Dining out with friends...

Summer Yim

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Hi everyone! Even though I have been a vegetarian for a few years now, I am still having difficulties finding restaurants that match my vegetarian diet and my carnivore friends’ preferences whenever I dine out. It’s always so frustrating that I have to spend 30 minutes researching for restaurants and then ended up in a restaurant that only has 1-2 vegetarian options😩. Is it just me or do you all experience this too? Do you all have any advice on how to make the research process better and easier? Would love to hear your thoughts, thank you🙂!
 

Blues

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Try and ring a head of where you are going to see what they have for your requirements.
Or…
When you get there ask to see the chef or just walk out to the kitchen with your mask 😷 on and politely talk it through with the chef
 

Chryssie

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I eat out quite frequently and all of my friends and family are omni though my sister is open to trying veg dishes. I have not had many issues and I do research restaurants constantly. I also message them on Facebook to inquire about veg options. Most are very responsive and helpful. These are the small places not chains of course. Chains I can deal with by ordering off the appetizer and sides menus when there is no veg entre available. And ask questions. If the server cannot answer them, request speaking to management. Most places are accommodating.
 
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Kathy Lauren

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It is seldom that I eat in a restaurant that has *no* vegan or vegetarian option. It might be boring, tasteless and over-priced, but there is usually something I can eat, even if it is only french fries. Often something can be made vegan with a small change: a salad without cheese, for example.
 
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David3

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Hi everyone! Even though I have been a vegetarian for a few years now, I am still having difficulties finding restaurants that match my vegetarian diet and my carnivore friends’ preferences whenever I dine out. It’s always so frustrating that I have to spend 30 minutes researching for restaurants and then ended up in a restaurant that only has 1-2 vegetarian options😩. Is it just me or do you all experience this too? Do you all have any advice on how to make the research process better and easier? Would love to hear your thoughts, thank you🙂!
.
Your profile says that you live in San Francisco. The happycow.net website shows that there are 42 veg-friendly restaurants in your area: https://www.happycow.net/north_america/usa/california/san_francisco/?filters=vegan-vegetarian
 
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Emma JC

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welcome to the forum

One suggestion is that you eat something before you go so that you can order something small like a salad or french fries and not feel underfed or pressured.

Emma JC
Find your vegan soulmate or just a friend. www.spiritualmatchmaking.com
 

Lou

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Hi everyone! Even though I have been a vegetarian for a few years now, I am still having difficulties finding restaurants that match my vegetarian diet and my carnivore friends’ preferences whenever I dine out. It’s always so frustrating that I have to spend 30 minutes researching for restaurants and then ended up in a restaurant that only has 1-2 vegetarian options😩. Is it just me or do you all experience this too? Do you all have any advice on how to make the research process better and easier? Would love to hear your thoughts, thank you🙂!
Ha!!
Personally I don't have any problem at all.
First thing I did when I read your post was to see where you are from. Because the people here have told me that I have a skewed perspective living in a very vegan friendly area.
But you live in a more vegan friendly area than I do.

When I go out with friends and they have chosen a restaurant I don't know, I do the same thing as you do, I go online and check the menu. As long as they have one vegan dish, I'm good to go.

Sure variety is the spice of life, but if its a new (to me) restaurant - that is enough variety for me.

When I'm visiting my sister, we have like 3 restaurants that we rotate thru. Each one has at least one vegan dish, but not more than 3. Mostly I suggest going to the one restaurant that that has one Really Good dish - its unusual and since its no more than 3 times a year - I am not bored with it - probably never will get bored with it. And if I do start to get bored with it - then there are the other 2 nearby restaurants.

Also, depending on how good your friends are, you should be allowed to pick the restaurant every once in a while. There are SO many good restaurants with vegan food in the SF Bay Area. If they are less than fully according give them a short list of Summer Yim approved restaurants to choose from. If they can't be even that accommodating - you need new friends. Maybe some vegan ones. In SF you can't throw a block of tofu without hitting a vegan. :)

I also have some general tips. An Asian restaurant is Always the safest bet. And they always have at least one tofu dish. Also for some reason Asians never got into cheese that much so there is that, too. The main thing is that the default is not always vegetable broth. but they always have that as an option. (I'm thinking of Pho right now.)

Not everyone considers Indian food as Asian. but anyway, SF is full of great Indian places and they also have lots of vegan dishes.

Mexican restaurants are not your safest bet but they almost always have a vegetarian dish. Repeat after me. "No Queso, Por Favor. " Now you're good to go.

I live across the street from a Mexican restuarant and they have several dishes that can be veganized. No meat, no cheese, no sour cream. Of course I'm still paying for those thins. After the third time I did this the waiter asked me if I wanted substitutions. It turns out they could add stuff and not charge extra cause I had took out all the expensive ingredients. So I would order the vegetarian burrito without cheese (and sour cream). They would just add the fajitas vegetables.

I used to be hesitant about making special requests. I didn't want to be "that fuzzy vegan". Especially in front of my friends. But a couple of experiences knocked the shyness out of me.

First time, I had gone to a restaurant sort of as a spur of a moment. It was a Greek/Italian place that I had been to before - but before I was vegan. and they had taken out the salad bar. there was nothing on the menu that I could eat. but I put aside my insecurities and asked the waiter. He asked the chef and the chef came out and described a dish that was not on the menu. And it was great!

Another time I was out with my sisters. My oldest sister is bend-over-backwards- accommodating - she had checked the menu before making the reservation. when we got there we discovered the one vegan dish was on the dinner menu, and we were there for lunch. My sister looked so disheartened. So I asked the waiter if I could still have that dish - even tho it was lunch time. and he said sure.


 
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ewomack

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This used to be a much bigger problem for me maybe 10 - 15 years ago. But now I can look at menus online and suggest more flexible options when possible. It also depends on what part of the world you live in. In the US, some states are far less vegan/veggie friendly than others. I've noticed this when traveling all over this HUGE country, but things seem to have opened up more recently. You can probably even now search for "flexible" restaurants online as well and make suggestions. Or just compromise: "this time I'll go to the place with 2 veggie options if next time we go to the place with 50 veggie options." Hopefully you have good friends who will accommodate this.
 
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