BEST VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT Phoenix 2006 - Udupi Cafe
The scrumptious South Indian eats at Udupi Cafe prove once and for all that vegetarian/vegan food doesn't have to taste like plywood. After all, residents of the Indian subcontinent have been practicing Hindu-based vegetarianism for thousands of years, so you could say they're the past masters of making fleshless feasts tummy-worthy. The menu here is only about 80 percent vegan, to judge by the menu's identifying marks, but it's 100 percent vegetarian and delicious. This ain't the North Indian fare most of us are used to; rather, there are giant rice crepes rolled around saffroned potatoes, fried lentil doughnuts smothered in yogurt, fat dumplings of ground rice and lentils, deep-fried cauliflower, great bowls of lemon-flavored rice topped with Spanish peanuts, gooey okra in a tangy red paste, thick paratha bread stuffed with garlic, and on and on. Udupi is one of the few places in town where you can eat like a vegetarian and a king at the same time. And that's the poopi on Udupi.