The Vegan Seven

A curious carnivore finds out how the healthier half eats by discovering some of the city’s best veganrestaurants

In Las Vegas it often feels like you can get anything you want at anytime, especially if it involves food. But if you’re a vegan, if you chose a lifestyle without consuming meat, dairy or eggs, you’d might as well be in Omaha.

I am not a vegan myself. I love my steaks, chicken and fish-based sushi. But I have many friends who do not share my carnivore passions. One night over dinner with a frustrated vegan couple, I decided to look into the matter. And I must say, after some research, I found that vegans who want to eat out do have it rough in this town. You really have to know where to look.

To supplement my friend-approved list, I sought the help of Chef Mayra Trabulse, dubbed the “Flavor Chef” by her loyal customers. One of the only truly vegan chefs in town, she runs her own catering company, which—befitting Las Vegas—is called All Vegan, All the Time. She has dedicated her life to not only making a variety of vegan cuisine but teaching others how to make it and to live a more healthful lifestyle.

To better enjoy that lifestyle beyond your own kitchen, I’ve incorporated Trabulse’s sage advice to come up with a list of seven vegan-friendly restaurants:

Rainbow’s End

This market and café is full of natural foods and has a wonderful vegetarian/vegan café. The most popular dish—for more than 30 years—is the Green Goddess pita sandwich ($7.49), which features avocado, cucumber, tomato, grated carrots and beets, onions, Vegenaise and cheese. There are some wickedly tasty desserts, too, including a sinful organic peanut-butter chocolate pie. You can also find Trabulse’s cuisine here 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays, when she takes over the kitchen to make a three-course lunch that costs only $10. Café open for breakfast and lunch 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and noon to 5 p.m. Sat.; market open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Fri, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sat. and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun.; 1100 E. Sahara Ave., 737-1338.

Go Raw Café

Considered the only truly vegan kitchen in Las Vegas by Trabulse, this restaurant lives up to its name by serving cuisine made of raw ingredients, such as the Gimme the Beet “Cheese” Burger ($10.88, with fries), which consists of beets, carrots, sunflower seeds and parsley served on living bread with handmade ketchup, mustard, mayo, onion, tomato, lettuce, sprouts, avocado and almond cheese. 2910 Lake East Dr., 9 a.m-9 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun., 254-5382, and 2381 E. Windmill Lane, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun., 450-9007.

Red Velvet Café

This vegan hot spot is known for its amazing food, stylish décor and friendly atmosphere. The extensive menu, featuring dishes such as spaghetti and meatballs vegan-style ($10.99), will satisfy the pickiest eater. 7875 W. Sahara Ave., 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 360-1972.

Whole Foods Market

It may be a chain supermarket, but true vegans know the value of its offerings and convenience. Whole Foods not only offers a vast array of organic produce, but its deli has great variety for vegan meals, including a salad bar—making this an ideal place to get a quick bite and pick up the groceries. Four locations;

Samosa Factory Indian Cuisine

Samosa claims to serve the best vegan and vegetarian food in Las Vegas, and it certainly offers affordable food with great taste. See for yourself, with dishes such the Baigan Bharta, charbroiled eggplant with onions and tomato, or the Veggie Kofta Curry, which includes opo squash, chickpea flour and garlic. All of these dishes are served with basmati rice and cost $11. Lunch 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon.-Fri., dinner 5-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 5-10 p.m. Fri., noon-10 p.m. Sat.; 4604 W. Sahara Ave., 804-0293.

Paymon’s Mediterranean Café & Lounge

This is vegan-friendly place, but you might call ahead to make arrangements for your meal. Trabulse suggests the lentil soup ($2.95 cup, $6.25 bowl) and the rich hummus for lunch. 4147 S. Maryland Parkway, 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. (lounge open to 1 a.m.), 731-6030; and 8380 W. Sahara Ave., 11 a.m. 1 a.m., 731-6030.

Panevino Ristorante & Gourmet Deli

This alluring restaurant is surprisingly vegan-friendly. Trabulse says Panevino makes a delicious whole-wheat penne with vegan sauce ($22), and it even has homemade vegan desserts. But she says you need to call at least 24 hours ahead of time to make arrangements for a vegan meal. That may be a pain, but the great part is being able to dine your way while enjoying the company of your non-vegan friends. 5-10 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 246 Via Antonio Ave., 222-2400.

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