Fast Food at a bargain ($7-$10):
Chipotle - Here’s a very filling and delicious meal, all for $7.15 plus tax: Get a bowl with brown rice, a double serving of BOTH black beans and pinto beans, the “vegetable” option which is sautéed onions and green bell peppers, skip the meats (like duh!), get double servings of BOTH chopped tomatoes and corn, add some salsa, some guacamole, and top it off with lettuce. This is absolutely a winner! You can also get it in burrito form.
Cava - I get a bowl with “super greens” and a scoop of brown rice and a scoop of black lentils. I then ask for another scoop of lentils and a mini-pita. Then I get 3 scoops, 1 of hummus, 1 of roasted red bell pepper hummus, and 1 of eggplant. I then get the roasted vegetables option (skipping the meat of course). As for toppings, I get EVERY topping EXCEPT the feta cheese and I ask that they put extra beans in. No salad dressings! All the toppings and hummus provide more than enough flavor! This is about 2 pounds of food for about $9. Plus they give back $8 after so many visits.
Baja Fresh - Is similar to the above two, just ask them to pile on the vegan choices. You will not be disappointed!
Subway - Even some Subways have a vegetarian (vegan) version. The bread can be improved upon and I suspect in time it will.
Beefsteak - The only down side is that there are so few of them and that they are only in Washington, DC. They are the brainchild of world famous chef José Andrés who recently fed over a million people in Puerto Rico after Hurricane María. The food is absolutely delicious, especially his golden beet “hamburger.”
Ethnic restaurants that are moderately priced:
Thai and Chinese Restaurants are very popular in the Washington metropolitan Area. They all offer their dishes in vegan format simply by replacing the meat with tofu and not using “fish sauce” or eggs. They even have brown rice if you ask for it.
The Thai restaurants I frequent are the Rincome Restaurant in Arlington, VA and Herb Thai in Alexandria, VA (in the Mount Vernon area). I can also vouch for the House of Dynasty in Alexandria, VA for its Chinese vegan cuisine, in particular its Eggplant Peking Style which is prepared using a delicious plum sauce.
The top notch:
My favorite restaurant, one that I have been having brunch after church service since 1990, is the highly respected The Bombay Club in Washington, DC across from the White House on Connecticut AVE. It features the best Indian cuisine, fine linens, a live pianist, and, in my opinion, the best service in the nation’s Capital. Though I have had lunch and dinners there, I frequent the buffet brunch on Sundays since it is very reasonably priced. Valet parking is offered though not needed on Sundays. Of the dozen or so choices, half are vegan and are very delicious. It is always a challenge to not over eat!