Best Vegan Spots for a Quick Bite in Boston & Beyond

Cafés & Treats

Boston Tea Stop

Boston Tea Stop is one of my favorite places for bubble tea. They let you combine as many as 3 fruit flavors into a slush (blended ice – always vegan), snow (creamy slush – not available vegan), or smoothie drink (blended ice cream – available vegan). You can mix and match different toppings, too; regular boba is my go-to, but their popping boba is also vegan. They have plant-based milk options available for milk teas or whatever your drink of choice may be. For a delicious treat, opt for one of their vegan smoothies, which is made using FoMu’s local, coconut-based ice cream.

Recommendations: Bring cash to this cash-only spot and get a vegan bubble tea smoothie. The place is very small, doesn’t have a great ambiance or A/C, and fills up with customers in line, so plan to bring your drinks to Harvard Square’s expansive JFK Memorial Park, small Winthrop Square Park, or to the Charles River.


Bourbon Coffee

  • Fully Vegan or Vegan-Friendly: Vegan-Friendly
  • Cuisine/Specialty: Coffees, Teas, Sandwiches, Wraps, Smoothies
  • Location(s): Porter Square, Cambridge, MA
  • Website: https://bourboncoffeeusa.com/

Bourbon Coffee is a rare gem—a good lunch spot in Porter Square with lots of seating. Skip Dunkin Donuts and Panera and make a bee-line for this direct-trade, African-by-origin café.

Recommendations: They have a few veggie wraps with hummus, avocado, kale or spinach, carrots, red onion, and other ingredients. They also have plant-based milks to choose from with your drink of choice. While the options here are not extensive, it’s a vast improvement over the other options in Porter Square. Even with a new Caffe Nero nearby, I’m confident Bourbon will have more for local vegans.


Dado Tea

  • Fully Vegan or Vegan-Friendly: Vegan-Friendly
  • Cuisine/Specialty: Asian-Style Wraps and Salads
  • Location(s): Central Square & Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA
  • Website: http://www.dadotea.com/vegan.html

Dado’s vegan menu, linked above, speaks for itself. When think of Dado I think fresh, simple, organic. Their food is not heavy and their portion sizes seem appropriate—they are a breath of fresh air. Service at the Central Square location is always friendly and fast, too.

Recommendations: The Central Square location is a great spot for a lunch date with a friend. Get the Dado Wrap and a pot of tea to share. Their Harvard Square location is best enjoyed to-go; the dining area is always a wreck, which is a shame because the café is lined with lovely, large, open windows overlooking Harvard Square. They have vegan bubble tea options, but they’re not nearly as good as Boston Tea Stop or Kung Fu Tea.


FoMu

  • Fully Vegan or Vegan-Friendly: Fully Vegan
  • Cuisine/Specialty: Ice Cream
  • Location(s): Allston, Jamaica Plain, South End, Fenway, Boston, MA
  • Website: http://www.fomuicecream.com

If you love coconut, you’re going to love FoMu’s fully vegan nice cream—yes, it tastes coconutty and therefore amazing. The textures at FoMu are incredible; the base ice cream has a wonderful creamy consistency, not at all like slush or ice, and their flavors typically include generous chunky pieces of chocolate/toppings. Isn’t it amazing to find an ice cream spot with locations all over Boston that is 100% plant-based?

Recommendations: My favorites are Rockiest Road (almond-based), Mint Chip, and F’Oreo.


Kung Fu Tea

Kung Fu Tea is one of the most popular and well known places for bubble tea, so I’m including it for other bubble tea lovers like myself and for its convenience factor—but vegans, be careful. Their huge menu is full of problematic ingredients, their menu does not clearly label anything as vegan, and their staff is uninformed about veganism.

Recommendations: Stick to their Classic and Punch drinks, as these are mostly fruity tea and water. Only certain Slush drinks are vegan. Instead of their boba (“bubbles”), which are not vegan due to containing honey and caramel, add jelly or popping boba. My favorites are Mango Green Tea Punch with Mango Popping Boba, Mango Slush with Mango Popping Boba, and Winter Melon Green Tea with Mango Jelly. Do not mistake “lactose free” for “vegan”—most of their flavoring powders still contain milk derivatives. They do have plant-based milks, such as soy, but I’m not sure what good they are when most of the flavoring powders cannot be veganized. View ingredients list.


Pavement Coffeehouse

Aside from their coffee, Pavement may be best known for their bagels and bagel sandwiches, but I love that most of their sandwiches can also be turned into a salad with baby kale or arugula. They even offer vegan spreads for their bagels, such as veggie tofu, peanut butter, spicy diablo tofu, hummus, vegan butter, and raspberry jam. More recently, they’v added Just Egg (amazing vegan scrambled egg alternative) and vegan cheese to their menu, too! Pavement was the first place I ever got an oat milk latte, and it was incredible.

