Top 5 Restaurants: Great Vegetarian Food in Columbus, Ohio
Over the last few weeks, I have traveled around Columbus to find some of the best places to get yummy vegetarian food with Brilliant Pixel Imaging’s Account Coordinator Jamie. She and I work together at my company BPI and we also create the content for this blog. We tasked ourselves with finding restaurants that have plenty of vegetarian options and are also places a non-veggie would eat. Here is what we came up with!
#5 Nordstrom Bistro, 4000 Worth Ave, Columbus, Ohio 43219
Nordstrom may not be the first place that you think of for vegetarian food. I love Nordstrom’s Bistro, not because it is healthy (nope), but because their French Fries with Kalamata Olive Aioli is AMAZING! I could put that aioli on almost everything! It is addictive and I cannot stress how this makes ketchup seem stupid and boring in comparison! Bottle this shit Nordstrom!
We started by ordering two starters; a side of fries with aioli and the Crispy Cauliflower. The fries were, as expected, superb! They were perfectly fried with the right amount of crunch and seasoning. The aioli is briny and rich. The Crispy Cauliflower was served over hummus and topped with a tahini drizzle, feta cheese and olives. The flavors in this side work well together and would probably be a healthier option than the fries? But I would never pass up an opportunity to have the fries! NEVER!
Jamie had the Roasted Chicken and Goat Cheese Panini. It is served with provolone cheese, oven roasted tomatoes, arugula, dijon balsamic vinaigrette and a lemon chive aioli.
I had the Wild Salmon Nicoise salad without the salmon. This is my go to salad at Nordstrom’s. It’s so hearty for a salad, even without the salmon, because it has green beans, olives, tomatoes, potatoes, eggs and capers! The dressing is a classic vinaigrette that is bright and vinegary.
The other vegetarian options that are available at Nordstrom Bistro include, Heirloom Tomatoes and Burrata, Margarita Pizza, Asparagus Quiche,Fresh Berry Salad and Mediterranean Couscous Salad.
#4 NorthStar, 4241 N High St, Columbus, Ohio 43214
What makes Northstar great in my opinion is that almost all of their offerings can be made vegetarian. I have ordered their Chicken and Avocado Sandwich with tofu instead of chicken. Their salads and wraps are made with chicken or tofu and their pizzas are all vegetarian.
Northstar is a bit of a destination spot for vegetarians in Columbus because of their remarkable Northstar Burger! The Northstar Burger is made with black beans, brown rice, beets and seasonings. It is dense and filling with a hint of a smoky flavor. Something about the pickles that they put on it also make it insanely good. Before the impossible burger craze, this was the best burger in town!
Jamie got a Beechwold Salad, which I think is their best salad! It has dates, avocado, tomatoes, corn, goat cheese, croutons (which are huge) and almonds with a champagne vinaigrette. The balance of the sweet from the dates and the tartness from the goat cheese is a perfect bite.
I got the Northstar Burger and a side salad. Delicious!
Some of the best items on their menu include their Buddha Bowl, Pazzo Pizza, Thai Burrito and Sweet Potato Fries!
#3 Aladdin’s, 7227 N High St, Columbus, Ohio 43202
Oh Aladdin’s! I have a love hate relationship with Aladdin’s. My husband does not like it and I want to eat there all the time! So, I am left contently craving their creamy hummus, their mouthwatering falafel and don’t even get me started on their hot sauce! There are so many options to choose from on the menu that both your meat eating friends and you will be satisfied (unless you are my husband Greg!).
We started with hummus and pita with an order of hot sauce. I could make a meal out of just this appetizer because you can also get a plate of dip-able veggies. I have never had a better hummus than Aladdin’s! How do they get it so creamy?
Jamie got the Falafel Salad which has greens, cucumbers, tomatoes and scallions with a Tahini Yogurt Dressing. As I mentioned above, Aladdin’s really knows how to make an amazing falafel! It has a perfect outer layer of fried goodness with a soft but dense center and the spices are delicious!
