Bela Vegetarian Restaurant

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 22 reviews )
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413-586-8011
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68 Masonic St, Northampton, Massachusetts, USA, 01060

Offers tofu, tempeh, seitan entrees, soups, veggieburgers, beans, veggies. NOTE: has a strict fragrance-free policy. Open Tue-Sat 12:00pm-8:30pm.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, Take-out

22 Reviews

First Review by will-travel-for-food

Old Timey Veg Food! - Edit

Bela is welcome throwback to the early days of vegetarian food - nothing fancy or trendy - just solid eats with lots of vegetables, rice, noodles, tofu, tempeh etc. On our visits, we've had the curries, stirfrys, and cutlets... Most recently we had a phenomenal sweet pea and mint soup along with BBQ tempeh, kale and rice noodles. We also had the simple and delicious Cindy Special - a veg cutlet with steamed vegetables smothered in vegan gravy - 1/2 the price of this item goes to a local hospice! Being vegan I just wish they were all vegan.

Pros: Fresh!, Not trying to be too fancy or trendy!, No fragrance policy!

Cons: Not Vegan

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A great find for a relaxing dinner - Edit

Great vegetable curry dish from the blackboard on my first visit and pasta with tofu Italian sausage, as well as a plate-sized green salad both times. I elected to have the curry served with rice (which was of the whole-grain brown variety). For the pasta dish I chose whole wheat pasta from among three options on the menu board. The salad was a good deal in my opinion for about $5. Sides such as steamed vegetables were available. The main dishes were both scrumptious with the vegetable-packed curry getting the nutrient-density award and the pasta dish the most flavorful—a perfectly executed dish. The curries on offer varied from night to night. The atmosphere and offerings were appetizing. The intimate size and background music allowed the place to gurgle with quiet conversation.

Updated from previous review on 2017-05-02

Pros: tasty, fresh, well-prepared dishes, many healthy dishes emphasizing vegetables, nice intimate space and pleasant atmosphere

Cons: some (clearly marked) dairy-containing items, parking tight on the weekend

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HurtBlackCouple - Edit

I arrived today with a lady friend from out of town, trying to explain how much time I spend in Northampton, the.cook came.from out the back and asked that we leave due to a perfume or colgne we were wearing.... I've never heard such a thing! NOT THE WAY TO SERVICE BLACK COUPLES TRYING TO PATRONIZE YOUR ESTABLISHMENT!!! WE LEFT FEELING INDIFFERENT CONFUSED ETC. YOU KNOW WITH THE MULTICULTURAL SENSITIVITY IN THE TOWN'S HISTORY, THAT WAS TOTALLY ABHORRENT. BLACK MEN DONT EAT HERE, YOUR LUNCH DATE WILL BE MORTIFIED, BY THE WAY...WE WERE NOT WEARING ANYTHING NO COLOGNE NO PERFUME JUST BLACK SKIN

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Good lunch - Edit

I stopped here for a quick lunch when I was passing through the area. The place has a cafe-like vibe - very welcoming and relaxing.
I ordered the cutlet with potatoes. It came with a nice salad full of sprouted legumes and nice veggies; the dressing was excellent as well.

The cutlet wasn't quite what I expected. I thought it would have a chewing, meaty texture, but it was more like a veggie meatloaf. That said, it was still good, and the gravy was really tasty.

Pros: Good food, Relaxed atmosphere, Nice service

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Yum, Yum, Yum! - Edit

This is a small, cozy, and clean restaurant. Great vibe inside with extremely helpful staff. The food is mainly local and organic. Their tofu and tempeh is also made locally (when possible). Absolutely delicious and fresh meals. I ordered a vegetable stir-fry with tofu & brown rice. It wasn't your usual Chinese restaurant standard fare..it was flavorful, not overcooked, fresh...I want some now just thinking about it. My companion ordered a dish off of the 'daily special' board. He wanted to substitute two items and was able to by making a donation to a charity, So basically, if you'd like to substitute an item you may do so, but a small donation ($5.) will be added to the bill. You will be informed of this and able to agree or change your order to something else. The owner/chef is all alone in the kitchen and although it didn't take an enormous amount of time for us to receive our food (but could have on a busier night), it is one of the reasons there is a donation-for-food-substitution rule in place. Also, I should add, there is a sign on the door asking persons who are perfumed to not dine there due to the chef's severe chemical allergies. That was an a-ok rule by me. Just a heads up for all you eau de toilette lovers out there. (Cash Only Place)

Pros: incredibly fresh food, super knowledgeable/helpful staff, clean clean clean

Cons: Cash Only - I suppose could be a con

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Vegan

  Contributions +20

Bela Vegetarian Restaurant - Edit

I had a lovely meal of veggies and rice noodles. Meals are cooked individually so it may take a little while to get your meal. Good size portions that were very tasty.

