Updated: Nov 18, 2019
After my Paris and Ho Chi Minh City guides, many of you asked me on Instagram to create a plant-based Boston guide, and since this is my backyard it makes total sense to create this guide for you based on my favorite places to eat here.
There's plant-based options popping up all over, and while I mostly cook my meals at home, 1. because I enjoy it and 2. because I find I feel a lot better after I eat at home, I still do like to take time off cooking and try something new. Especially when I'm out and about. These are some of my favorite Boston plant-based cafes and restaurants.
Life Alive is a great lunch spot, it's expanded to multiple locations in Back Bay, Brookline, Salem, Lowell and with the original being in Cambridge. They offer warm grain bowls, noodles, wraps, soups, salads, smoothies, juices, kombucha, and coffee & tea drinks. I always get something different, but many people I know have a favorite go-to bowl, like the Fool or the Swami. There's a different menu for each location, a few of the newer locations like Brookline and Back Bay offer breakfast, and they also offer catering. I like the new layout of the Back Bay spot, I've mostly gone to the Cambridge one which looks a lot more dated yet still cozy with plenty of seating downstairs.
Located in Downtown Crossing, Spyce is a new concept created by MIT students that teamed up with Chef Daniel Boulud. It has robots that make your food before your eyes. First you choose a bowl you'd like on a touchscreen and pay, then you watch as the bowls spin and cook your meal for you. I really liked the whole experience, because you would think that it might be really impersonal but the staff actually assists throughout the process. They even came to check on us after we sat down to make sure we had everything, they were so helpful and friendly. I love how they offer all types of cuisines, with a Thai bowl, Indian Bowl, Korean, Italian Pasta, Lebanese, and Latin. There's vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten free, and vegan options along with the regular offerings. I had the vegan Indian bowl and it was delicious. All the bowls are under $10 too, made possible by the robots.
So I'll be honest, I haven't been to the three By Chloe Boston locations in Fenway, Back Bay and Seaport yet, it's a bit of a hike from where I live and I just haven't had the chance yet. However I went to the original By Chloe in New York City all the time when I lived there, so I'm recommending it based on the quality of those experiences. I do know that the ownership of By Chloe has changed since I went, so I'm not sure if that's made a difference. I went all the time even though I wasn't on a plant-based diet yet, so it's definitely a crowd favorite. It's a vegan fast food concept, my favorite dish there has to be the comforting Mac n Cheese, which is made with sweet potatoes, cashews, and shitaki mushrooms as bacon (always got extra 'bacon') and the huge espresso cookie with chocolate chips. I used to wait in a long line for this down the block, and I also would order it on Postmates. The avocado pesto pasta was good too!
Asian food is one of my favorite cuisines, it's my comfort food and I love a good ramen. Hakata Ramen is fairly new having opened in 2019, and located in Waltham about 20 minutes outside of Boston in the suburbs. It's really up and coming now though so you might want to check it out, especially Moody St. which is known for its' wide variety of quality restaurants. They have plant-based options on the menu like vegetable tempura and gyoza, vegan dynamite sushi (pictured below) and tomato ramen, which I found to be more flavorful than the Vegetarian Miso Ramen (pictured above). I love the decor inside and I recently ordered it through Yelp Take out. They've got non-plant based options too so it's a great mix of both. I go here quite frequently, a couple times a month and it's consistently delicious.
The best ice cream I've had, hands down! Fomu is artisanal plant-based ice cream spot, There's plenty of locations to choose from, one in Allston/Brighton, one in Fenway, South End, and Jamaica Plain. I used to go to the Allston/Brighton location all the time when I lived there, and they also have the pints at some local grocery stores I would get it. They offer unique flavors of carefully sourced coconut milk based ice cream, so creamy and delicious it tastes like gelato. Everything is made by scratch in house and it tastes it. I love the Rocky Road flavor and I also get the Earl Grey Shortbread. They rotate the menu with avocado ice cream and other unique flavors like lavender and s'mores, all so yummy. They offer frappes, teas, espresso baked goods and ice cream cake too. Gluten free options,
allergy-friendly, kosher pareve. They serve George Howell Coffee and MEM Tea.
So I definitely wouldn't count this as healthy plant-based fare, but every once in a while you can indulge. When you do, you want to get yourself to Veggie Galaxy, a plant-based American diner style restaurant with breakfast served all day. It's vegetarian (and everything can be made vegan) and the on-site bakery is 100% vegan. It's located in Central Square in Cambridge and there's usually a long line which is always a good sign. When you need plant-based mozzarella sticks, head here. The buffalo chick'n tenders are out of this world, along with the poutine (pictured above). Again, these are really heavy meals so come prepared, I don't go as much as I used to but totally would for a special occasion perhaps. They also have a seasonal vegetable dish which is on the healthier side, I got the quinoa and cranberry stuffed acorn squash once which was delicious. They offer Shepherd's Pie, baked mac and cheese, and you must try a dessert. On the weekends they make donuts, and I got a Taza chocolate pudding with coconut whipped cream (pictured below), YUM. They also have frappes, floats, ice-cream all made from Fomu ice cream! Oh and there's adult coloring.
Cute little cafe in Waltham outside of Boston that offers plant-based options, like drinks, coconut yogurt parfaits, sandwiches, and baked goods. I love the Waltham Fog they make with earl grey as a latte and their roobois tea latte (pictured above). Everything is fair trade and homemade, they have sandwiches and breakfast too. Great atmosphere to meet with friends or get some work done.
Pavement Coffee has locations in Brighton, Berklee, Fenway, Harvard Square, Symphony, Newbury, and Boston University, with a great selection of plant-based options. They have vegan spreads for their hand-crafted bagels, vegan sandwiches, and lattes/tea lattes with oat, soy or almond milk. I love the ambiance of the Brighton location, which happens to be the Roaster plus Cafe and HQ! They also sell Kombucha here, and there's a window showing them making the coffee which is cool.
Finally, I love this juice bar based in Brighton and another location on Mass Ave near the Prudential Tower. I even taught an essential oils and juice class here in the Brighton location a few years ago. It's a lovely space with plant-based and holistic health books available to read there. They offer fresh juices, smoothies, smoothie bowls, salads, meal replacement drinks, and juice shots. Everything is fresh and made to order, with quality ingredients. If I'm in the area I love to stop in and try something new. I got the Energize juice (pictured above) last time I was there.
Let me know if you try any of these, I'd love to hear your favorite one! I love that there are more and more creative plant-based options becoming available in Boston, be sure to follow me on Instagram @guidetowholeness to get updated on more plant-based restaurants all over the world.
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