There’s a good chance that those of you who have spent any time in Dallas already know about Cosmic Café. It’s one of the staple places to which people bring their vegetarian friends when they don’t know what to feed them, but it became a staple for a reason.

Maybe the ambience sets the tone for an enjoyable time, maybe people just love the food, or it could be a little of both, but this vegetarian restaurant off Oak Lawn and Cedar Springs has earned its reputation as one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Dallas. We might go so far as to list it among the best in North Texas, once we’ve tried all the rest of them.

Cosmic Cafe Metal CupsFor now, though, we’ll confirm this place is something special. Walking in to see Buddha on the wall, a cat by the fireplace, and many other bright points of focus is just the beginning. Water comes in metal cups – which really do make it taste better – and the open room full of tables creates a white noise of conversation. Taking a seat out on the porch may cut down on the surrounding chatter, but the front of the building faces Oak Lawn. Tarot cards on the table help distract from the noise of traffic in the city, though. Inside or out, this is an extremely comfortable place to break away from any stresses of daily life.

The menu invites diners to stay awhile, saying there is no hurry, while books and activities on the tables keep you from realizing how much time might have passed. And you can enjoy meditation or classes, too. But as a restaurant, we’ve got to talk about the grub, right?

Cosmic Café has amazing food. No matter whence the dishes originate, everything here has an Indian twist. The spinach enchiladas (9.90), for instance, contain curried creamed spinach instead of the standard steamed. And the red corn tortillas have a little something extra we couldn’t place, but they are bright and work with the slowly increasing spice level of the filling.

Cosmic Cafe Herban Renewal SandwichIf curry isn’t your thing, try the Herban Renewal (8.46). This sandwich of avocado, creamed cheese, fresh spinach, fresh mushrooms and cheese comes on thick nan is nothing close to spicy. The fresh vegetables and mellow cheeses greeted our taste buds with a hug, and we loved every bite.

Cosmic Cafe Portabella TranceFor a little more flavor pop without moving to a full dinner-sized meal, try the Portabella Trance. Portabella mushrooms, spinach and garlic-sautéed onions give this a more juicy and hearty feel. The hot mushrooms and onions are very juicy, so have plenty of napkins on hand.

Cosmic Cafe SamosaAnd who can resist a samosa, really? Potatoes, peas and mild spices deep fried in a perfectly crisp outer shell are just too good to miss. Two to an order, the samosas (4.95) could easily fill a person over lunch, so plan to share if you want to experience more.

Cosmic Cave Buddha's DelightOr, maybe Buddha’s Delight (9.27) is a better option. This signature dish is almost a sampler platter, offering a samosa, dahl, rice and curried vegetables. Our experience included sun dried tomatoes, chickpeas and spinach, but the vegetables change periodically. The dahl is thick on its own, but put it over the rice and you have a more textured feeling. Three of us loved this plate and we absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for variety.

One thing we’ve looked at several times, but have yet to try is “I Hate Eggplant,” which sounds divine with sautéed eggplant, peppers and onions. We’ll keep that on the list for our next visit.

If you need to get away from the office for lunch, de-stress while you wait out rush hour, or just feed a roaming vegetarian, Cosmic Café has you covered. From reading and classes to meditation and food, this is a great place to visit.

As spring turns to summer, we’ll be looking for more patio locations. If you have a favorite, or just one you want us to try, let us know. We’ll put it on the calendar.

Until next we meet, enjoy great food and keep a happy heart.

Come back next week for another ride through cattle country.