Vegetarian restaurant. Offers sandwiches, faux meats, vegan dessert, and more. Sept 2013 per staff, the Govinda's Gourmet Vegetarian is under renovations. Price: Moderate more-less
Vegan-friendly, Lacto, American, Take-out
1408 South St (Broad St)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19146
215-985-9303

Open Mon-Thur 11am-11pm, Fri-Sat 11am-12am, Sun 11am-10pm.

more-less
  • Outdoor seating
  • Accepts credit cards
reviews

Reviews

First Review by PHILLYVEGANMAN
elephantelizabeth
elephantelizabeth
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+40

Wraps are awesome

4 Posted on 10 / 27 / 2013

Stopped in for lunch once when visiting Philly. I ordered the Chimichanga in a habenero wrap. Extremely tasty! Just the right amount of spice in the wrap. The food came out quickly. The desserts looked extremely good, but I walked away regretfully without buying one.
One thing I did not like was how dirty it was. The decor was nice, but it was not well kept and the mirror in the women's bathroom had graffiti scratched on it. However, it is not a sit down restaurant so it was not too bad and there were plenty of other people in there who seemed not to care.

Pros: Quick, Tasty
Cons: Dirty
rob mafia
rob mafia
  • vegan
Contributions
+38

hard to really assess...

4 Posted on 09 / 03 / 2013

edit (9/3/2013): this place has more ups and downs than a book of economics charts. at the moment, it's at a high point. service and food have been great recently, no real complaints.

(old review below)

(and weird, could have sworn i made a review for this place, years ago. then again, if it was purged, it would make sense, as my views of it are far different now)

pros: desserts. ice cream and vegan treats (even if neither are actually made by govinda's...)

the chicken cheesesteak and sabji wraps are about the only 'real food' things i've liked here. everything else was either mediocre, lousy, or contained animal products (contrary to the claims of the staff).

the prices seem to continually increase, and at this point... it's barely worth going to. about once every 6 months or so, i'll go for a sandwich. occasionally, i'll pop in for a bear claw or something.

but i really don't want to give this place much money, at all. [edit by staff] from the animal products in "vegan" sandwiches to the hours continually not being listed correctly (last time i went there, the grill was closed. it was 1.5 hours before their website/menu claimed they were closed, but mere minutes before they were actually closing [i was talked into a golden tofu sandwich. it was good for a couple bites, then progressively awful. sauce made me feel sick]) to them constantly being out of rolls or sabji ingredients... it's hard to want to put up with it.

i guess it's nice that they have others' desserts and the honest teas and etc, but that kinda makes this place little more than a niche grocer, for my purposes.
Updated from previous review on Tuesday September 03, 2013


SaiyeGambone
SaiyeGambone
  • vegan
Contributions
+18

One of the best vegan spots in Philly!

4 Posted on 06 / 25 / 2013

Ah, Govidas!
Eaten here a million times and it is consistently amazing!
Vegan chicken cheese steak wrap is my favorite but really.. everything on this menu is incredible.
AND THE DESSERTS?! ...They're the best.

Pros: Chicken cheese steak, Desserts, House made vegan cheese
Cons: Slower service
eravencroft
eravencroft
  • vegan
Contributions
+59

Chicken Cheese Steak

4 Posted on 05 / 08 / 2013

Isn't that what everybody orders? Get it with vegan cheese and Vegenaise, maybe grab a cup of yellow split pea and a dessert if it's Thursday, and you are good to go. Be warned, however, once you enter into this Chicken Cheese Steak covenant with Govindas you may never leave.

Pros: all vegetarian cheese steaks in Philly, more than chicken cheese steak on menu, decadent vegan deserts
Cons: impossible to break covenant
East Eden
East Eden
  • vegan
Contributions
+21

Quick and delicious

3 Posted on 04 / 08 / 2013

I have to agree with a previous poster who says that Govinda's is basically vegan-vegetarian fast food. It is however very delicious, we particularly like the mock chicken cheese steak. Their portions have shrunk some over the last few years as the cost has gone up some, but good enough for us to still patronize and recommend.,


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vegan_ryan
vegan_ryan
  • vegan
Contributions
+668

Amazing

5 Posted on 02 / 20 / 2013

This was my go-to place when living in Philadelphia. Other than the dairy cheese option on sandwiches, everything else is vegan. I've tried nearly everything on the menu, and there were few items I didn't like. They also carry desserts from other places, which is a bonus.

