Things certainly have changed since I ate exclusively vegetarian. There were very few vegetarian-friendly restaurants in this city of flying pigs, let alone vegetarian-only restaurants. Now there are surprises — like a special vegetarian and vegan fine-dining menu at Primavista (810 Matson Place, Price Hill, 513-251-6467) with Cavoletti di Bruxelles and Penne alla Cionni — and loads of casual options all over town. Here’s just a starter list.
Myra’s Dionysus (121 Calhoun St., Clifton) offers so much vegetarian food that it makes carnivores nervous — but they’re welcome, too. There is a distinct Greek vibe going on at Myra’s, as well as foods from around the world, including Gado Gado (an Indonesian spicy peanut-ginger sauce with cucumber, tomato, raisin and sunflower seed served over brown rice) and Imam Bialdi (eggplant and tomato seasoned with allspice and currant from Turkey). Eight soups are offered daily from a repertoire of about 28 (more than half of those being vegetarian/vegan), and Myra’s also boasts three vegan desserts: mousse, lemon-blueberry cake and chocolate cake.
Among the dozens of fantastic Indian restaurants to choose from in Cincinnati, two stand out as all-vegetarian havens: Amma’s Kitchen (7633 Reading Road, Roselawn, 513-821-2021) and Brij Mohan (11277 Reading Road, Sharonville, 513-769-4549). Amma’s Kitchen is not only vegetarian, it’s certified Kosher — the only Indian restaurant in the city to be so designated. If you’ve never had a dosa, this is the place to try one. The massive crepe-like dosas are made from rice and lentils, served plain or stuffed with any variety of delicious fillings. Brij Mohan used to offer only Indian sweets but recently expanded to serve vegetarian Indian food as well. The Papri Chaat is worth the trip by itself, and let the staff recommend something for you if you can’t make up your mind. You won’t be sorry. Amma’s Kitchen is open seven days a week; Brij Mohan is open every day except Mondays.
The Green Dog Café (3543 Columbia Pkwy., Columbia-Tusculum, 513-321-8777) serves up locally sourced, organic dishes thought up by Mary and Mark Swortwood, veterans of the local dining scene. Curries, salads, sandwiches, soups and wraps are but a few things the hungry vegetarian/vegan (and even omnivore; there are dishes with meat) can enjoy for lunch, dinner and brunch. A favorite is the Green Dog Benedict (pictured above), served with sweet potato hash browns and orange hollandaise, and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream from Columbus rounds out the dessert menu. The Green Dog has a full bar and is open every day except Mondays.
I’ve only scratched the surface here, and could go on and on. There are vegetarian and vegan options at The Fresh Table in Findlay Market, Andy’s Mediterranean in Walnut Hills, Salt of the Earth in Madisonville, It’s Just Crepes downtown and Northern Kentucky, Melt in Northside and Tom Chee downtown. You don’t have to take my word for it that Cincinnati has come into its own regarding vegetarian restaurants. Get out there and eat!