By ERIK MEDINA
My first time dining at Tasteful Kitchen was by chance. A group of friends and myself were planning to dine out, but we were tired of the usual chain restaurants.
Someone had the idea of eating vegetarian. Unsure at first, we decided to look up local restaurants.
Tasteful Kitchen popped up. The website said it offered a twist to the vegetarian menu while still maintaining awareness of people’s dietary needs. So we gave it a chance.
The restaurant, co-owned by sisters Sigret and Keanne Thompson, is located between University Boulevard and Fourth Street at 722 N. Stone Ave. The menu offers a wide variety of vegan and gluten-free options.
The Thompson sisters opened Tasteful Kitchen in early 2011 after noticing there weren’t many vegetarian restaurants in Tucson.
The restaurant is housed in a building from the 1930s. It was built with 13-inch solid adobe walls and is very rustic, giving it a cozy feeling. Once inside, you will find two small dining rooms.
The rooms are decorated with warm colors and paintings from local artists. The art is for sale, so the art displays change from time to time.
My first experience at the restaurant was fabulous. The environment was soothing and the lighting was just right. Service was spectacular and the food was delicious.
Keanne Thompson guided my party by letting us know what was what, and recommending some dishes.
I recommend the decadent carrot cake. It’s not too sweet and not too bland. It’s just right.
Starters and small plates range from $6 to $10, main courses are $18, desserts are $7 and drinks cost $3 to $4.
Tasteful Kitchen isn’t like your average restaurant. Dining there is like eating at home, and reminded me of a family gathering.
The Thompsons prefer quality over quantity. The dining experience may take a little longer than usual but that’s because everything is made fresh for the customer.
Sigret Thompson taught herself to cook by recreating food from London and Sydney, places she used to live. She is a chef at the restaurant, working alongside sous chef Laura Clawson. They both enjoy the freedom to offer classic vegetarian specials.
“We enjoy working with seasonal fruits and vegetables with a strong emphasis on organic and locally grown produce,” Sigret Thompson said. “We offer farm-to-table specials frequently and local ingredients are intermingled throughout our menu.”
The owners keep their ingredients as close to their natural state as possible with a minimal amount of processed foods. They also avoid hydrogenated fats, artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, sweeteners and GMOs.
The Tasteful Kitchen also offers educational events to sharpen kitchen skills. Classes and events are listed on the website.
The Tasteful Kitchen
Address: 722 N. Stone Ave.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 5-9 p.m.
Tasteful Kitchen co-owners Keanne Thompson, left, and Sigret Thompson offer diners vegan and gluten-free dining options. The sisters opened their Stone Avenue restaurant in early 2011. (Erik Medina/Aztec Press)