Good prices, quick service, amazing quality.

Pros: All-veg, Fast, Good prices
Cons: Offers dairy cheese when it's not needed
mariaiswaycool
mariaiswaycool
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+58

Vegan Philly Chicken Cheesesteaks

5 Posted on 09 / 13 / 2012

I have been here at least 2 or 3 times, and I always get the same thing everytime -- the vegan chicken cheesesteaks with peppers and mayo on a sesame seed roll. Add some ketchup, and it is just amazing. I cannot speak to other items on the menu because every time I'm there I end up with the vegan chicken cheesesteak. Great and filling! Obviously, the food is a bit greasy, but this should be expected when ordering the vegan version of a Philly cheesesteak.

Pros: Philly Cheesesteaks for Vegans, Great Bread
Cons: A bit greasy
jlbco
jlbco
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+57

More-or-less vegetarian "fast food".

3 Posted on 07 / 21 / 2012

Fast? Well, not exactly. Wide range of vegetarian choices ranging from excellent to mundane, NO "atmosphere", pricing moderate, not cheap. Best thing on the menu? The "tuna" wrap. (Skip the black bean & rice chimichanga.) All in all, a good place to grab lunch, although the interior could sure use a new coat of paint, if nothing else-- it's looking a bit shabby these days. (My wife & I usually eat here at least once whenever we're in Philly, which isn't too often.)

Pros: Good food, Generous portions, moderate prices
Cons: Needs spruced up, Could be cleaner, No A/C
Jamie Roberts
Jamie Roberts
  • vegan
Contributions
+75

Delicious, Mostly Vegan Fare

5 Posted on 06 / 23 / 2012

A fun, friendly long-established fast-food place with some truly delicious offerings. The Kofta "meatball" sandwich is to die for; they have vegan ice cream and desserts as well. I live quite a distance from Govinda's, but it's worth the trip - and certainly worth walking a few blocks if you're downtown already.

Pros: Delicious, Mostly Vegan, Variety
Cons: Street Parking isn't free
ErikaAnne
ErikaAnne
  • vegan
Contributions
+22

Wish I had one at Home

5 Posted on 01 / 07 / 2012

Living in San Antonio and working at a veg spot made me crave nothing more then a good vegan Cheese steak while I was visiting my family in Philly.

I found this place on Happy Cow and was so impressed. I ordered was tasked by my manager to find a good Philly Cheese steak. When the order came out I was shocked and thought that I had gotten actual meat. I gave half to my father who is not veg when he had a couple of bits he told me it was definitively not meat and I ate the other half. It was amazing.

I will be returning to this place the next time I'm in Philly!

Pros: Great food
Cons: A bit dirty
conniex721
conniex721
  • vegan
Contributions
+93

Not my Favorite

2 Posted on 04 / 15 / 2011

Overall, I was not super impressed. I felt it was a little grubby, and my meatball grinder was on rather stale tasting bread, with slimy soy cheese. However, my friends enjoyed their meals, so either they were humoring me or I got the wrong thing!
The servers were very nice and even sat us in our own private dining room. However, we were a bit confused as to were the restaurant was (it's next door if anyone was wondering!).

Pros: Friendly Servers, Good Variety
Cons: Grimy, Mediocre Food
onlyahuman
onlyahuman
  • vegan
Contributions
+93

For those on the run...

4 Posted on 01 / 11 / 2011

I've been to Govinda's a few times and have always done the buffet. I finally got to just the Cafe and tried some different things (Kofta ball sandwich, samosas, cheesecake) all of which were great! My vegan and non-vegan friends alike rejoiced in what they got.


Krutolow
Krutolow
  • vegan
Contributions
+103

Govinda's ... very good for what it is.

