“May all that have life be delivered from suffering.” -Buddha

Vegetarianism – while the affinity is debatable, it is undeniable that India is the largest vegetarian country on this planet, and is only set to grow. In this already-great attribute of vegetarianism in India, Chennai – the cultural capital of South India – has its own signature when it comes to culinary excellence in vegetarian dishes

With the sudden realizations of vegetarianism’s contribution to the planet and the ecosystem, animal-friendliness, and for a few other reasons that might stir some political farrago, the awareness and the adoption for vegetarianism is growing day after day!

However, even before the ‘fad’ set in, there are lot of places and a lot of brands that carved a niche for themselves in vegetarianism. These restaurants pioneered ‘branding’ even before it was cool!

Here are some of the awesomest vegetarian restaurants in Chennai:

1) Saravana Bhavan:


It would have been a surprise if this name didn’t start off the list. Saravana Bhavan should be credited with the transformation. While people would visit hotels for utility, Saravana Bhavan made restaurants an excuse for families to hangout. And they have a nice time without having to worry about cooking. Their rainbow of chutneys that accompany their dosas and idlies,and the aromatic filter coffee that finishes off the meal surely leave a lingering taste, and a lingering feeling of satisfaction!

2) Rayar Mess:

Hidden deep inside the annals of the ‘agraharams’ of Mylapore, Rayar mess stands as a testimony to the fact that people will honor a great place, irrespective of the location or any issues in accessibility or parking. The place serves a typical ‘Madras’ (Mind you… it’s not Chennai!) breakfast – piping hot idli with some ghee and gunpowder, vada and pongal, and finishing off with some awesome coffee!

And all this, if you need to experience in full, mandates that you reach the premise by 7:30 AM.  Being late might result in you missing a few items. And also you don’t be surprised if you see a familiar face patiently waiting there. For all you know, it could be a celebrity – such is the awesomeness of Rayar Mess!

PS: Don’t confuse ‘Rayar’ with ‘Nayar’, which is another awesome non-veg counterpart of this place!

3) Little Italy:

In the basement of the ElDorado building in the Nungambakkam High Road lies probably the pinnacle of Italian Vegetarian delicacies in Chennai. Though there has been some competition from places like Fusili Reasons, Little Italy has managed to hold high, the pole position that it earned through the ages!

The selection of continental dishes here is nothing short of awesome! Add a few amazing finishing touches called desserts to cap it all. And a few non-alcoholic wines to start it, and Little Italy is nothing short of an exotic culinary experience in every way possible!

4) Haven Sampoorna:

Here’s one more restaurant that makes dining a classy affair. This place brings together the cuisines from all across the globe! Be it the Orient or the Wild West, they got it all. What makes this restaurant more interesting is that this one isn’t vegetarian just by service, but also by the attitude they carry! Your welcome-view into the restaurant is a poster that says “Vegetarians are sexy and brainy”… as if great food wasn’t enticing enough! 😉

5) Ratna Cafe:


There are certain restaurants that have established a synonymy with a dish. And some have retained an indisputable supremacy in them. Ratna Cafe is one such restaurant that has made itself. The benchmark of Sambar, not just in the city or the country but the entire planet, as commonly observed.

Pair them up with the Pongal slathered with Ghee, and your taste-buds are gonna relish the feeling… until their coffee takes over!!

Right from the star category hotels to the hand-cart hotels referred to as the Kaiyendhi Bhavans. So Chennai has vegetarian treats for everyone… if there’s something bound on the list of places to visit because you’re vegan, Chennai should be a choice!

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