A new leaf 

Blue Nile 545 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-547-6699; $$: For those unfamiliar with Ethiopian dining, a big part of the draw is that you get to eat with your hands (steaming washcloths are tendered before and after). At the Blue Nile, you get only two all-you-can-eat choices: four meats and seven vegetables for $18.90, or all-veg for $15.90 (kids 12 and under eat for half price, and kids five and under eat free). Diners use small pieces of injera to scoop up the food, and the juices soak into the unleavened bread so that the last part of the meal is the tastiest. Closed Mondays.

Café Felix 204 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, 734-662-8650, $$; Ann Arbor’s Café Felix is practically poetic. The tradition of a European café holds true to form. You’ll find a prime wine list as well as coffee drinks and delicious food. Every finishing touch within the butter-colored walls is indeed, as the French say, "Au point." Try the Brie and strawberries served with fresh baguette. Or sample something from their tapas bar that features many vegetarian-friendly dishes like grilled eggplant, giant portabella mushroom caps and pan-fried potatoes.

Fly Trap 22950 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, 248-399-5150, $; You can get a burger and fries, or bacon and eggs (aptly dubbed Eggs ala Boring). But after that the menu goes in all sorts of interesting directions, with sandwiches roaming from the Pea Patch — a buncha great veggies like eggplant and shiitake but no peas, sauced up with a (say this one five-times fast) Poblano Herb Pesto Schmear — to the Charmoula Chicken. And vegetarians have as interesting a selection as carnivores. Of the non-blunch (because "brunch" just doesn’t do the job) dishes, only two contain meat, another has fish and one has a choice of chicken or tofu. 

Good Food Company East 74 W. Maple Rd., Troy, 248-362-0886, $; Purveyors of organic and natural foods, the café serves cafeteria-style and by the pound, so you can tailor the meal to your appetite. A new chef has experimented more with vegetarian foods like black bean burritos, macro stir fries, three different veggie burgers, a mock chicken sandwich, veggie melts and a variety of salads. They’ve even started featuring Vegan pastries. Lunch specials change daily from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Inn Season Café 500 E. Fourth St., Royal Oak, 248-547-7916, $$; Inn Season Café — a longtime provider of vegetarian cuisine in metro Detroit — has gotten better as it has gotten older. Fine, organic ingredients have always been its hallmark, but the health food nature of the cooking has been eclipsed; now you are eating vegetarian haute cuisine.

Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant 27861 Woodward Ave., Berkley, 248-547-5050, $; Located right smack in the middle of the Woodward corridor suburbs is a Mexican restaurant that would never even dream of pandering to the Chi-Chi’s crowd. This authentic Mexican cuisine is heavy on the veggies and true to its roots. This place is right under your nose — don’t miss it a second time.

Moo Moos Organic Bistro 14929 Charlevoix St., Grosse Pointe Park, 313-331-6667; moomoosbistro.com; Moo Moo’s is serving inexpensive breakfasts, salads, entrées and sandwiches, half of them vegan, all of them as healthy as a brisk walk around the block. Even when a dish includes a bit of cheese, it may be soy cheese.

Om Café and Gallery 23136 Woodward, Ferndale, 248-548-1941, $; How does a vegetarian restaurant weather 23 years? Find out by visiting Om Café, where you’ll find vegan, vegetarian and macrobiotic choices. And not only does the café offer some fish dishes for your flesh eating (or vegetarian-cheating) friends, but all desserts are vegan, so everybody gets to have a sweet finish.

Peacock Tandoori Restaurant 4045 Maple Rd., Dearborn, 313-582-2344, $$; The unlikely location on a Dearborn side street somehow adds to the appeal of the Northern Indian curries, birianis and tandooris. Designations of spice levels on the menu can be trusted, ranging from mild to wild — which is where the Indian beer comes in handy. There’s a full bar, a rarity where local Indian restaurants are concerned.

Rangoli Indian Cuisine 3055 E. Walton Blvd., Auburn Hills, 248-377-3800, $$; Entrées at Rangoli come in small copper bowls. Among our favorites: nargisi aloo (a saucy, scooped-out potato stuffed with nuts, vegetables and cheese); chicken tikka masala (roasted breast meat in a thick and luscious sauce); spicy-hot chettinadu pepper chicken (fiery peppers in a coconut curry). If you’re new to Indian food, there are several combination dishes you can try, or come for the lunch buffet — you can’t beat the $9 price.

Russell Street Deli 2465 Russell St. Detroit, 313-567-2900, $; This chattery Eastern Market deli serves lunch on weekdays and lunch and breakfast on Saturdays to a loyal crowd. The customers are happy because they’re eating really good food, and there’s something about sharing tables with who-knows-whom that brings out the best in people. Both breakfast and lunch menus offer original combinations of fresh ingredients that make the best veggie sammies to ever set you salivating.

Sprout House 15233 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe Park, 313-331-3200, $; The Sprout House is serious about their health and finds nutrition to be key in a long life. A sort of organic grocery, with produce, vitamins and health and beauty products, this place does a thriving carryout business in sandwiches and refrigerated prepared dishes. Offering vegan, organic dairy, organic chicken, soy cheese and vegetarian options, the store has preservative-, growth hormone- and antibiotic-free foods. Live healthy.

Starving Artist 212 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale, 248-545-5650, $$; An art gallery and restaurant that features an international menu of reinvented faves. Veg and vegan-friendly dishes are featured. Only the freshest ingredients are used in their dishes, and organic ingredients are used whenever possible. A full selection of fine wines, beers and cocktails are available to complement any meal choice, and there’s a brand new back patio (complete with garden and fountain) to enjoy it on. The restaurant is also a full-retail art gallery that features various artists’ works throughout the year. Showings change every month or two. Closed Sunday and Monday. 

Taste of Ethiopia 29702F Southfield Rd., Southfield, 248-905-5560: At Taste of Ethiopia, the temptation is not to dwell too long on the Ethiopian bread, good as it is, but to see it as simply the vehicle for delivering the various we’ts (stews) and t’ibs (sautes) to your mouth. The flavors cooked up are so deep and so true, you may suspect you’ve never really experienced a lentil or a collard so intimately, and at unbeatable prices. 

Toast 23144 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, 248-398-0444, $; Toast took over Delia’s space in Ferndale seven years ago, bringing a new decor and layout, and that hasn’t changed since. The food is marvelous, plus beautiful to look at. Each weekend highlights a new and exotic venture in breakfast, like the mushroom and bleu cheese potato cakes. 

Seva 314 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor, 734-662-1111, $$; Ever had a TLT? Tempeh, lettuce and tomato? Tempeh is a soy and grain patty with "a nut-like flavor and texture." It’s a great substitute for meat and goes well on hamburger buns too. Seva is an all-vegetarian/vegan restaurant offering food that has people talking and not smelling like and excreting aromas of our once-alive animal friends. ’Nuff

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