Operating since Oct 2011, its all-vegan menu including beer, wine, desserts, breads, and raw food. Sources mostly sustainable and organic. Main entree prices range $18-22, handholds and other dishes less. No longer offering dairy milk for drinks. Price: Expensive more-less
Vegan, American, Organic, Raw, Juice bar, Beer/Wine, Take-out, Catering, Fusion
2 E Main St (Montowese St)
Branford, Connecticut 06405
203-208-0443

Tue-Thu 4:00pm-9:00pm, Fri-Sat 4:00pm-9:30pm

more-less
  • Outdoor seating
  • Accepts credit cards
reviews

Reviews

First Review by Michael X. James
mark m braunstein
mark m braunstein
  • vegan
Contributions
+93

Vegan Heaven

5
Posted on 09 / 18 / 2015

After 22 years at It’s Only Natural (ION) Restaurant, its masterful head chef sought new challenges, so he and his wife opened G-Zen, initially a sort of Neo-ION, as half its menu was the same, but with new and more imaginative though sometimes pretentious names. What could have been better than ION? Two ION’s!

Yet who can refrain from making comparisons? (Obviously not I). Many new dishes do distinguish it from ION, especially in recent years. For instance one entree here is all raw, with many side dishes raw too. Decor and dinnerware are more elegant and opulent than at hippie artsy ION. (You decide which better suits your personality.) I do prefer the “vibes” (yeah man, am a hippie) of ethnically-diverse and middle-class Middletown to that of predominantly Caucasian and affluent New-Haven-bedroom Branford, and prefer the trip to Middletown on scenic and lightly traveled Route 9 rather than on industrialized and truck-choked and traffic-jammed Interstate 95.

The food at G-Zen is outstanding, and it is primarily for the food that one chooses any restaurant. Every entrée is flavorful and often unique, if not invented by the masterful chef then surely perfected by him. The portions sometimes are small, but the nutritional standards always are high. So are the prices, especially of the desserts. It costs $15 for a sliver of ostensibly raw (cashews are never raw) dessert. Add tax and tip, and that’s $20, and for a mere sliver. Do not be duped by all the hype about raw this and raw that, because steamed broccoli or cooked brown rice are far more nutritious than any dessert heavily laden with sweets and fats, raw or not.

Yet the desserts and all the other food, raw or not, deserve the accolades bestowed upon it by others: it is delicious, nutritious, nearly wholly wholesome, mostly organic, much of it raw, beautifully presented, graciously hosted, and totally vegan. This very well may be vegan heaven!

Just ignore all the self-ingratiating hype on its website and DeFacebook page and menu, which should be taken with a grain of Himalayan salt. This is not the best veg restaurant in the entire Milky Way, which its tiresome hyperbole tries to bludgeon you into believing. This is the best veg restaurant in Connecticut, but CT is the third smallest state and its entire population is one-third that of just NYC’s. And NYC hosts several comparable restaurants.

G-Zen, no one loves your food because of all your hype. Rather, we love your food despite your hype.

Pros: the food!, the ambience, the food!!
Cons: the hype, the parking, the dessert prices
saelbu
saelbu
  • vegan
Contributions
+20

Best in CT (with an asterisk)

4
Posted on 08 / 24 / 2015

There are not a lot of vegan restaurants in Connecticut, so there's not much competition for the top spot. I have been a number of times. The service and atmosphere are outstanding. But the food is sometimes hit or miss. Last time, I had the Wheel of Dharma (udon noodle soup) which was to die for. My friend had the Kama Sutra (coconut curry veggies over rice) that had just one overpowering spice and was mostly tomatoes.

Bottom line, ask the waitstaff for recommendations. And if you don't get a winner the first time there, try again. The good stuff is *reallllly* good.

The desserts are excellent -- I've had the carrot cake, the coconut cake, chocolate hazelnut cake, and sundae. (not all at once!)

Pros: Great atmosphere, Good service, nice waitstaff, Some excellent food
Cons: Hit-or-miss on the food
GKJ
GKJ
  • vegan
Contributions
+20

Ohhhhhhhh myyyyyy GOD!!!

5
Posted on 04 / 02 / 2015

I took my omnivorous boyfriend hoping he would like it as much as I did. The hands down winner....that vanilla cashew gelato!!! G-Zen, put it in a cookbook or sell it by the pint, PLEASE!
It's amazing and should be shared with the world. My sweetheart doesn't eat ice cream because it hurts him to digest.

