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Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 47 reviews )
Contact 207-347-3111

608 Congress St, Portland, Maine, USA, 04101

Pan Asian cuisine restaurant est. 2007. Offers a concise lunch menu and a more expanded dinner menu. Sample items such as crispy wonton, spicy green leaves salad, tofu and vegetable teriyaki, watercress veggie-duck. Uses vegetarian soy meats. Opened another location in Portsmouth in 2015. Mon-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm, Mon-Sat 5:00pm-9:30pm, Sun 5:00pm-9:00pm

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, Thai, Beer/Wine, Take-out, Asian, Fusion, Pan Asian

Reviews (47)

First Review by csbench

Delicious and family friendly - Edit

Great place to bring non-veg friends; our GF relative was easily able to find options because there were many rice dishes, and the noodle bowls are all so satisfying and crowd friendly.

Pros: Omnivore Friendly, Fresh, Friendly staff

Cons: Slightly dark, casual atmosphere

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Great - Edit

Not much to add (what other folks said) - great food, good atmosphere, friendly staff. There may be a bit of a wait (especially Sat dinner). Most of the menu is vegan, but a few items are not.

Pros: Great/many vegan options, Good location/atmosphere, Friendly

Cons: Not all vegan, Popular (wait time)

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Excellent place - Edit

I came here a few weeks back with a friend and we each had the Tofu Tikka Masala! The combination of the beans in with the sauce and rice paired well. I would come back again just for that dish! It was that great, and the perfect portion size.

Pros: All Vege/ Vegan options, Delicious food , Easy to find

Cons: Parking, Small, Not that many options

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Great Atmosphere - Edit

While visiting Boston we chose to take a detour up to Portland. We were so glad to find Green Elephant while we were visiting. We stepped out of the cold into a warm cute vegetarian restaurant. The menu is truly impressive and they have moderate GF options. My only complaint would be on any dish with mint. They don't skimp on it, it's overpowering. I had the Stir-fry Asian Vegetables & Tofu, it was slightly greasy however it was lovely. My husband had the Chinese Broccoli with Crispy Breaded Soy Filet and absolutely loved it!

Pros: Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options, Large Variety

Cons: Greasy / Minty

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Ummmm... fine. - Edit

Green Elephant was... fine. I had a spicy vegetable stir fry, and spring rolls, and a local draft beer. It was all... fine. Not amazing, not terrible.

The restaurant was hopping on a Friday evening. It's a pretty space, with very friendly and efficient staff.

The quality of the food was okay, the space was nice. I guess I'd go again, but it's a slightly higher price point than either Pom's Thai, or Sabieng, both of which have just as good of Thai / "pan Asian" food.

Pros: tasty, nice space, friendly staff

Cons: slightly spendy, nothing especially special about it

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Vegetarian food inspired by Thai cuisine - Edit

This restaurant is a vegetarian restaurant. It screams that very loudly. It is a stretch to say it is Thai, even if one considers how americanized Thai restaurants tend to be.

The food here is vegetarian, yes, but only about half is vegan. It's nice that the menu marks what is vegan, but then it seems pretty surprising how many dishes use dairy and/or eggs. At least it's marked! I guess I'm biased, but for Thai style food, I feel that if it's vegetarian, it should easily be veganized - this is not true for all vegetarian food, but for Thai? Yes. So, that is my disappointment.

The choices are varied and many if you are vegetarian. If you are vegan, eh, you have some decent choices. If you are gluten-free, eh, you have a few choices. They do use tamari if requested, so that's nice. Many noodle and rice dishes have rice as the grain, so, that's nice.

There is so much tofu though, so much soy, and tons of sodium/ tamari/ soy/ salt. It was overwhelming. Maybe I would've liked the food better but the salt overdose is out of control.

They try to source local produce, which is nice.

If you don't mind the salt, opt for the noodle dishes. Although not authentic, they do look quite beautiful and have good flavor if you can figure out the flavor after the salt. The rice is brown, so, that means tough to pick up with your chopsticks or fork, especially if you have a lot of liquidy-watery sauce on your plate.

