Most of my patients know that I am a huge advocate for a whole-foods, plant-based diet. And, once they learn the benefits of such a diet, many want to shift toward this eating style. As a result, one question I often get is, “Where can I go out to eat?”
General Food Types, and National Chains:
You can typically find something plant-based in most restaurants. Mexican places will usually make you veggie fajitas, bean and/or veggie burritos or enchiladas (just skip the cheese and sour cream).
Most Thai places can make veggie curries (or veggie and tofu), Veggie Pad Thai, or Veggie Fried Rice (request no egg). Those that sell fresh spring rolls will often make them to order, so you can omit the chicken/shrimp. Some Thai places also have a Macrobiotic menu with healthy, vegan selections.
Most Italian places serve Pasta Primavera, with lots of veggies, tomato-based sauce, and a side salad with a vinaigrette dressing. And if it is pizza that you are craving, order your veggie pizza with extra sauce and no cheese. Some pizza places have soy cheese available.
In addition, there are several national chains that you can find something plant-based: Chipotle Mexican Grill & Moe’s Southwest Grill both allow you to build your own items; go for the (brown) rice, black beans (avoid the pinto’s, since they are made with bacon), fajita veggies, fresh veggies, tofu, salsas & guacamole (make sure it isn’t cut with sour cream).
Panera Bread usually has at least one vegetarian soup on the menu, as well as a veggie sandwich, and oatmeal for breakfast.
And Mellow Mushroom Pizza has several vegan options, including hummus and pita appetizer, and mega-veggie pizza, that can be ordered with vegan cheese. They also can give you gluten-free crust upon request.
If you find yourself at Johnny Rockets, or Red Robin, they each have a veggie burger, with all the trimmings. But be aware that the Chili’s black-bean burger does contain dairy and eggs. (Here is Chili’s “vegetarian” menu.)
Local Tampa-Bay Area Restaurants:
I’ve compiled a list of local restaurants that my family and friends like to frequent for plant-based, whole-food, and gluten-free options. To qualify for this list, each restaurant must have several good vegetarian/vegan items, whole-grain and/or gluten-free options.
If you have any suggestions to add to the list, please comment at the bottom of this page. (The city list is in order from North to South). Bon appetit!
NEW PORT RICHEY:
Zim Zari’s California Coastal Grill: 3230 Little Rd, Trinity, 727-375-9755. Cute “surfer” atmosphere with fusion menu of Mexican and American. Veggie burrito and Veggie fajitas are our favorites.
Eco-Bean: 501 N. Pinellas Ave (Alt 19, north of Tarpon Ave), Tarpon Springs. 727-937-1967. Inviting little coffee shop with organic, fair-trade coffee, a selection of non-dairy milks, fruit smoothies, veggie juices and a variety of vegan baked goods (some of which are also gluten-free). Recently started selling vegetarian wraps/burritos, but not vegan. They pre-make them in the mornings, and don’t make vegan ones because they say they have no requests for vegan wraps, so, go on in and start requesting! :-)
Little Thai Cafe: 1810 S. Pinellas Ave (Alt 19, north of Klosterman), Tarpon Springs. 727-945-1400. Cute neighborhood Thai place with excellent curry dishes. We order their vegetable curries, with extra veggies and brown rice. Or their vegetable Pad Thai. Yum!
Tarpon Springs also has a Panera Bread location on Hwy 19 at Tarpon Ave.
LuLu’s Beach House Cafe: 917 11th St, Palm Harbor. 727-831-7742. Cute little neighborhood cafe with fun atmosphere. Open for breakfast and lunch daily. Lots of specialty coffees, some great teas, and lots of unique food options. For plant-based eaters, choose the oatmeal with fruit and almonds, organic spinach/veggie wrap, vegetarian breakfast burrito without cheese, or several vegetarian salads which can be ordered without cheese. Tell Louise and Rob that you learned about LuLu’s from this blog!
Consciousness Blossoms: 3390 Tampa Rd, Palm Harbor. 727-789-1931. This is a dedicated vegetarian restaurant with great and unusual new things to experience. Try their stir fry, hummus wrap, portabella mushroom wrap or tempeh sandwich. They also usually have vegan soups and desserts.
Shlomo Gourmet Subs & Deli: 31483 US Hwy 19, Palm Harbor. 727-771-0200. In the Pelican Car Wash plaza. Open late, until 4am! This is a Deli with a nice selection of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and American dishes. There are 5 great-looking salads that are suitable for plant-based eaters including a tabouli salad, 4 different sandwiches including falafel, plus classic hummus or baba ganoush served with fresh pita.
RawkStar Cafe: 32522 US Hwy 19 N, Palm Harbor. 727-772-7295. This is a dedicated organic, raw-vegan restaurant with amazing gluten-free, raw pizzas, wraps, salads and handcrafted desserts. Mmmm! Say ‘Hi” to Adam and Karen, and tell them that you learned about RawkStar from this blog.
