Vegetarian Restaurants in Downtown Dallas, TX
January 18, 2012 8:03 AM   Subscribe

I'm headed to Dallas, TX, this weekend. I'm vegetarian. Where should I eat? I will be in the downtown area with no car.

I'm in Dallas, Texas, this weekend, and I'm staying downtown near the corner of Main and Ervay Streets.

I am looking for some dinner restaurant recommendations. I am lacto-ovo vegetarian, and I need to have a main dish with protein in it. (Cheese is okay, but not every night.) I like ethnically diverse cuisine, as American food restaurants rarely have much variety.

I will not have a car. I am definitely willing to walk many blocks. I am willing to attempt public transit if it is reasonably easy/regularly scheduled, but I prefer no buses. (I have been stranded miles from my hotel after taking ill-conceived bus rides to vegetarian restaurants.)
However, it will not be possible for me to travel each night for dinner, so I strongly prefer options that are in the downtown area.

I've done some searching with few results. Any advice would be great!
posted by aabbbiee to Travel & Transportation around Dallas, TX (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Lots of great options around there.

Samar is an eclectic place with great Mediterranean and Indian options.

Spiral Diner is a ways from downtown, but it's my favorite vegan spot. It's delicious - might be hard to get to.

Cane Rosso is in Deep Ellum, which is definitely accessible by public transit. Great pizza, tons of veggie options.

People will chime in with more options, but those were the first off the top of my head.
posted by SNWidget at 8:09 AM on January 18, 2012

Cafe Brazil is downtown (Deep Ellum) and has many vegetarian/vegan options. Also it is very tasty. And they will honor requests (like "can I have that with cheese but no meat," etc.)
posted by emjaybee at 8:25 AM on January 18, 2012

I love love Cosmic Cafe. Great food and definitely a sight to see!
posted by hillabeans at 8:33 AM on January 18, 2012

I hopped in the thread to recommend Cosmic Cafe as hillabeans has done. Great food, good atmosphere, and I didn't even get a second look showing up in a suit, looking like a total square.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 10:13 AM on January 18, 2012

You are not going to want to walk further than Deep Ellum. It is very easy for Dallasites to underestimate walking distances. That said, I think you're in luck because Dallas has light rail and you should be close to some rail stops. I know that the Mockingbird and Lovers Lane stations are close to a lot of restaurants, but I'm not sure about vegetarian – maybe someone else knows a good spot near a train stop.

You are definitely not going to want to hoof it to Cosmic Cafe. Not close to you by foot.
posted by furiousthought at 10:20 AM on January 18, 2012

The V-Spot(diner-ish food) and the Bliss Cafe(fully raw) are both a little outside your area, and are very tasty!
posted by Sugar Induced Coma at 11:14 AM on January 18, 2012

Response by poster: furiousthought is right, guys. Some of these places are literally miles from downtown. I'm really looking for food options downtown. I do not require an entirely vegetarian restaurant- just a place with an option or two, or a decent takeout [Thai, Indian, Chinese, etc.] place, or whatever.

I might get up the motivation to figure out the light rail and go somewhere more veggie-friendly if I have a full evening available, but I am mostly concerned with what I can get within 8-12 blocks of my hotel for the nights when I will be exhausted and hungry after my conference is over.

I do appreciate the help! Please keep it coming!
posted by aabbbiee at 1:36 PM on January 18, 2012

Unfortunately I think that the conditions of your question make it nearly un-answerable. There is basically nothing in downtown Dallas. Spiral Diner, Cafe Brazil, and Cosmic are really fantastic, so it is not a matter of Dallas lacking fantastic veggie options.

All that said - you won't have a car, and I totally get not wanting to trek out to all these places in a new place while on a trip. Here is what I would do:
- make sure my hotel room had a minifridge and a microwave (or even better, a small suite kitchen)
-take DART to the Lovers Lane station and go to Central Market, a fancy grocery store a short distance from the station. I would buy my favorite frozen entrees & goodies (expensive, yes - but probably cheaper than eating out), some yummy premade salad / slaw type things, other things from all the food bars, maybe some bread and cheese, other things that require minimal prep, and plenty of snack foods.
-while I'm near Lovers, go to Royal Thai. it's nothing special but it's veggie-friendly and I'm already there.
-make it out to Cosmic Cafe, even though it will take a really long time to get there without a car.
-end up eating at that Chipotle that's downtown. Can you get the same generic food anywhere? Yes. It is still pretty decent and meets your criteria.
-ask in my hotel. Be prepared to explain multiple times that I don't have a car, as this is a weird concept.
-walk around. Mostly there will be steakhouses. If I eat at one of the steakhouses, it will probably be a salad, but if I find a good steakhouse it will probably be a very good salad.
posted by fireflies at 3:11 PM on January 18, 2012

