Eating healthy isn’t easy. And in Boston, it used to feel impossible.
Thankfully, more and more veggie-friendly restaurants are starting to pop up in the city. It’s no surprise that many of them are across the river in Cambridge and Somerville, though Boston is holding its own with a few quality spots.
Whether you’re a diehard vegan or just like to dabble in healthier eating after an indulgent weekend, these are the can’t-miss vegetarian restaurants (and food trucks) in the Boston area.
Eat at Jumbo’s
This tiny eatery opens shop a little out of the way in Somerville’s Ball Square, but it’s worth the journey. At first glance, it looks like your typical pizza and sub shop, but this staple of the Tufts University set is the place to go for vegan and vegetarian food that’s a little on the decadent side. Eat at Jumbo’s has sandwiches piled high with seitan and tofu, vegan pizza made with Daiya cheese, and even vegan poutine.
This Cambridge restaurant is the stuff vegan and vegetarian dreams are made of. Life Alive’s menu features a plethora of grain bowls in addition to salads, snacks, and grilled wraps. Complete your meal with a fresh juice or smoothie or Massachusetts-made kombucha (fizzy fermented tea). Life Alive’s sauces are addictive, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself going back again and again for a taste of the good stuff. Fitt Tip: If you’re outside the city, Live Alive has locations in Lowell and Salem.
What started as a business selling fresh juice at local farmers markets turned into a roving food truck slinging the same goods. A few years in, Mother Juice now has three brick-and-mortar locations (Kendall Square, Newbury Street, and at the Boston Public Market). The entire Mother Juice menu is vegan and gluten-free, which makes ordering a cinch. The hardest part is choosing which juice, smoothie, salad, or grain bowl sounds good that day.
My Thai Vegan Cafe
This unassuming spot in Chinatown serves up traditional Thai fare with no meat, a rare find in Boston. The extensive menu features everything from the classic pad thai and basil fried rice to steaming bowls of hot soup perfect for a cold winter day in the city. A meal at My Thai won’t break the bank either, so you can come here often for your vegan Thai favorites. And don’t miss the bubble tea!
What started as a vegan food truck (noticing a theme here?) is now a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Somerville’s Ball Square almost directly across the street from Eat at Jumbo’s. At Taco Party, you can feast on chimichurri tempeh tacos, seitan chorizo tacos, and jackfruit tacos for only $4 each. Top off you meal with an order of nachos made with sunflower cheese.
Located in Somerville’s Teele Square a short walk from Davis Square, True Bistro is the Boston area’s only upscale vegan restaurant. The chef previously worked at the famed vegan restaurant Millennium in San Francisco, and it shows. Every dish on the seasonal menu shines, and True Bistro’s white-tablecloth atmosphere makes it the perfect place to take a date.
This vegetarian diner in Cambridge’s Central Square is the perfect place to go for veg-friendly comfort food. From the corned-beef seitan hash and gluten-free pancakes to the housemade veggie burgers and cauli-of-the-sea, you can’t go wrong for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, don’t miss the sky-high cakes and vegan frappes.
The undisputed king of vegan ice cream in Boston is the cleverly named FoMu (faux moo, get it?). But there’s nothing fake about this delicious frozen treat. FoMu’s creamy coconut-based, kosher concoctions often use local ingredients to create flavors like Bourbon Maple Walnut and Sweet Lavender. It’s no surprise that the scoop shop’s original location was in Allston, the vegan capital of Boston, and that the company has since expanded to Jamaica Plain and the South End. You’ll also find FoMu at some of the eateries on this list, like Life Alive, Veggie Galaxy, and True Bistro.
VO2 Vegan Cafe
Attached to the much-loved O2 Yoga about halfway between Central and Harvard Squares in Cambridge, VO2 Vegan Cafe is the perfect place to go for a meal or snack no matter if you’ve just been to a class at the studio. Go light with a refreshing smoothie, salad, or soup, or fill up on a bagel with tofu cream cheese, a breakfast burrito, or pressed sandwich.
Whole Heart Provisions
Relatively new to the vegan/vegetarian restaurant scene in Boston, this Allston eatery is loosely associated with the beloved Roxy’s Grilled Cheese enterprise (which is definitely not vegan, but still oh-so-delicious). Whole Heart Provisions aims to put vegetables back at the center of the table through its signature bowls that are influenced by a variety of cuisines, street food snacks (think seared avocado and falafel dogs), and vegan twists on classic brunch dishes.
Just opened in the Seaport, by CHLOE. has finally made its Boston debut and all we can say is, it’s about time. The setting of this vegan eatery is as beautiful as its plates of guacamole burgers, coconutty pancakes, and kale cookies n’ cream vegan ice cream. Knowing Bostonians love them some clam chowder, by CHLOE. has even created a vegan version with cauliflower.
Clover Food Lab
While food trucks slinging everything from tacos to lobster rolls are now everywhere in most major US cities, there was a time not too long ago that they were known for more artery-clogging fare. In Boston, Clover was one of the first businesses to dive into food trucks and in the years since, it has expanded to more than 10 locations (two trucks and nine brick-and-mortar restaurants) throughout the Boston area. All of Clover’s food is vegetarian (though, they largely stay away from that label to have a wider appeal) and they can often accommodate other dietary restrictions. The ever-changing menu means your taste buds will never be bored.
With one location already in the Back Bay and two more coming soon (look for Downtown Crossing and Prudential Center sometime this year), Dig Inn is poised for a Boston takeover. The eatery is all about build-your-own-bowls featuring farm fresh ingredients like toasted farro, maple and sriracha Brussels sprouts, and grilled organic tofu. Dig Inn isn’t all vegan/vegetarian, but there are enough options that it definitely feels that way.
Finding a really tasty vegan/vegetarian pizza can be really tough. But with Veggie Crust on the scene, it’s easier than ever in Boston. Right next door to Dosa ‘n’ Curry in Somerville, Veggie Crust makes almost everything it serves in-house so you know it’s super fresh…and super veggie-friendly. After you’ve had your fill of ’za, try some of the coconut-based vegan nice cream (bonus: it’s also gluten-free).
NU Cafe and Juice Bar
Somerville is Boston’s foodie haven, so it’s no surprise that another one of the best veggie restaurants on the scene set up there last year. NU Cafe and Juice Bar serves a slew of fresh juices and smoothies in addition to salads, grain bowls, sandwiches, and soups. They also has an extensive selection of specialty coffees and even offer beer and wine.
We’ve told you how to get your hands on great vegan Thai, Indian, and pizza. Now we’ve got the scoop on the best vegan Chinese food in Boston. Allston’s Grasshopper is a staple of the scene and specializes in serving your favorite Chinese dishes with quality meat substitutes. Three cheers for no more rubbery tofu!
You’ll have to drive a little to get to Red Lentil in Watertown, but it’s worth hopping in the car for the inventive veggie dishes at this charming eatery. Start your day with a vegan-friendly brunch that features soy whipped cream on the waffles, soy sausage, and even vegan French toast. The lunch and dinner options are just as satisfying, with a vegan caesar salad, oyster mushroom calamari, and sweet potato quesadilla with vegan cheese.
Dosa ‘n’ Curry
Need to satisfy a craving for Indian food? Look no further than Dosa ‘n’ Curry in Somerville, where the kitchen is free of eggs, meat, fish, and animal by-products. The extensive menu has all of your Indian favorites along with sizeable dosas (basically like giant crepes) filled with savory veggie goodness.