Five best vegetarian restaurants in Denver

Categories: Best of Denver

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Danielle Lirette
Denver's vegetarian food scene is getting stronger all the time. All but the most vehemently meat-centric establishments in town have something besides salad to offer veggie-lovers, and ambitious, exclusively vegetarian eateries are opening all the time -- including Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant, which we review this week. When you want to impress a carnivore with the versatility and tastiness of plant-based food, these are the five best places (in no particular order) to take them.

See also: The five best vegetarian/vegan dishes in Denver -- 2013

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5) Native Foods Cafe
680 South Colorado Boulevard

Yes, it's a chain restaurant -- and an import from California, no less! But when it comes to plant-based food that'll knock the socks off of anyone who tries it, vegan or carnivore alike, Native Foods is as good as it gets in Denver right now. The menu encompasses American, Asian, Mediterranean and more, spanning cuisines with dishes categorized into bowls, hand-helds, salads and "chefs favorite" plates. Native Foods makes its own meat substitutes, all of which are amazing -- the seitan is formed into shaved corned "beef" for Native's Reuben and spicy, juicy "meatballs" for the meatball sandwich above), and they've got the taste and texture to charm even the most hard-core meat-eaters. The dessert menu is just as good, if cupcake-heavy, with light, fluffy cakes paired with sweet, creamy icings. The first Native Foods in Colorado is in Boulder, and there's another opening soon at Colorado and Evans -- but judging from the crowds at the CitySet location, this city could use three or four more.

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4) Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant
1015 South Federal Boulevard

Thuy Pham, who opened Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant with her husband last fall in the former home of the award-winning Vietnam Grill, remembers cooking at her mother's side in Vietnam, but it wasn't until she moved to California fifteen years ago and began spending time at a Buddhist temple that she developed a passion for food. "I had a monk, the master, and he was a very good cook," she recalls. "He was very experienced in picking out healthy food, and he taught me." After years of preparing vegetarian food for the monks and nuns there, Pham and her husband decided to move to Denver, and they opened Lotus, which focuses on Vietnamese cuisine -- but all vegetarian versions, prepared with compassion and care.

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3) Nectar House
1947 South Broadway

Nectar House opened late last year in the lobby of a yoga studio -- an outside-the-box setting for a raw, vegan restaurant with an extravagant drink menu. But customers are continually wowed by the delicious food created within the constraints of both the setting and the milieu. The superfood salad is among the best salads in the city, and Nectar House also makes a remarkable raw, vegan version of pad Thai as well as Reuben sandwich. There are brunch offerings, too, as well as decadent desserts that will melt in your mouth.


Location Info

Venue

Map

Native Foods Cafe

680 S. Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Lotus Vegetarian

1015 S. Federal Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Nectar House

1947 South Broadway, Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Govinda's Garden

1400 Cherry St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

City, O' City

206 E. 13th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
58 comments
Amy Harry
Amy Harry

Maybe how you'll go to Native with me? Or City O City. Seitan wings. YUM.

Bräd Männ
Bräd Männ

The shits that I take after eating at City O are some of the most unique and challenging times I've ever experienced. I try to avoid it at all costs.

Svetlana Kerstein
Svetlana Kerstein

Masalaa Indian restaurant hands down is the best veggie restaurant! And it does not have the shitty ass service or snooty attitude of all the hipster places that you listed.

Mandy Scott
Mandy Scott

Native foods cafe! Amazing all vegan !

Jane McDonald
Jane McDonald

Eek. In Cap Hill #1 is openly referred to as City O' Shitty. I found its reputation for poor service to be accurate.... Twice. Agree that Deer Pile is fantastic.

Traci Hays
Traci Hays

This list is terrible! Watercourse didn't make it and City O at number 1? They get their baked goods from watercourse for crying out loud. City O City is hip and the food is pretty good at best. Cafe Society is the worst.

Katherine Elizabeth
Katherine Elizabeth

We sat for half an hour without getting even so much as a look from any waiter (even though 5 different servers walked past us ignoring my attempts to flag them down), let alone a glass of water. We walked out and will never go back.

sporobolus
sporobolus

Native Foods? yeegads! i have been three times (i had some coupons) and i am in no rush to go back; some of the food is reasonably good, but there's almost no creativity and the atmosphere is plasticky chain-store; i especially did not like the overly-enthusiastic, kindergarten level explanations presented without any sense of whether the customer needs the info


in contrast, City O'City never fails to keep my interest, whether for breakfast or late-night



Jamie Park
Jamie Park

Heard awesome things about City O' City. Chris Sykes, we'll have to try some of these places.

Chris Sauthoff
Chris Sauthoff

Nobody holds a candle to Green's. Too bad it's been gone so long

Sarah Elizabeth Korus
Sarah Elizabeth Korus

If I have to deal with a surly waiter who looks at me condescendingly for a asking a question, there is a good chance I won't return no matter how amazing the food is. I'm amazed some of you would deal with the service at City o City just for their mediocre food.

Mary Jane Martin
Mary Jane Martin

City o city is my favorite food ever! Customer service sucks though

Samantha Rae
Samantha Rae

Shanna Martin - I did start eating fish again. It was DELISH! Thanks for sharing this with me. I might have to check some of these places out

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

If you Luddites ever get out of your Denver bubble, you'll find Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant in Boulder blows them all away.



LeahA
LeahA

Vine Street isn't a vegetarian restaurant, but they have so many great vegetarian options. It's my favorite restaurant in Denver. They will substitute tempeh on any of their sandwiches, and their tempeh is the BEST! Also the burrito, quesadilla, nachos, portabello sandwich...and more.

Jennifer Garcia
Jennifer Garcia

City, O' City has a ton of vegan options :) Their waffles are always spectacular - vegan and gluten free along with all their pastries :)

Jennifer Garcia
Jennifer Garcia

Yes!!! City, O' City is number one and not even close to being mediocre! Never had a bad meal there or a bad desert from Watercourse!

Holly Shuler
Holly Shuler

modmarket does a good job at a decent price.

Shanna Martin
Shanna Martin

Samantha Rae- even though you should start eating chicken :)

Niki Dee
Niki Dee

That's because city and watercourse are owned by the same people...

Max McMurray
Max McMurray

I was not impressed at all with city o city. I sat so close to another customer I could hear then chewing and was elbowed a few times. I felt like I was in my high school cafe all over again

Tony Purcell
Tony Purcell

Steakhouse Denver on Havana St. has great baked potatoes.

Mike Short
Mike Short

Watercourse is lousy. City o City is extremely mediocre.

Stacy Sauls
Stacy Sauls

Surprised Watercourse isn't on this list but I guess I just need to try some new places!

Sarah Rowan
Sarah Rowan

I love City, but Watercourse is basically the same thing but with a million more options.

LeahA
LeahA

@DonkeyHotay  What on Earth does that have to do with Luddites?? It's simply a list of Denver veg restaurants. 

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay  

Please go back and read the first line of the article:

" Denver's vegetarian food scene is getting stronger all the time." 

DENVER's vegetarian food scene.......

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@ScubaSteve  <== clueless 


Wasteword never let an INACCURATE or deliberately misleading headline stand in the way of publishing a story.


HipTip: Native Foods at 680 S Colorado Blvd is in GLENDALE, not Denver.


Now don't you feel like an ignorant clown?



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