Recommendations: I love the Killer Tofu as a salad with baby kale. The Californian is also great as a salad with baby kale—just ask to omit the honey mustard to keep it 100% vegan. Some of their locations, such as the Symphony location, are a cozy spot to dine in. Be aware that it’s common for some locations, such as the Allston one, to run out of bagels on the weekend.


Starbucks

While many of Starbucks drinks use flavoring mixes that contain milk powder, they do have many menu items that don’t contain milk, contain plant-based milk, or can be veganized with plant-based milk. They also have been dabbling in offering vegan foods at select locations.

Recommendations: Iced Guava Passionfruit Drink (a coconutmilk drink), Dragon Drink (a coconutmilk drink), Mango Dragonfruit Refresher, Matcha Latte (with soy milk), Iced Latte (with soy milk), English Breakfast Tea Latte (with soy milk), London Fog Tea Latte (with soy milk). Be careful of frappuccinos, mochas, and specify “no whipped cream” if asked.


Fast Casual

&pizza

  • Fully Vegan or Vegan-Friendly: Vegan-Friendly
  • Cuisine/Specialty: Pizza
  • Location(s): Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA
  • Website: https://andpizza.com

Vegans can pick from tons of vegan-friendly toppings to create their own slightly-larger-than-individual sized pizza, prepared in what feels like mere seconds. They’ve got vegan mozzarella, vegan sausage, and plenty of veggies, sauces, and garnishes that are vegan as well. They’re open til 2 AM on Fridays and Saturdays, and I have to say, they especially hit the spot when you have the drunchies (drunk munchies).

Recommendations: Classic tomato sauce, vegan mozz, vegan sausage, onion, garlic oil and basil. Or how about classic tomato sauce, vegan mozz, mushrooms, banana peppers, and bbq sauce. Delicious. Also, if you get it to go, you’ll get a recycled/reusable cloth bag.


Bartleby’s (Food Truck)

  • Fully Vegan or Vegan-Friendly: Fully Vegan
  • Cuisine/Specialty: Southern-Fried Seitan Nuggets & Sandwiches
  • Location(s): Ever-changing—Boston & Cambridge, MA
  • Website: https://www.bartlebysfood.com

Bartleby’s used to serve food near my work every Wednesday and it’s probably a good thing that their schedule eventually changed, because I was getting addicted to their nuggets and dips. Their homemade seitan is made with a secret blend of spices, breaded, and deep-fried in 100% allergen-free peanut oil, and you can get it in sandwiches, as nuggets, or on a salad.

Recommendations: Get the nuggets and as many sauces as you can carry. You won’t regret it! Bring your credit/debit card as they are a cash-free truck.


Bon Me (Food Truck & Restaurant)

I love Bon Me for their fresh ingredients and bold flavors. Pickled carrots, cilantro, roasted paprika tofu, crispy shallots, and scallion are some of my favorite components in their dishes.

Recommendations: If you get anything other than a sandwich, be prepared for a large serving that might give you some leftovers. I usually get a brown rice bowl with roasted paprika tofu with soy drizzle sauce.


by CHLOE.

  • Fully Vegan or Vegan-Friendly: Fully Vegan
  • Cuisine/Specialty: Bowls, Burgers & Sandwiches, Snacks, & Brunch
  • Location(s): Back Bay, Seaport, & Fenway, Boston, MA
  • Website: https://eatbychloe.com

by CHLOE. has such a massive menu, it’s hard to even sum them up, but I would say it’s modern vegan fast food elevated with fresh, varied, 100% plant-based ingredients. They’ve got American favorites like Kale Caesar salad, burgers, BLTs, and fries, but also Asian-inspired eats like Spicy Thai salad and Sesame Ginger Soba noodles. They have some Mexican/Southwestern-style salads and nachos, too.

Recommendations: I like the Quinoa Taco Salad, and their Pesto Meatball sandwich is delicious, too. You really can’t go wrong with their menu. They’ve got nice branding and packaging, and fun decor for dining in.


Clover Food Lab

Local, farm-fresh ingredients, a passion for plants, an innovative story, and an environmental mission. That’s Clover in a nutshell. They’re best known for their pita-pocket sandwiches, the main 3 being Chickpea Fritter (vegan), BBQ Seitan (vegan version available), and Egg & Eggplant (not vegan), as well as their killer rosemary fries (definitely vegan). But they’ve also got seasonal side salads and grains that round out their platters. They carry Impossible Meatballs by Impossible Foods, and wow, they are good.

