute and it is so hard. You go with your awesome self-discipline! Can I borrow some?

Eric S
Eric S

I'm surprised that neither of my Montrose veggie stalwarts, Baba Yega's and Barnaby's, made the list. Whenever I'm going out with vegetarians we usually wind up at one of those places, because they have a good balance of veggie and meat offerings.

Hobbit used to be great, but I guess I got to the point where I no longer found the perpetually-stoned waiters to be "charming." Also, the parking situation sucks. The strawberry lemonade is awesome, but it isn't worth a busted oil pan.

Ruthie J M
Ruthie J M

Ugh, I can't stand Ruggles Green. Surprised t'afia isn't on the list. Giacomo's is surprisingly great for vegetarians and vegans.

Kyle
Kyle

Woe is me, no Baba Yega!

Geri
Geri

They were soooo close Kyle - I feel your pain. But they can be a little hit or miss, so they got eeked on in the end. The mushroom cheese sandwich rocks my world though!

Parker
Parker

I have been eagerly awaiting the HP top 5 vegetarian post... yay!

Geri
Geri

So glad to hear it :)

Brat
Brat

Field of Greens

Evan
Evan

I do like their tuna.

Knitting Reader
Knitting Reader

Although their food is good, I have a problem eating at a place that doesn't know the correct use of apostrophes.

AuntiMatter
AuntiMatter

Actually, if I recall correctly, their apostrophe catastrophe is due to another restaurant with the same name. Adding the apostrophe was a last-minute decision to avoid being sued. Or something.

Punctuation aside, I just wasn't impressed with what ordered there, so I haven't been back.

Onions
Onions

Hobbit blows, Geri. You must be too young to know Hobbit Hole and how great it was.

Other than that, good list.

Maureen Hall
Maureen Hall

Hobbit still makes a great Gandalf! Yes I remember them on Shepherd... you can still buy a loaf of the whole wheat bread too!

SirRon
SirRon

I bet you say "kids these days" a lot. Just saying.

Onions
Onions

Most people think it's the same place. It is not. Went to Hobbit 3 times and it sucked worse each time.

SirRon
SirRon

I checked again. It says Hobbit Cafe up there, not "the old Hobbit that you guys bitch about all the time." The "new", suck-y Hobbit, is allowed to be loved too. Just like puppies. And onions.

Sir Loin
Sir Loin

Are you saying he's wrong?

SirRon
SirRon

I think I'm saying that his particular opinion is tired and over played here. Are you saying I'm wrong?

SirRon
SirRon

If I pinch and scar a plant, will it not wilt? Plants have feelings. Vegetarians are murderers too. -Hamburgers

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