Nice idea. Enter restaurant expecting vegetarian food and you will be fine, as long as you don't mind waiting for a seat. This place is packed! There is no other vegetarian restaurant in the area, so it makes sense it's super busy.

Pros: Vegetarian, Local produce, Vegan marked menu

Cons: Wait time, Salt overdose

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Bit of an oasis in Portland - Edit

We went on recommendation of a friend ( and Lad's was closed.) weren't sure what to expect, but the food was great. I had the Pineapple rice with the soy-meat. I've been to lots of great places all over with mock meats- so I was skeptical about ordering it. It turned out to be great.

Pros: Great service, Nice place

Cons: Portland in general.

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Good veg spot in Portland - Edit

I've only been here once. The food was fresh and flavorful, and it's unique as one of the few exclusively veg spots in Maine. It's great that they clearly label vegan options and warn you when there is egg in a dish.

Pros: Fresh food, Clear labeling of vegan options

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So good! - Edit

Can't say enough good things about this place - if you are in Portland, this is the number one veggie restaurant that I would recommend visiting. My husband lived two blocks from Green Elephant for a few years, and we ate here as often as possible. Their food is delicious, and dishes always include more veggies than I'm used to getting at other places. They have some nice touches to make things healthy, such as using brown rice instead of white rice as well. You can get many of their meals with tofu or a wide variety of faux meats. Their menu has tons of vegan options (including a vegan chocolate silk pie which my husband and I LOVE). Some of the vegetarian options are easily modified by just not including egg. The servers are so kind, and they always ask folks if they want egg in the dishes that include egg. If you like tea, they have agave nectar available as a sweetener. They have a huge list of organic, veg friendly beers and wines. I wish I was eating dinner here tonight...

Pros: Healthy, Delicious, Diverse menu selection

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Wonderful vegan options - Edit

I've been to Green Elephant a couple times and will keep coming back. The menu is very clearly labeled for what items are vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free. There are many options to swap out parts of each dish to make it vegan or gluten free too.
I've tried their vegetable masala and the peanut curry, both of which were creamy, packed full of fresh vegetables and soy and tofu, and generally just delicious.
I recommend trying the brussel sprouts as an apetizer. They are crispy and cooked in a really nice sauce. Great way to start a meal there!
The restaurant is also very cozy - great ambiance - with friendly and quick service.
Will most definitely be back!

Pros: Delicious vegan options, Cozy atmosphere, Very versatile menu

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Will never forget... - Edit

Will never forget this Elephant for vegan desserts! The chocolate mousse pie with hint of orange and the warm pumpkin tapioca pudding garnished with toasted pistachios were most memorable! Don't skip dessert(s) here!!!!!

Pros: fantastic desserts, great service, friendly staff

Cons: that this restaurant isn't in Baltimore!!!!

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Good food, friendly service - Edit

Ate here recently and really enjoyed the food. It was fresh, flavorful, and filling.

The service was also friendly, so we definitely enjoyed it. It's a bit pricy for the area, but good otherwise.

Pros: All vegetarian

Cons: More expensive than comparable places

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Deeeeelicious! - Edit

This is one of my favorite restaurants in Portland, if not my very favorite. Almost the whole menu is vegan; there are a few dishes with egg in them but this is easily changeable because one can ask for the dish sans egg. Anything that I've ever gotten here has been delicious and there are many options to please any palate. From breaded soy-meat cutlets to superb Thai curry, there is no way a vegan can go to this restaurant and not find a meal to satisfy. The waiters and waitresses are also friendly and very attentive to one's needs. This is not a place that a person can eat at all of the time, though, due to higher prices. It's a great place to go on a special night out or date though :) When my boyfriend and I want to go somewhere nice to treat ourselves, the Green Elephant is always our first choice!

Pros: DELICIOUS FOOD, Almost completely vegan, Good atmosphere- very chill

Cons: Pretty pricey

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Fantastic. Go!!! - Edit

Great place in Portland. Vegan and vegetarian options clearly outlined. No surprises, just great food, and very affordable. Do not hesitate. No reservations, so you may have to wait.

