A contender for the crown of vegan cafes in SoCal
Posted on 07 / 29 / 2011
Golden Mean Café is a most welcome addition to the sea of veg*n spots in the LA area. The owner has gone the extra mile to manifest the magic formula: tasty and healthful cuisine, organic ingredients, a warm and inviting atmosphere, commendable efforts toward sustainability, and a lot of love.
Inevitably, Golden Mean Café will be compared with with Real Food Daily, and in our estimation it's a close race, with each having some advantages. Both places offer healthful food that, in taste, ranges from good to great (neither menu is consistently first class, though each has its superlative items), and both lean pretty far to the pricey side with slim pickin's for low-income customers. But, for us at least, the warm and relaxed vibe and eco-friendliness of Golden Mean gives it the edge over RFD, making it our most strongly-recommended vegan restaurant in greater LA... if you can afford it.
- Veggie burger: excellent - one of the best i've tasted.
- Quinoa side: delicious.
- Various salads and greens: all great
- Desserts: Vanilla coconut cake was the best we've ever had; chocolate cake was good but not extraordinary.
- Portobello panini: good but not great (i've had more flavorful ones elsewhere).
- The "rustic Fibonacci cornmeal crust pizza": inventive (quite a leap from traditional Italian-style pizza pie) and very tasty, though the serving size was quite small, especially for the price.
- "Chicken" Ceasar wrap: not particularly flavorful (IMHO, could use both more dressing and more "chicken")
- Quesadilla: About as good as vegan quesadillas get (due in part to the Daiya "cheese," which melts well), but even the best of the mass-marketed vegan "cheeses" feel kinda plastic to me so i didn't love it. (I'd prefer a homemade nut-based cheese substitute.)
There's parking in the back.
Our only real complaint is about the pricing (it's easy to spend around $20 per person to get filled). It's perfectly fine to have some expensive dishes, and even a lot of them, but potential customers would be better served (and we think the mission of the restaurant would be better served) by adding several simpler, affordably priced items to the menu so that those with lower incomes can afford to join the party. We would love to go often and bring all our friends and associates, but some are reluctant to go because of their budgets. For that reason, i'm tempted to give only 4 cows instead of 5, but Golden Mean gets so many other things right that we can't hold back. :-)
Great overall café formula, Organic and mostly healthful ingredients, Some of the food is extraordinary
Quite pricey for the portions, Not everything merits the prices , Menu could offer a bit more diversity