Zach and I headed to Berkeley to eat at Nature's Express, a small cafe that I had heard good things about. The first thing I saw when we walked up to the front door was a banner that said "Kick-Ass Vegan Food." Love it!
This all-vegan cafe offers an incredible variety of burgers, burritos, wraps, sandwiches, salads, soups, and sides. It was so hard to choose, but the people working there were a big help in helping us understand the differences between the selections.
The dining room was rather small and kind of reminded me of a New York cafe. Most of the people who were coming in were grabbing items to go. While we waited, I sipped on my water and Zach tried almond water for the first time. It seems like they are making water out of anything these days. As a big fan of coconut water, I wanted Zach to try the almond water to see if he'd like it. He thought it was a bit too sugary. I would agree.
After about 15 minutes, they brought our food out - served fresh. I ordered a salad along with the Cheezy Mushroom Chik-un Melt. They weren't kidding about how good this sandwich was. The seitan patty, which was made fresh in-house, was incredibly thick and delicious. It was grilled with mushrooms and Daiya cheese and topped with mayonnaise, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. I was amazed at how good it was.
The Essential Greens salad was just as good. I loved how they shredded the kale with collard greens and topped it with a lemon-garlic dressing. The collard greens gave the salad a natural spiciness. It was definitely one of the best kale salads I've ever had.
Zach ordered the Classic Grilled Reuben, which was also delicious. The marinated tempeh was layered with Daiya cheese, sauerkraut, and pickles with their own Thousand Island dressing, served on rye bread. Zach was impressed.
The sandwich was served with a side of sweet potato fries, which were also pretty good.
I think the most amazing thing about this restaurant was their prices. I would have paid $9 - $11 each for these types of sandwiches in DC or NY, but here they were under $7! And, they were amazing! This is definitely the kind of restaurant that should begin expanding across the U.S. I'd compare it to a Native Foods -- perhaps not quite as good, but could be with a little tweaking. This cafe should be on your must-visit list for northern California. Highly recommended!
1823 Solano Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94707