Pros: Food Quality, Price , Consistency - always great

Cons: No reservations

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Awesome Restaurant - Edit

Wife and I took a chance and stopped in for supper last night (8/9/14). We were blown away at how good the food and service was. 5 stars for both! We will definitely be eating here most any time we are in Portland.

Pros: Excellent Food, Excellent Service

Cons: Fairly limited mene

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Excellent dinner out here - Edit

The food is mostly Asian-inspired, and there are lots of staples such as pad Thai and garlic tofu. There was no wait time to be seated, and our waitress was the perfect mix of attentive without being overbearing. The atmosphere was a bit trendy--the decor is simple, with lots of blond wood, and there's one wall that's all exposed brick.

The menu clearly labels which dishes are vegan and which are vegetarian, as well as mentioning ways to make dishes gluten-free, and I overheard a waitress double-checking that eggs were all right with diners at the adjacent table. (The drinks menu also notes which wines are vegan.) All the food my dining companion and I ordered was very good, but the wonton appetizers were especially delicious. The wontons were crispy without being greasy, and the sweet and sour sauce served with them was just fantastic.

Prices were what I considered quite reasonable. Appetizers ranged from about $6 to $8, soups and salads were between $8 and $10, and entrees were between $10 and $15. (The lunch prices might be lower; I don't know for sure.) All in all, I highly recommend this restaurant.

Pros: Excellent food, Excellent service, Reasonable prices

Cons: Menu variety is a bit limited

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Really excellent service and food - Edit

I just ate here the other day coming back from a trip to Freeport and the restaurant was great. My friend even loved his dish and he eats off kinds of dead animals usually. If I lived in Portland I would be all over this place. Can't wait to go back. Lots of vegan options and they were on top of my food allergy concerns. Thumbs up!

Pros: Great Food

Cons: I dont live across the street

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Great food, tough to get in - Edit

The food here is excellent. Delicious vegetarian and vegan options that appeal to omnivores as well as strict vegans, it's a great place for a date or special occasion. It can be hard to find seating, however, and there's often a wait of 30 minutes or more, even on week nights.

Pros: excellent food, good service, good choices

Cons: limited seating, noisy, limited parking

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Super find! - Edit

When traveling, I prefer veggie restaurants and was thrilled to see that Portland had such diverse offerings of healthy fare. Green Elephant was superb! The wait staff was competent and kind. When I asked if one of the dishes had mushrooms, she was quick to ask if I was allergic. She informed me that most of their menu had ground mushrooms and took special care to make sure I had a tasty and SAFE dining experience. Really liked everything about this restaurant from the décor to the flavors to the price. Will eat there if I am ever in Portland again.

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Delicious - Edit

Great food, great service, reasonably priced. Vegan food is clearly marked and servers are educated about how to make something vegan.

Pros: Clear vegan options, Great service, Fair prices

Cons: Street or garage parking only

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Favorite! - Edit

This is our absolute favorite restaurant in Portland, Maine. The staff is incredibly attentive, the food - which is vegan already! - is always delicious and high quality, and the atmosphere is relaxing. The staff go out of their way to ensure that we have a great time with every visit and have gotten to know our faces. The food is diverse and delicious and the specials are always fantastic. If you're in Portland, you need to go!

Pros: Attentive, professional staff, Beautiful, artisanal meals, Reasonably priced

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Pleased in Portland - Edit

What a find this place is! I was happy to see so many restaurants with a good variety of vegan offerings, but this place was a step up from the usual Asian fare you can find in most towns-- and good service to boot! Prices were not out of line, nice place, good food. What more could a hungry traveler ask for? My wife & I liked it plenty.

