Veggieland is a solid choice for any vegetarians or for any carnivores looking for a healthy alternative. While many restaurants have come and gone over the last twenty years, Veggieland keeps chugging along. They never seem too busy, but they deliver a consistent experience in both service and quality.
The restaurant is nestled, somewhat unassumingly, in a little strip center on Pharr road, just west of the Fish Market. There really isn’t much to say about the décor – it is almost cafeteria like in ambiance (sans a buffet line).
As I alluded to, my food the past few trips tasted the same as it did two years ago; while most of the food is just alright, I really enjoy the change of pace this restaurant offers up. The sweet potato fries are easily my favorite item. Though I prefer crispy fries – I have been quite pleased with the texture and flavor of the sweet potatoes. I do not believe Veggieland makes the ketchup in house, what they do offer has an excellent flavor – much better than the standard Heinz 57 that everyone seems to use.
The menu as a whole offers a mixed bag. There are sandwiches and hot dogs, salads, and pasta dishes. The owners are Vietnamese and make sure to include a handful of items that speak to that. I do like the spring roll here. It is not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination; however, since it they do not have to include any faux ingredients, it has a familiar taste. The rice paper roll is okay at best. It’s a fairly uncreative take, the cooks do not appear to utilize any seasoning or spices on the vegetables, and some mint would be a welcomed addition. The accompanying sweet sauce helps to add some flavor. I prefer the spring roll. It may not be more complex than the rice paper roll; but, the fact that it’s fried gives it an advantage in the flavor department.
In recent trips, I’ve gone for the western sandwich, the grilled "chicken" sandwich, and the chili dog. Remember, it’s all faux meat. The western is a tofu creation with unassuming characteristics. Like most everything else, it is enjoyable but will not enlighten your palate. The grilled chicken sandwich is surprisingly comfortable. It kind of reminds me of the type of sandwich you’d find at a sub shop. When I dined at Veggieland with a friend who happens to be vegan, she made sure to add a good bit of spicy mustard. Being a mustard fiend, I was pleased.
The chili dog remains my favorite item on the menu. The bean chili has a hearty addition, and while you won’t confuse this for a chili dog at the Varsity, it is tasty in its own right.
In the aforementioned trip with Mel P., I refused to leave without letting her inject herself with some good ol’ fashioned sugar. We had the traditional chocolate cake and the hummingbird cake. The hummingbird cake was flat out awesome. Remember, I am not a desert eater.
I get the feeling that this place was started more out of a desire to make money than it was to provide an alternative dining experience. That’s not to imply that the operators are disingenuous; rather, there is just nothing here that will make you go “Wow!” It would be great to see them employ a true chef; but that’s just not what this place is about. So while the joint lacks the polish of Dynamic Dish, this is a solid place to grab a healthy meal. You’ll never leave with a hole burning in your pocket, and you’ll never leave feeling like you just ingested a vat of lard.
Address: 211 Pharr Rd NE Atlanta, GA 30305 // P: 404.231.3111
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