1/2/12

Restaurant Review | Lion's Den Vegetarian Restaurant

Lion's Den, Hartford, CT, Ratsa Vegetarian Restuarant
My kids playing with their new Christmas toys
Interior
Rastaurant! 
Ital Amalgamation Plate
Veggie Pockets!
For years, we would make the trek up to Massachusetts for Christmas only to get stuck in miserable parking-lot like traffic on 95 in Connecticut. This year, I had to chart a different course and after realizing that driving a bit more north into Hartford really didn't add much time to the trip we decided to make the change. Though we lamented we would not make our annual visit/lunch stop to Bloodroot in Bridgeport, we would be able to dine a new-to-us restaurant instead. There were a couple in the Hartford area according to Happy Cow, but I totally forgot to print any info out before we left, so I typed "vegetarian" into the GPS and Lion's Den popped up. Only it was the wrong address, so after a series of phone calls, we finally made it to their newer location. (Time to finally update those GPS maps!)

We were a little confused when we entered as to what was on the menu. There was a small dry erase board with some things written down and another more permanent menu above the cash register.  A very nice and patient man behind the counter helped us and assured us that nothing had "ovo or lacto" in it. When I asked him, "So everything is vegan?" He replied, "If that is what they call it now!" Seeing how confused we were, he suggested we get the "amalgamation plate." I found this term for a mix of everything quite endearing and has now made it into our family's daily vocabulary. We also ordered an assortment of veggie pockets that were displayed in a glass case and a "festive" bread to have on hand for lunch while we stayed at my mom's house.

I think some people may have been off put by the um, hole-in-the-wallness of the mostly take-out atmosphere, but having spent lots of time in India, I'm used to different standards in dining experiences. As my children happily played with their new Christmas gifts/electronic games, we sat on two of the three barstools and waited for our plate to sample.

After a few minutes, one giant plate filled with rice, beans, tofu stew, "vegetable chunk" stew and greens was placed before us. Since we hadn't eaten breakfast and it was now 2 in the afternoon, we were really, really hungry. I don't mean to sound corny, but, mon, the first bite was like receiving a hug in my belly. Everything was tasty and simple, and my husband and I both agreed, felt very nourishing and satisfying. Super ital. The veggie chunk stew, with it's mellow coconut curry flavor was by far my favorite. We needed more, so we ordered two more amalgamation plates to go and agreed that if we lived in Hartford, we would eat there every day. For the total of 3-4 days worth of food, we only spent $40.

As we were getting ready to pay, another customer came in, and over the course of conversation, he explained how good this restaurant was and how everyone in the neighborhood loves it. He suggested to the owner that we try the cornmeal banana porridge. Another hug to the belly! So simple, but again so tasty and nourishing.

I'm not 100% positive, but I do think they serve fish, but none was on the menu the day we were there, so it wasn't an issue for us.

If you are in Connecticut, you simply have to check out Lion's Den. They don't have a website, so check out Yelp. If you're not, start learning how to cook Carribean/ Ratsa Ital. When we got to my my mom's house, I ordered, "The Rasta Cookbook" stat to start cooking this way at home. Can't wait until I have time to cook!

The Lion's Den Vegetarian Restaurant
3347 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06120-1110
(860) 241-0220

3 comments:

  1. Wow it sounds fabulous! A hug in your belly! Too great. There are a lot of Caribbean immigrants in this neighborhood and a fair amount of Ital restaurants that I really ought to go to. And how great are the prices, for so much food??

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  2. Oh yes! Thanks I just wrote in how much we spent. Dirt cheap!

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  3. Looks a lot like the rasta vegan place off 95 in Bridgeport CT. Cheap and great food as well. http://www.yelp.com/biz/shandals-vegetarian-cafe-bridgeport

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