Pros: Need I say it again? Vanilla cashew gelato!!
Cons: None to report

Springing
Springing
  • vegan
Contributions
+37

best vegan food in CT

5
Posted on 11 / 02 / 2014

This place is fantastic. With the sad demise of Six Main it's now my favorite vegan place in CT, despite the trek to get out there. Great brunch options on the weekend, fabulous deserts, and good cocktails. Definitely spendy, but well worth it.


catchahealthyhabit
catchahealthyhabit
  • raw
Contributions
+70

Great Clean Food & Drink

5
Posted on 08 / 07 / 2014

Great place, Great staff, Awesome owners and the tasty food, desert, smoothies!
Great scenery, location and education talks from time to time!


Dogs429
Dogs429
  • vegan
Contributions
+231

Great Food

5
Posted on 07 / 17 / 2014

I know happy cow says this is a vegetarian restaurant but it is 100% vegan. The food is absolutely, if you go there the raw tacos are a must. I've been here about 3 times and was always pleased with the service and food.

Pros: great service, awesome food, nice environment
Cons: none
vikavegan
vikavegan
  • vegan
Contributions
+32

Not for my taste

3
Posted on 06 / 03 / 2014

This place has some good items in the menu. I went there several times, but every time I got out feeling pretty heavy. While the food is tasty, I can never finish my plates, they are just too dense! This is the only reason I give it three stars. Also, I find the place a bit dark; my eyes don't feel very comfortable.

Pros: tasty
Cons: a bit heavy, dark
raw
raw
  • raw
Contributions
+24

Raw organic vegan

5
Posted on 05 / 19 / 2014

My all time favorite restaurant in CT. They have a combination of vegan and raw vegan food. Organic wines and beer. NO diary, vegan cheeses. I had the best raw lasagna recently, heaven. (3/2014). My children love the nachos, g-zen sweet potato fries, root beer float(no diary. The staff are all excellent. I can't stay away. I love this place.
Updated from previous review on Saturday March 22, 2014

Pros: Organic, raw vegan, no diary
Cons: none
Jacklex
Jacklex
  • vegan
Contributions
+16

G-Zen is worth every penny

5
Posted on 01 / 27 / 2013

I went with a friend, we shared the sweet potato fries and I had a salad that had an AMAZING pâté as the centerpiece. The portions are very large, the wait staff is friendly and informative, and overall I recommend Vegans and Vegetarians go here for lunch or dinner.

Pros: Menu, Quality of food , Wait staff
Cons: None
NIBsmf
NIBsmf
  • vegan
Contributions
+231

Awesome place!

5
Posted on 11 / 15 / 2012

Food: 10. I went a little nuts ordering things since I had been so eager to go here and live 6 hours away! I got the following: the sweet potato fries, raw sunflower-based "cheese sticks", and the creole tempeh (which comes with cornbread, greens, and mashed potatoes). All were really good. My friend who I was with got chili and bruschetta, which I tasted and those were good, too. We shared the dessert special: a pumpkin doughtnut a la mode! We both agreed that was the best part of the meal! We were sad that they were out of the perogies the night we went, as we had looked at the menu online and had gone in wanting those very badly.

Price: 7. A bit pricey, but understandable given it is high-quality fresh, organic, and local food.

Atmosphere: 10. Very quaint and charming. It can be both casual or a bit fancy. Calming.

Staff: 9. Very friendly and helpful, but a bit slow.

Pros: Great selections, Great atmosphere, Great staff
Cons: Pricey
umaP
umaP
  • vegan
Contributions
+14

way more than a VEGAN RESTAURANT

5
Posted on 06 / 16 / 2012

Basically G ZEN not only is the best Vegan food I have ever eaten....it is an entire experience. From the decor, to the music, to the menu and all the of the info that they provide, its is an amazing experience. I learned about their farm, organic juicing fasts that they offer & about the gmonkey mobile truck that they also run. I tried some RAW and COOKED food and was blown away by the quality and tastes. Everything is so fresh, organic and delicious. GZEN blows all the competition away and is the REAL DEAL.

Pros: RAW, ORGANIC, RAW JUICES
Corina
Corina
  • vegan
Contributions
+38

Great ION alternative

5
Posted on 03 / 25 / 2012

My husband and I ate here for a late lunch yesterday afternoon when we happened to be in the New Haven area. We've been to ION in Middletown a few times before and noticed some overlap between the two menus, so we tried to order items that we didn't remember from the ION menu. The waitress listed off some specials of the day, one of which was raw tacos with walnut meat filling. We ordered the appetizer version of this, which apparently costs almost as much as the meals we ordered off the menu ($12 vs. $14). It was so good though that it was definitely worth the cost. My husband liked it even though he typically hates raw food. It seemed to be some kind of great flavored walnut meat (which I wouldn't have known was walnut if I hadn't been told) guacamole, vegan sour cream, tomatoes and green onions served on a large leaf of lettuce. So yummy.