4 Posted on 08 / 05 / 2010

See the whole review and more pics at Marty's Flying Vegetarian Review. www.martysnycveggiereview.blogspot.com

...A wonderful crusty whole wheat italian style bread, (so was the sesame bread), and copious amounts of moist, flavorful, chunks of soy chicken with soy vegan cheese, sauteed peppers, (only green), and veganaise. Now I probably could have left off the veganaise, saved 100 calories and had just as delicious a sandwich...

Pros: excellent chickn philly cheesesteak, good vegan shrimp, very friendly staff
Cons: atmosphere is luncheonette and eclectic
veganbuttercream
veganbuttercream
  • vegan
Contributions
+26

Good vegetarian fast food place; Philly staple

3 Posted on 08 / 01 / 2010

I crave the vegan chicken cheese steak all the time. It's really, really good. So are the chicken and shrimp nuggets; they're eerily like real meat (or so I've been told by omni friends, this vegan of fifteen years can't really remember). Also, they have Vegan Treats desserts. Lots of them. This alone makes it worth the visit. (Vegan Treats, btw, is the best vegan bakery on the east coast. No ifs, ands, or buts.) The soups are generally mediocre, as are a bunch of other things on the menu that I can't even remember because they were so mediocre (and i've been here many times), but the vegan chicken cheese steak rocks my world. And VEGAN TREATS. Without Vegan Treats, this place would be, I don't know, 2.5 or 2 stars, but their huge variety of Vegan Treats stuff bumps it up to 4. Also, the staff is really helpful and friendly, so I don't feel bad about this.

This place is a Philly staple. It's kind of dirty, but so is Philly itself, and hey, it doesn't purport to be anything more than a little hole-in-the-wall fast food restaurant in Philly.

Pros: delicious veg fast food, lots of vegan options, Vegan Treats
Cons: dirty, often out of certain breads, other stuff
jamjam940
jamjam940
  • vegan
Contributions
+16

"DELICIOUS"

5 Posted on 07 / 18 / 2010

I've eaten at Govinda's Cafe afew times and each it was a real treat. I loved the vegan philly cheese steak with soy cheese and the vegan cheese cake out of this world. I've dine these as well and I really enjoyed the buffet, I found the prices very reasonable and the waiter was wonderful.

Pros: Very tasty food
Cons: ***
aeclarke
aeclarke
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+66

Okay

2 Posted on 07 / 08 / 2010

We were just in Philadelphia this past weekend during a history making heat wave. We were looking for lunch and stumbled upon this place. We walk inside and it was incredible hot in there. My husband had the soy cheese steak, which he said was okay and I had a tofu wrap. It was too expensive for a "to go" place, but the food still tasted like fast food. If I was in the area again and couldn't find anything else, I would go back, but I would definitely look for something else.


rmark25
rmark25
  • vegan
Contributions
+249

casual comfort food

4 Posted on 05 / 08 / 2010

I won't get into much detail about this place other than to say it was exactly what i wanted at the time. I was visiting Philly for the 1st time today and I wanted to experience "cheese steaks" as much as I could on a vegetarian diet. I had the "pepper steak" sandwich with "soy cheese"...maybe my only criticism was that that it was not "beefy" enough, but that's relative I guess lol.I liked it....They had an extensive sandwich menu with (veggie) sea food and other sandwiches. I'd definitely go again.

Pros: many choices, comfort food, off subway station
Cons: little bit of a wait
fcp
fcp
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+29

Good Sandwhiches

4 Posted on 03 / 23 / 2010

The sandwich shop was really design for "to go". I decided to eat in and it's a bit uncomfortable and it falls short on ambiance and coziness. That said; the sandwiches are tasty and folks are friendly. A good options for veggie folks craving some hearty indulgence and a good place to bring a reluctant non-veggie.

Pros: Taste, Location, Convenience
Cons: Ambience, Options
KATHLEEN W.
KATHLEEN W.
  • vegan
Contributions
+61

Disappointed

2 Posted on 11 / 12 / 2009

I went to Govinda's once, and I ordered the pepper steak sandwich and later found out it wasn't vegan. First it is labeled vegan, & then it isn't! I am completely vegan, and want to know what I am ordering. I will not go there again because there seems to be a problem with clearly stating what is vegan & what isn't.

