From vegans and vegetarians to the gluten- or dairy-free, for those with certain dietary restrictions, ordering food out can turn into a difficult task sometimes. But luckily, the Lake Minnetonka area has a bounty of restaurants serving up mouth-watering dishes for any type of diet—and maybe even those picky eaters in the family. We’ve scoured the area and found a little something for everyone, so grab your fork and dig in!
GARDEN VEGGIE TACOS
When Roger Burks opened Lago Tacos in downtown Excelsior, he had ideas of fresh Mexican street tacos in mind—and that’s exactly what he got. With 12 different types of tacos on the menu, there’s something for everyone—even the vegetarians. The garden tacos are packed with fresh veggies like portabella mushrooms, onions, squash, zucchini, and poblano peppers. Served on doubled-up fresh corn tortillas and topped with avocado cream and pico de gallo, these three little tacos pack a spicy flavor punch. And all tacos are served with your choice of rice, pinto beans or sweet corn cake. For a veggie-friendly side, we recommend the tortilla chips and dip—fresh tortilla chips accompanied by red and green salsas, guacamole and pinto beans. Tacos, $8.95.Tortilla chips and dip, $6.95.30 Water St., Excelsior; 952.300.8495.
GLUTEN-FREE RISOTTO POMODORO
For the gluten-free, finding more than a couple of options on a restaurant menu can be tricky. But Bacio in Minnetonka makes it easy by labeling all of its gluten-free menu items with a special symbol. The Italian-inspired restaurant’s risotto pomodoro might even pique the interest of gluten-eating diners with its fragrant and delicious flavors. This lovely dish features carnaroli rice, a medium-grained rice grown in the Vercelli province of northern Italy that’s traditionally used for making risotto. Tossed with smoked local tomatoes, fresh basil, chicken breast and grilled zucchini, this dish will not disappoint. $14¬$19.1571 Plymouth Rd., Minnetonka; 952.544.7000.
Sometimes vegetarians get the short end of the stick when it comes to ordering from a restaurant menu. But at Christo’s Greek Restaurant in Minnetonka, the meat-free out there don’t have to settle for something off the salad menu. This local Greek and Mediterranean restaurant cooks up a mean version of dolmathes—a variation of a traditional stuffed vegetable dish. In this veggie-friendly dish, chilled grape leaves are stuffed with herbed rice, parsley and scallions. Dressed with lemon and olive oil, and served with feta cheese (hold the feta for a dairy-free option), tomatoes, cucumbers and olives, this is one dish even meat-eaters won’t want to skip. $12.45.15600 Highway 7, Minnetonka; 952.912.1000.
GLUTEN-FREE AHI TUNA SALAD
Even though reeling in a fresh catch from the waters of Lake Minnetonka might be a difficult feat during this time of year, Maynards Restaurant is still cooking up some fish selections that are worthy of a taste or two. The gluten-free may be tired of being directed to the salads on the menu, but Maynard’s ahi tuna salad is one of the best options out there. It’s full of fresh flavors—a nice break from the heavy comfort foods of winter weather ($14.95). This bright salad features pan-seared, rare ahi tuna atop mesclun greens, complemented by crisp jicama, cucumber and a tangy balsamic vinaigrette. One bite of this salad will taste your winter blues away in no time. $14.95. 685 Excelsior Blvd., Excelsior; 952.470.1800.
As part of the Center for Harmonious Living, The Living Waters Café offers a variety of options for those dealing with specific dietary needs and uses organic ingredients as often as possible. And vegans, rejoice! The falafel at Living Waters Café is simply delish. This Mediterranean classic made of ground chickpeas is served on flat bread with hummus, cucumber, tomato and grilled onions. And last but not least, it’s drizzled with tahini sauce—a sort of paste made from sesame seeds—and served with chips and a pickle. $9.95.12201 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka; 952.938.1929.
DAIRY-FREE PIZZA ATHENA
It might seem counterintuitive to expect that those on a dairy-free diet would order up a nice hot piece of pizza. Well, think again! The folks at Pizza Lucé have made the life of the dairy-free diner that much better with its vegan and soy-free cheese and Rinotta—Pizza Lucé’s homemade “uncheese” made from tofu and cashews. While Pizza Luce boasts a long list of mouth-watering pizza pies to choose from, we’re partial to the pizza Athena. This goddess of a pizza is topped with Bianca sauce (a mixture of olive oil and garlic), fresh spinach, tomato, Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, red onions, Greek oregano, toasted garlic and your choice of dairy-free cheese. And you don’t want to miss happy hour, which happens every day from 3–6 p.m., and 10 p.m. –close. Select appetizers—which include plenty of options for those with dietary restrictions—are half off, and Summit taps, house, wine and rail drinks are all $3. Pizza Lucé also offers a number of options for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diners (including some of the best gluten-free rolls in the city). Pizza Athena, $14.09 –$22.89. 210 N. Blake Road, Hopkins; 952.767.0854.
MAKE YOUR OWN STIR FRY
One thing that Big Bowl doesn’t skimp on is fresh ingredients. Using fresh produce from local farmers as often as possible, Big Bowl has a make-your-own stir fry bar that’s a dream come true for any veggie-loving diner—especially vegans. Choose from either veggies or tofu. Next, choose from either Thai jasmine rice, a fragrant long-grained rice from Thailand or Chinese egg noodles (vegans, you’ll want to go with the rice). Then, select your sauce. Choose from delicious vegetarian options like ginger soy—shitake broth with garlic and ginger—or kungpao—sweet and spicy bean sauce with chilies, garlic and peanuts. And finally, fill your bowl with veggies like snow peas, broccoli, green beans, bokchoy, carrots, bamboo shoots, bell peppers and bean sprouts. Once you’ve gathered all the goods, the chef will cook it up for you and deliver to your table.$12.95 for vegetable, $13.95 for tofu.12649 Wayzata Blvd., Minnetonka; 952.797.9888.
WILD MUSHROOM RAVIOLI
Vegetarians will be lining up outside this hometown Italian eatery’s door once they get a whiff of the wild mushroom ravioli. This delicious dish features ravioli stuffed with Portobello and crimini mushrooms, complemented by Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, Madeira wine, and garlic. The raviolis are then tossed with basil brown butter and topped with savory Humboldt fog aged goat cheese for a little something extra. Pair this with the Spasso house salad—field greens topped with kalamata olives, cucumbers, pepperoncini, red onion, grape tomatoes, feta cheese, and Mediterranean vinaigrette—and you’ve got a meal fit for a vegetarian queen. $16, ravioli and $8, salad.17523 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka; 952.224.9555.