For entrees, we ordered the black bean chipotle burger and the tempeh ruben, both of which came with sweet potato fries. They were delicious, although the burger seemed a little dry to me. At some point the owner brought out a smoothie sample that was so good we ordered one to go for the long drive home. It was a some kind of peanut butter, cocoa and banana flavor. I'm not sure how frequently free samples are given out; we overheard one of the waitresses talking about how they expected the New York Times to visit that night.

The atmosphere was great and the seating was comfortable. We came pretty soon after they opened, and they seemed to get pretty busy not long after we arrived. The service got a little slow once it started to get crowded, but we were at a table by the window which was probably easy to overlook. Anyway, I would definitely recommend this place if you're in the area and have the money to spare :-)

Pros: great food, great desserts, yummy shakes
Cons: expensive
meosulli
meosulli
  • mostly-vegetarian
Contributions
+12

G-Zen: EXCELLENT

5
Posted on 12 / 20 / 2011

I would absolutely suggest going to this place, even if you are not a vegetarian or vegan. The food was DELICIOUS, service was excellent, and the atmosphere was relaxing and fun. The menu has something for everybody, and the food lacks dairy and meat but not flavor! If you live in or near Branford and have not been to this place yet, it is absolutely worth the trip! One of the best new restaurants on the Shoreline!

Pros: Delicious, healthy food, Fantastic service, Cool ambiance
Candice H
Candice H
  • mostly-vegetarian
Contributions
+15

one time visitor

4
Posted on 10 / 28 / 2011

I happened to be in town and heard this new vegan restaurant had just opened. I had the vegan dim sum and the vegan nachos. Both were delicious. For desert I had the lemon tart with cashew cream and raspberry coulis. All was yummy and in a beautiful setting. Next time I visit Connecticut, I will be eating there as often as possible.

Pros: beautiful setting, great presentation, yummy
Cons: distance from me, no lunch hours
tabishop
tabishop
  • non-vegetarian
Contributions
+19

Wow! What a great meal!

5
Posted on 10 / 25 / 2011

The restaurant was beautiful. The service was excellent and the food could not have been better.
There were 5 of us so I got to try a number of items on the menu. For Apps, don't miss the "crab" cakes or the Dim Sum platter. The nachos and G Fries were also excellent, particularly with the house-made ketchup. For entrees I absolutely loved the raw "Guilt-Free" Fettuccine Alfredo (made from squash and carrots etc. no noodles and of course served cold). I also tried the Pirogi and the burger which were both excellent. For dessert the cheesecake and coconut custard were excellent as were the truffles.
The atmosphere is unique and stylish in a very comfortable and inviting way. They seemed to use a lot of natural materials in the design which gives the restaurant a nice warm feeling. It feels like they were trying to create a space that is both comfortable and unique. It definitely works. The artwork throughout the restaurant is interesting and tasteful. Dress is casual. Pricing is a little less than fine dining and very reasonable for the quality (5 people - Apps, Entrees, Dessert was $200 incl tax). They take the major credit cards and there is ample close parking on Main St. If you're even casually thinking about giving this place a try, just get in your car and go. You will not be disappointed. There was absolutely nothing about this place that I thought could be improved and I'm very critical. Oh, and I should mention that only one person in our group (not me) has committed to a vegan lifestyle. This place is great for anyone and everyone. Add it to your list!
P.S. I found the place by using the free Happy Cow app on an android phone. They had been open less than a week and it was already on there. If you're interested in vegan/vegetarian dining you should definitely check it out. It has never steered me wrong.

Pros: Excellent Food, Excellent Ambiance, Excellent Service
Cons: None
Michael X. James
Michael X. James
  • vegan
Contributions
+331

Love it!!!!!

5
Posted on 10 / 25 / 2011

This place is great! All food is made vegan so I'm not sure why Happy Cow doesn't label them Vegan and just Vegan-friendly. I realize they have milk available for coffee but that's it. The sweet potato fries are good, the nachos are good, the bread is good, the soup is good...heck, everything there is good! Chai latte with almond milk was one of the best I've ever had. The cheesecake was great. I can't wait to go back to this place. It's definitely pricey but worth it. The portion sizes are decent but for the price I would have liked a little bit more ($7 for fries...you expect a LOT of fries). The service was friendly and highly knowledgeable. I'll be back here again and again and again! Highly recommended!

Pros: Great food, Lots of options, Very nice restaurant
Cons: Parking is tough, Expensive

 

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Last updated: 2015/09/18

 

Added: 2011/10/23

 

Added by: Michael X. James

 

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