I got the Fatayer Plate. The Fatayer at Aladdin’s it kind of like a middle eastern quesadilla stuffed with spinach and feta? I always get this with a side salad and their Honey Mustard Dressing. The tangy filling of the Fatayer with the sweet of the dressing works so well together!
Aladdin’s has too many vegetarian options to list, but here are some of my favorites! Try the Tabouli, Fattoush Salad, Hummus Falafel Pita or the Dawali Rolled Pita. Also they have amazing ice teas!
#2 Brassica, 1442 W Lane Ave, Upper Arlington, Ohio 43221
Brassica is new to me and I feel that my life is a little bit better for having tried it! It is owned by the same folks as Northstar. The way you order your food is a lot like Piada or Chipotle. You get to choose between a pita sandwich or a salad, then add whatever you want on top. Their vegetarian option is a very fluffy, almost hushpuppy-like, falafel or vegetables. Their vegetable options are incredible! They have Cucumbers and Radish Pickles, Sweet Beets, Pickled Red Cabbage, Marinated Eggplant, Spicy Cauliflower and Spiced Carrots.
Jamie got the falafel in a pita and I got the falafel in a salad! We really do like our falafel!
They have several options of sauces to choose from to add even more flavor and/or hummus and baba ganoush.
It’s hard to describe our particular meals because there were so many unique flavors that you get in each bite! All of the different toppings add a complexity that changes depending on what is on your fork. The pickles are sweet and tangy, the beets are earthy, the hummus is lemony and creamy! I got a bite of carrots that were sweet, with the bitter taste of the greens and the heat from the Z’hug hot sauce and it was heaven!
#1 Portia’s Cafe, 4428 Indianola Ave, Columbus, Ohio 43214
Portia’s Cafe is a vegan restaurant that is within walking distance from our office and my house! I eat there at least once a week. The food is creative, inspired and so very flavorful. I think that some less adventurous people would be put off by the idea of a completely vegan restaurant, but let me tell you, Portia’s has so many amazing dishes to choose from! I am currently obsessed with her potato salad. It is made with vegenaise, potatoes, dill pickles and magic! I will crack the code and figure out how to make it!
Jamie had the Thanksgiving Quesadilla which is made with Portia’s Savory Patty, wild rice, mushrooms, kale, onions, rosemary and Daiya Cheese with a side of cranberry sauce. The Daiya cheese melts like milk-based cheese and the addition of the rosemary and mushrooms really does remind me of stuffing at Thanksgiving. Portia’s gluten free wrap/ tortilla is more like the Ethiopian bread injera in that it is kind of spongy. When it is cold out, I crave this quesadilla!
We had a special guest at lunch on the day we went to Portia’s, Liz came with us and she had the Savory Patty Wrap that is made from a Raw Savory Patty, shredded carrots, tomato, onion mustard and creamy cashew dressing.
I had the half Super Power Wrap. The whole is too much food. The Super Power Wrap has pretty much all of the best of Portia’s ingredients in one wrap! It has guacamole, raw falafel (again…we love falafel), shredded carrots, onions, clover sprouts, lettuce, and creamy cashew dressing. Also, it can be made as a salad instead of a wrap! It is the best wrap on the menu in my opinion.
We also shared the Dip Sampler which allows you to sample 4 of the 5 dips. We chose the hummus, guacamole, spinach-artichoke dip, and Notuna (Sunny Walnut Pate).
*One thing worth noting, if you are allergic to tree nuts, this is not the place for you. Most of the items on the menu have cashews, walnuts or almonds.
Here is a little bonus!
Nordstrom’s Kalamata Aioli Recipe!
1/2 C pitted and drained kalamata olives
2 C Mayonaise
3 TBSP roasted garlic puree
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 TSP koser salt
Puree kalamata olives in food processor. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients.
*I found this recipe on Pinterest and have saved it in my dinner party ideas board.