Small restaurant and deli with a concise menu that includes burritos, combo meals with brown rice (tofu, soymeats, curry). Local artwork and live music some nights. Price: Inexpensive more-less
Vegan, American, Pan Asian, Beer/Wine, Take-out


First Review by cyndiesel

great food; great beer

5 Posted on 07 / 21 / 2014

The food here is amazing, and lots of choices. The beer selection is choice. Very cool atmosphere. Go!


4 Posted on 04 / 19 / 2014

Not much selection from the near buffet style food but it can be fixed any way you like it. You also get a healthy portion for your buck. Desserts at the counter are too tempting to resist when your paying your tab. The decor is amazing...I notice something new every time I'm there. The best part is the bar, although in an awkward "alley like" spot. They have a great selection of beers on tap to keep you busy for the evening.

Pros: simple menu, affordable, brewski
Cons: simple hard to see menu, small space, awkward set up

Yummy & Friendly

5 Posted on 01 / 03 / 2014

What a wonderful surprise! Tucked away in a little downtown strip. It is well worth finding. The food is deliciously prepared with lots of variety to choose from. All vegan! We had a combination plate of chick pea marsala, a cabbage salad, quinoa, another item and a REALLY yummy chipotle sauce.

Pros: Flavorful, Variety, Friendly
Cons: None

Vegans that appreciate good craft beer!

4 Posted on 04 / 10 / 2013

This is my first review on Happy Cow and I just wanted to say this place is awesome.

I've been vegetarian my whole life and I've never eaten meat. I've more recently become vegan as well while also trying to lower my gluten/added sugar intake. ( Poison... look it up! )

Anyways, I read through a lot of the bad reviews and I completely disagree with all of them. The color of the food doesn't look good? It doesn't look appetizing? Are you crazy!?!? First of all maybe your preconceptions of what color food should be is tainted by mainstream processed/added food coloring foods ( also poison ). Everything looked great. I had the burrito with added tofu scramble... Delicious!

On top of all of this, Ryan knows good beer! So you get awesome inexpensive vegan food ( vegan deserts without added sugar or gluten.. what!?!!? ) AND awesome craft beer selections, what else do you want?

Also... guy from NY... no one cares where you are from. People smoke... and I doubt they were inside the establishment smoking. Don't ding the establishment because of other people ruining your 1 time experience, get over it. Also maybe hole-in-the-wall atmospheres isn't your thing, so go somewhere else. ( Millenium in SFO is fine vegan dining )

I enjoyed this quiet vegan gem while I worked, had some good beers ( gluten in beer I know, it's a weakness ) and made some new friends.

Thanks Good Karma, I will be back tomorrow!

Pros: Inexpensive, Craft Beer Selection, Large Selection
Cons: I can't try everything.

Great draft beer options; increasingly better food

5 Posted on 04 / 04 / 2013

I've been a regular at Good Karma since they opened, and the food has really improved over that time. It's worth remembering that it's a casual, quick, *deli-style* setup--don't walk in expecting a more 'fancy' restaurant made-to-order dish. Personally, I love that the food is quick and not too pretentious. The kale salad and spicy basil tofu are my usual go-tos, as well as the 'buddha buns'. Also, the last time I stopped in, I had a delicious chocolate espresso cupcake. There have been days when some dishes didn't taste just right, but overall, I find things to be consistently tasty.

The place has a nice atmosphere and an **amazing** selection of craft beers, as well. Sure, it's small and often crowded--and I really don't appreciate the occasional smoker that still lurks around the patio seating area--but it's such a refreshing option in the otherwise drab, generally vegan-unfriendly wasteland of downtown San Jose. I hope they stick around for many years to come!

Pros: Amazing selection of craft beers, Tasty, quick vegan food at decent prices, Really nice, knowledgeable staff
Cons: Small space and often crowded, Occasional obnoxious smokers on patio


Vegan comfort food, laid back vibe

4 Posted on 09 / 01 / 2012

I would characterize a visit to Good Karma as similar to, but not in a totally uncomplimentary way, going to a house party: you've got people outside socializing/smoking, having to maneuver between a crowd inside, dub music playing overhead, and most people are pretty much there for the beer. This is pretty much what an evening at Good Karma is like.

Whether the atmosphere is of appeal is down to personal preference, but let me just say that the food really good. It's like vegan comfort food. I had BBQ Chikn Drumsticks (I could eat a ton of those), Jamaican Jerk Tofu (YUM), and Mashed Potatoes (BEST), AND a slice of chocolate pie...all for around $10. They've also got a variey of craft beers on tap which I still have yet to try, but are apparently very popular.

Yeah, it's small. In fact, how they manage to have live music performances is astonishing to me. But you get a sense there's a strong support for the local scene & artists. For this, I'm greatful places like Good Karma exist, and not solely for being one of the few vegan joints scattered around the South Bay.

