True Bistro, Somerville MA

On Friday night, Funk and I had date night at a restaurant in Somerville I’ve been meaning to try: True Bistro. It opened within a year or so, I believe, and is a straight-up, all vegan restaurant. In fact, it’s the only all vegan restaurant I can think of in the area that doesn’t serve a crumb of any non-vegan ingredients. Usually when Funk and I go out to eat, our eyes head straight to the seafood section of a menu, since we do eat fish, but avoid all other meat and dairy. Typically if there are two fish dishes on the menu, it narrows down the choices for us and that’s what we order. Usually the vegetarian options are boring pasta or hummus type dishes that I could just as easily make at home. But when we go to vegan restaurants like True Bistro, it’s almost overwhelming to look at the menu and know you can choose anything. From any section. In fact, the pressure was on! We wanted to make sure we got the best meals from the menu.

We each started with a glass of wine and settled on the cornmeal crusted oyster mushrooms that came with a horseradish dill aioli dipping sauce. The mushrooms were SO meaty that Funk didn’t even realize they were mushrooms, and resembled the texture of chicken nuggets. The cornmeal crust was so nice and crispy, and while I typically don’t like any sort of creamy aioli sauces, the horseradish dill complemented the appetizer perfectly.


I had my eye on a tempeh dish, but our server told me it wasn’t a favorite, and nudged me towards the Hyderbadi stuffed eggplant with coconut basmati rice, apricot chutney and kachumber (cabbage) salad. Someone else had told me this dish was their favorite so I went for it. It was good, but not amazing. I felt like I could have just as easily made eggplant and coconut rice as home, and needed to add a little salt.


Funk ordered the Phyllo purse, which was stuffed with seitan, roasted winter squash, green mole, arugula, and pepitas. He also liked but didn’t love his dish.


I was too full for dessert but Funk ordered the vegan ice cream sandwich, which was non-dairy ice cream sandwiched between two vegan chocolate chip cookies. He loved it. Can you tell?


We left feeling mixed. We loved the fact that it was a nice restaurant, and the food was enjoyable, but not mind-blowingly so. We’ve been spoiled with some amazing vegan restaurants in our travels to San Francisco and NYC, and I guess we were just hoping for a little more from Boston’s new vegan restaurant. We agreed that we would go back, since it is nice to have an entire menu to choose from without having to omit the cheese, or swap the chicken for tofu and look forward to trying some other menu options.

Stay tuned…later in the week I’ll tell you about the a-ma-zing vegan brunch I had at another veg restaurant in Boston: Veggie Galaxy!


  1. Rachel Silverman
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    It is oddly validating to read this post 🙂 josh and I went to True Bistro a few months ago, expecting to be wowed – and left disappointed. It’s too bad bc they could have a very devoted niche market. Do you eat vegetarian food (as opposed to vegan)? I’ve been super impressed by The Red Lentil in Watertown. It impresses me every time I eat there.

  2. Janel
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    I know, I was hoping it’d be absolutely amazing. We stick with vegan + fish (so really I don’t like to label our diet because it doesn’t “fit” within a label), but Red Lentil has some great vegan food. San Fran is the best place for vegan food ever…sigh…if only it weren’t so far!

  3. Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Glad you finally made it to our local fancy vegan restaurant. James and I went once a few months after it opened. I think we ordered apps, shared an entree, and ordered dessert (we do that a lot actually). Those breaded mushrooms look amazing, but I was a little underwhelmed as well. I think I’d like to go back again regardless. That spot in Teele Square has been home to a lot of restaurants since I’ve lived in the neighborhood and I’d like to see this one stick. I wish their menu was a bit more fluid, with more seasonal dishes.

  4. Andrea
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Oh my gosh, Janel. Next time you are eating vegan in Boston, ask a local or consult HappyCow. We have two purely vegan Asian restaurants, and an amazing vegan pizzeria/sandwich shop (Peace o Pie). We lost a place in Davis Sq last year, but Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge is a huge success and is mostly vegan and all the amazing desserts are vegan.

    I agree sometimes True can be underwhelming if you’ve eaten in places like Candle 79 and such. But it’s still a great place and we are lucky to have it. The tempeh there is actually awesome, I love that dish. While I’ve never gotten the Phyllo Purses, most people really love them.

  5. Janel
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi Andrea, I’m a local Boston gal! I’ve been to at least one of the two vegan Asian restaurants, Peace o Pie, VG, Pulse, Red Lentil, Prana Raw and more! I think I’ve taste tested them all 🙂

  6. Andrea
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Great! But you said in your post that True is the only all vegan restaurant in the area, so I was letting you know about the others! I forgot Prana, I’ve only been there once but it was really good. They have a nice mix of raw and non-raw now.

    All we need now is a vegan bakery, for real.

  7. Janel
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    True. I guess I left it out because I think of it as a raw restaurant (which it is) and in a slightly different category than vegan, even though it is of course vegan. Veggie Galaxy has a great bakery counter!

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