Earth Origins Market: 30444 US Hwy 19 N, Palm Harbor. 727-786-1231. This is a health food store that also has a salad bar, soup bar, hot prepared foods bar and deli salads case with lots of great organic selections including vegan/vegetarian items. You can also order sandwiches, wraps, fresh juices and smoothies. Carry out or dine in the small cafe area in the front of the store.
Tum Rub Thai: 32716 US Hwy 19 N, Palm Harbor. 727-781-3515. Great food, great atmosphere. We choose their veggie curries or a selection from their macrobiotic menu. Brown rice is available on request.
Sweet Tomatoes: on Hwy 19, south of Tampa Rd. 727-786-2130. Huge salad bar, with lots of vegan options, soup bar (with at least one vegan option normally), baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, and pasta bar.
Green Market Cafe: 3150 Tampa Rd, unit 1A. (near AMC 20 Theatres). 727-787-5494. Healthy, gourmet salads, flatbreads, brown rice bowls, and wraps, with several vegetarian options that can be made vegan by requesting no cheese. Choose from Mandarin, Waldorf, Avocado Wasabi, Green Market or Baby Bella salads, Veggie Flatbread, Veggie Portabella grilled wrap, Hummus Bowl or Veggie Bowl, all served with side of seasonal fruit, balasmic cucumbers or cup of soup. They have whole wheat tortilla wraps available, and often a variety of vegetarian or vegan soups such as mushroom-kale.
Ohana Cafe: 306 Orange St N, Ozona. 727-787-1234. A delightful atmosphere, warm people, and amazing food! Lots of vegan/vegetarian options including salads that are incredible. Most selections are very healthy, with organic and hormone/antibiotic-free meats/dairy. Smoothies, wraps, soups, and sandwiches, with gluten-free bread options available. I love the Ohana Cafe Salad and the “Da Kine” bowl ordered with a grilled portabella mushroom in place of the egg - delish! Say “Hi” to Teresa, and tell her that you learned about Ohana from this blog.
Serendipity Cafe: 664 Main Street, Dunedin. 727-483-9233. Next to Richard’s Foodporium, across from Mease Dunedin Hospital. This is a dedicated gluten-free restaurant with lots of organic ingrediets, and several vegetarian/vegan items as well as antibiotic/hormone-free meat/dairy items. Family-owned and run; wonderful atmosphere with welcoming people. The Asian Kale salad and the Veggiepalooza wrap (with hummus instead of cheese) are highly recommended! Now with organic beer and wine selections, and a separate dinner-time menu. Say “Hi” to Kim, and ask her about her gluten-free cooking classes!
Casa Tina’s: 365 Main Street, Dunedin. 727-734-9226. This is a wonderful Mexican restaurant with healthier ingredients and vegan options, as well as a great atmosphere. The refried beans do not contain lard. And their fresh soft corn tortillas are great. Try the black bean soup, veggie enchiladas, or mole poblano (can order without cheese/sour cream)…yum! Also, see acrobatic dance performances every weekend…beautiful!
Kelly’s Restaurant: 319 Main Street, Dunedin. 727-736-5284. A long-time favorite in downtown Dunedin, Kelly’s offers several healthy vegetarian salads, sandwiches and appetizers, such as hummus and pita.
Juan’s Mexican Grill: 1409 Main Street, Dunedin. 727-738-5826. Juan’s will make your burrito, tacos, or burrito bowl to order. Ask for the fajita veggies instead of the meat, and more lettuce or pico de gallo instead of the cheese & sour cream.
Thai Spice: 2475 McMullen Booth Rd, Clearwater. 727-791-7050. Thai food, with a large assortment of dishes that can be ordered without meat (choose the tofu and/or veggie options). Fresh rolls (not fried), can be ordered without the chicken. Wonderful curries! Brown rice is also available, as well as a selection of Macrobiotic dishes.
Laziz Authentic Indian Cuisine: 2475 McMullen Booth Rd, Ste J, Clearwater. 727-797-7541. Great Indian food with many vegetarian options. They say they cook with oil, not butter. If you like Indian, you’ll like Laziz!
Jason’s Deli: 25801 US Hwy 19 N, Ste 110, Clearwater. 727-793-0446. A good salad bar featuring many organic items. A few different vegetarian wraps, soups, and salads that can be ordered without cheese. The hummus on the salad bar is excellent! (They also have Tampa locations, on Dale Mabry and on Fowler).
Shlomo Gourmet Subs & Deli: 2907 SR 590 – Unit 3. 727-796-1466. Next to Johnny’s Restaurant. Open until 10 pm. This is a Deli with a nice selection of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and American dishes. There are 5 great-looking salads that are suitable for plant-based eaters including a tabouli salad, 4 different sandwiches including falafel, plus classic hummus or baba ganoush served with fresh pita.