Pros: Great food, Reasonable prices, Nice vibe

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Green Elephant - Edit

Green Elephant in Portland, Maine is one of my very favorite vegan restaurants! They also offer a few entrees that are vegetarian. The meal I usually order is one of their wonderful soups or their oyster mushrooms as an appetizer (be ready to share, as the oyster mushroom dish is plenty for two people), and then the Peanut Curry; it is the best curry I have tasted anywhere, even in Thailand! Green Elephant also offers a few organic, vegan wines; the waitstaff will bring you a small glass to taste first to make sure you are happy with your choice.
Vegan or not, I tell everyone about Green Elephant if they are anywhere near Portland, as their food is perfectly prepared, absolutely delicious, and beautifully presented. The waitstaff is courteous, kind, and knowledgeable. But make reservations; this small restaurant is always full for dinner, and at most lunchtimes.

Pros: wonderful, delicious food, vegan , large portions

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Promising - Edit

Our party of three had two vegetarians and one omnivore who's happy to
eat veg (and indeed picked out this place).

We all instantly agreed on the brussels sprouts appetizer, which was
indeed very good. We had intended to have only one appetizer, but one
of their specials was the Tempura Asparagus Salad with fiddleheads
taking the place of asparagus, and all three of us are fiddlehead
fans. We were still reluctant, but the waiter pushed us a little, so
we gave in to temptation. However, the tempura completely overwhelmed
the fiddleheads, resulting in a generic tempura taste and an otherwise
unremarkable surrounding salad (though the ingredient quality was
indeed quite good). That was our only odd note.

My partner had the Hot and Sour Noodle Soup and reported that it was
very good. I had the Tofu Tikka Masala. If you don't have strong
expectations based on having eaten authentic chicken tikkas before, or
at least are willing to set them temporarily aside, this is a very
good dish (though the masala sauce was just a bit too sweet, in the
way US cooking of Indian food can often be).

We didn't have any dessert, being full from the extra appetizer. The
beer on tap was good.

I wouldn't rank the dinner as spectacular, but perhaps it was my fault
for veering off the Thai theme on my main dish. It was certainly very
good, and a good all-veg concept: enough fake meat for those who want
that, enough food without fake meat for people who don't. As a
result, Green Elephant will probably be my first stop the next time in
Portland (though I'll be hoping for slightly more wow the next time).

Pros: all veg, lots of options, excellent ambiance

Cons: some dishes off a little

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very good, and healthy! - Edit

The food was healthy, presented beautifully and delicious. I had the green rolls and spring rolls, my husband had the panang. For dessert we had the seasonal mango sorbet. Everything was excellent, really clean and refreshing.

Pros: healthy, friendly staff, good value

Cons: small, noisy, no parking

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Favorite - Edit

The green elephant has my favorite dish to date. I have been there numerous times and NEVER disappointed. Taken many meat eaters there and they also loved the food. Wish I was staying in Portland. But, this resturant would make it worth a return visit.

Pros: Food, Service, Friendly staff

Cons: none

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Vegan Friendly and Foodie! - Edit

Wonderful vegan friendly menu, and excellently prepared food. Small, friendly cafe environment. Portion sizes are perfect, and the freshness of the food is excellent. Attention to detail in the menu, ingredients, and preparation is wonderful, and ~invisible~ if you know what I mean? When in Portland, Green Elephant is my restaurant of choice.

Pros: Chef!, Menu, Detail

Cons: Small space, you might have to wait, Wish they had a wider menu

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My favorite restaurant (so far!) - Edit

My husband and I ate at the Green Elephant twice during an Acadia/Penobscot Bay vacation in July. Our plan had been to try it and Silly's during our two stops in Portland, but we ate at the Elephant on our first night and were hooked. We enjoyed our first dinner there with a non-vegan friend, and she is STILL talking about it as one of the best meals she's eaten in a long time, if ever. We loved the decor and ambience, the staff was courteous and attentive without being intrusive, the restaurant and restrooms were very clean, the portions generous and prices reasonable, and the food - oh my! We could hardly wait to go back. Between us on our two visits we had the Far East "Duck" (that was me both times, and just the thought of it has me drooling on my keyboard!), Tofu Tikka Masala, the Tofu & Vegetable Teriyaki, appetizers of Roti Chanai and Green Leaf Wraps with Mango & Herbs, and the Chocolate-Orange Mousse and Key Lime Pies. Everything was utterly delicious and beautifully prepared and presented. Their online menu doesn't include the desserts, I think because they change with the seasons, but I can tell you there are no words to describe how elegant and divine ours were. (Rich, too!)

