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Best Vegetarian Experience 

Oasis

1523 N. Park Ave.

READERS' PICK: Say you don't play the role of hippie cook but still want all the benefits? Oasis is your place! A true oasis in the desert of the north university neighborhood, Oasis is a welcome retreat. Vegetarian, vegan, organic, whole, raw, free-range, wild-crafted: All these words describe the food, but what they all really mean is delicious. With so many tempting items on the menu, you could eat for two weeks without repeating yourself (no burp pun intended). Of course, worth repeating is the speciality of the house, Rainbow's Fluff. A tasty "burger" of over 15 secret ingredients, the fluff satisfies even your most carnivorous cravings, should you be willing to admit them. But here's the real pot-of-gold: sweet potato fries so luscious, so tender and so crisp, you'll dream of them and their yammy goodness.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Govinda's Natural Foods Buffet, 711 E. Blacklidge Drive. In an alternate world, all Thanksgivings would be like the ones we have feasted on here--where the turkey is the center of attention as he wanders around mingling with diners ... rather than cooked up as the main course. Dining is equally as delightful and serene the remainder of the year as well. For our pessimistic pals who still think the best to hope for in a vegetarian diet is a little radicchio to liven up our lettuce leaves, a culinary paradise is in store. Even those who shudder at the very thought of tasting tofu might be swayed by the intriguing all-you-can-eat buffet filled with so many palate-tickling possibilities, it's almost impossible to choose. Our eyes are always bigger than our stomachs, as we attempt to try them all. Weather permitting (which is 90 percent of the year), we always opt for the patio--with whispering fountain, palm fronds, and an occasional peacock. Our souls are soothed, as are our stomachs.

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