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Reporting back: Eating in NOLA with World's Pickiest Vegetarian

Florida Girl | Jun 10, 200508:02 PM

Thanks to those of you who helped us out finding places where we omnivores could dine with our veggie friend (who is extremely picky: no mushrooms, no tomatoes, no olives, no beans except garbanzo, I could go on...). But, I wont' go there - she's a dear and she can't help it that those things taste awful to her. At least she has tried them multiple times to see if her tastes have changed, as opposed to dismissing them off hand. Let's focus on what was GREAT, which were a number of veg options that we found (even at unexpected places). Our top picks for tasty dining with a veggie in NOLA (only the places we actually made it to - sometimes our schedule didn't allow us to get to all the great places you recommended):

Bennachin (Fr. Quarter, Royal St.): West African cuisine is delicious, cheap, and different (unless, of course, you happen to be from West Africa). Nice selection of interesting veggie options and plenty for the omnivores too.

Ralph's on the Park (City Park Ave.): has full menu for veggies with which even our pickiest of vegetarians was utterly satisfied. Nice atmosphere, good service. Some reasonably priced wines on the list (we had a lovely Malbec at a normal $30 for such a high end place). If you're into coupons, order the goofy tourist book from - there's a coupon in the back for a free bottle of house wine at Ralph's.

La Crepe Nanou (Robert St. at Prytania, easily walkable from St. Charles Street Car): mid-range prices and very fun, French atmosphere. We lucked out and got the vegetarian waiter who helped our friend out by asking the chef to prepare her what he normally eats himself. There are also a few veggie or veg-alterable crepes on the menu, although no fully veg entrees other than the crepes. Man, the dessert crepes are worth the trip for themselves.

The Basil Leaf (Riverbend area, off St. Charles Street Car, near Oak St.): Thai place we discovered quite by accident that has a whole veg section on the menu - very tasty, fresh ingredients although the portions could feed a person for three days. Mid-range prices.

The Top of the Heap: Commander's Palace Kitchen Table - Chef Tory gave all of us the royal treatment and different dishes for the veggie without batting an eyelash. And they looked every bit as awesome as ours were - I'd happily have eaten them. I know some of you are thinking "Well, for that kind of cash, they should have been" but I still think the place deserves kudos for their total pampering of all of us despite our different diets.

Biggest lesson for NOLA with a veggie: ask and thou shalt receive help with the veg option. She asked at several places without a veg option on the menu other than salad, and about 70% of the time, a dish was prepared for her to her specifications. Very nice! It was really gratifying to hear her say (mutliple times) "I've never even had a CHOICE of dishes on a menu before." Thanks again.

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