Back in the day, finding a good vegetarian restaurant in Phoenix was analogous to finding fresh seafood in the middle of the desert. Thankfully, the Phoenix restaurant scene has grown up a lot in recent years, and vegetarians and vegans (and the people who love them) now have plenty of great options for eating out around the Valley. Here’s a brief sampling of some great vegetarian options around the city.
Fresh Mint. Owner and Executive Chef Mai Ly puts a vegetarian spin on traditional Vietnamese fare at Fresh Mint in Scottsdale, a bright cafe with great atmosphere and even better food. Everything on the menu here is either vegetarian or vegan and made from scratch. The Spicy Lemongrass Noodle Soup features a perfectly seasoned vegetable broth loaded with tofu, noodles, bean sprouts, and sprigs of fresh mint, and for the meat-lover in your midst, the Vegetarian citrus spare rib is the perfect example of how satisfying and delicious vegetarian cooking can be. Fresh Mint is located at 13802 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. (480) 443-2556
The Loving Hut. Part of a chain of vegan restaurants, The Loving Hut dishes up everything from sushi to burgers, and if you weren’t aware that everything on the menu is 100% vegan, you might never know the difference. Tasty, unique, and inexpensive, this is a great place for eclectic vegan cooking. Multiple locations. For more information, visit lovinghut.us.
Green: New American Vegetarian. Not many restaurants are worthy of their own subtitle, but this popular Tempe vegetarian-vegan restaurant, the loving creation of vegan chef/restaurateur Damon Brasch, is more than worth the extra syllables. The menu is loaded with American comfort food classics like pizza, po-boys, sammies, salads, and burgers, made from organic ingredients whenever possible. Most everything on the menu is irresistibly good, but don’t leave Green without sampling their famous vegan soft-serve ice cream, made fresh in the kitchen daily. Green is located at 2240 N. Scottsdale Rd. in Tempe. (480) 941-9003
Chakra 4 Vegetarian Restaurant. This central Phoenix eatery is tucked away in an upscale strip mall, but it’s more than worth seeking out. Salads, wraps, and specialty entrees are prepared fresh from locally sourced ingredients, and the vegan desserts here—which on any given day may include pies, truffles, chocolates, and ice cream—are to die for. Chakra 4 Vegetarian Restaurant is located at 4773 N. 20th Street (Town & Country Shopping Center) in Phoenix. (602) 254-0129
Persian Garden Café. This central Phoenix staple has been serving stand-out Mediterranean and Persian vegetarian and vegan dishes for years. You’ll find outstanding meat-based dishes on the menu here as well, but vegetarians and vegans have the run of the place with a huge selection of delicious options, including the fresh herb masterpiece that is the Spinach Herb Burger, and the totally unique grilled tofu and cheese sandwich. Persian Garden Café is located at 1335 W. Thomas Road in Phoenix. (602) 263-1915
Udupi Café. Indian food restaurants rank high on the go-to list of most vegetarians craving a meal out, but Udupi Café in Tempe stands out from the pack for its all-vegetarian and vegan menu. This family-run restaurant features an extensive menu of soups, curries, palavs, dosai, crispy dosas, and house specialties. About eighty percent of the menu is vegan, which makes this a great find for those seeking authentic, healthy, and delicious Indian food. Udupi Café is located at 1636 N. Scottsdale Rd. in Tempe. (480) 994-8787