Response by poster: I absolutely believe that Dallas has fantastic veggie options. I cannot access these options due to my limiting factors, and this does not make my question unanswerable. You answered my question- Chipotle is an answer. I am not sure why it wouldn't be. I am very obviously not aware of what is available in downtown Dallas, and it now sounds like there is at least a Chipotle within a mile of my hotel. That is a bit of a relief, frankly.

I am asking for any restaurants downtown that have any veggie protein options. I am not requesting local artisanal tofu; I just need to eat dinner for a few nights. Cafe Brazil looks promising (but there's an expressway between it and my hotel, and it's not always easy to cross an expressway as a pedestrian, so I will just have to see what the route seems to be), and there are other ideas here that I will look into when I get there.

Please share any ideas. Generic chains and hole-in-the-wall places are welcome.
posted by aabbbiee at 6:59 PM on January 18, 2012

aabbbiee, you're going to Midwinter, right? I just went back over my list of committees and vendor lunches and listservs and whatnot and came up with a few veggie options based on what everyone's doing for socials. You could definitely do the same--no need to attend the socials, but you can totally mooch their restaurant ideas!

For example, ACRL Women and Gender Section's holding their social at Wild Salsa, which they consider walking distance and which is specifically noted as having veggie options. (Progressive Librarians is meeting at a place called Jorge's Tex Mex but it's 1.5 miles away next to a freeway. Veggie options or no, doesn't seem worth it after a long day at Midwinter).

Another ACRL group is meeting at Pho Colonial also on Main Street/Ervay (I've linked to Facebook because they don't seem to have a website). It's noted for having veggie and vegan options.

Note that none of the places I've suggested are next door to the convention center (Anaheim's worse, though!) but I think they're pretty reasonable walks (well under a mile, no walking through freeways, fairly straight paths).
posted by librarylis at 7:26 PM on January 18, 2012

Campisi's is on Elm just west of Ervay, about 2 blocks from Main and Ervay. It's Italian, with pasta and salad, also a thin-crust style of pizza. I've eaten at their other locations and it's very good. According to Google street view, it looks like the building says "Stone street Gardens" in big letters, but there is a neon sign in the window that says Campisi.
posted by CathyG at 7:41 PM on January 18, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks again for your input, y'all! librarylis, you are entirely correct that I was at ALA Midwinter. Thanks for your searching through the locations for various socials- I never would have thought of that, but it will be a research tool in the future!

So here's an update: Downtown Dallas has quite a nice selection of restaurants in the downtown area, especially on Main Street. I found a variety of vegetarian options on three of the four nights I've been here (and that's only because I fell asleep at 6pm and didn't have the energy even to order room service). There is definitely a vibe of revitalization in this area, so maybe many local people aren't aware of what is here or maybe most of it is just patronized by convention attendees.

But there is plenty to eat here: I had a nice Tex-Mex meal with black beans at the Iron Cactus; a vegetarian pizza at Campisi's; and a bowl of soupy-but-reasonable red curry tofu at Tuk Tuk (a pan-Asian place), all along Main Street between Ervay and Field Streets. Today I had to go to a work lunch at Charlie Palmer's in the Joule Hotel, and even they had a nice cauliflower-potato soup. As librarylis pointed out above, there is also Colonial Pho (Vietnamese place) on Ervay at Main, a couple of other Tex-Mex places (including Wild Salsa), and there must be at least four Italian restaurants other than Campisi's. That's not to mention the Dallas Fish Market (if you are pescatarian).

Definitely totally reasonable, though my expectations were low after reading this thread before I left on Thursday. However, Anaheim is the next ALA conference, and the area around that convention center is truly a wasteland for vegetarians. Dallas will seem really great in comparison!

Hope this helps somebody! Thank you all!
posted by aabbbiee at 6:59 PM on January 22, 2012

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