Lists of vegan- or vegetarian-friendly restaurants often have serious omissions since they draw mainly on places that specifically advertise themselves as veg-friendly; they overlook ethnic eateries that draw on mainly vegetarian traditions and places that serve mainly non-vegetarian food but have one or two amazing veggie options. After living in this area for five years in MIT, Cambridgeport, Inman, Harvard/Porter, and Teele, I’m attempting a better list. Items are formatted as “name of restaurant – location – category – number of restaurants I’ve been to recently in Cambridge or Somerville in this category”. For example, you can see from the Rod Dee listing that I picked it from 8 Thai restaurants. The last number should help you decide when to trust me. For instance, I can’t comment confidently on upscale restaurants since I haven’t been to many, and I seem to be too easy on food trucks.
I generally don’t ask servers exactly what’s in my food, so it is possible that some of these places don’t actually have food that is 100% vegan, but they should be pretty close.
Great places to eat in Cambridge and Somerville:
- Rod Dee – Porter – Thai – 8. I like to recommend Rod Dee to people whose food preferences I’m not familiar with, since everyone seems to like Thai food. There are a lot of mediocre Thai places around here, but Rod Dee is really good.
- Amsterdam Falafel – Davis – falafel – 4. At Amsterdam Falafel you assemble your own pita or falafel bowl from a variety of toppings that are far more delicious than the toppings offered a typical falafel place.
- True Bistro – Teele – upscale vegan – 1. Seasonal vegetables, ingredients you can’t pronounce, “Can I grind you some pepper?”, etc.
- Punjabi Dhaba – Inman – Indian – 12. I used to get takeout from Punjabi Dhaba after a long run or for TV night, so I never really paid attention to the food. But everyone else says it’s great.
- Guru – Teele – Indian – 12. Guru is more of a take-out place with a small amount of seating, but you can eat there.
- Dosa ‘n’ Curry – Somerville Ave – South Indian/fusion – 1. All vegetarian and about half vegan, and the menu very clearly marks vegan dishes.
- Felipe’s Taqueria – Harvard – Mexican – 7. Cheap, fast, delicious burritos.
- Boca Grande – Porter – Mexican – 7. Burritos. Try the tofu chile adobo.
- Savory Food Truck (“the Chinese food truck”) – Harvard – food truck – 7.
- Momogoose – MIT – food truck (“Asian”) – 7. Many options! Lots of food! Delicious! $5!
- JP Licks – Harvard and Davis – ice cream – 4. The only ice cream place that consistently has vegan ice-cream-like offerings instead of just sorbet. Sorbet is lame.
Places that would have easily made the list if I had been there more than once:
- Fasika – East Somerville – Ethiopian – 3. Now that Addis Red Sea has closed, you can’t get good Ethiopian or Eritrean food without taking a serious hike to East Somerville.
Overrated or overpriced places:
- Clover – MIT/Harvard/Inman – food truck. The portions are too small. I always have to get another lunch afterwards.
- Anything in Harvard Square that is not Felipe’s or a food truck.
- Life Alive – Central – food that is good for you and for the planet. Everyone loves Life Alive, but everything I’ve eaten there has been boring. People insist that I’ve just been ordering the wrong things.
- Fire and Ice – Harvard – pick-your-ingredients-and-watch-it-get-made. This tourist trap is for people who haven’t figured out that it’s best to let trained professionals judge what ingredients go well together, because you will just invent something weird.
Places that serve good food and are quiet and calm enough to leave space for great conversations:
- House of Tibet – Teele – Tibetan.
- 9 Tastes – Thai – Harvard.