If you’re vegetarian and living in Seattle, you’ve probably heard of Cafe Flora. If you haven’t tried them, do yourself a favor and book a reservation right now. I’m not a vegetarian, but I’ve started to notice that anytime I ask my vegetarian friends about where they love to eat, Cafe Flora is a place that always gets raved about. I had to check it out for myself to find out why.
As you walk up, the exterior exudes a calming, natural beauty, with lush plants growing all around. Step into the garden atrium, which brings a natural outdoor dining feel to the restaurant year round. We smiled and sighed as we settled into our table to check out the menus, feeling peaceful as a fountain bubbled amid greenery and stone. We realized later the comfort we experienced wasn’t just because of the welcoming waiter and atmophere, but also because the floors are heated. Swoon!
Cafe Flora’s website boasts their “culinary team draws inspiration from international culinary traditions along with the availability of an abundance of locally grown produce to create imaginative and dynamic vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free cuisine.” Because of this, their menu rotates based on seasonal availability. During my first visit, their spring menu had just been released, and I was quick to order the Nettle Ravioli with Cashew Cream sauce. This is one of the best dishes I’ve had in the last year (check out the recipe, here). I literally had to look at the menu 3 times to confirm it really was a vegan dish – it seemed impossible a creamy, flavorful sauce like that was dairy free. This was my first time trying nettles and the dish was absolutely fantastic, a great blend of savory nettles and kale with sweet cream and cranberries.
The plating of all our dishes were beautiful. Here’s Brandon’s artistically designed polenta dish. Thanks to the natural light pouring through the atrium windows, I was able to snap some nice photos with just my iphone.
As you can imagine, this hasn’t been my last visit to Cafe Flora. Friends Molly & her sister Megan were in town from New York and Eastern Washington and we pulled ourselves out of bed to make it to their brunch (have I mentioned I’m not a morning person?) that Erin has raved about. Wow, fantastic. Even the biggest bacon-lovers out there would agree this vegetarian (with vegan and gluten-free options) spot offers one of the best brunches in town. My pals tried their decadent french toast and mexican inspired dishes and loved them. I like to keep things simple for breakfast, and their basic breakfast fit the bill. The breakfast potatoes were the best I’ve had in 10 years. Just perfect.
This time, we sat in the main restaurant, rather than in the atrium and really enjoyed the decor in there as well. A man near us ordered a hot tea, and the white pot was served with a colorful sand timer on the side to let him know when it would be done steeping. It’s little things like that that endear me to local restaurants.
I noticed my friend Kate (who has great taste in restaurants and beyond) was Cafe Flora’s Foursquare “Mayor” and emailed her to ask why she loved the place. Her reply: “Cafe Flora is one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle – not only because it’s vegetarian like me, but also because they serve brunch every day of the week! I love meeting friends here for lunch mid-week, and their beautiful atrium can make even a rainy day feel bright and warm.”
News from their twitter feed: Cafe Flora is celebrating 20 years on June 2! Details and tickets for their Anniversary Bash (Live music, food, wine, beer + more) here.
NOTE: CONTEST HAS ENDED – congrats to the winner, Kristin Pot Pie!
Are we making you jealous? Want to head to Cafe Flora for your next meal? Here’s how to enter to win a $50 gift card to this Madison Valley gem (you can enter both ways):
1) Check out their menus – then post a comment below & share with us the drink or dish you would order first!
I want to win $50 to @cafefloraveg via @keridwyn #seattlepockets / giveaway: http://bit.ly/J5fHk8
You can tweet once a day. Good luck and happy dining! Contest ends 11:59pm Pacific Time, Monday May 14th, 2012.
Disclaimer: Seattle Pockets was gifted dinner at Cafe Flora. Subsequent visits have been at the expense of Seattle Pockets and I’m excited to support this restaurant for years to come. Thanks to Cafe Flora and their PR team for this opportunity and especially for all the great work they do to create a sustainable, healthy and delicious restaurant for Seattle to enjoy. All opinions expressed in this post, as always are mine – gifts will never alter the opinions or thoughts shared on this blog. Full disclaimer,here