Veg Friendly in Mountain View?
February 13, 2012 8:41 PM   Subscribe

Mountain View (CA) has tons of restaurants, that to my untrained eye, are confusingly similar. I want to explore some of the rarer cuisines here, but most seem pretty veg un-friendly. Where here actually has good veg-friendly food? As an anti-example: the Shabu Shabu place offers veggies & veggie broth, but it's not terribly compelling. I want places that actually seem to like vegetarian cooking.
posted by gregglind to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You might try Garden Fresh on El Camino. Not fancy at all, but I liked the food there when I lived in California.
posted by lukemeister at 8:44 PM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

My trick is to use Yelp. You can actually search comments. I just search the comments for "vegetarian". Chances are good that people will either bitch about lack of vegetarian options or discuss the options provided. It's not foolproof, but I find the rate of false positives to be pretty low. You'll find that most places that are home to varied people of varied ethnicities tend to be pretty accustomed to vegetarians, even if it's an unusual choice in the home country's cuisine.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:40 PM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

To answer your question directly: lots of them, even the more intimidating ones.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:41 PM on February 13, 2012

Seconding Garden Fresh - used to eat there 15 years ago when I worked in Santa Clara. The food is tasty and healthy, and the portions are pretty generous.

Sweet Tomatoes (1210 Kifer Road, Sunnyvale) is also good, in a Fresh Choice sorta way.
posted by mosk at 9:45 PM on February 13, 2012

Any Indian restaurant will have lots of vegetarian food. Even the Indian fast food (chaat) is going to be mostly vegetarian.
posted by phoebus at 9:52 PM on February 13, 2012

Passage to India has two branches, the one near Shoreline on the north side of El Camino has a vegetarian lunch buffet that's supposed to be good.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:53 PM on February 13, 2012

Loving Hut. Dohatsuten. Tofu House.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:29 PM on February 13, 2012

Try Kabul. They have several (really yummy!) vegetarian entrees and appetizers.
posted by everybody polka at 10:32 PM on February 13, 2012

I have heard wonderful things about Garden Fresh, but I think their shtick is they use textured soy protein to make meat-like chinese dishes (kung pao "chicken"), so maybe that's not what you want.

For chaat, check out Amber Cafe (the fast food location of the amazing Amber India) on El Camino at View St. Their Papdi Chaat is sooo tasty, it's all I order when I go there (it's served cold, but I usually get a side of hot naan to go with). It's a great light meal. They have veggie samosas, too, always yummy.

Most places either have their menus online, or available outside the restaurant, or there are pictures of the menu on Yelp. I think Fu Lam Mum on Castro or Cafe Yulong on Dana st would be good to check out. While you're on Castro st, you can check some of the other restaurants' menus and see what looks good.
posted by sarahnade at 10:35 PM on February 13, 2012

Most restaurants in MV are actually very veggie friendly. Shabu Shabu is one exception you already know about. I'd also avoid the pho places (the broth is always beef) and ramen places (same reason). Korean is iffy but there's only two korean places in downtown. Usually there is one option at the korean places and everything smells beefy. Hong Kong Bistro is seafood and dim sum so that's not a great veggie option either. Mongolian BBQ is also an obvious bad choice.

On the plus side, try Los Charros, La Fiesta, Cafe Oolong, Chef Liu, Shiva's, XAHN, Gyros House, Amarin (ask for the veggie menu)... I could pretty much list all the restaurants in downtown except the few above and they'll have good veggie options. Garden Fresh, while not in downtown, has always been a favorite of mine and is probably the only reason I still live in Mountain View.
posted by chairface at 10:52 PM on February 13, 2012

About Garden Fresh: it's the closest restaurant by far to me, almost right around the corner, and the people who run it are very sweet, but I only ever go there on rare occasions when for some reason it's impossible to cook. There's nothing wrong with the food, and the prices are very reasonable; but there's nothing exciting about it either and I think I can do just as well at home.

Someone recently mentioned that Maru Ichi now has vegetarian ramen, incidentally. (Up till now Ryowa was the only viable ramen option.)

I generally take vegetarian friends to one of the Indian places, unless they have a specific craving, but chairface is right: I think you can find something reasonable just about anywhere.

Hey, now I'm thinking we should do another Mountain View meetup! It's been years, and I keep missing the ones I'd have to drive or train to.
posted by tangerine at 11:35 PM on February 13, 2012

Amarin Thai has a great veggie menu. It's huge. Like, it's typical for a thai restaurant to have a few veggie dishes - maybe you can get the curries without meat - but there is a whole vegetarian menu at Amarin that includes a ton of different dishes.

Chinese food is also usually OK in that regard, Japanese will depend - it might be hard to find something that doesn't have fish - but I seem to recall Barracuda surprised me by having a selection of vegetarian sushi rolls beyond the usual cucumber roll and oshinko roll. Casa Lupe and Fiesta Del Mar Mexican restaurants also have a few vegetarian options (which are sometimes hard to find w/ Mexican). And of course the Mediterranean restaurants generally will have falafel & hummus.
posted by Lady Li at 11:42 PM on February 13, 2012

Thank you everyone! I think I hit a bad run of luck by starting at Shabu and every ramen place!
posted by gregglind at 8:43 AM on February 14, 2012

Chaat Paradise, on El Camino near 85, is amazing and all vegetarian.
posted by asphericalcow at 9:33 AM on February 14, 2012

My own recommendation is now Madras Cafe, just over the line on El Camino Real into Sunnyvale. All veg, spicy or not, good dosa. It's particularly convenient for people who stay at the Avanti.
posted by gregglind at 7:22 AM on September 4, 2012

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