I generally avoid writing blog posts about restaurants that don't have any actual vegan menu items, as opposed to menu items that can possibly be made vegan by omitting or substituting ingredients. For this reason, I haven't written about (and don't generally bother to patronize) many of the more trendy restaurants in the area, such as Ella's, Mulvaney's, Cafeteria 15L, the Waterboy, the Grange, and all of the Paragary restaurants.
Today, however, I'm writing about Paragary Restaurant Group's Cafe Bernardo R15 because I had a lovely vegan Asian Cabbage and Tofu Salad when I ate lunch there last week with my friend Deborah. In addition to cabbage and tofu, the salad included carrots, mushrooms, and cashews, with a tangy soy-ginger vinaigrette. It's generally garnished with scallions, but I'm just not an onion person so I asked that they be left off my salad. I wasn't sure I liked this dish when I had my first couple of bites (it's a LOT of cabbage), but I quickly developed a taste for it and was astonished to look down at my plate during a break in the conversation and discover that I had eaten every shred of food. I ordered the large size, but the small serving is also a very generous portion.
The Portobello Mushroom Sandwich on the Cafe Bernardo R15 menu is also vegan, if you omit the mayonnaise. One item that seems like it should be vegan (without the Parmesan garnish) but apparently is not is the Grilled Polenta Triangles, which has butter in the polenta. On the breakfast menu, the Housemade Oatmeal is vegan (ask for soy milk instead of regular milk), as is the Seasonal Fresh Fruit.
There are several Cafe Bernardo locations, but the menus vary at each location and they also change seasonally. So if you're planning a visit to Cafe Bernardo, you'll want to check the menu on their website to make sure that they'll have something for you to eat.
Cafe Bernardo R15 is located at 1431 R Street. Their phone number is 916-930-9191, and their website address is www.paragarys.com/go/prg/locations/cafe-bernardo/locations/cafe-bernardo-r15/index.cfm?hasFrames-true. They open at 7:00 a.m. Monday through Friday, and at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. They close at 9:00 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and at 10:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.