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Best Vegetarian Fine-Dining

The Garland Restaurant
119 E. Speedway Blvd.

READERS' PICK: Housed in a little bungalow west of the university, the Garland has been undergoing a subtle facelift over the last several months, with a restored patio and cheerfully painted interior. The food, though, is what makes the Garland truly special: Its vegetarian menu is simply outstanding. On recent visits we've enjoyed buckwheat soba noodles with mushrooms and tofu, a cheese and lard-free bean burro, and salads full of crunchy little goodies. For diehard carnivores, the kitchen offers a few meat dishes--but if you haven't had your carrots lately, you'll be glad you browsed the green side of the menu.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Terra Nova Restaurant & Bakery, 6366 E. Broadway Blvd.

CLUE IN: Le Bistro, 2574 N. Campbell Ave., an upscale nouvelle cuisine joint tucked inconspicuously alongside a Campbell Avenue strip mall, serves a wonderful variety of salads, including what may be the city's best version of Caesar and a lovely concoction of bay scallops and endive. The greens are fresh, the just-whipped dressings flavorful, and the presentation attractive--and the whole is served for a moderate price. The menu also offers hot and cold vegetarian dishes, from gazpacho to vegetable chowder, which vary with the season.

CLUE IN: Snugly tucked into the courtyard of the historic Geronimo Hotel near the UA campus is Sinbad's Restaurant, 806 E. University Blvd. In front is a four-tiered fountain spewing forth mind-healing waters and buffering the sounds of passing traffic. Sinbad's, a Middle-Eastern restaurant, is composed of touches of soothing Mediterranean blue, tiled tables topped with little bottles of fresh flowers, and cool tile floors. It's a desert oasis for students, including many from the Middle East. It's a place of calm and exotic aromas. Try the grilled lamb and beef Arabic shawerma (gyros) served with zakzake, a light yogurt sauce. One regular says you must try the basbusa, a heavenly coconut desert soaked in rosewater. Wear something loose and flowing to better indulge in Sinbad's culinary charms.

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