Pros: cooked to order, pleasant staff

Cons: no credit cards

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Wonderful Food - Edit

A great dining experience. Great food at a very reasonable price.

Pros: Very friendly

Cons: Cash only

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love it here!! - Edit

I love Bela! Great variety and an ever changing menu. Most items can be made gluten free as well without losing quality or flavor. Hearty meals and very reasonably priced.

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Best Food in the WORLD - Edit

Something new every day! Interesting combinations of spices and ingredients. Price is very reasonable. Atmosphere perfect!

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Best vegetarian restuarant around! - Edit

Always fresh food and generous size portions. It's a must try when you're in town visiting.

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Amazing food - Edit

I don't think I have had food this good as a vegan or as a omnivore. Ate here with my husband and son and had a HUGE variety of options to choose from. I am a really good cook, and wish I could cook have as good as Bela's chef. Normally I have been finding sandwiches or the occasional pasta. Here there was a mouth-watering extensive list of specials on the wall, and then the regular menu! All three meals were outstanding. The chocolate almond coconut pie was incredible.

Pros: Excellent food, Great value, Outstanding staff

Cons: It's not in my neighborhood or state!

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Cozy and Filling - Edit

Bela has a really adorable atmosphere and feels like sitting in someone's lived in dining room. The food was delicious - I had a special tempeh and zucchini with black bean sauce. The coconut almond chocolate pie (vegan) was amazing. I'm really impressed that most of (if not all) of the food is locally sourced and that the desserts are all made in house. There aren't a TON of options, but I'd rather have solid staples and creative specials that use in season food than a huge range of dishes that aren't made well or with quality ingredients. If I were to get really picky, service was a tiny bit slow, but done very nicely and we got water refills and were checked on! Only complaints would be convenience - it's cash only and any substitutions come with a fee (which is donated to charity). Also, everything is clearly labeled for people with allergies, gluten-free, or vegan!

Pros: Good quality food, Cute atmosphere

Cons: Fee for Substitution, Cash only

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Cute place, simple yet solid food - Edit

My partner and I visit Northampton few times a year. Been meaning to check out this place but for some reason they were always closed when we were in town. Last evening we finally caught them open so we went right in and managed to grab ourselves the last free table.

The menu was basic but nutritionally comprehensive. For entrees you can choose to have some kind of veggie burgers or a plate of protein (tofu/tempeh/seitan) with greens tossed with your selection of sauce and plain rice (brown/white) on the side. I got one of the specials - tempeh and kale with a Mediterranean glaze, which was truly delicious. I don't know how they prepared the kale but it was the tastiest bunch I have ever had! The sauce was just amazing, thanks to the staffer who suggested I should get this as opposed to the Chinese hoisin-plum glaze. My partner ordered the Harvest Burger off the regular menu. It was a thick, hearty patty, crispy on the outside but totally bland, mushy on the inside and had no seasoning whatsoever, which was disappointingly inconsistent given how flavorful my dish was. The bread and the roasted potatoes on the side were decent though. To round off our meal we shared a piece of homemade apple walnut cake drizzled with caramel sauce topped with vegan whipped cream. Just the right amount of sweetness, great texture, perfect! We "grilled" the staffer quite a bit before picking this one as all the desserts were vegan and we just didn't know which one to get :)

It's not a big place but the setting is really cute and cozy. Service was nothing short of friendly and cordial. Ordering was a breeze because everything was clearly marked according to dietary restrictions, plus the staff was also very forthcoming with recommendations and suggestions. My only pet peeve was that the room felt a little stuffy and needed to be better ventilated.

Pros: healthy & tasty, staff, all vegan desserts

Cons: needs better ventilation

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Stale '70's taste - Edit

We've been there three times with hopes that each time would be better. However, the veggie protein had a stale '70's taste that one always remembers (Veggie from '75-'06. Vegan now). The third visit was to get some take-out food, which they declined to do. The waitress would have gotten a nice tip. Now, we don't got there anymore.
Updated from previous review on Wednesday July 20, 2011

Pros: Vegetarian, street parking .75¢ hour

Cons: price for what you get, uncomfortable chairs

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Good choice for comfort food - Edit

I go to Bela when I want a good, healthy, tasty, spicy, satisfying meal to my liking. Their stirfries are cretainly the specialty in my opinion. Although their menu and specials may not seem to be anything special the cook knows exactly how to work a stirfry with perfect-tasting finishing sauces that I cannot replicate at home. Sometimes even if the specials look good I order the regular stirfry on the menu because it is so wholesome and delicios. I have several friends who do the same, though the specials are always good and the burgers on the menu are always well-liked.

