I grew up in Pittsburgh and moved back after undergrad to attend the University of Pittsburgh to get my MSIS. I lived in Shadyside (the wikipedia entry for Shadyside features the house where my apartment was located) and Highland Park.
I was there for three years before I moved to San Francisco. In that time, I was able to discover a lot of really good vegetarian food in a town that might at first not seem to offer much. I created a google map with my favorite vegetarian restaurants and for convenience I also reprinted the individual comments here:
China Palace II
They have a phenomenal vegetarian menu that was carried over from the old Hunan Kitchen / Zen Garden in Squirrel Hill. Get the vegetarian shu mai dumplings and some tofu with XO sauce.
My absolute favorite restaurant in Pittsburgh. Oh how I miss it dearly. Get the fresh rolls with tofu (was #3 when I last went). They have a different sauce than the usual peanut sauce. I lived off of these for two years. My favorite main dishes are lemongrass tofu with bun instead of rice and the rice noodle and tofu.
Taste of India
Some of the best Indian in Pittsburgh and a good vegetarian section as all Indian does.
One of the few all-vegetarian places in Pittsburgh. Try out the Sunday brunch sometime. It gets crowded so you may have to share a table and the food is mostly just okay but they have tons of desserts and it’s definitely worth going on a gloomy Sunday to lift your spirits. If you go during non-brunch, try the vegan Tofishy sandwich, a fan favorite.
All vegetarian South Indian restaurant. Great food, killer weekday lunch deal. I used to work out in the burbs near this place and would look forward all week to getting their lunch deal, which was around $7 total for entree, rice, and bread. Fantastic. Worth the trip out from the city on a Saturday afternoon.
The Quiet Storm
Another all vegetarian place, reminds me of Zenith in that both serve mediocre food at not-that-cheap prices and, like Zenith, it’s all made in advance by the one chef and then reheated in the microwave by the indie kids who work the rest of the time. Worth trying out. I went there for brunch and thought the food wasn’t so great, especially since it was pricey for a bike punk kinda place.
Thai Cuisine Restaurant
One of my favorite restaurants in the burgh. They have an extensive separate vegetarian menu. My faves were the Vegetarian Tom Kha soup, the Tofu Sate (yummy sauces for it), and the spicy basil fried rice. They have a full meat menu too which I’ve heard good things about so you can bring meat eaters too.
Spice Island Tea House
Far and away the best lunch spot in town. I dearly miss working in Oakland because of this gem. It’s a Southeast Asian fusion restaurant. Get the mini-samosas (they brush egg on them, as the kind servers will warn you) and the Singapore Rice Noodle made vegan with tofu. The other awesome dish is the tofu lunch special with Indonesian festival fried rice that is phenomenal (your choice of two different topping flavors but they are very similar). Most of the other dishes are very tasty as well, and they are all a pretty good deal.
Lu Lu Noodles
Pretty good lunch spot in Oakland. Most of the dishes they can prepare vegetarian or vegan. Get a bubble tea while you’re there.