A Vegetarian's Guide To Our Hometown, Monroe Louisiana
It can sometimes be a challenge for me to find good quality vegetarian options while traveling. I've come to rely on the internet, Pinterest, and blog posts to find the best meals wherever we are. I realized that the type of guides I use when on the road didn't exist for my hometown, Monroe, Louisiana. So here it is, a vegetarian guide for my city. Here are my favorite vegetarian meals in Monroe and West Monroe Louisiana.
1. The Eli
The Eli specializes in handcrafted cocktails in a unique atmosphere. True, most drinks are already vegetarian. But the drinks at The Eli are so good that I thought I'd start my list there. Plus they have great appetizers like hummus, olives, and cheese plates to go along with whatever cocktail you choose. Here are some of the drinks Kenan and I tried last time we were there.
In the same building, on the same floor, right down the hall, is The Planters gastropub. After drinks at The Eli, you can walk over and enjoy great pizza and tacos. We started by ordering the pimento cheese and crackers, with pickled tomatoes on the side. Our first order came topped with bacon, so make sure you ask for them to leave it off. The cheese is perfectly melted and pairs with the pickles well. I followed up the appetizer with the creole tomato pizza. The crust is baked to perfection, and the thickness is just right. If you're a pescetarian, there are even more options. Kenan loves the fish tacos, and they also serve up several variations of oysters. The vibe in both The Eli and Planters is very laid back and eclectic. It's a great place to bring friends to hang out and enjoy the views of downtown Monroe and the river.
Without a doubt, Parish is the best restaurant in Monroe. Owned and operated by Chef Cory Bahr, Parish has a continually changing menu. It always features fresh in-season produce and ingredients. But the best thing about Parish for me is that Cory puts just as much pride and effort into his meat-free dishes as he does his others. He can always sub out or modify the menu to suit vegan and vegetarian tastes. The results are consistently amazing.
When we visited for this guide, he created several dishes for us and sent out a ton of food at once. First, the meal starts with freshly baked Bellegarde bread. I could have stuffed myself on the bread alone. I love it! Next up was stracciatella cheese, topped with heirloom tomatoes and basil...with more bread. Then Cory sent out one dish after another. The fried green tomatoes were delicious but my absolute favorite of the night was the Brussels sprouts with chili aioli. Parish is the only restaurant in town that makes their fresh pasta every day. I could definitely tell how much effort went into it when I tasted the rigatoni. Then they sent out four desserts for us to try as if we had any room left. Our meal at Parish was one of my favorites of all time. So often we'll visit restaurants like Parish, and the chef promises to accommodate or create some special vegetarian dish for me. More often than not, it's just grilled veggies or some combination of their on the menu sides. Parish isn't like that at all. Every dish that comes out of the kitchen is delicious. If you can only have one meal in Monroe, go to Parish.
Roma is a wonderful Italian restaurant that has built up into a small local chain. This cozy place has tons of meat-free options. All the meals start with yummy bread, and we like to order a side of pink sauce, marinara and alfredo mixed, for dipping. One of my favorite entrees is the Chicken Murphy, without the chicken. It's pasta covered in pink sauce, with mushrooms, onions and jalapeno peppers. The pizzas are also delicious, with a chewy and crunchy crust. Roma is one of the best spots for Italian food in Monroe. Oh yeah, and they have tiramisu, get the tiramisu.
5. Enoch’s Pub
Enoch's is such a great place to eat and hang out. We're always trying to find places like Enoch's when we're traveling. But it's hard to find local gems like Enoch's without some help. The food is as good as the pints they pour. Every burger on the menu can be made with a vegetarian patty. Instead of a burger though, I usually get the Forsyte sandwich. It has avocado, cream cheese, and olive mix. Another great sandwich is The Roselawn that has spinach, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese. Whatever you decide on, get your order in early. This place is super popular, and on the weekends it fills up quick. If you visit on a Friday, you might even run into us there.
6. Latin Food
One of my favorite places to eat in all of Monroe is the simply named, Latin Food. The food and location aren't overly fussy. You might even drive right by if you weren't on the lookout. But the food is terrific. My go-to meal is bean and cheese pupusas, with a side of moro. Pupusas are thick, stuffed corn tortillas, and moro is black beans and rice that have been cooked down together. I could eat this every day. They also serve some of the best coffee you'll ever have. Start with Cuban coffee and finish up with the pupusas and you'll be very pleased.
7. Good Earth Juice and Salad Bar
Inside the Fiesta Nutrition Store is the newly opened Good Earth Juice and Salad Bar. They cater to vegans and vegetarians with their healthy options for breakfast and lunch. The salad bar is a vegetarians dream. It has a ton of variety, not just iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing. Tuesdays are Taco Tuesdays, and they have jackfruit and quinoa tacos. The quinoa tacos were super, and I can't wait to try the jackfruit. The juices and coffee are equally good as well. Come to Good Earth to feel right at home when making healthy choices.
The south isn't always known for its vegetarian food. But more and more restaurants are producing not only passable meat-free options but fully embracing it and creating impressive dishes. Our town is no exception. If you visit us in Monroe or West Monroe, you will have plenty to choose from. We had a great time visiting these fantastic restaurants for this article. Tap here for more visitor information from the Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau. Are you a vegetarian? Do guides like this one help you find more dining options? Let us know below in the comments.