We appreciate that all their "meats" are made from locally produced, organic soy, and that their menu is all vegan (with one very easily veganized exception.)

My only "con" is that we don't have daily access to The Green Elephant! (Which may be a good thing financially, since I doubt I could stay away!) :-)

Pros: The food! (All vegan w/one exception), The ambience & service, Locally made organic soy "meats"

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2009 Visit to Portland - Edit

Sought out this restaurant in Portland for VEGAN food. Had a wonderful experience, and highly recommend this restaurant. Great atmosphere, very clean, really helpful and friendly staff. We had appetizers and an entree for a good price and although we were too full from our meal to have desert that night we returned on another night and got the VEGAN pumpkin cheesecake to go-awesome! Wonderful meal. Enjoy.

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best place ever - Edit

This is my favorite veg/vegan place to go ever. I am from Boston and I thought they had the best places ever, but when the Green Elephant opened it put them to shame. Adorable place, clean, great service, and the best vegan food I've had in my life. It's almost all vegan, a couple of the dishes come with egg but you can order them without egg and it's vegan. Must try SOY NUGGETS!

Pros: amazing food, great location, cool atmosphere

Cons: Get that gross egg outa there! go vegan!

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Green Elephant won't disappoint - Edit

I was in Portland for a meeting over the weekend, and had both lunch and dinner there on Saturday. The restaurant is clean, nicely furnished and conveniently located. The food was fresh, tasty and nicely presented. The service was friendly and paced just right. Both desserts I had were excellent. I found the prices fair for the amount and quality of the food. My only complaint is that they are not open on Sunday, as I would have returned to try other items on their extensive menu. Their menu is broad enough so that a raw food vegan would be able to order a couple of appetizers and salads, and a transitional vegetarian would be able to order dishes with mock meat.

Pros: friendly staff, cleanliness, quality of food

Cons: not open on Sunday

1 Response

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Everything is great! - Edit

My fiance and I ate here in September 2008. The menu is mostly vegan...there are only a few items that are not. The choices were amazing - everything was!
The atmosphere is beautiful, service was very good, and the food was amazing - they even had vegan desserts!

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Fantastic - Edit

This is one of the best Asian-fusion veg restaurants we've been to, and that includes NYC and Boston. The food, atmosphere, location and service are all excellent. Some of the best "Soy Nuggets" anywhere ! Everything we had was top notch, and the place is packed every time we've been by there, now we know why. From what I've been told, the owner checks each dish on the way out of the kitchen. A fantastic arrival for the Portland area veg community.

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Super Veggie!!! - Edit

We were in Portland for a conference for 5 days, and this restaurant was not listed on HappyCow yet because they had just opened that week. We just happened to walk by it. Wow, what great food, excellent service, and a lovely atmosphere. Such a treat for a vegetarian from the land of BBQ and meat (Alabama). This rivals any veg restaurant we have been to in Chicago or NYC. Good prices, super fake meat, and very creative menu. I can not recommend them enough.

Pros: None

Cons: Excellent food, good value, friendly staff

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The "Green Elephant" satisfies! - Edit

