The winter edition of Restaurant Week begins today and runs through Sunday. 250 restaurants are participating in the prix fixe brunch, lunch and dinner specials. These are our picks for the best vegetarian options for Restaurant Week.
Cedar is one of those restaurants that if more people knew about would be packed all the time. Their Restaurant Week menu is a dream for vegetarians, as many of the dishes actually incorporate vegetarian proteins. Entrée include veggie ravioli, grilled tofu topped with a curry-infused vinaigrette and served with cauliflower puree, spinach risotto adorned with thinly sliced smoked tempeh, fettuccini with tossed vegan chicken and covered in a creamy rose sauce, and a vegan stroganoff where seitan and root vegetables are cooked together to create a hearty stew. I love all the “meaty” choices.
Although I love Convivial, I don’t visit it as often as I like. Restaurant Week is a great time to stop by, the restaurant’s vegetarian options are drool-worthy: potato chips with onion dip, panisse with a harissa aioli, garlic bread with a tomato and olive tapenade, burrata with breadcrumbs, and cauliflower with a beet puree. And it doesn’t end there. The Restaurant Week menu is huge. I don’t know how I would choose between gnocchi, a leek and gruyere quiche or leeks dijonnaise.
I always recommend going to restaurants that are normally super expensive during Restaurant Week so actually take advantage of the $35 dinner deal. Equinox not only falls into the category of getting the biggest bang for your buck, it also happens to be ideal for vegetarians and vegans. Appetizers include an eggplant and mushroom gratin or a baby arugula salad with pears. Entrée options include cauliflower tempura over soba noodles, which is crunchy, hearty and decadent, slow roasted delicate squash with rice, or spinach bucatini with a tomato and mushroom ragu, another dish I have had the pleasure of sampling and can report that it is savory and delicious.
This new-ish Indian restaurant is one of my favorite spots in town. The venue is elegant and the food is spicy, flavorful and beautifully plate; and $35 for Restaurant Week is a steal considering the cost and caliber of their dishes. Vegetarians can choose from gems like shitake mushrooms stuffed with feta cheese and a grilled quinoa tikki, which is like a pan-fried patty, as appetizers and then paneer makhani, which is a rich dish comprised of cubes of cheese that come swimming in a creamy gravy, or my personal favorite, mushroom biryani, as a main course. If you love mushrooms, this will definitely become one of your favorite dishes.
Knightsbridge Restaurant Group recently transformed NoPa into Olivia, a Mediterranean restaurant with a menu full of vegetarian dishes, many of which will also be available during Restaurant Week. Diners can choose five different vegetarian first course options, including charred cauliflower with squash hummus, eggplant with pickled raisins or crispy falafel with tzatziki labne. For the entrée chef is preparing an olive chickpea socca with spaghetti squash.
The Source is offering a small Restaurant Week menu, but does include one vegetarian item in each course and the vegetarian entrée is so divine that it is worth it to visit. For the appetizers, vegetarians will receive a duo of vegetarian sushi, avocado nigiri and a vegetarian roll. The entrée is the real highlight, Chef’s vegetarian dan dan noodles. The dish is made with noodles swirled in a bold, fragrant, garlicky and soy sauce infused sauce, topped with impossible meat and slices of fresh cucumber. It is meaty and succulent, something that vegetarians and non-vegetarians will love. I could eat it every day.
Tosca is one of those old world Italian restaurants that has been open in D.C. for decades, formal, fancy and expensive – perfect for Restaurant Week. This year’s menu includes a lettuce salad with a lemon and thyme vinaigrette, raddichio with gorgonzola cheese and poached pears, and a white cannellini bean soup, ideal for cooler temperatues. Entrees include a whole wheat spaghetti with a classic tomato sauce and carrot-ricotta cavatelli, drenched in a rich mushroom ragu. Tosca has always been Italian food at its finest.