Northern Michigan Restaurants:  Set down the steak knife, friends. It’s time to explore the satisfying possibilities of vegetarian fare. We hit the harvest highway this month to chase down delicious vegetarian eats Up North.

Om Café

205 Lake Avenue, Traverse City

September light pours through the windows of Om Café to shine on the patina of century-old timbers and vivid geometries of adzuki bean cakes with mango avocado salsa or stark soba noodles nested in baby bok choy, snap peas and fragrant miso ginger broth. Flying the mantra “eat to live,” at the site of the old Loading Dock, Traverse City’s new vegetarian culinary venture draws on East Asian, Latin American and Mediterranean flavors, serving creative contemporary cuisine to nourish the body and titillate the taste buds. Working with seasonal organic produce and vegetable proteins from local and international sources, Om also offers fresh juices, Michigan craft beers, local wines and the state’s only organic cocktail menu. Join us this month as we forsake meat for September’s vegetable bounty and explore the North’s best vegetarian dining.

Charlie’s Natural Foods

76 Airport Road, Frankfort 231.399.0034

The Café at Charlie’s offers groovy vegetarian and vegan midday vittles like the cherry chickpea salad wrap with vegan mayo, a thick grilled-portobello sandwich or the No Steak Philly with shaved tempeh, fresh peppers, onions and mushrooms, toasted panini-style.

The Dish

108 South Union Street, Traverse City 231.932.2233

Hip, healthy vibes abound at this downtown TC hotspot. Fresh and creative vegetarian soups, salads, sandwiches and quesadillas. Look for curried chickpea soup, the Onassis salad with artichokes and lemon parsley vinaigrette or the roasted veggie quesadilla with goat cheese.

The Grain Train

220 East Mitchell Street, Petoskey 231.347.2381

Inventive international vegetarian and vegan fare can be chowed on site or taken to go at Petoskey’s natural foods market. Sate your vegetable cravings with quinoa tabbouleh and spicy Ethiopian tofu from the grab-and-go case, or sit in the cafe and order up fresh soups and sandwiches on local artisan bread.

The Garden Cafe

5581 South Lake Shore Drive, Harbor Springs 231.526.3276

Chef Scott Schornak renders delicious veggie creations from fresh produce harvested in fields and hoop houses a stone’s throw from the kitchen door at Pond Hill Farm. Try right-from-the-garden crudités or grilled vegetable wraps, the blissful burrito with frijoles, grilled corn salsa and Pond Hill greens, or a parmesan-crusted grilled cheese with tomato and basil.

This article was originally featured in September 2012 Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine. Click here to order your copy!