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Most Evolved Vegetarian Food 

Cha-Ya

Just walking into packed but peaceful Cha-Ya makes you breathe a little lighter and feel a little more clear-headed. It must be the savory steam rising from the udon pots simmering on the stove. Cha-Ya's menu of vegan Japanese temple cuisine reads like a nutritionist's wet dream -- it plays with more vegetables than most of us have ever heard of. Plus, each dish looks like it was personally designed by a food stylist. Whether compiled into sushi, steamed tofu custards, noodle soups, or rice bowls, those four dozen vegetables are tied in knots, cut into half-moons and cubes, and arranged into complex, rhythmic abstractions. Cha-Ya's food makes you realize that asceticism and aesthetics can share the same plate.

Readers' Pick:
Cha-Ya

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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