Friday, June 7, 2013

Garden Cafe, Orlando

It was finally the end of our trip to the Treasure Coast, an area in mid-south Florida on the east coast. Since we were flying out of Orlando, we decided to stay at a hotel near the airport and searched for vegan-friendly restaurants in the Orlando area. To my surprise, we found a nearly all-vegan Chinese restaurant located right in Orlando. After suffering in a non-vegan friendly area all week, this was a real treat.

The Garden Cafe reminded me of other wonderful vegan Chinese restaurants I've been to in the past like the Loving Hut chain and the now defunct Vegetable Garden previously located in Maryland. The outside appearance and inside decor left much to be desired, but that wasn't why we went there. From the outside, the bars on the windows might be a bit off-putting, but don't let that deter you as good stuff awaits inside. Inside, there was a television showing Asian movies and paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling. But, the oddest thing was really the random sci-fi nature pictures on the wall like the horse below. Odd.

The menu was pretty extensive with faux seafood, poultry, pork, beef, and lamb dishes as well as vegetable- and tofu-based dishes. We started with an order of steamed dumplings filled with cabbage, served with an unusual sauce that I just couldn't place.

For my entree, I ordered the house chicken, which was described as delicious on the menu so how could it not be?! Oh, and it was delicious although, as usual, not spicy enough. The "chicken" was made of soy protein and had a nice, chewy texture. It was served with cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, and broccoli in a black bean sauce.

Zach went with the Orange Beef, which was also soy protein in a brown subtle orange-flavored sauce with carrots, mushrooms, bamboo, and broccoli.

We both couldn't decide which one we liked better because they were both delicious. The portions were huge though and afterwards we felt like we could have just split one entree. I'm glad we didn't though. Plus, there are no desserts so it isn't like we missed out on anything by eating large entrees. Oh, and I should mention - I told the waitress that I was aware that they didn't have a website. She told me that they did and gave me a take-out menu that showed as their website, but when  I went to it, it was all in Chinese other than the word "BMW." I don't think this is their website. I find it funny that they don't know if they have a website or not, but whatever.

The entrees were both $12.95 and for the portion size, I think that was a pretty good price. Overall, the food was great, the service was fine, and the prices were right. Recommended if you are in the Orlando area.

Garden Cafe
310 West Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL 32804
(407) 999-9799

Garden Café on Urbanspoon


  1. The one time I went to the Garden Cafe--with my boyfriend and my carnist sister and brother-in-law--I was not impressed. The food was spiced fine, but the textures of the analogues were weird. This was a few years ago, so maybe they've improved things. If I'd known you were going through Orlando, I'd have recommended the Dandelion CommuniTEA Cafe, which is a few blocks from the Loving Hut.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion, Danielle. They weren't open on this day, which is why we couldn't go there, but I'll definitely check them out next time!