Hello and happy Sunday!
I’m back with some more recommendations for where to get fantastic plant-based food – this time not Berlin, but Boston! From mid to the end of April I visited my boyfriend, who is in Cambridge, Massachusetts (just outside of Boston), working on his doctoral thesis. The first week we went on a rather cold and dreary but super fun road trip up to Bar Harbor, Maine and back down via Vermont and New Hampshire. We spent the second week in Cambridge and Boston, where the options for vegan food were bountiful!
Here I’ll show you some of my favorite places from that holiday:
Life Alive Organic Cafe
This was probably my favorite healthy place – so good that we went twice, even though it was my mission to try as many places as possible 🙂 It’s organic, wholesome, vibrant, fresh and colorful, with great vegan options. If I lived in the area, I would 100% be a regular.
We came here for the first breakfast after my arrival – the perfect culinary start to the holiday: We both had the super delicious açai bowl (topped with fresh blueberries, peanut butter, spiced peanuts and coconut hemp crunch) and tried fun lattes/teas. He had the Chaga Chai and I had the best latte of my life: the Ocean Blue latte (blue-green algae, maca, vanilla, maple, sea salt) with oat milk – thick and frothy and the wonderful subtle sweetness from the maca and maple – an absolute dream! They also do the Ocean Blue as an amazing, indulgent smoothie/shake (using coconut-based ice cream from FoMu – scroll down for a review), which my boyfriend ordered the second time we went.
The second time here I fell in love with the Green Goddess bowl: short grain brown rice, broccoli, kale, avocado, tofu and sprouted legumes dressed in the best Ginger Nama Shoyu Sauce. Sounds simple but it blew me away and ended up recreating it as the first meal I had back in Switzerland. If I could only eat one (savory) bowl again for the rest of my life it would be that one!
One thing to note: While it’s definitely a popular weekend brunch spot, most of the options are savory. If you prefer a sweeter breakfast then the açai bowl and juices and smoothies will be your options.
On the other end of the spectrum we have probably the unhealthiest place you could go to for vegan food – but also one of the most epic! I would definitely be a regular here too if I lived nearby … so it’s probably better that there’s now a safe distance between me and the vegan stuffed french toast (vanilla cream cheese) and the crazy carby comfort creation that is the Mac n Stack: Burger (or crispy fried seitan chick’n), tempeh bacon, lettuce & sriracha mayo between two Mac & Cheeze waffles!! The blueberry pancakes were amazing too. What my boyfriend and I unanimously deemed the best option of all, however, was the Buffalo Chick’N Mac & Cheeze. It was absolutely divine – the best guilty pleasure! The creamy mac & cheeze was the perfect complement to the spiced buffalo chick’n that was packed with flavor – one of the best vegan junk food dishes I’ve ever had! Even my boyfriend who is vegetarian (i.e. eats dairy) said this was better than any non-vegan mac and cheese he’d had.
If you still have room for after that (I’d suggest coming separately for just dessert!) there is an amazing array of cakes and bakes, shakes and vegan donuts with rotating flavors. We (and by that I mean mostly me) had a glorious Boston Cream donut after our breakfast (I called it the day of gluttony).
This retro-style diner is fully vegetarian but everything can be made vegan. (I guess that also means the omelettes..). Just make sure you specify that you’d like the vegan option.
This bright little place is the kind where you feel healthier just looking at things. I had a divine pitaya bowl (Santa Domingo: pitaya, banana, cashew, guava, oats, maca, almond milk topped with granola, banana, chia seeds, almond butter and raspberries) – incredibly creamy- with a punchy ginger shot and turmeric latte.
There are two locations: The Jugos on Dartmouth St, which is more of a grab-and-go place and Jugos Supremo, where you can sit and enjoy a latte and a bowl or tostada.
