***** (5 stars)

This place serves excellent vegetarian and vegan food in a cozy atmosphere.

The hummus plate was a nice appetizer for two, with tasty, citrus-tinged hummus and lots of fresh veggies for dipping.

I had the nachos as my entree. They were a heaping plate, with crisp corn chips, excellent guacamole and a very convincing spicy “meat” and bean chili.

Service was friendly and efficient.

104 N Marion St
Oak Park, IL 60301
(708) 848-4226

The Chicago Diner

**** (4 stars)

This is one of the better vegetarian restaurants I’ve been too. They do a great job of using ingredients such as seitan in ways that give it great texture and flavor.

We started with the barbecued sauce coated “wings” which had a great crust and delicious coating. The serving was generous, to say the least, and when we’d finished sharing the appetizers we were wondering if we could eat any of our entrees.

The cuban sandwich was okay, but the tostadas were great, with just the right balance between quinoa and black beans.

Shakes are a specialty here, and my coffee flavored one was wonderful. Note: a small is plenty!

The Chicago Diner
3411 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 935-6696

Amazing Kale Burger Lunch Counter

**** (4 stars)

It’s always a pleasure to eat where the employees are really passionate about what they do, and that epitomizes The Amazing Kale Burger. From the moment I walked in I felt right at home, and my server’s enthusiasm for the food was very clear.

I tried the Vaden, which is served with a beet-based BBQ sauce. The kale burger patty is quite delicious, with all the ingredient in balance, and a nice crust from cooking. The accompanying lettuce and tomato were quite fresh, and the BBQ sauce was delicious. The bun was a bit small, sturdy and dry for my taste, but I can see where others might like it.

For a side dish I had pickled asparagus, which was tossed with yellow peppers and extremely fresh oregano bits. It was delicious.

House made mint tea was pleasantly unsweetened.

The kale burger was one of the better vegetarian patties I’ve had, and I’d often choose it over a meat patty if it were available elsewhere. Coincidentally, I ate here on national burger day!

Amazing Kale Burger Lunch Counter
741 Howard St
Evanston, IL 60202
(847) 660-4330

Tempo Bistro To Go

**** (4 stars)

This small shop offers delicious sandwiches and salads made to order from very fresh ingredients. I had the BLT (a surprising offer from a mostly vegetarian place) and it was quite good. I found the inclusion of cheddar cheese odd, and would omit it on a future visit. The green salad was mostly spinach, very fresh, and came with a delicious miso dressing option.

There are only a few tables in side, and a few more out back, so a lot of orders are to go.

Temp Bistro is definitely a great choice when looking for a healthy alternative.

Tempo Bistro To Go
1516 NW 13th St
Gainesville, FL 32601
(352) 336-5834

Wild Ginger

**** (4 stars)

This small restaurant offers amazingly good sushi, plus a variety of other pan-Asian dishes. We loved everything we tried, including several creative rolls. The Thai Basil Beef was the best I’ve encountered, as was the hot and sour soup. Particularly creative was the salmon skin salad, which was (different from its menu description) tossed with greens and a touch of spice, making it more Vietnamese or Thai than Japanese. The dinner ambiance was fairly intimate, although I understand it is bustling at lunchtime, and with good reason.

Wild Ginger
212 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 218-8828

Hubbly Bubbly Falafel Shop

***** (5 stars)

I first had falafel many years ago in Los Angeles, so that’s how I expect it to be, and Hubbly Bubbly does it just that way, slicing the pita in half and filling each half, rather than rolling it up. I like the fact that you can select from an array of ingredients as you walk along the counter.

They also have “bowls” and Halal meats, so there are many possible combinations.

Sides include a sort of potato puff and “crispy” cauliflower, which is fixed in the fryer, without batter. I tried both, and though the potatoes were a bit heavier than I wanted, the cauliflower was delicious, and almost completely drained due to the lack of batter.

The owner, George, took time to explain to every new customer what all the options were, and provided free samples of things to try next time.

My new favorite place for falafel in Orlando.

Hubbly Bubbly Falafel Shop
3405 Edgewater Dr
Orlando, FL 32804
(407) 985-5841

Candle 79

*** (3 stars)

This is a charming place, with excellent service. I loved the house made ginger ale. I was a bit disappointed in the food, because it seemed under-seasoned and under-flavored, despite having quite a few ingredients. The hummus appetizer was fine, but the falafel seemed like almost the same dish, just seared hummus in a pita without much sign of tahini or other ingredients.

Candle 79
154 E 79th St
New York, NY 10075
(212) 537-7179