Walking into Noorish can be a little intimidating at first; if you’re not familiar with Eastern philosophies or yoga, you can easily feel out of place. And the elixirs on the menu have long lists of ingredients, some of which you’ve probably never heard of before, even if they are good for you.
But when it comes to food, Noorish is definitely down-to-earth. Dishes like the truffle mac n’ cheese, the guaco bean burger, the pad Thai and the rainbow root poutine are delicious gateways into the world of vegetarian eating. For more experienced vegans, there are specialized dishes like classic dhal, a lentil stew, or the sattva bowl – filled with wilted kale, roasted yams and quinoa, topped with a lemon-hemp gravy – to keep stomachs and minds satisfied.
Finish off with the chai cheesecake or the chocolate truffle pie, and you’ll leave in as much of a state of nirvana as you would after eating a heavy meat-and-potatoes dish somewhere else. –Glenn Cook
8440 109 St, 780-756-6880
When Padmanadi features a vegetarian buffet, consider yourself lucky if you can score a table. If you’re fortunate enough to beat out every vegetarian in town, you’ll be treated to some of the most deceptively familiar dishes conceived – if you’re a carnivore, that is.
Try to imagine a fried “chicken” tofu tasting as good as the real thing. If you can’t, test Padmanadi’s General Tao. Once you’re done having your mind blown, be sure to sample the dishes that are less disguised. Padmanadi takes special care in preparing its vegetable dishes, and the effort is no better showcased than in the chili green beans. The beans, cooked and coated in a chili black bean sauce, are exercises in simplicity, but showcase how seasoned, spicy and delicious your greens can be – with a little care. –Cory Haller
10740 101 St., 780-428-8899, padmanadi.com
Most nights, Narayanni’s has a number of vegetarian South African and Indian dishes on its menu, along with some meaty dishes. But if you really want to get your veggies on, check out the Tuesday night cash-only vegan buffet.The night I went, the buffet featured melt-in-your-mouth butternut squash, a fragrant carrot-ginger soup and braised kale and cabbage, which was a nice, light break from heavier dishes.
Remember to save room for dessert, too – there’s vegan rice pudding to satisfy your sweet tooth, and you’d never guess the chocolate cupcakes were vegan if it wasn’t advertised. –Glenn Cook
10131 81 Ave, 780-756-7112, narayannis.com
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