10 great places where vegetarians don't sacrifice flavor

1:57 PM, Jan 6, 2013   |    comments
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Thrive

Seattle

Founded by one of Clement's former patients and her daughter, this cafe is known for its gourmet offerings, all gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan. The menu includes warm grain bowls, smoothies and even shots of frozen blue-green algae, said to increase focus and reduce stress. There's also a popular dessert menu. 206-525-0666; generationthrive.com

Christopher's Kitchen

Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Clement is a regular at this organic eatery near his home in South Florida. A favorite dish: the Santa Barbara salad with arugula, romaine, dates, beets, tomato, red pepper, avocado and almonds with an orange poppy seed dressing. Popular desserts include pumpkin pie and tarts with whipped creams made with nuts. "It's elegant and simple. Fine food," he says. 561-318-6191; christopherskitchenfl.com

Candle Café

New York

Clement says the food is so good at this spot with locations on the Upper East and West sides of Manhattan that he has brought people who aren't vegans. "They've never lifted their eyebrows. They thought they were at a fine restaurant," he says. Fruit and vegetable juices are served as cocktails, and traditional-style Italian dishes leave out unhealthy ingredients. Sister restaurant Candle 79 offers a more upscale experience. 212-472-0970; candlecafe.com

Catch a Healthy Habit

Fairfield, Conn.

 

You'll usually find a crowd at this small cafe, offering everything from breakfast items to entrees made with zucchini noodles. The owners are eager to educate the public about the benefits of vegan living, says Clement, who particularly likes the protein-rich salads. "It's so fresh and delicious. You feel well fed." 203-292-8190; catchahealthyhabit.com

Crudessence

Montreal

In a city known for fine dining, this two-location chain doesn't disappoint. "It's really French cuisine, but made in raw vegan form," Clement says. Creams and pâtés are made with nuts and vegetables. "They have these wonderful flaky pastries you'd get in a French bakery, but they're 'legal,' as we call it." crudessence.com

Millennium Restaurant

San Francisco

Diners sometimes have to wait weeks for reservations at this gourmet vegan restaurant. It offers tasting menus with wine parings and entrees such as sweet potato tamales and roasted artichokes stuffed with seasoned walnuts and portobello mushrooms. "If you look at the dessert menu, you'd swear you were in Denmark at a pastry shop," Clement says. 415-345-3900; millenniumrestaurant.com

Fresh Restaurant

Toronto  

This casual mini chain can trick some diners into eating healthy. "If you want something that tastes like a hamburger, they have it," Clement says. "They have things that imitate or taste like French cuisine (or) Asian cuisine." Others snarf up Yukon Gold french fries and quinoa-crusted onion rings. And the bar offers everything from carrot and kale juice to a mint chocolate espresso shake. freshrestaurants.ca

Karyn's Fresh Corner

Chicago

 

 The best advertisement for the restaurant is owner Karyn Calabrese, who's in her 60s, but looks 35, Clement says. The Sunday buffet here is epic, with more than a dozen selections. "This is possibly the best example of a committed chef who makes this food acceptable to everyone." Diners drive hundreds of miles to visit, often bringing coolers to pick up dishes, such as enchiladas and Buffalo-style vegetarian "chicken" tenders. 312-255-1590; karynraw.com

Vegeria

San Antonio  

Clement says his kids loved this Southwestern eatery, where vegan nachos and smoked mushroom tacos are favorites. "They were crazy about it," he says. Other menu standouts include a filling avocado burger and raw beet ravioli served with chipotle almond cheese. "It has better flavors than cooked." The restaurant has a BYOvB policy, allowing patrons to bring their own vegan bottles of wine or beer. 210-826-4223; myvegeria.com

Cafe Gratitude

Venice, Calif.

Clement's favorite restaurant has locations across California. He says the chefs artfully mimic familiar dishes, but make them healthy. Menu items include lasagna made without grains and Mexican-inspired items without cheese or processed foods. "You can bring a meat-eater and they're going to love it." The fare is organic and vegan, and doesn't contain refined sugar, flour or additives. Other locations: Berkeley, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Los Angeles. 424-231-8000; cafegratitude.com

(Copyright © 2013 USA TODAY)

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