Veg Life in New Haven

April 15, 2013

K.L., 1L

Most seasoned vegetarians (and vegans) are old hands at foraging for themselves in less than ideal dining situations. However, if you are an herbivore, you’ll be happy to know Yale Law School, and New Haven in general, have plenty of vegetarian options. You may have seen this post on free food at YLS—and it’s true that free food is in abundance. Most free meals come with a vegetarian option, but vegans and those on a gluten-free diet (or both) are less likely to find a full-on free meal. Still, in a city of culinary abundance, you’ll find plenty to suit your palate.

Two all-vegetarian restaurants, Claire’s Cornercopia and Thali Too, are famous New Haven establishments. Claire’s is famous for its desserts but also serves a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan entrées. Even non-vegetarians are crazy about Claire’s cakes. Thali Too is a fresh and affordable South Indian restaurant less than five minutes from the Law School. And having tried every Indian restaurant in the city, in my opinion Thali Too is also the highest quality Indian food you will find.

Many other restaurants are extremely accommodating to plant-eaters. Ibiza is sometimes called “the best restaurant in New Haven,” and despite having only one vegetarian entrée on the menu, when I went, the servers adapted as many appetizers as possible to veganism. The YLS Dining Hall also always carries plenty plant-friendly fare, which is important considering the number of YLS students on an alternative diet.

But for vegetarians on a budget, grocery shopping is key. Elm City Market, a cooperative grocer, is open from 8:30am until 9pm downtown, and carries nearly everything a vegetarian could hope for. Another market, Edge of the Woods, is an all-vegetarian local business. Edge of the Woods boasts huge bulk sections of nuts, herbs and vegetarian supplements. Both Elm City and Edge of the Woods have excellent cafés as well, with made-to-order delectables. In the warmer months, New Haven also has two weekly farmers’ markets with local fare. And Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are just a short drive away.

As a vegetarian or vegan you will be more than happy at YLS. New Haven is a progressive city, and the progressivism extends to its cuisine too. Among my small group of 16 students, four of us were non-meat-eaters, and in my 1L class, we even had a former professional vegan chef. YLS also has a student group working on animal rights law. Just know if you are among the vegetarian crowd, you will be well fed and part of a community where your diet is respected and nourished.