BEST VEGETARIAN-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT - 2005
Ecopolitan thinks it's time to eat your veggies the way that nature originally intended: 100 percent organic and raw. The menu is not only vegetarian-friendly, it's vegan, gluten-free, and artificial sweetener-free, and the place is staffed with people who can explain to the minute detail exactly what goes into preparation of the food served. Yummy and wildly imaginative dishes include "living pizzas" such as the Red Avocado (sun-dried tomato sauce, avocado, marinated mushrooms, pine nuts, and fresh cilantro served on a dehydrated sprouted buckwheat and herbs crust), strawberry marinara (ribboned zucchini with strawberry sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, and spinach), and smoothies (we like the vanilla-almond with bananas and dates, or if you feel lucky, order up Joe's Whimsy and let the smoothie-maker play chemist). Dishes not only meet dietary needs, but more important, they're filling and easily trump the bland, diet-specific meals offered at other restaurants. Also, Ecopolitan's environmentally friendly philosophy goes beyond the food it serves and into all aspects of business. The interior, a bohemian shabby-chic, has been painted, glued, and caulked with all nontoxic substances, dishes are cleaned with purified water and food-grade hydrogen peroxide, and the air is purified thanks to the restaurant's oxygen bar doing double duty.