I need to go out for lunch more often. I truly LOVE eating out for dinner because a) dinner takes place at the point in the day when I'm feeling laziest and b) I like dressing up for dinner (doesn't lunch just feel sooo much more casual?). That being said, it IS nice to be out and about when the sun is shining once in a while ;] So a few weeks ago my LA bestie and I decided to have a Sunday work/lunch date at Cafe Gratitude, a yummy vegan cafe where we'd previously had dinner (photos from that below our lunch date!).
There are few Cafe Gratitude locations throughout Los Angeles, and we went to the Downtown location both times. I haven't tried the others, but this one is just so bright, white and crisp inside that I can't really envision myself liking one of the others better haha. If you're looking for a really pretty lunch location this place kills it...it's so sunny and full of light! The decor is really pretty and I LOVED the neutral color scheme. It's really one of those work spots that just puts you in a productive mood.
As I mentioned above, Cafe Gratitude is a plant-based, vegan restaurant where their mission is celebrating aliveness. They serve organic, sustainable, environmentally-friendly foods provided by local farms. Their mission appears at the bottom of their menu (see below), and it really sets the mood for the food you eat there and the vibes of the place reflect it as well.
SO let's talk about the food. We ordered:
- Light latte with almond milk
- Fortified bowl Sautéed market autumn vegetables, sprouted probiotic quinoa, topped with garlic tahini
- Veggie soup
- Tomato soup
...and some white wine later on.
One thing about Cafe Gratitude is all of the menu items have uplifting names, like "Fortified," "Glorious," "Celebrating." When the server brings you your order, they say "you are ____," filling in the blank with whatever it was you ordered. So for example, when we got to our window-side table and ordered lattes, they were served to us with a "you are Light." It's kind of cheesy but it's also a nice touch that makes you feel good. As far as drinks go, the lattes were creamy and tasted nice, but they didn't have super fancy latte art :[ Not that big of a deal...I just love latte art.
Now I'm apparently a terrible blogger because I lost track of what soups we got exactly, but I'm pretty sure they were veggie and tomato. However, they offer different soups every day (the menu has "soup of the day" vs any specific type options) so I'm not sure you'd be able to get these exact ones anyway. Regardless, we shared these two cups of soup and they were delicious. Not too heavy, even the creamier one, and well-seasoned without being too salty as soups often are. I was OBSESSED with the bowl that I got...the garlic tahini was bomb and I'm always a sucker for sautéed veg. It was delicious, filling, and healthy, it certainly left me feeling "Fortified."
My one complaint has to do with the wine. It's $9/glass which I find exceptionally expensive, and it's not a hearty glass either...while it isn't under-filled, I've DEFINITELY had $6 glasses with WAY more wine inside before. Which is disappointing, because it was nice sitting next to that bright window working along and transitioning from coffee hour to wine hour (we started before their happy hour started...so sue us). We each got one glass, and would have gotten seconds if it hadn't been so expensive for so little.
Moving on to the dinner we had here previously. Cafe Gratitude offers a nice happy hour and we treated ourselves to:
- Excited mojito spritzers lime, cucumber, muddled mint, sparkling wine
- Honoring Mediterranean sampler plate with tomato preserve, zucchini cilantro hummus, hempseed tabbouleh, kalamata olives, and sun-dried tomato flatbread
- Gracious summer grain salad with heirloom cherry tomatoes, blue lake green beans, cucumbers, cashew mozzarella, avocado, basil hempseed pesto, wild arugula, Brazil nut parmesan, balsamic reduction, and probiotic sprouted quinoa
- Black bean burger patty
We opted to sit on their lovely patio for dinner since it was a warm afternoon and they have a pretty sitting area. We LOVED the spritzers, they were so crisp and refreshing...just perfect for a warm day's happy hour. The Honoring plate was delicious although the flatbread was kind of chewy/didn't really have a bread-y consistency. That's not to say we didn't enjoy it...it just didn't really seem like flatbread as we were expecting it to be. Gracious was so so so so so good, it was so fresh and flavorful, and topping it with that black bean patty was a great idea on our part.
The verdict? I love Cafe Gratitude. The servers were a little snobby at some times but not enough to make me want to never come back. The food is just so yummy and it's healthy, which is nice since often times I feel so full and sluggish after eating out. And maybe this is as weird thing to like about a restaurant, but I liked that the dishes were things I could make at home. Sometimes I do like eating really fancy when I'm at a restaurant but idk...it made the meal feel cozy. Also they have amazing looking vegan desserts...I can't wait to come back and try them!
Do you have a favorite vegan restaurant?