Pros: Good food + portions, Friendly people, VERY good value
Cons: REALLY small

Very disappointing

2 Posted on 07 / 21 / 2012

I'm always excited to try a new veg place. Good Karma was a huge disappointed. The food was overcooked, oversalted slop. The atmosphere was cramped and funky. Cigarette smoked seeped in from one of the 2 outdoor tables. Really? Cigarettes, Vegetarian Food and Good Karma? While I am visiting San Jose from New York, I'll be eating at the Vegetarian House and Tofoo Com Chay, for great food and great service. Sure, I'm not thrilled about the Supreme Master stuff all over the place but the people on staff at both of these places are always kind and the food never disappoints.

Cons: overcooked food, salty food, cigarette smoke

Good Karma = Love

5 Posted on 04 / 16 / 2012

go here all the time, the food is soulful, home made goodness. The menu changes but always tastes the same. The beer selection is fantastic and the owners are the sweetest people ever. You can feel the love when they cook for you. We've purchased full holiday meals from them and it was so nice to not have to cook. Did I mention that its the one Vegan restaurant in the entire san jose area that isn't run by the "Supreme Master" cult?

Pros: Vegan, friendly environment, heartwarming food
Cons: variety of menu

Uninspiring Home Cooking

2 Posted on 07 / 11 / 2011

Both my partner me were disappointed in the food at the Good Karma. The Chana Masala was very hot but lacked any rich or deep flavor from middle-eastern spices or herbs, just hot. My partner, who prides himself on being able to eat anything, left it on his plate. The vegan Teriyaki Chicken he ate, but only for the food value, but not for taste or appearance. I had the Chana Masala and Thai Curry, but wondered why they called it Thai Curry. It tasted like overly steamed vegetables with a little super market curry powder mixed in

"None of the items in the case look appetizing!" said my grandson who didn't order anything. We should have listened to him. I am in hopes that it was an off day for the Good Karma, but all the items in the buffet case did look pretty sad. Grandpa didn't make any points with his 13 year old grandson.

Pros: Downtown San Jose, Easy to find
Cons: Food, Color of food
  • govegannow govegannow

    I agree. None of the food looked appetizing to me either. Looked like it had been sitting there for hours! The health dept. should pay them a visit! It was nice to have a lot of options I could eat, but overall-SUPER disappointed :(


Great food!

4 Posted on 09 / 26 / 2010

I've only been to Good Karma once, but I'm definitely planning on going back. The DAL was AWESOME! The desserts were the bomb! Friendly staff, laid back atmosphere.

Pros: Excellent food, Great Value, nice portions

would recommend only if in a pinch

2 Posted on 09 / 05 / 2010

was excited to find what sounded like a cool vegan spot in san jose, however was disappointed with the options and the quality. no fresh beverages, they're all out of bottle...which was fine, it's a deli after all. but the food (out of the deli case) was reheated in microwave. my dining partner found two hairs in his meal, unsure if it was human hair or the hair from the server's dog (he went back and forth to visit his dog outside all during our meal). before leaving, went to the loo, a site i wish i hadn't seen, especially since it was right off the kitchen (will spare the details!). i enjoyed the flavors of my food, however it left me feeling not-so-great after. on the pros: the chocolate pie was amazing...and i liked the indie/artsy spirit. overall, perhaps a good spot for the undiscerning college student, but not for someone who enjoys vegan quality.

Pros: vegan dedication, indie vibe
Cons: unsanitary to the eye, limited menu

Satisfying Cafeteria Style Meals

4 Posted on 07 / 13 / 2010

We get down to San Jose about once a year. Good Karma Vegan Deli will be a recurring stop for us. Last January 2010, we stopped in for lunch several times!

The food is served cafeteria and deli case style. The food is sold by the plate, with the option to get one or several different choices on your plate. They serve everything from home cooking style mashed potatoes and gravy, spaghetti and salad to various Asian staples like black bean tofu.

If you don't like your food touching, this isn't the place to eat. However, if you're like me and love the blending of flavors as sauces co-mingle, you might enjoy Good Karma.

My husband enjoyed the more spicy offerings, such as the curries and chana masala, with a cold beer. I on the other hand am really sensitive to spice and stuck to the mellower choices. I really liked the mashed potatoes, though they were a bit salty, I ate them several times! The spaghetti was delicious, and I loved the tofu scramble.

I was a bit disappointed in the drink offerings for those who don't drink alcohol, like myself.

The service was good, the staff was willing to chat and talk about the food available when it wasn't busy. However, a couple of times we went when they were supposed to be open and they hadn't opened yet.

Definitely a place I'll visit again, a comfortable place for a filling meal.

Pros: Cheap and Quick, Lots of Flavor, Satisfying Portions
Cons: Sometimes Closed When Listed as Open, Salty


5 Posted on 06 / 28 / 2010

First time I ever went here i was hooked! I recommend this place to vegan and non vegan a like cause either way you life your life the food will not dissapoint you. This is actually a GREAT place to bring a new vegan or someone who's thinking of turning vegan because it's a wonderful first-time vegan food experience. Staff is very nice too. They have a saying on the wall behind the counter: "Work hard and be nice to people," They really live up to that!


