Weekly top three from Lee: Best Vegetarian Options

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was a vegetarian (for six years)! I know that the struggle to find meatless food on a restuarant menu is very real. These three spots offer fresh cuisine and are not exclusively vegetarian

1. Namaste Cafe ($$) – 2512 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis – Distance from campus: 7.9 miles

While located a bit further from campus, Namaste Cafe is a great reason to venture into Uptown. The homey venue offers Nepalese cuisine with lots of vegetarian options and great herbal teas. The menu is creative and delicious, and they have some great meatless dishes such as mamacha (tofu dumplings), almond curry, tangy mango curry and eggplant with garlic and scallions. If you’re in the mood for something light, try the paapri chaat, the paneer salad with bell peppers and tomatoes or the coconut spinach. Accompanied by a meat-loving friend/date/parent? No problem! Tell them to go for the squash curry with bison, the hot and tangy lamb with potatoes or the coconut curry with shrimp. If you’re over 21, Namaste Cafe just became even more delicious. They offer unique alcoholic beverages such as a honey mango margarita, the chai butterfly (chai, vodka, Bailey’s and Kahlua) and a cucumber martini. If you want something a little more soothing, try one of the many types of chai on the menu (hot or iced) or a mango lassi. Try finishing off your meal with the carrot coconut creme brulee or the mango custard. Namaste Cafe’s dinner menu is a little pricier, but they have lunch box specials everyday for $11.25.

2. People’s Organic ($$) – 3001 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis – Distance from campus: 6.8 miles

People’s Organic is another great reason to venture into Uptown, especially if you’re a lover of local vegetarian/vegan food. This vast menu offers breakfast all day, great salads, local burgers and savory sandwiches. If you’re here in the morning, you’ve got to try the Minnesota wild rice pancakes, the organic tofu scramble or the organic “zone” omelet. If you’re in the mood for something green, I recommend the macro bowl (kale, black beans, pickled beets, avocado, squash, brown rice, tahini dressing) or the buddha (brown rice, kale, radish, cucumber, tomatoes, sprouts, guacamole, olives, hummus, sunflower seeds). If these sound too light for you, don’t fret! Try the house made big red lentil burger, the rosemary potato flatbread, the veggie hash or the mac and cheese. People’s also offers a vast coffee and tea menu and great pastries if you’re in the mood for something sweet!

3. Everest on Grand ($$) – 1278 Grand Ave, St Paul – Distance from campus: .7 miles

This cozy corner restaurant is an easy walk from campus and offers great Nepali, Indian and Tibetan cuisine. They have some great vegetarian appetizers, such as the veggie pakoras (cauliflower, potato, eggplant, zucchini, green pepper and mushroom), the chili tofu, the veggie momos (dumplings) or the daal (lentil soup). For your main course, go for the matar and paneer curry (green pea and cheese in tomato sauce), the chickpea curry or the veggie chau chau (pan fried noodles). If you’re dining with a meat lover, I recommend the chicken tikka masala, the lamb curry or the chicken palak (boneless chicken cooked with spinach). Everest’s menu is simple, classic and won’t disappoint.