READERS' PICK: Vegans eat well at Govinda's sumptuous vegetarian buffet. This Hare Krishna restaurant serves no meat or eggs, and about three-quarters of their dishes are dairy free as well. Thursday nights are entirely vegan, and on other nights selections containing dairy are clearly marked. Govinda's expert cooks make good use of soy, beans, grains, nuts and organic vegetables to produce healthy and delicious vegan dishes such as calzones, vegetable kofta, Sloppy Joes (made with beans), eggplant parmesan (made with soy cheese) and seitan fajitas.
READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: The Casbah Tea House, 628 N. Fourth Ave. The mellow patio discreetly tucked away from busy Fourth Avenue is enticing enough, but The Casbah Tea House is also home to satisfying and creative vegan fare. It's the perfect spot for those times when you're hungry for something healthy, and the variety here certainly warrants repeat visits. Basics like the tempeh burger (with your choice of soy- or milk-based cheese) couple nicely with their green salads; and comfort foods like the shepherd's pie make perfect meals unto themselves. The cafe-style dining creates a comfortable atmosphere to socialize over tea or coffee, and their incredible desserts (vegan and otherwise) are not to be missed.