Nature’s Food Patch: 225 Cleveland St, Clearwater (at Missouri). 727-443-6703. This is a health food, organic grocery store that has recently remodeled to include a much larger prepared foods section with many tasty vegetarian options including sandwiches, wraps, burritos, smoothies & juices. Also a large organic salad bar, soup bar and hot prepared foods bar. Carry-out or dine-in their new cafe area in the front of the store.
Clearwater also has several Panera Bread locations, 2 Chipotle locations, 1 Moe’s Southwest Grill and 1 Sweet Tomatoes Express.
Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant: 6575 Park Blvd, Pinellas Park. 727-549-1688. Vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant opened by a woman whose cancer vanished after adopting a vegan diet. Very fresh and healthy!
Leafy Greens: 1431 Central Ave, St Pete. 727-289-7087. A dedicated raw-vegan restaurant with many amazing items to try. I highly recommend the Veggie Burger and the Thai Curry soup.
Nitally’s Thai-Mex: 2462 Central Ave, St Pete. 727-321-8424. A cute and funky fusion restaurant featuring both Mexican and Thai food. Most entree’s can be ordered vegetarian or vegan. They also have great aqua fresca boba drinks!
Meze 119: 119 2nd St N, St Pete. 727-498-8627. ”Vegetarian Bistro, Middle-eastern cuisine with modern flair.” Salads, pita sandwiches, rice with lentils, puff pastries, deserts and more.
Central Cafe and Organics: 243 Central Ave, St Pete. 727-824-0881. Organic menu, with several vegetarian and vegan options that are quite tasty. They always have a vegan soup available, and their hummus/veggie wrap is wonderful. They sometimes have vegan baked goods as well.
Messineo’s Gourmet Market: 179 1st Ave N, St Pete. 727-895-1500. A gourmet market with a few vegetarian and vegan, organic menu options…I have yet to try it myself. Give it a try, and let me know what you think.
Taco Bus: 2324 Central Ave. St Pete. 727-322-5000. Great casual, healthy mexican food, with many vegan options including tempeh or squash instead of meat. Open 24 hours on the weekends, and regular hours during the week.
Pizza Fusion: 9556 West Linebaugh Ave, Tampa. 813-792-1516. Organic, fresh pizzas with vegan, whole grain or gluten-free crust options, as well as vegan cheese option, with lots of fresh veggie toppings. Also, vegan wraps, sandwiches and brownies.
Fresh Bites: 11665 Countryway Blvd, Tampa. 813-336-4936. Lots of organic, fresh foods. Menu has a nice selection of vegetarian and vegan options, with hummus, falafel, baba ghanouj, or tabouli sandwiches or platters that are very fresh and delightful. Also, salads, green beets & kale, and vegetarian stuffed grape leaves. Their fresh, homemade lemonade is amazing.
Seasons 52 Fresh Grill: 204 N. Westshore Blvd, Tampa. 813-286-1152. This restaurant has a dedicated vegan menu, with some wonderful looking selections. I haven’t tried it yet, so check it out, and tell me how it is.
Whole Foods Market: 1548 N. Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa. 813-874-9435. Whole Foods is an organic grocery store as well as a cafe with a hot food bar and a cold food bar as well as made to order sandwiches and wraps. Many plant-based options here, all excellent quality.
Queen of Sheeba Ethiopian Restaurant: 3636 Henderson Blvd, Tampa. 813-872-6000. Wonderfully authentic Ethiopian food with a very large vegetarian/vegan variety. The food is excellent, and the atmosphere very enjoyable.
Grass Root Organic Restaurant: 702 N. Florida Ave, Tampa. 813-221-7668. Dedicated organic vegan, with a good sized raw-food menu. Some amazingly wonderful food here! (Now catering only.)
Pizza Fusion: 777 N. Ashley Drive, Suite C, Corner of Zack & Tampa Streets. 813-463-1600. Organic, fresh pizzas with vegan, whole grain or gluten-free crust options, as well as vegan cheese option, with lots of fresh veggie toppings. Also vegan wraps, sandwiches and brownies.
Mellow Mushroom Pizza: 11955 Sheldon Rd, just south of Citrus Park Dr. 813-926-3600. Hummus and pita appetizer, mega-veggie pizza and/or calzone with vegan cheese option. Gluten-free crust also available. Fun “groovy” atmosphere.
Taco Bus: 913 E. Hillsborough Ave, Tampa. 813-232-5889. Great casual, healthy mexican food, with many vegan options including tempeh or squash instead of meat. Open 24/7.
Thai Thani: 615 Channelside Dr, Tampa. 813-228-9200. A traditional Thai restaurant with some great veggie curries and dishes. (No brown rice available.)
Mi Pueblo: University Walk. 8405 Tuttle Ave, Sarasota. 941-359-9303. Mi Pueblo has an organic and living food menu available that looks amazing. Check it out and tell me how it is!