I've been eating a largely vegetarian, dairy-free diet since I started overhauling things last spring. You'd think that Kansas City, with its reputation as a big barbecue town, would be a difficult place to find vegetarian and vegan restaurant meals. Actually, quite the contrary.
Here's are some of my favorite places to go for veggie food when I'm not in the mood to cook:
- Cafe Gratitude - Yes, the names of the menu items are silly and they're kind of pricey, but their food is always good. They're completely vegan, so anything that sounds like cheese on the menu is probably made from nuts. They have a drink made from ginger and lemon that is delicious and charges me up more than any energy drink I've ever tried.
- FuD - This is the other strictly vegan place in town and their menu items range from super-healthy raw foods to what you have to admit is vegan "junk food" (nachos, mac & "cheese," etc.). Their big selling points (beyond deliciousness) are their reasonable prices and big portions. FYI - They're not open on Monday nights.
- Eden Alley Cafe - This is KC's oldest vegetarian restaurant and they offer a good variety of vegetarian and vegan options. Their prices are a little high, but they have some specials like Friday Night Date Night (appetizer, two entrees and dessert for $30) that help keep things manageable.
- Aladdin Cafe - There are a couple of vegan options on the menu, including a roasted cauliflower and falafel sandwich that is pretty much my favorite food ever. I also love their Greek salad (they can leave off the cheese).
- Blue Koi - I've always loved Blue Koi and thanks to their generous number of vegetarian entrees, I can still eat there. We often go there just for appetizers: the Tofu with Awesome Sauce, Veggie Dumplings, Scallion Biscuit and Tofu Lettuce Wraps are all great choices. They also have a version of their Ants on a Tree entree with tofu instead of pork. Ask for the "old style" tofu to get it crumbled instead of in big chunks.
- Blue Bird Bistro - In the same neighborhood as FuD, Blue Bird offers a nice selection of vegetarian and vegan options on each menu.
Aside from these, I find that I can get good vegetarian options at pretty much any Indian or Thai restaurant in town. Italian is trickier because there can be parmesan hidden in marinara sauce—always ask. Heck, I've been rather pleased and impressed at the number of vegetarian options on the menu at the bars my band plays. Bars sometimes equate "vegetarian" with "full of cheese instead of meat," but many of them are wising up and offering veggie burgers and grilled veggie sandwiches and wraps with no cheese.
So there you have it. If you come to Kansas City and want a veggie dining buddy, just let me know!