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    Thrive

    5 Top Vegetarian Restaurants in Boulder

    Veg-head, plant-based, vegan, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, flexitarian, chegan (cheating vegan)...whatever you call yourself, you'll fit right in in Boulder, where every breed of vegetarian has been proudly shaping the dining scene for decades. Really, just about every restaurant in Boulder will happily accommodate vegetarians. But for some of the very best vegetarian and vegan meals in Boulder, start with the five below. 

    Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant

    The vibe: This upscale-casual spot has a loyal fan following and owners who source some of the ingredients from their own farm. At Leaf, veg-heads can choose from anything on the menu — much of which can be made vegan, too.

    The dish: The spaghetti squash peanut noodle dish is saucy and satisfying, but you might not be able to resist the buffalo “wings”-style cauliflower tacos.

    Zeal

    The vibe: Zeal enjoys a hip West Pearl Street address and an airy dining room that smells of fresh wheat-grass. Take a break from shopping and strolling Pearl for a healthy, energizing lunch.

    The dish: Order the kombucha flavor-of-the-day on tap and the vegetable rainbow coconut curry, with sprouted lentils, sunflower seeds and toasted coconut.

    Native Foods

    The vibe: The quick-bite Native Foods cafe at Twenty Ninth Street is entirely vegan, and the menu is packed with satiating world flavors. 

    The dish: Try the Bistro "Steak" Sandwich, made with the restaurant’s proprietary seitan, thinly sliced, seared and topped with house made tofu bleu cheese on a toasted baguette.

    Thrive

    The vibe: Thrive is one of those wonderfully crunchy, colorful Boulder spots that totally “gets” plant-based eating and harnesses the powerful enzymes in raw foods to delicious effect. You’ll likely see ingredients on the menu that you won’t recognize (shilajit, anyone?), but learning about the health benefits of foods is part of the fun here.

    The dish: Stop in for a refreshing superfood smoothie or the yummy Holy Pesto salad — and not miss the liquid nitrogen chocolate ice cream.

    Next Door

    The vibe: Warm woods, industrial metals and chalkboards, and chic subway tiles set the tone at this simple, elegant and homey restaurant that was slinging farm-to-table cuisine long before it was even called that.

    The dish: Be brave and try Next Door's universally raved-about kale chips, then bite into the juicy beet burger. If you want choices and like to plan ahead, their online menu has “vegetarian” and “vegan” toggle buttons, so you can find exactly what suits you.

    Top photo by Eli Akerstein.