Everyone seems to have some sort of diet issue these days. Whether you're avoiding gluten, nuts, dairy, or anything else, here's what I've learned from over 20 years as a vegetarian (2 of them vegan).
Recently Filed in Restaurants
My VeggieFoodie Rating: Excellent
This is my favorite veggie-friendly steakhouse—my sister can get her kobe, and I have a choice of several tasty items on the menu.
You'll always find several appetizers/salads and a vegetarian entree on the menu. The soup is frequently vegetarian and they're happy to check on the stock (in my case the minute I walk in the door). Best of all, the times I've requested a vegetarian pasta the chef takes it as an opportunity to get creative and doesn't send out the same old same old. One time it came with artichoke hearts, heirloom tomatoes, chantarelles, and tarragon—yum! And if you're in the main dining room, they'll also serve the wonderful bar menu mac and cheese if you request it. However, my favorite item at the moment is their profiteroles, which are the best I've had anywhere with crisp pastry, coconut ice cream, and warm dark chocolate sauce poured at the table.
The bar is a great place to hang out with a friend or do some reading, though if they get any more regulars they're going to have to build a bigger one. Market Street Grill is a usual participant in the 25 for $25, even offering that deal every Sunday with a bigger selection than most restaurants provide.
Update: After many fabulous years Mandalay has closed its doors as Janny and Erik move North to be closer to family. I'm in mourning for my curries.
My VeggieFoodie Rating: Fabulous
This is one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle. They do wonderful curries with complex spices from several Southeast Asian countries. My favorites on the current menu are the Malaysian Green Banana Curry, Thai Green Curry, and Szechwan Black Bean Stir Fry. If you happen to spot a Pineapple Panang, Taro Root, or Green Mango curry on the specials board, go for it.
In addition to the curries, there are some vegetable sides, appetizers, and daily soup which are veggie. Most of the items flagged on their menu as vegetarian are in fact vegan—just ask and you'll find the staff knowledgeable about the ingredients. If you manage to leave any room for dessert, try the Toasted Coconut Bananas or Thai Basil Cheesecake. Most of the curries keep very well as leftovers or takeout.
Tell them Ann says "Hi" ;-)
My VeggieFoodie Rating: Excellent
I've now been to BalMar twice, and both times the food was excellent. Saturday night was a packed, younger crowd with lots of noise bouncing off the brick walls, but Thursday evening it was much more mellow and I had a leisurely meal and conversation with a friend.
They have a tasting-style menu with "Small Plates"—two make a good meal, perhaps with room left for bites of their decadent molten chocolate cake. The items in the Veggie section are all vegetarian, as well as a few under Etc.
Yelp | Judy's Book
Normally I'd also include CitySearch, but when I typed "Bal Mar" in their search engine it came back with "We assumed you meant Wal Mart, instead of bal mar." Yeah, right.
I've been to steakhouses which were veggie friendly and Italian restaurants which weren't. As a cook, foodie, and 15 year vegetarian, I'm a firm believer that accommodating vegetarians can be easily done by just about any restaurant. (I'd love to see every restaurant accommodate vegans too, but that's going to take more time.)
1. Knowledgeable staff
If I ask whether an item is vegetarian and the wait staff says "Um, yeah, sure it is" I start focusing on the green salads for dinner and never come back. If I ask and they answer "No, it has worscheshire sauce" I've found a new home. Vegetarians don't expect wait staff to have the ingredients memorized, but we do need the first reaction to be "I'll check with the chef" instead of a guess.