The litmus test for a kick-ass vegetarian restaurant is simple: Take an omnivore there for a meal, and afterward casually drop a "Hey, did you know that place is vegetarian?" Watch the expression on his face change as he realizes he just stuffed his piehole with a bounteous feast of happy, delicious food and didn't tear into a single bite of flesh. Everest Café -- not an all-out vegetarian or vegan restaurant, but a place that offers plenty of permutations for the vegetarian or vegan diner -- can pass that exam with flying colors. Owner Devi States offers a menu steeped in piquant spices; your tongue won't even notice the absence of meat in dishes like tofu sag
curry, tama bodi trakari
(beans, bamboo shoots and potatoes sautéed in tomato sauce and herbs) and bhuteko cauli ra alu
(sautéed potatoes, cauliflower and tomato garnished with chopped onions). Top it off with kheer
(rice pudding) or a smoothie-like mango lassi
and you'll be convinced too.