Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Green Elephant: A Plethora of Vegan Options…Portland, Maine

Green Elephant
Portland, Maine

If you live in Maine and are familiar with vegetarian and vegan dining, the number one place that is always recommended is the Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro in Portland. 

Enough with the snow already… bah! The office had closed at noon. As cabin fever started to set in with the last heavy snowfall of the year (cross my fingers) Joe and I decided it was time to enjoy a Friday night by bundling up and walking to dinner. The fresh air would be good, the food would be something different from our usual and I could share the news of more veggie friendly food in Portland. 

Street light and snowfall

MY Experience 
Rating: 4 of 5
The snow was surmounting on the sidewalk, so people were generally sticking close to home the night we visited the Green Elephant. Joe and I arrived at the restaurant around 8pm and got a table immediately. The atmosphere is traditional with a hushed artsy feel.

The colors make you feel like it’s a modern, clean and comfortable place. The dining area is mostly compiled of two-four tops and just a few booths on the left wall as you enter. Service was attentive, but gave you space to look over the large menu.

I like choices. However, my only qualm was that the menu seemed too large for me to narrow down something as a definite choice for my entree. Even inquiring with the wait staff about the best choice still left me undecided. Eventually I made up my mind.

MY Food
Rating: 5 of 5
This was only the third time I had eaten at the Green Elephant in six years and I have to saw – third time is a charm. I loved my meal. Another thing I loved was that they label their vegan options for beer and wine (click here).

The menu, while extensive and a bit overwhelming, had a range of food options for vegetarians, vegans and gluten free diners.

Joe and I decided on the special veggie dumplings. Cooked just right and with a tasty dipping sauce. I enjoyed them so much I forgot to take a picture until half of them were gone. Whoops!

After much debate, I decided on the recommendation from our servers to go with the Hot & Sour Noodle Soup. It was a wonderful medley of rice noodles, bean sprouts, tofu, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, scallions, cilantro, garnished with ground peanuts and... fried wontons. I’m not exactly a soup person and I enjoyed every spoon full. It's a fairly large bowl of soup, so I couldn't finish the entire dish. 

Joe got the Pad Thai Special with Tofu. The dish was very flavorful with noodles, broccoli, carrots and peanuts. Joe thought the food was great but still hasn’t taken a 100% liking for tofu.

Me: Do you like it?
Joe: Yes, it’s great. The tofu tastes like… tofu.

For blog purposes (cough, cough) we had to get dessert, which was one area that our server did not have any hesitancy offering an opinion. The Orange-Chocolate Mousse pie was the number one choice. It was chocolaty, delicious, and approved by my meat-eating guest and myself.


Hot & Sour Soup

 Pad Thai Special

Exhausted after the week and content to be enjoying good food and warmth. Not knowing Joe is taking my picture.

The Green Elephant - The happiest looking one to the left with the tree!

MY Logistics
Rating: 4 of 5
Joe and I walked to the restaurant so that we didn’t have to worry about parking. I will caution you however that Congress Street in Portland, Maine isn’t exactly the easiest place to find parking. It’s right near the Portland Museum of Art and the Civic Center, so parking can be a bit difficult depending on the events for the evening. There are parking garages close by for a fairly decent price.

The cost of the meal was appropriate for a nice evening out or a business dinner. For one glass of wine, a beer, veggie dumplings, soup, pad thai, dessert and coffee, we paid about $65.00 with tip. Obviously there are ways to slim down the price of the bill by not getting every course and there are lots of veggie friendly options within your budget. 

Rating: 4.3 of 5

I think almost anything can be made vegan on menu, so it's kind of a safe haven for veggie people like us. The service is friendly and the atmosphere pleasant. Just make sure you go in with a inkling of what you want (stir-fry, curry, soup, etc.) and you'll definitely enjoy your time at the Green Elephant.


1 comment:

  1. we have "green Owl" restaurant here that is vegan. I haven't been yet, but this reminds me that I should go. The plating looks awesome!