The green elephant has charm, Excellent service, and very good food. The elephant has a pleasant atmosphere nice for a date, business meeting or a family meal. The service is wonderful. I was served by Katie and Amanda who couldn't have been any sweeter or more helpful. The food is served in a very aesthetically pleasing manner. We tried the teriyaki tofu which was cooked well and very tasty . The Vege Pho was a little bland but had good content, and Citrus Spare Ribs had a great zesty flavor. As for appetizers the roti cania was okayish but a little boring and the fried wontons were superb. The hot and sour soup was probably the only dish i didn't enjoy there as the broth was almost like it came from an instant soup. All in all (besides the soup) everything was delicious with flaws. The vegetables amd mock meat in the main dishes tasted fresh but i think their choice of vegetables takes away friom the authenticity of their predominantly asian menu (for example someone in the kitchen seems to be infatuated with butternut squash?!?). I also feel that while some of the flavors were great nothing was exceptional. My biggest complaint here is that it is definitely slightly overpriced. As of now the main dishes for dinner range from 9 to 13 dollars, if they were to lower their prices for everything by between 1 to 2 dollars it would really raise this restaurants standing in my eyes and I bet this would catch on as a place not for an occasional meal but a regular or weakly one. Due to these flaws i am not sure i would be quite as satisfied with this restaurant if it was in a more vegetarian city, but for portland maine this is a jewel that must be cherished.

Pros: very nice atmosphere, Quality, diversified food, A++ service

Cons: Slightly overpriced, Poor choice of veggies

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Highly Recommended - Edit

In my mind, restaurants that do an extensive amount of vegetarian offerings have a better sense of creative cooking. This is just a good restaurant, period. I don't eat in Portland all that much, but it's among my favorites...right up there with Asmara, Street and Co., Fore St., and Pepper Club.

Pros: Good Value (Nothing over $15), Excellent (and creative) food

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local fav! - Edit

Given the choice to eat anywhere in the Portland area this would be my first choice. My husband and i are both vegans and it makes it hard to find trust worthy places to eat out. I love that the menu marks "vegan" on all items that are vegan so there is no question. In addition everything on the menu is vegan or can be made to be vegan, which is awesome. The resturant is very nicely decorated, the wait staff has always been nice and helpful and never to in your face like some places. The prices aren't to bad. I reccomend the peanut curry! hope this place makes it and sticks around for a long time, i know we will continue to come back at least once a month.

Pros: tasty!, great atmosphere, lots of vegan food

Cons: not open sunday, price could be better, hard to find parking

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Happy Heart and Tummy - Edit

My husband and I ate here for the first time and were, at first, almost overwhelmed by the choices. So many times when we go to a restaurant we eat not what we might choose but what is available for vegetarian fare. Everything on the menu looked appealing. We began with the Spicy Salad which lived up to its name. In addition to the great dressing, there were nicely fried tofu pieces and light crispy noodles on top. My husband had the Masala curry which was well spiced and very tasty. I was intrigued at the sound of duck on watercress flambe. While the taste was great, it was not as I envisioned it so was slightly disappointed. I love watercress but never had it cooked before. This may also be a different variety of watercress than the one I am used to. It seemed to me to be a bunch of stems, a bit tough and chewy for my taste. Had I not expected it to be different,however, I might have been quite happy with it. The garlic sauce was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed the "duck" and brown rice. A side of squash had amazing flavor.

The room is attractive and we enjoyed seeing the cars and passersby on Congress Street. The waitstaff was pleasant and did a fine job.

We hope the Green Elephant does well as we hope to come back frequently.

Pros: lots of great choices, relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, good value

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They've got it together - Edit

My husband and I just went to the Green Elephant last night and had a great meal. It was particularly impressive because unlike alot of veggie restaurants, this place is a complete package.

The waitstaff wasn't zoned out, the restaurant wasn't messy, the menu selections weren't limited, and the prices weren't bad.

Instead, the waitstaff were sincere and personable -- not overbearing. The place was without pretense, the menu was well focused, and while the prices weren't dirt cheap, they were appropriate.

In other words... these folks know what they do well, they know their target audience, and they get a nice crowd. Their wine list is also well selected and very reasonable, price-wise.

Oh yes! The food! It was right on.... I mean... well executed, not gratuitous, and you could tell their hearts were in it. The menu is southeast asian, and they have a limited but tasty dessert menu. The vegan cheesecake was clearly homemade and quite satisfying. Right now, this is definitely in the top tier for New England, in my opinion.

Pros: nice wine list, knowledgeable waitstaff, authentic food

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