917 W. Grace St.
Second Place: The Daily Kitchen & Bar
Third Place: Lehja
Once upon a time, Richmond had a single vegetarian restaurant: Grace Place. And although the oldsters may wax poetic about its dishes, there were a few on the menu in the '70s that made you feel so healthy, you never ordered them again. Kendra Feather's Ipanema Cafe came to our rescue when Grace Place closed and offers a very different kind of vegetarian fare, the sort that makes committed meat-eaters forget, well, that they aren't eating any. College students can make a cheap meal of marinara and Billy Bread or, if your wallet is less inflexible, the barbecued jackfruit with slaw and chipotle aioli sandwich at lunch and the vegan pastel de choclo — a Chilean version of shepherd's pie — with mushrooms and a sweet corn purée at dinnertime are dishes you'll want to try more than once. The Daily offers so many choices that vegan or vegetarian fare can be an option at every meal. And Indian restaurant Lehja takes vegetarian to new heights with dishes that come from a country where a third of the population eschews meat of any kind.