Most restaurants sell vegetables and meatless meals, even if it's just fries and a salad with Italian dressing.
As more diners are cutting down or eliminating animal products from their diets, restaurants are trying to treat them right.
Here's nine places in Western New York where vegetarians, vegans, and other seekers of meatless fare can feel courted, not merely accommodated.
One of Buffalo's last hippie holdovers, Pizza Plant has made vegans and vegetarians feel at home for three decades, with vegan cheese, housemade soy sausage and vegan chili as standards. Curried garden nachos ($10.49), a bowl of vegi chili ($7.49) or a Plato pod ($10.49) with ricotta, feta and spinach.
The Dapper Goose, 491 Amherst St., 551-0716
Stylish Black Rock restaurant offers a drinks program that's among the best in the city and plenty of choices for vegans. Try charred broccoli with smoked grapes and romesco sauce ($10), blackened green beans ($9), or the vegetarian fried cauliflower with green goddess dressing ($8).
Grindhaus Café, 160 Allen St., 725-6300
Predominantly vegan menu with coffee options. Try the "eggless salad" sandwich, with tofu, dill, and housemade vegan mayonnaise ($7), kale salad ($7) with sweet potatoes, toasted walnuts, lentils and ginger-mustard dressing, or VLT sandwich ($8) with tempeh replacing bacon.
Betty's, 370 Virginia St., 362-0633
This Allentown family place has deep vegetarian credentials, with robustly flavored tofu, vegetables and grains from breakfast to dinner. Try the scrambled tofu hash ($10), Thai noodle salad ($13) or a new vegan contender, a meat and dairy-free rendition of the Garbage Plate ($15).
Lloyd Taco Factory, 1503 Hertel Ave., and 5933 Main St., Williamsville
Homegrown quick-serve outlets have organic black beans and fried tofu as two of the standard proteins used to build tacos, burritos and rice bowls. Also consider summer vegetable specials and year-round favorites like the crack-ed potatoes ($4.49) with ssamjang sauce, cilantro, mayonnaise and garlic oil.
Merge, 439 Delaware Ave., 842-0600
A vegetarian haven with the spirit of a nightclub, featuring live music and a long lineup of dishes free of meat and dairy, as well as some with animal products. Try the seitan wings ($9), sweet potato chana masala ($19), or a slice of vegan carrot cake with "cream cheese" frosting ($7).
Amy's Place, 3234 Main St., 832-6666
This scruffy University Heights cash-only café has been a haven for generations of vegetarians. Try the vegan French toast ($4.99), lentil-berry sandwich ($7.99/$10.99) stuffed with lentils, wheat berries and cheese, or vegetarian veggie wet shoes ($6.99), curly fries with lentils, grilled onions, peppers, tomatoes and cheddar cheese.
Hyderabad Biryani House, 5445 Transit Road, Clarence, 636-2255
Vegetarian fare has a major presence on Indian menus, and Taj Grill, Star of India, Dosa Place, and Tandoori Hut will set you right. Hyderabad is my pick on the strength of its vegan vadas ($6.99), puffy, savory lentil doughnuts, and dosas, the crispy lentil-and-rice crepes rolled into bazookalike tubes and served with fresh coconut chutney ($6.99-$8.99).
Read a review of Hyderabad Biryani from 2016.
OR by Falafel Bar, 3545 Sheridan Drive, 436-7000
Israeli restaurant serves classic Middle Eastern vegan food that shines, from smoky babaganoush ($8.75) to falafel ($8) and freshly ground hummus ($8.75), served with housemade pita bread. Charred whole eggplant with pine nuts and tahini ($10) and Moroccan spiced carrots ($8) are vegan treats you won’t find elsewhere. There's also vegan desserts, like a pear-walnut tart in phyllo, and almond milk rice pudding.
Also notable: Corelife Eatery, for its grain bowls and noodle salads; Golcha Café, for bargain-priced Indian wraps and snacks; Perks Café, for a commitment to vegan offerings that includes housemade cashew cheese; and Toutant, for Chef de Cuisine Joseph Fenush's vegetable features.
Also notable: Corelife Eatery, for its grain bowls and noodle salads; Golcha Café, for bargain-priced Indian wraps and snacks; Perks Café, for a commitment to vegan offerings that includes housemade cashew cheese; House of Hummus, for Palestinian staples on Elmwood and Hertel; Fry Baby Donuts, Buffalo's only vegan doughnut shop; Homegrown Kitchen, East Aurora, for its grain bowls; and Toutant, for Chef de Cuisine Joseph Fenush's vegetable features.
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