Recommendations: You can’t go wrong with their iconic Chickpea Fritter sandwich. If you get a platter, be vigilant about the sides, which often require some tweaking to be fully vegan.


Energize

  • Fully Vegan or Vegan-Friendly: Fully Vegan
  • Cuisine/Specialty: Smoothie Bowls, Salads, Juices, Toasts
  • Location(s): Brighton & Boston, MA
  • Website: https://energizeboston.com

Energize defines itself as a “health oasis” where health and nutrition are at the core of all menu items. A relatively small, curated menu focused on nutrition makes this spot an easy, guilt-free choice for lunch.

Recommendations: Their menu and add-ons are a bit pricey, so I highly recommend downloading their app (App Store, Google Play) and joining their email list to get exclusive discounts. App users can also order their meal for pick-up, in addition to gaining early access to new menu items. The Açai Bowl and Matcha Bowl are my favorites, but their recently-added Avocado Toast is also fantastic. Unlike other places, they don’t skimp on the avocado and it’s very well seasoned. In my opinion, the salads are the weakest part of the menu. They’re overpriced, with basic ingredients, and overwhelmingly big portions.


Life Alive

  • Fully Vegan or Vegan-Friendly: Vegan-Friendly
  • Cuisine/Specialty: Grain Bowls, Salads, Smoothies, Juices, Soups
  • Location(s): Back Bay, Brookline, Cambridge, Salem, Lowell, MA
  • Website: https://www.lifealive.com/

Life Alive has been a gem in Central Square for years and only recently has started to pop up with locations all over the Boston area! The Central Square location had kind of a crunchy granola, hippie, eclectic vibe (and may still), but as the company has grown it has started to really invest in trendier decor and interior design (check out the Back Bay location!). Life Alive has been a pioneer of grain bowls before they were omnipresent, and with fantastic flavor and texture combinations. All bowls have a comforting base (quinoa, legumes, or rice), exciting ingredients (pineapple, beets, umeboshi, jalapeño), rich sauces (ginger tamari, spicy peanut, red miso, cilantro lime), and a crunchy topping (almonds, peanuts).

Recommendations: For a cozy, neighborhood vibe, eat-in at the Central Square location in Cambridge. For a friend/more-than-friend date, check out the Back Bay location, which has more of a Newbury Street vibe. My go-to bowls are the Swami and the Adventurer. Their Living Caesar salad kind of changed my life, it’s that good.


Saus

  • Fully Vegan or Vegan-Friendly: Vegan-Friendly
  • Cuisine/Specialty: Sandwiches, Hotdogs, Salad Bowls, Poutine, Frik
  • Location(s): Boston and Bow Market (Somerville), MA
  • Website: https://www.sausboston.com/

Saus is the perfect place for comforting fast food, “drunchies” (drunk munchies), and exposing your omni and veggie friends to amazing vegan food. Their menu is well-labeled with vegan options, including Beyond Meat and Impossible products. At the Bow Market location, everything on the menu is vegetarian and can be made vegan by omitting cheese or subbing vegan cheese.

Recommendations: Veggie Burger, Cauli-Falafel Sando, and Poutine!


Sprout

  • Fully Vegan or Vegan-Friendly: Vegan-Friendly
  • Cuisine/Specialty: Mediterranean Salads & Bowls
  • Location(s): Boston, MA
  • Website: https://www.sproutboston.com/

Sprout is easy to miss, but once you try their food you will probably become obsessed like I did. Tucked into a shared eatery space with gyro and pizza counters, it’s quite literally easy to miss. With so many salad and grain bowl-type places on this list, where Sprout stands out is its dressings, add-ons, and customer service. Their Thai Cashew Dressing is heavenly. Fresh squeezes of lime juice and sweet, crunchy corn are stand-out ingredients. Free with your meal is a pita-style bread (vegan!) that makes the dish ultra filling yet so good.

Recommendations: The Muy Thai and Buddha are my two favorites. Always get the pita. They offer a wrap option for all bowls at $1 cheaper, but when I tried a wrap shortly after their opening, it completely fell apart into a huge mess. I learned from that point on to stick to the amazing bowls.


Sweetgreen

Pretty much everyone knows about Sweetgreen at this point—I feel like they made grain bowls into the trendy lunch item they are now. I think the best aspect of Sweetgreen is that they have so many locations; the convenience factor of ordering a bowl ahead of time on their app and then going to the nearest Sweetgreen to pick it up is a classic workday lunch routine. And with such a large menu and build-your-own options, there’s something for everyone at Sweetgreen.

