Boston is old. Like, really old. Think of it this way: when the city was founded in 1630, William Shakespeare had recently died, Johannes Kepler had just proposed his laws of planetary motion — and people were still wearing ruffs. RUFFS YOU GUYS.
Luckily, Beantown has progressed quite a bit in 400 years — on the cultural as well as culinary fronts. And while the town is still most notable for its clam chowder and beans-with-bacon, Bostonians are paying more attention than ever to plant-based cuisine. From raw eats to vegan comfort food, the city has plenty to offer the adventurous herbivorous (or veg curious) eater.
So for your next trip to the storied city, here are five exceptional vegan eateries worth braving the T for:
Ever had ice cream haunt your dreams? FoMu will. Forget the fact that it’s vegan — this is a dessert that can change lives — regardless of the eater’s dietary persuasion. Made with a coconut milk base, FoMu’s flavors are impossibly rich, creamy, and exploding with nuanced natural flavors. It might be the best vegan ice cream the world has ever known.
The owners — a conscious couple that wanted out of the corporate rat race — set out to create an ethically-produced ice cream. So, only the best, freshest, kindest ingredients go into these concoctions, and you can taste the difference..
Flavors change constantly, each as impossibly delicious as the next. Fall saw them introduce apple cider (complete with cider donut chunks) and caramel pumpkin. Other new additions include tart vanilla ice cream with parsnip salted caramel and dried cherry (a nod to New England eatery Alden & Harlow) — and birthday cake, made with house made vanilla cake and (vegan) buttercream. Then there are the standbys — avocado, salted caramel, s’mores, et al.
As incredible as the ice cream is, they’re also master bakers. They have house-made goodies like whoopie pies, apple pie bars, and apple cider doughnut cupcakes — plus rotating cake flavors.
Good luck making a decision (luckily, there’s no limit on samples.)
2. Taco Party
Photo courtesy of Taco Party
A taco party is the best kind of party —- obviously. And this all-vegan taco spot is all about the celebratory eats. A small outpost in Somerville, Taco Party boasts five signature taco creations, plus a nacho option, sides and tortas, too.
Taco specialties include a crispy fried tofu taco with mango salsa and garlic crema; a chorizo seitan taco with green cabbage and chipotle salsa; a chimichurri tempeh taco with cashew cream; a sriracha BBQ jackfruit taco with black eyed pea spread; and a fried plantain taco with coconut bacon. The chorizo seitan is a staff favorite, and it’s as spicy and satisfying as you’d imagine.
Two tacos plus a side (smoky black beans, Mexican brown rice, et al) makes a meal. Taco Party also has a taco truck, so you can catch ‘em cruising the streets of Boston and setting up shop at vegfests and other events, too, sometimes serving soft serve vegan ice cream (perfect for cooling fiery tongues after consuming chorizo).
3. Veggie Galaxy
If there’s one style of food that’s iconically American (sans McDonalds), it’s diner fare. And while a traditional diner is usually short on vegan options, Veggie Galaxy is just the opposite. This low-key Central Square spot looks like your average Americana eatery, but the entire menu is vegetarian, and almost every item can be made vegan. Be still herbivorous hearts.
Pop in for breakfast and try the egg and cheese sandwich — scrambled tofu piled high on sourdough bread with vegan cheese, arugula, and garlic mayo. If you’ve got a crew with you, order a smorgasbord and eat family-style. The menu is loaded with selections like giant cake slices, fluffy pancakes, bulging omelettes, cheesy fries, build-your-own-burgers, baked mac, milkshakes and even cocktails.
Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong with anything on the menu, because diner food is comfort food, and comfort food is crowd-pleasing. But beware — you’re likely to get spoiled by this delicious, cruelty-free cuisine — and you’ll be hard-pressed to find another ethical eatery that’ll make you stuffed French toast with caramelized banana butter.
4. My Thai Vegan Cafe
Indecisive eaters should prepare for some serious paralysis at My Thai Vegan Cafe. The menu is unbelievably extensive, and it’s easy to get lost in a maze of curries, noodles, platters and soups. But, too many vegan options to choose from is a good problem to have in this meat-centric world.
Everything is 100 percent vegan at this eatery, but it’d be nearly impossible for anyone to tell. From Pad Thai to lo mein to tamarind duck, the lineup is packed with traditional favorites. Chicken dumplings, wonton soup, shrimp fried rice, panang curry with beef — the list goes on, and it seems like there’s nothing they can’t nail.
If you can’t decide, try the Pad See Ew, a hearty mix of stir-fried wide rice noodles with Chinese broccoli and veggie beef. The “meat” would fool any carnivore, and the noodles are earthy and succulent. It’s a generous portion, but you’ll want to save room for dessert. Chocolate frosted layer cake, lychee bubble tea or taro sweet rice are the happiest of endings.
5. Cuong’s Vegan Sandwiches
Sandwiches are a tough nut to crack in the vegan world. Most spots offer little more than veggies and bread (I’m talking to you, Subway) when it comes to meatless options. Cuong’s, however, caters to vegans, and its menu is anything but boring.
By the same owners of My Thai (which happens to be right next door) this hole-in-the-wall spot has a more limited menu, mainly for take-out (though there are some chairs to sit and eat). Options include sandwiches, salads, and, like its sibling, bubble tea and vegan cakes.
The sandwiches are a wildly popular take-out option, a delicious, affordable meal wrapped in paper for noshing on the go. Try the BBQ deep fried tofu with homemade sweet-and-sour sauce or the massaman veggie curry with “beef” and coconut milk. They’ll pile your “meat” of choice into a fresh, crusty baguette and top with lettuce, carrots, peanuts, cabbage and spicy chili sauce.
Just like at My Thai, saving room for dessert is a must. Opt for a generous slice of cheesecake or a taro smoothie with tapioca pearls.
Hannah Sentenac is a freelance writer and journalist who covers veg food, drink, pop culture, travel, and animal advocacy issues. She’s written for Live Happy magazine, Foxnews.com, MindBodyGreen.com, and numerous other publications and websites. Hannah is also the Editor-in-Chief of LatestVeganNews.com, a publication dedicated to positive, original news from the vegan and plant-based world.