A ranked guide to the best vegan-friendly places around Brown
Being vegan isn’t easy. Last semester I tried it on a rotating schedule—one vegan week every four weeks—and found it to be challenging. (For those wondering, of the three remaining weeks, I was vegetarian for two and had no restrictions for one.) I completely avoided encountering many of the challenges vegans face, especially since I had a designated end time for each period I was vegan. After all, it’s not nearly as difficult to do something for a set amount of time as it is to do it without an end. But there is one area in which I felt I could understand the vegan struggle: eating out. To help other vegans here at Brown, the Post- staff and I have amassed this list of vegan-friendly restaurants near campus, ranked from best to worst. If you’re vegan, or if you have any vegan friends—you’ll know if you do—try some of these places.
727 East Ave., Pawtucket
Chic enough for a date yet casual enough to feel comfortable in a T-shirt, this is one of my favorite restaurants in Providence even when I’m not on a vegan diet. The mushroom and sweet potato tamales perfectly blend sweet and savory, and the Korean tacos invigorate the typical vegetable palate with their sweet chili tempeh. Though it may tempt, stay away from the gluten free vegan macaroni and cheese—it will only evoke thoughts of the shortcomings of vegan cheese—and stick to Garden Grille’s excellent vegetable-based dishes. The restaurant takes no reservations, but luckily the neighboring Wildflour Bakery, run by the same owners, gives a free coffee to anyone waiting with a Garden Grille buzzer and has excellent vegan chocolate chip cookies.
Kabob & Curry
261 Thayer St., Providence
It’s pretty much impossible to attend Brown University without knowing Kabob & Curry. Its vast selection of delicious, vegan flavors makes it more than deserving of a place on this list. The menu includes helpful symbols for locating items that fit into certain dietary restrictions, and the location couldn’t be more convenient for Brown students. Alu gobhi and bhindi masala are two of my personal favorites, and no meal is complete without vegan naan. And vegan Sunday brunch is a great deal, with plenty of vegan options and a special price for the vegan buffet.
Den Den Café Asiana
161 Benefit St., Providence
The original Den Den, this one requires a short and completely worthwhile walk downhill. I cannot praise the yaki udon bento enough: The udon noodles are thick and delicious, and the seaweed salad and pickled vegetables provide an exquisite contrast to the flavorful noodles. It comes with miso soup—not mentioned on the menu—but this can be replaced with a small side of broccoli. Japchae is another delectable but different noodle dish Den Den offers; the noodles are smaller and almost clear, and they’re made from sweet potato yet taste nothing like them. Regardless, they’re a delightful option.
727 East Ave., Pawtucket
Rasoi, the winner of the Reader’s Choice Award in the Providence Journal, rivals K&C in taste and quality. Covering a wide range of Indian cuisine, from both the north and south, it provides plenty of vegan options. Must-tries include hot idli sambar, which combines fluffy rice cakes with crackling lentil soup, and classic okra masala speckled with red peppers. If you’re feeling adventurous, ask the server for nimboo soda—lemon soda with a spicy twist. It may be far from Thayer, but it’s definitely worth the taste.
166 Broadway, Providence
This one is a fabulous brunch pick. Not only does it offer many classic breakfast and brunch meals, but any instance of eggs can be replaced with tofu. It’s not really brunch without a benedict, and thankfully, The Grange recognizes that with their savory tofu benedict with seitan sausage and black pepper biscuits. Don’t expect it to taste like the usual eggs benedict; expect it to taste better. The roasted veggie bowl is another winner for those leaning more toward the lunch half of brunch, and it includes avocado, fulfilling yet another millennial brunch trend.
123 Dorrance St., Providence
This vegan and kosher restaurant is perfect if you’re craving Asian dishes made with veggies, tofu, or soy protein. Though it does require an 18-minute walk (or five-minute Uber ride) downtown, their ambiance, spacious seating, and delicious options make it worth it to leave campus once in awhile. I especially recommend the scallion pancake, Korean-style clear noodles, and the sweet and sour sesame soy protein. To finish off the meal, be sure to order their fried soybean-based ice cream (they’ll even put a candle on it if it’s your birthday!).
8 Stimson Ave., Providence
Che! Hut is about “challenging what’s on your plate” through completely plant-based meals. But you won’t even remember that anything is missing when peppers of all colors come out wrapped lovingly in a spring roll. To boot, the ebullient chef Natasha Daniels will keep you entertained with skillful demonstrations that make you believe that you, too, could effortlessly whip the noodle bowl with roasted mushrooms, tamari, and thai basil. Past weeks have included Mexican, Indian, and Thai-inspired meals—drop by next week to discover what Natasha has in store!
783 Hope St., Providence
What Apsara lacks in ambiance, it makes up for in flavor and pricing. A good meal includes the vegetable nime chow—the appetizer plate comes with two for just $2.75. Deciding what to select for the main course is a challenge indeed: The eggplant garlic sauce stir fry and broccoli oyster sauce stir fry are excellent, tasty options. With anything, make sure to order both vegetables and tofu.