Let’s go from super healthy back to vegan junk food – are we spotting a theme here? Let’s just say I enjoyed the full spectrum of vegan food in the Boston area 🙂
My boyfriend and I went to Veggie Crust in Somerville for dinner the first night of my trip and boy were we in for a treat! Forget just ordering a regular pizza without cheese and forget ordering any old pizza with vegan cheeze, this place is next level vegan pizza goodness! We (you know I mean I) chose the Cauliflower Manchurian (spiced cauliflower, ginger, garlic, fresh cilantro and manchuarian sauce) with vegan cheeze (apparently they use Daiya). We ordered a large to share and eat in a nearby park (the place itself was a bit dark). Nothing beats the smell of freshly baked pizza emanating temptingly from a hot cardboard box that’s warming your hands and driving your senses crazy. And nothing will ever beat that first bite of Cauliflower Manchurian pizza – hot, spicy, gingery, garlicky, creamy, doughy and utterly explosive. BOMB. We both looked at each other, like, is this for real?! Seriously guys, I’m not being overly dramatic – pure bliss. Word of warning though: definitely quite spicy!
This place is vegetarian, but the vegan pizza options are incredible. You can also opt for a gluten-free or wholewheat thin crust if you prefer (we chose regular).
Bonus tip: The Comedy Studio is five minutes walk from the Somerville Veggie Crust. We went there another night and had so much fun – would definitely recommend visiting! It’s located at Bow Market, which is a hispter-y little cluster of shops and food joints. As you can bring food into the Comedy Studio, why not grab some pizza at Veggie Crust before? Just an idea 🙂
Just down the street from Jugos Supremo (see above) is one of the FoMu plant-based ice cream parlors. This is another must! I’ll keep it short and sweet: I had the chocolate pudding-flavored ice cream sandwich: literally chocolate pudding ice cream sandwiched between two fantastic chocolate chip cookies (drool). The cakes they had on display looked insane as well. I would definitely order a birthday cake from here (and donuts from Veggie Galaxy 😉 ) if I could!
Whole Heart Provisions
Ok, back to some of the healthier delights. Whole Heart Provisions would be my top pick for an every day kind of healthy meal. It’s fully vegan and has a variety of pre-set bowls as well as the option to customize. For each bowl you also choose between brown rice & quinoa / arugula / jasmine rice / marinated kale (you can choose two) as your base. My favorite of the bowls I tried was Cassie: japanese eggplant, chickpeas, pickled cauliflower, green beans, basil, currants, (the best!) crispy chickpeas and a creamy harissa dressing, with brown rice & quinoa and marinated kale as the base. My boyfriend’s Miso bowl (roasted broccoli, smashed cucumber, shaved brussels, edamame, crispy chickpeas (again, heaven!), red cabbage, slaw, sesame and orange miso dressing) was also packed full of flavor and goodness! We also liked the different kombucha flavors (we tried ginger and turmeric).
This place also does Sunday brunch at two of its locations (Central Sq. & Allston), inclucing pancakes! The only minus points it gets from me – and my boyfriend – is for the açai bowl. A PB&J açai sounded fabulous, but was sadly very icy and lacking in flavor (my boyfriend had it before me and said the same, so that might just be the way it usually is).
Red White Japanese Vegan
This newly opened place serves bowls based on a similar concept as Whole Heart Provisions, but with its own unique style and flavors. You also choose a base (red or white rice, both containing vegetables and either black beans or sesame), then pick the veggies/boosters you want on top (either you go for their set versions or pick and choose wildly as I did) and in a third step you pick your sauce. All the sauces were fab (they let us taste them all) so it was a really tough choice! I ended up picking both cilantro & ginger and red spicy. And as a last step you can pick regular (vegan) mayo or spicy mayo. We took our heavily laden takeaway boxes to the nearby green space on Commonwealth Avenue, enjoying our massive portions in the sun, watching the dog walkers and their pooches pass by.
By the way, if you like green tea / matcha, definitely give their green tea a go! My boyfriend absolutely hated it, pulled a face and passed it on to me, but I really liked the strength of the deep grassy flavor and would go for it again!