Pros: good fries, have vegan treats pastries!
Cons: Not knowing what is really vegan
thoor_ballylee
thoor_ballylee
  • vegan
Contributions
+213

This place blew my veggie mind.

2 Posted on 10 / 03 / 2009

I have only been here once, so this review is based on just my one experience, but this is some getto veg*n food. This is the nearest I've been to a greasy spoon in a while. I think the cook and cashier were stoned, in all seriousness, it would actually explain a lot, not that I really have a problem with it, I am a cook and I've worked stoned in my younger years. To complete all this you watch them cook a few feet away, the cooks pants were falling down, I could see his butt crack. I suppose you could say that this is unusual for this place I don't know, but I've worked in enough kitchens to know a clean one from a dirty one and this is one dirty kitchen. Also if you could see into most other kitchens, you would not like what you saw, I understand this, but this place doesn't even change for the first date, it just wears what it happened to have on, if you follow me. The food was interesting in its own way and the wraps looked really good, but I just can't figure out why most people would go here when there are so many other veggie options within a few blocks even. But some like it dirty and some like it clean and it's a great big world and I can dig it all, but I have absolutely no intention of ever returning and I've never said that about a true veggie place before, it is not something I say easily. If you like this place, then enjoy, if you're a tourist, skip this place, get something else near by, spare your money and your stomach. If I could give this place less then 2 stars, I might have.

Pros: hearty sandwiches, hearty wraps, the greasy spoon feeling
Cons: dirty kitchen, dirty staff, the greasy spoon feeling
GinaKina
GinaKina
  • vegan
Contributions
+24

Surprised

3 Posted on 06 / 10 / 2009

Based on the reviews I had read, I thought this place was going to be awesome. I was not impressed. The staff member who took our order was rude. We had to wait a LONG time for our food to be ready (does a vegan quesadilla really take more than 3 minutes to make??).

Also, maybe I would have known if I read online beforehand, but they didn't have their desserts labeled as being vegan or not. I've heard since that they all are, but I didn't want to ask when I was there because the guy taking our order was not at all friendly, and I already didn't want to give them more of my money.

That being said, once I got my quesadilla, it was really good.

Keep in mind that Govinda's and Govinda's to go are two different places. That threw me, big time.

Pros: food is good, popular with vegans and omnis
Cons: staff is not friendly, desserts aren't labeled as being vegan, noisy
shingfunger
shingfunger
  • vegan
Contributions
+31

They lied about their food being vegan

3 Posted on 03 / 23 / 2009

For 8ish years Govindas has been serving "Pepper Steak" sandwiches and claiming them to be vegan. About 5 months ago they were caught and it turns out that in fact the steak used (NOT the same as the chicken cheese steak) is not vegan. The owner claimed he had no idea. If he doesn't know enough about veganism to read the ingridients of his own food, he shouldn't be serving it.

For a month after that the cafe got another steak substance and when a customer would ask for vegan cheese, they would give them the vegan alternative. after that ran out, they went straight back to using the non vegan steak and not saying anything to their customers. one of very few workers there who actually cares about veganism finally put up on the sign that the pepper steak is in fact not vegan.

Govindas is overrated and really expensive, and it sucks being lied to about your food.


rvasquez
rvasquez
  • vegan
Contributions
+148

good, good, good

4 Posted on 11 / 19 / 2008

Good food for a good price. Very quick too. The staff was very friendly and recommended dishes for me and my friend, both of which turned out to be great.

Pros: Good Food, Friendly Staff, Cheap
HM
HM
  • vegan
Contributions
+35

bomb

5 Posted on 07 / 31 / 2008

Well, Philly does have SOMETHING that Portland doesn't. Mock Chicken Philly Cheesesteaks that can't be beat. I've still tried to make them here at home after Vic Showed me how on his visit here to the northwest and, well, I fail!

Pros: Mock, Chicken , Philly Cheesesteaks!
Cons: so, far, away
Guest
Guest

The OG Veg Spot!