Pros: Excellent Customer Service, Excellent Food, Fun atmosphere
Cons: Service is usually a little slow, No whole wheat tortilla option, Parking is a pain, but it's downtown soo

Incredible food, atmosphere and service!

5 Posted on 01 / 10 / 2010

My boyfriend and I tried out Good Karma and it was absolutely amazing. We tried it on a Sunday, so it wasn't very crowded and there was plenty of seating available. The guy helping us was so nice and offered a lot of advice for vegans new to the area!

The food was AMAZING! We had the mashed potatoes (to die for), the stuffed bell peppers (super good) and the BBQ "chicken wings" (I don't know how they do it). Everything was so delicious and what a great deal for $9! My bf and I filled up with just one plate!

There's a lot of really great art on the walls and there's definitely a laid-back, eclectic feel (which I happen to love).

Definitely try this place if you're in the area.

Pros: GREAT food!, Wonderful staff, Cool atmosphere
Cons: zip

only one drawback

4 Posted on 08 / 05 / 2009

excellent hand made food, with a variety of choices. mostly indian based items, curies and chick peas, but with teriyaki items too, stuffed bells, tofu scramble. some wraps, but i have never tried them.
all items are displayed and you get three and some brown rice for under 8 bucks.
a nicely laid out space with local artists displayed on the walls and generally cool music playing.
the drawback? they server beer on tap. and the people who come in for the beer seem to be friends with whomever is working at the time, frequently taking away from the (what i feel) primary purpose of a vegan restaurant: paying attention to the customer who wants to order and eat. hip slackers guzzling beer and my desire to have a good vegan meal dont seem to mesh well, especially when, as i said, the drinkers are friends with the staff.

Pros: fresh and flavorful, great selection.
Cons: prices seem to keep rising, sharing tables with beer drinkers, no parking


5 Posted on 03 / 30 / 2009

I ate here in the evening and the food was excellent. The young woman there explained all the different choices available that night. I had Curry Tofu and Terryaki Tofu, both of which were exceptionally good. I agree with another reviewer that they need to label the different choices available, but other than that I would rate it excellent food, service, and value. I would eat here again.

Pros: Excellent food, Good value, Friendly/helpful staff
Cons: No food labeling, Not my favorite music

hit the spot after a marathon!

5 Posted on 07 / 25 / 2008

went here after my husband ran the SJ Marathon. it was a weekend, so it was slooooooooooow-- looks like the food had been in the case for a while...

BUT it was YUMMY! loved that you could pick out your items individually- VERY generous portions. Went out of their way to make sure our 5 year old had kid-friendly food.

cool little urban cafe w/ friendly staff & great downtown location

Pros: GREAT food, laid back , location

Cool Place

3 Posted on 07 / 13 / 2008

Stumbled across this place with my teenage son on our way to a Sharks game. It was a bit awkward at first - we went in and didn't understand how the process worked (there is a menu that lists all that they offer but you need to choose from what is available in the case that day). We weren't sure if we were supposed to sit and order or stand at the counter and no one acknowledged our presence for about 5 minutes. Really uncomfortable. If we weren't so hungry we probably would have left.

Finally someone explained to us how things worked and we picked two entrees. We had to ask for each option to be explained because there were no signs indicating what was what and the person helping us seemed a bit put out by having to explain to us.

I had like a stuffed potato dumpling type of thing that was EXCELLANT. My son had a pasta dish that was just OK. I also had some salad with a cajun ranch dressing which was really good.

When I went to pay I was shocked at how cheap everything was! So it was a great value and I really enjoyed my meal so I would absolutely try it again.

Pros: Cheap, Good food, Nice selection of beers
Cons: Service could be much better, Need better signs, Food should be labeled

Good Place

4 Posted on 05 / 02 / 2008

I went to Good Karma while I was in San Jose visiting. I went with a non-vegetarian friend. I enjoyed the food. The staff was very professional and helped me pick out what I needed to match my eating needs. I will go back the next time I am in the area.

Pros: Cheap, Friendly Staff, Informative
Cons: Deli Style

Awesome place!!!

5 Posted on 08 / 30 / 2007

It's a wonderful place with great food and wonderful staff. A few things to keep in mind:You need to get there early or late for lunch because there will be a line! They have a menu of everything they make, but every day they only make a few things from the menu, but they are very fresh! Give their choc cheese cake a try!

Best Vegan food ever

5 Posted on 05 / 04 / 2007

I have been a vegan for 14 years and I have never come across a place like this. The service is great, the atmosphere is great and the food is so good I cannot put it into words. If you are lucky enough to go in when they are serving mashed potatoes please do yourself a favor and order them. They are THE best potatoes you will ever have. Good food, good service and a cool place to hang out who could ask more.

Pros: Great art on the walls, Great service


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Last updated: 2012/11/12


Added: 2007/08/01


Added by: Guest