In vegan heaven
A broad, delicious selection at Veggie Galaxy
450 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
Monday – Thursday open 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday open 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday open 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Sunday open 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Omelets stuffed to bursting with every topping under the sun.
A steaming Rueben, grilled to perfection, exploding with tangy flavor.
A mouthwatering burger, towering with layers of beer battered onion rings.
Whether it’s the middle of a stressful semester, or you just aced your last final, it doesn’t get much better than sitting down to a heaping plate of comfort food with your best friends — especially if you’re at Veggie Galaxy, where all the food is vegan!
I remember walking down Mass. Ave., the summer after my freshman year, and seeing the “Veggie Galaxy, Opening Soon!” sign on a window. I grew up in Oregon, and spent my fair share of time dining in Portland, arguably the Vegan Capital of the World. So when I saw this sign, it was like I’d crossed 2500 miles in a single step. I looked up the restaurant up online and found it was being opened by the same people who run Veggie Planet, a delicious vegan pizzeria tucked away in Harvard square. Needless to say, I was salivating all the way to opening day on Sept. 5, 2011.
Despite the anticipation, I had lingering fears in the back of my mind. I’ve gone to more than one vegan venue, full of hope, only to be served a meal as ultra-nutritious as it is unappetizing and overpriced. After my first meal at Veggie Galaxy, I found this couldn’t be further from the truth. When you step across the threshold, you are immersed in a classic American diner. To the right, a bar stretches the length of the room, with patrons digging in with gusto on one side, and cooks flipping hash browns and pouring coffee on the other. To the left, there are booths for small and large parties and raised tables-for-two lining the center. Classic rock permeates the venue through speakers set in a curved ceiling, reminiscent of the earliest diners. The atmosphere is bustling and filled with the buzz of lively conversation.
Once seated, you’ll have to make a hard decision — what to order! Veggie Galaxy has a full selection of choices for breakfast (served all day!), lunch, and dinner, complete with desserts and drinks. My favorite breakfast plate is the Stuffed French Toast, consisting of two big slabs of sourdough French toast, stuffed with vegan vanilla nut cream cheese and topped with strawberry basil sauce and real maple syrup. If that doesn’t already give you a sugar high, you can add the optional mixed berries and coconut whipped cream topping. Honestly, this dish probably has as much sugar and as many calories as your typical dessert item (and tastes as good), but that’s what I like about Veggie Galaxy — they aim to make the most delicious food possible, and darn the consequences.
That isn’t to say Veggie Galaxy is unhealthy. Certainly the Harvard Square burger (my favorite) with tarragon basil pesto, red cabbage slaw, and sweet corn mash is far healthier than any burger you can order at McDonald’s (ironically located just across the street). Not only that, but I have numerous carnivorous friends who have partaken of a Veggie Galaxy burger and been surprised at just how delicious a chipotle black bean or mushroom chickpea burger patty can be.
That’s one of the secrets to Veggie Galaxy’s vegan cooking — their chefs don’t rely on the flavor of meat to carry a dish. Instead, they strike out into new territory, serving dishes with bold splashes of flavor, ranging from roasted garlic mayo to shallot and apple salsa and roasted red pepper puree. The chefs have worked hard to bring together and invent the most outstanding recipes for vegan faux omelets, bacon, cutlets, cheese, ice cream, frappes, and much more. How they manage to make a vegan omelet (and a scrumptious one at that) is still a mystery to me. They even have an entire set of gluten-free options, which, as far as I can tell, is nearly as extensive as their standard menu.
If you still have any room left after dinner, there is the entire dessert menu to consider. I’ve never been to a vegan restaurant with such a wide selection! There are three kinds of pie, ten kinds of cake (including three cheese cakes), four flavors of pudding, and four kinds of ice cream Sundae. If that weren’t enough, they also have a variety of cookies, muffins, and brownies. I’ve barely sampled the tip of the iceberg when it comes to desserts, but what I have tasted has been decadent.
Bottom line, Veggie Galaxy is a class act. Their food is carefully crafted for maximum flavor, is offered in great variety, and can be enjoyed by anyone.
Tips: If you’re going for dinner, try to show up close to 5 p.m.; otherwise you can expect to wait 5–15 minutes for a table. Also, try the daily specials, or ask your waiter what’s good that day. If ordering an omelet or a dish with cheese, ask for the vegan option, as they serve both the vegetarian and vegan variety.