Roxy’s Grilled Cheese & Burgers
Before you think it’s getting too healthy (just kidding, no such thing as too many veggies 😉 ), let’s throw in some more dirty vegan junk food. I couldn’t resist trying this place when I read that they do a vegan grilled cheese sandwich (“cheesy and buttery without either of those things”, as aptly described on the website). I went for the Buffalo Tofu Melt: Daiya cheddar cheese, buffalo tofu, lettuce, tomato, house made ranch. It was wickedly satisfying and didn’t leave me feeling as gross as I expected (same day as the Veggie Galaxy pancakes and Boston Cream donut – like I said: #dayofgluttony). For a slightly more sophisticated sammie there’s also a Daiya cheddar cheese, fig jam, caramelized onion and arugula version.
Located in Jamaica Plain, we combined a brunch here with a beautiful stroll through the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, enjoying the blossoming trees. I really liked the style of the place and the tempting menu! There is also a little section with natural body products and other nice things. I went for an açai bowl that I really enjoyed along with a matcha latte. The real star were my boyfriend’s vegan waffles, though, with hints of cinnamon and covered in strawberries and maple syrup. Definitely recommend!
What got points off from me was the fact that everything was served in takeaway dishes and cups, even though we ordered to eat in. I’m not sure if they were out of cups and plates or if that’s just the way they do it. Either way it didn’t feel as welcoming (or environmentally friendly).
Unfortunately I only discovered this place on the very last day of my trip (I wrote it off after realizing they don’t have smoothie bowls – a mistake). I came here to stock up on some pre-flight health shots and discovered something truly brilliant: their freeze (healthy & vegan version of soft serve ice cream!). They have vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and matcha – and very little ingredients! The matcha one I got my boyfriend and I is only made of filtered water, dates, almonds, vanilla, spirulina, spinach, cucumber, kale and matcha – how amazing is that?? It was utterly delicious, super refreshing and left us both feeling energized. You can choose from several toppings, including fruit and nut butter.
I also really liked the vitality shot (turmeric, lemon, coconut, filtered water, black pepper) and my boyfriend and I both loved the tart cherry shot. (Did you know that tart cherries are high in melatonin and have apparently been linked to improved quality of sleep? Didn’t help my jetlag situation back home though 😛 ). It was definitely all a bit on the pricey side, but worth it for those healthy treats, in my opinion.
My Thai Vegan Cafe
The name kind of says it all. This place is fully vegan and has a huge selection of Thai dishes, usually involving noodles or rice and tofu and/or mock meats / mock seafood. It was also recommended to us by a non-vegan, which speaks for itself too!
What I enjoyed most was the novelty of the experience (fully vegan Thai cuisine, huge selection, kind of dingy, yet somehow also cool vibe, etc.). I wasn’t a big fan of the mock chick’n (definitely would order tofu next time), but it was fun giving it a go. The highlight for both us were the steamed veggie dumplings – I would go back just for these alone!
My boyfriend also ordered a taro bubble tea, which was delicious in a sickly sweet kind of way, if that makes sense?
Black Bird Donuts
It was tough getting my hands on one of these! The vegan flavors were always sold out by the time I got there, except on the last day (I found out when the next delivery would arrive and then made sure I was there in time!). We both went for a plain vanilla glazed donut, which was everything a donut should be – super fluffy, sweet and seriously satisfying. I just hope that there will be more vegan flavor options available in future.
That’s it for my top recommendations! I hope you find this useful. Let me know if you’ve been to any of these places or have some recommendations of your own 🙂
And finally, some further places to check out in Boston and the surrounding area:
- True Bistro – for a more fine-dining experience (and they have vegan crepes and waffles and “chicken” for brunch on weekends); fully vegan
- Allston Diner – has vegan options, including vegan pancakes
- Cocobeet – plant-based juice bar
- ByChloe – the vegan food chain originally from New York
- Blaze Pizza – option to build your own pizza with vegan cheese
- Union Square Donuts – they have some vegan options
- Sweetgreen – I enjoyed the vegan superfood salad; mostly has non-vegan options though
- Wholesome Fresh – deli-style eatery with buffet and option to order sandwiches, wraps etc.; had a great hummus wrap here
- Whole Foods (duh) – for snacks and take-away meals (pre-prepared or from the buffet section); also had a great vegan chocolate chip cookie from here