UPDATE: This restaurant has permanently closed.
I first dined at Cafe Gratitude many, many years ago -- before I started this blog. This feel-good chain was rapidly expanding and I loved their all-vegan menu. At some point though, allegations were made, lawsuits were filed, and Cafe Gratitudes were closing left and right. In fact, most in northern California closed. But, at least there's still one in Berkeley and after a long day of wine tasting, a hearty Cafe Gratitude meal was just what I needed.
We drove the long drive from Sonoma to Berkeley to dine at Cafe Gratitude on a Sunday evening before they closed. It was a beautiful day so we chose to sit outside on their gorgeous patio. With nice wooden tables and chairs and green foliage, it was just as nice as being in a restaurant, only better.
While Cafe Gratitude offers both cooked and raw meals, everything is vegan. I started with the Effervescent --a housemade ginger ale. It was sweet and tasty.
I ordered the Warm-Hearted polenta bowl. It had grilled corn polenta, sauteed greens, mushroom ragu, cashew ricotta, basil, and almond parmesan. Everything about this meal was amazing. I did, however, think there was too much polenta and not enough of everything else. But, overall, the warm corn polenta meshed well with the mushrooms and spinach and the ricotta brought it all together.
My friend, who is not vegan, ordered the specials. Her meal was even better than mine. She had a huge tomato soup with cashew cream.
And she got a Bahn Mi made with tempeh, avocado, and carrots. They were both fantastic.
The service outside was fine, but nothing to write home about. The food was awesome and the prices were appropriate -- my bowl was $13. It was exactly what I was expecting -- great food no matter what you order. I only wish they'd continue to open more...and then expand to DC.
March 12, 2012
1730 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709