Roasted butternut squash, creamy goat cheese, the tang of asiago cheese, caramelized onions, a hint of sage — sounds like a tasty combinations, doesn’t it? How about seared portobello mushrooms topped with feta cheese, romesco sauce, and sautéed onions? Vermont cheddar with broccoli and fresh tomatoes, basil, and scallions? Hungry yet? And what if these were toppings for pizza?

These interesting and adventurous combinations are just a part of the menu at Veggie Planet, a pizzeria and cafe in the heart of Harvard Square. It’s a few steps below street level just across from the Harvard Coop, in fact. You’ll find students, professors and staff of the university there, as well as residents who have nothing to do with academia but know good food and good atmosphere when they find it.

In addition to the creative pizza menu, there’s comfort food in the form of mac and cheese, made with that Vermont cheddar and topped with a healthy helping of vegetables, and ever changing selections of soups and salads, intensely chocolate; brownies which you may have sided with dairy or soy ice cream, and additional items for weekend brunch such as coffee cake and omelets, and breakfast pizza offerings as well. Coffee, tea, juice, and beer and wine, all in several varieties, are also on offer.

The people at Veggie Planet believe in food that tastes great, is good for you, and when possible comes from local and regional sources. They also believe in creating a warm, welcoming, and informal atmosphere. It’s a casual place, yes, one where you’ll feel equally welcome meeting an acquaintance for a business lunch, sharing a pizza with friends, and bringing your book and newspaper to read while enjoying a cup of tea.

In the evenings, the main dining room of Veggie Planet becomes the historic music venue Club Passim, about which more to come here at Perceptive Travel. If that evening’s music isn’t your thing, though, there are other tables available, and the restaurant’s all day take away service goes through the evening too.

The people who run Veggie Planet have recently opened a satellite, so to speak, a bakery and diner near Central Square, called Veggie Galaxy., I’ve yet to visit there, but if it’s anywhere half as good as Veggie Planet, it’ll be well worth your time.

‘Great food in good conscience’ is what Veggie Planet says of itself, and it delivers. Add respect for in a historic location and sharing the space with a fine place to hear live music: Veggie Planet does it all well.

You’ll not miss the location, either: just look for the red planet!

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Kerry Dexter is one of six writers who contribute to Perceptive Travel’s blog. You will often find her writing about places, events, and people connected with music, history, and the arts in Europe and North America. You may find more of Kerry's work at her site Music Road as well as in Wandering Educators, National Geographic Traveler, Ireland and the Americas, and other places online and in print.

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