All specials are well-marked as to ingredients and level of spice, and staff are always very friendly and kowledgeable. However, you cannot expect to substitue anything on the menu unless you offer a donation to the charity of the month that is indicated on the board.

The desserts are always all vegan, and although I have only had dessert once to attest to its deliciousness, people always rave about them. The lunch portions are cheaper if you arrive before a certain time.

Bela offers very good, from-scratch cooking at a fair price. The seating is limited and can be crowded at times, but the ambiance is enjoyable.

Pros: Healthy & delicious, Perfect portions, good value, Kind friendly staff

Cons: No substitutions easily allowed, Cash only

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Solid performer - Edit

Bela's basic menu doesn't change much. Nothing is wildly imaginative or gourmet. But, what they do they do well. Plenty of vegan options and the menu is clearly marked as to dietary content. It would be nice if they changed up their menu from time to time.

This a small restaurant and it can be quite crowded during prime dining nights and times. Cash only. Menu items are sometimes sold out, so have a back up selection picked out. Staff is always friendly and helpful.

Desserts here sound good but i've never had one. The portions are generous and I never have room for dessert. Even my non-veg family likes going to Bela.

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Eccentric in just about every way - Edit

Bela is a tasty but sometimes frustrating dining option. They serve a number of menu items that are tough to find elsewhere in the area, but as others have said, tend to have to 86 numerous menu items if you don't arrive early. Most of the menu items are starchy or salty, with not much in the way of spice, and the basic menu can be repetitious, though the ecclectic specials sometimes are really interesting or unusual. Food is always very fresh, and portions are quite generous. Numerous vegan or 'can be prepped vegan' options. Service is friendly is occasionally a little erratic. Big downsides are very limited hours, including sometimes closing before posted times (which are not all that late to begin with), closing shop for a week or two at a time for occasional vacations, and cash-only payment, the main barrier to entry for us when we don't want to make a separate ATM trip just to eat there only to arrive and find they've stopped serving half an hour early. That said, it's a fine option for mid-range (entrees are reasonably priced, but a la carte items like soups and desserts and bevvies can pad the bill pretty quickly there) sit-down dining as long as you've got a back-up option and a couple of 20s at the ready, particularly if you've got a vegan or two along.

-Lefty

Pros: Good Vegan Options, Generous Portions, Interesting Specials

Cons: Frequent 86es, Cash Only, Erratic Schedule

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The good and the not so good - Edit

Bela is a nice, quaint place. They have a lot of vegan options, although their menu is in need of an update. It's been pretty much the same for a long while now, and if you're a returning customer you're faced with repetition. The tofu/veggie stir fry is the usual over salted, 'we need to satisfy the vegans' fare, with not a lot of imagination. The seitan is VERY salty, so beware. But these are just personal tastes, and not the biggest problem. Here is the biggest problem with Bela--they constantly run out of things. It's to the point now where we just don't suggest anyone go there because we know they will not have many choices. Here's an idea, Bela--ORDER MORE FOOD!

Prices are reasonable, service is good, but there's another problem--their hours are impossible. They claim to stop serving at 8:45 or so (?! Hello????), but if you get there at 8:25 you may or may not be served...this is seemingly dependent upon the mood of the cook, the moon, the stars, what they've run out of--it's pretty annoying.

So, if you get lucky and they have what you want, and you can be there by around 6pm, all may work out just fine. Good luck!

Pros: Many vegan options, Nice servers, Good desserts

Cons: ALWAYS RUN OUT OF MANY ITEMS, Over sauced/salty food, Time to change the menu!

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Not gourmet food - Edit

Nice little place but the food was disappointing. Big chunks of veges on the plate and not very tasty.

Pros: friendly staff

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Loved it :) - Edit

Bela is an awesome little spot. Its set back away from all hustle and bustle its a quaint with its kind of old style diner atmosphere. I had a veggie patty and miso with sprouted whole grain bread, both were delicious and the prices are very reasonable.

Pros: healthy and flavorful, great value, friendly and effecient

Cons: a little cramped

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Mmm...Bela - Edit

Bela is a terrific spot. They do have a way with greens and tempeh - so much so that the first time I went there I swapped my pasta meal with my husband for his collards and tempeh dish because the flavors just popped.

Soups and dessert are also yummy and I've found the staff to be friendly and helpful.

Happy, healthy eating.

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One of my favorite places. Best greens ever! - Edit

I love Bela's. This place prepares greens (collard greens, kale, etc.) in the most delicious ways imaginable. I almost always order something from the specials board when I go. It's very easy to determine what is vegan vs. vegetarian, and everything is fantastic. The waitresses are always super nice, too. Bela's is a great, tiny little place with a lot of character. You can tell that it is a labor of love.

Pros: delicious greens, nice staff, quaint and adorable

Cons: not open late

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