Recommendations: The Shroomami bowl, and Guacamole Greens with tofu instead of the default chicken.


Taco Party (Food Truck & Restaurant)

  • Fully Vegan or Vegan-Friendly: Fully Vegan
  • Cuisine/Specialty: Mexican Tacos, Tortas, & Nachos
  • Location(s): Somerville, MA (Restaurant), Cambridge & Boston, MA (Food Truck)
  • Website: https://www.tacopartytruck.com

Considering Mexican cuisine is my absolute favorite, discovering Taco Party was like a dream come true. They feature a rotating menu of 100% plant-based tacos that are priced at $4 per single taco, so it lends itself to trying multiple different tacos each meal. I have yet to try their nachos or tortas, but I am extremely curious!

Recommendations: I loved the Jackfruit Tinga Taco. Even if you’re hesitant about jackfruit, please get it, it will blow your mind. I got 2 tacos plus a side of rice and it was too much food for lunch (my eyes are always bigger than my stomach). The Crispy Fried Tofu Taco was also delicious. If you’re there for dinner, maybe 2 tacos plus a side or 3 tacos without a side would be a good sized meal.


Veggie Grill

  • Fully Vegan or Vegan-Friendly: Fully Vegan
  • Cuisine/Specialty: Fast Food, American
  • Location(s): Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA
  • Website: https://www.veggiegrill.com/

Veggie Grill is the more-is-more, probably-not-good-for-you-but-it-doesn’t-matter, fast-food-galore experience that can be hard to come by as a vegan. Wings, tacos, nachos, fries, mac ‘n’ cheese, bowls, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and desserts—basically any comfort food you’re craving you can find at Veggie Grill. Portions are big, sauces are abundant, and there’s a lot of salt and fried food. But omg so good.

Recommendations: Get the mobile app (App Store, Google Play) to start earning rewards. My fav dishes are the Southwestern Nachos, Crispy Cauliflower, Santa Fe Chickin’ sandwich, and the Classic Romaine Caesar salad.


Whole Foods

It’s a no-brainer that Whole Foods has plenty of groceries for vegans, but what about lunch and on-the-go options? Depending on which location you go to, Whole Foods Markets have various grab-n-go counters, deli stations, hot food bars, salad bars, sushi, pizza, Mexican food counters, and more. There are so many options for vegans, but it’s important to check the labels and ask staff when the labels may be off or missing. Grab-n-go counters aside, there are also many ways to compile a meal out of their many plant-based groceries as well.

Recommendations: There are usually a few vegan pre-made sandwiches at the deli station—usually one with tempeh. For whatever reason the tempeh isn’t offered (last I checked) if you opt to build your own sandwich, but that’s okay. I love to build my own wrap with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrot, pickles, red onion, avocado, mustard, and hummus. I’ve also asked for extra avocado since I’m not getting meat or cheese, and the staff has always complied. At the Mexican food counter, I typically ask for a bowl with rice, tofu, lettuce, guac, and other mix-ins. At the hot/cold food bars, there is usually rice, tofu, sauteed greens/garlicky greens, potato-based dishes, and everything you could possibly need for a salad. At the pizza station, they even usually have a pizza with vegan cheese that is absolutely delicious. Sometimes they have a 2-slices-for-$5 deal that is such a good value. For something off a grocery aisle shelf, the Cedars brand (well-known for their hummus) makes lots of little salads, such as Black Bean or Lentil, that go really well with a small bag of chips or maybe a $3 container of fresh fruit on the side.


Whole Heart Provisions

  • Fully Vegan or Vegan-Friendly: Fully Vegan
  • Cuisine/Specialty: Veggie Bowls, Street Snacks, & Brunch
  • Location(s): Allston, Harvard Square & Central Square, Cambridge, MA
  • Website: https://www.wholeheartprovisions.com/

Whole Heart Provisions sets itself apart from the multitude of build-your-own bowl-style places with their bold flavors and emphasis on texture. Some examples: bulgogi beets, pickled cauliflowers, crispy lentils, roasted Japanese eggplant, miso bbq tofu, and pineapple corn salsa, just to name a few.

Recommendations: Their bowls are very filling—I usually end up with leftovers for the next day. My favorite bowls are Seeta and Tazon. I’ve never built my own bowl because their curated bowls are already so good!


A Few Others I Haven’t Tried…

  • Cocobeet
  • Foumami
  • Honeygrow
  • Red White

If you have other recommendations for this list, please let me know! I will also be compiling another list focused on sit-down restaurants, so if you have recommendations for that one, let me know as well!

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