Favorite spots in Boulder for vegan dishes

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At exceptional restaurants around town I can close my eyes, point to anything on the menu, and eat well. Often, however, getting a good meal takes a lot more thought - what is the chef's background? what is the kitchen known for? - not to mention a little luck, since you never know what kind of day the folks in the back are having. That was certainly the case at Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant, the place I review this week, where meals ranged from good to great depending on the dish and the day.

But for Elizabeth DiLeonardi, a vegan friend who joined me for a meal at Lotus, eating well at restaurants always takes a lot of thought. For her, as for anyone with food preferences and dietary restrictions, eating out is an exercise in menu-spotting and question-asking. But she has found a handful of restaurants where eating out isn't such a chore, places with vegan dishes and even all-vegan buffets where she can find the "complex, deep flavors" she says she misses most "from my non-veg life." See also:Five best vegetarian restaurants in metro Denver

This morning we published Amber Taufen's list of the Five Best Vegetarian Restaurants in metro Denver. Now we're sharing my friend's list of go-to spots in Boulder, where she lives, for good vegan meals. (Alert: not all of these are vegan, or even vegetarian, restaurants.)

Chez Thuy 2655 28th Street, Boulder, 202-442-1700

Native Foods Cafe 675 29th St., Boulder, 303-442-0213 680 South Colorado Boulevard Glendale, 303-758-3440 Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant 2010 16th Street, Boulder, 303-442-1485

Half Fast Subs 1215 13th Street, Boulder, 303-449-0404 Backcountry Pizza & Tap House 2319 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, 303-449-4285

Casa Alvarez 3161 Walnut Street, Boulder, 303-546-0630

Nepal Cuisine 4720 Table Mesa Drive, Boulder, 303-554-5828

Sun Deli & Liquor 2299 Pearl Street Boulder, 303-938-1128

Tsing Tao 607 South Broadway, Boulder, 303-494-6228

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