Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Restaurant Roundup

A reader recently asked the Journal's food editor, Michael Hastings, for advice on vegetarian-friendly restaurants in town. The reader has vegetarian guests coming and wants to take them to places where they will be comfortable.

The fist thing to consider in this situation is whether your guests are vegetarian or vegan. In general, vegetarians don't eat meat, poultry or fish, but include dairy products and/or eggs. Vegans don't eat any animal products at all. In my experience, it's easier to find a vegetarian restaurant meal than a vegan one. But there are vegan options out there - you just may need to do extra research before choosing a restaurant.

Some cuisines are usually a good bet for vegetarians: Italian, Asian (Chinese, Thai) and Indian, for example. Some are not – obviously, barbecue restaurants and steak houses are not going to be your best choice. You may want to inquire before choosing a Southern, family-style restaurant or cafeteria – even the vegetables may be seasoned with meat.

Cassandra and I write about notable restaurants from time to time, but we haven’t done a "roundup" before. The following is not comprehensive, but suggests the variety of options in town. These are moderately priced restaurants that I tend to go to again and again.

Athena Greek Taverna, at 680 S. Stratford Road. From a simple vegetarian pita sandwich to an elaborate vegetarian moussaka, this restaurant offers a lot of tasty choices.

California Fresh Buffet – 1370 Peters Creek Pkwy – (On the Web at www.californiafreshbuffet.com) This may have the best salad bar in town. And on the hot bar, vegan items are clearly marked. A restaurant with something for everyone.

Cha Da Thai (on the Web at http://www.chadathai-nc.com/) at 420-J Jonestown Road, Winston-Salem. A beautiful, intimate restaurant with many vegetarian and vegan options.

Finnegan’s Wake – 620 N. Trade St. Through the use of faux meats, this Irish pub offers everything from a vegetarian shepherd's pie to a vegetarian reuben.

La Botana Mexican Restaurant – 1547 Hanes Mall Boulevard. An extensive regular menu has all the usual suspects, done well. But the specials menu (you may have to ask for this, since it is separate) includes several vegetarian dishes that you won't find anywhere else.

Nawab Indian Cuisine, at 129 S. Stratford Road. The menu in the restaurant (although not online) indicates the vegan specialties among its many vegetarian dishes.

Szechuan Palace, at 3040 Healy Drive. Elegant Chinese food, with a knowledgeable waitstaff that will help you choose vegetarian or vegan options from the extensive menu.

West End Café, at 411 W. Fourth St. From soup, salad and sandwiches to fancy dinner specials, this Winston-Salem institution has it all, and a fair bit of it is vegetarian.

Again, this is by no means a comprehensive list, but just a starting point. Readers, please let me know about the must-go places that I’ve left out.



At 1/23/2007 8:15 AM, Blogger Andy said...

Not sure if they still have on the menu but The Chuckwagon in Old Town (go north on Reynolda, on the left past the main old town intersection) had Not Dogs, Vegan "chicken" patties, and veggie burgers on the menu. This was back when the Owner's daughter took over and she was vegetarian. Been a while since I was there but I remember fondly discovering a southern "meat and three" diner with Not Dogs!

At 1/23/2007 3:45 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

I used to drive by the Chuckwagon all the time when I lived in that area of town, and I would never have suspected they had veggie meats available!


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