By Angelique Santana
Holistic Health Guide and Vegan Chef
Eating out is entertainment. At least, until you are one of the few people in your group that needs to consider food options suitable to your diet and preferences. I know all too well about this since being vegan for the last eight years has me asking a lot of questions when I dine out with friends or family. Some of the most common and even trendy considerations are gluten, dairy, and meatless options.
Here are a few suggestions for those of you that seek meatless, vegetarian, or vegan options at your local restaurants including some of your favorites.
When planning a meal out take a look at the menu before going. This will help ease any anxiety you might have while sitting at the table.
Call the restaurant in advance to see if they could accommodate your needs. Do not be afraid to ask for what you need and want. Most restaurants will accommodate your requests and appreciate your calling ahead.
Questions to ask:
Ask if there are any dairy, meat, fish, or gluten ingredients in or used to prepare the dish you are interested in? Ie. butter, milk, cream, mayonnaise, eggs
Look for vegan or vegetarian titled menu items. They are sometimes distinguished with a special symbol such as a green leaf or index at the bottom of the menu.
Vegan/Vegetarian are often used interchangeably and you may have to ask to specify.
If you are gluten-free you may want to ask if they have a fryer dedicated to gluten-free items.
Soups are not always made with vegetable broth, including vegetable soups. Your server should be more than happy to ask the chef.
Miso soup is sometimes made with fish sauce but not in all cases so it is good to ask
Ask to remove ingredients from dishes where possible like meats and cheeses from pasta or salads and ask to replace them with another ingredient.
Ask for dressing alternatives. Some dressings include dairy and gluten.
4. Download the Happy Cow app or visit their website www.happycow.net
5. Cuisines that often have vegan, vegetarian, meatless, and gluten-free options are Mediterranean (Greek, Italian), Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian.
Here is a list of some of my favorite local and chain restaurants with plenty of vegan, vegetarian, meatless, and gluten-free options:
Mezza Mediterranean in Westwood (www.mezzawestwood.com)
Downtown Dhaba in Westwood (www.dhabadowntown.com)
Lolita’s Mexican Cantina in Westwood (www.lolitasmexicancantina.com)
The Hill in Closter (www.thehillcloster.com)
Suju Sushi in Closter (https://suju-sushi.business.site/)
Maywood Pancake House in Maywood (http://maywoodpancakehouse.com/)
Rutherford Pancake House in Rutherford (http://www.rutherfordpancakehouse.com/)
Roots Cafe in Northvale (https://www.rawrootscafe.com/)
Haven in Edgewater (https://www.havenedgewater.com/)
Denovo in Edgewater (http://denovoeuropeanpub.com/edgewater)
True Food Kitchen in Hackensack (https://www.truefoodkitchen.com/locations/hackensack/)
Hanami in Cresskill and Westwood (http://www.hanamirestaurant.com/)
Asahi Sushi in Norwood (https://www.asahisushi506.com/)
Vish in Tenafly (https://vish.rest/)
The Cheesecake Factory (https://www.thecheesecakefactory.com/order)
Yard House (https://www.yardhouse.com/home)
Blaze Pizza (https://www.blazepizza.com/)
PF Chang’s (https://www.pfchangs.com/)
We would love to hear from you about what some of your favorite local restaurants are and if you have any questions we can answer them for you. Comment below for suggestions or questions.
Remember, food is love, and eating out with family and friends is supposed to be fun and entertaining. Bon Appetit!