5 Posted on 05 / 07 / 2008

Govindas is the greatest, its the oldest, friendliest, most wholesome spot you could hope for as a vegetarian or whatever your stylee. Check out the Ham and Cheese hoagie and lentil soup, from the grill, and don't miss the cashew chicken and spinach lasagna from the dinner menu. OH YA!! Best House Salad Dressing EVER!!

Pros: The Owner, Their Principals, You forget its vegetarian
Cons: not 24 hour
outofkeyxsr
outofkeyxsr
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+15

Sooo good

5 Posted on 05 / 01 / 2008

If I lived closer I would be there all the time. The people are nice and the food is awesome. My favorite is the tuna wrap. But everything else I've tried has been awesome as well.


tablemoonspoons
tablemoonspoons
  • vegan
Contributions
+97

ice cream!!!

5 Posted on 04 / 25 / 2008

i did not read another review that mentioned their ice cream. so here it goes... they have ice cream, and cookies (brownies, cake ect.) and a good number of varieties! all the normal food is really good, most of it is pretty original and is not prepared like most other places, so whether you love it or think its okay, its worth the experience, personally i love it.


supervegan
supervegan
  • vegan
Contributions
+84

love this place!

5 Posted on 02 / 05 / 2008

Chicken Cheese Steak, Soy Cheese, Sesame Roll=Perfection. This is my favorite place to eat in Philadelphia. The fake meat they use is superb, the cheezy sauce is excellent (I wish it was all over my sandwich and not just at the bottom, though!), the bread is fresh, and the sandwich is a great value for the money. Oh, and they sell Vegan Treats desserts, which are as good as they look. (and they look amazing!)

Pros: Fast!, Delicious, Friendly Staff
Cons: Some things have dairy
foodiefoodfood
foodiefoodfood
  • vegan
Contributions
+26

Not really awesome chicken cheesesteak

3 Posted on 09 / 21 / 2007

Gourmet To Go is okay. The cashier was unpleasant/ unhelpful and forgetful. No big deal, could've been a bad day for her. More importantly, the food: the descriptions don't prepare you for what you are going to get. The ham and egg salad wrap is sauteed ham, scrambled tofu, spring mix, olives, and lettuce. I guess what they ment by "ham and egg salad" was ham and egg with salad...would've been better as a breakfast style wrap without the vegetable component. It was kind of like a recipe you try at home...turns out kinda weird but you eat it anyway because you spent a lot of money on the ingredients. That said, the scrambled tofu and ham components were quite good. All the faux meat here is of the bagged Chinese variety, FYI.
The chicken cheesesteak is edible, but not that great. You would think that a place making a fake chicken cheesesteak IN PHILADELPHIA would attempt to have it resemble its meaty counterpart in preparation. Why would the chicken be in big chunk form and not sliced? Additionally, the peppers neither helped nor hurt the flavor- no sandwich unity here. As someone else already mentioned, they put soy mayo on it standard, and some yellow vegan cheese sauce by request. I wouldn't have eaten mayo on real meat, but it's good on this. The wheat roll is great, and there's a good amount of seating.
All in all, I plan to give G2G another shot.

Pros: on broad st line, food is made in front of you, whole wheat roll
Cons: small menu
pswrite
pswrite
  • vegan
Contributions
+19

Awesome Chicken Cheesesteak!

5 Posted on 09 / 11 / 2007

My boyfriend and I ate here this weekend and Loved the food. The people there were also very cool and very vegan! We will definitely go back, the food was great and the prices pretty good too!


PHILLYVEGANMAN
PHILLYVEGANMAN
  • vegan
Contributions
+15

HIT OR MISS

3 Posted on 09 / 03 / 2007

I use to live a block away and would eat here at least 3 - 4 times a week. Now they have new people working there every week and the food is never consistent. Its a hit or miss each time. Chicken cheese steak is the best, although the bread is sometimes alittle stale...so ask them to make it in a wrap. You'll spend around $7 per sandwich, $2 for bottled drinks. some things are too pricey... $2 tiny samosas, $5 slices of cake. when you do the math its over $50 cake, come on. Also the wait is usually Horrible. Call in your food before you order! the late hours are nice.

Pros: filling portions, open late
Cons: long wait, inconsistent quality, smelly farts
Guest
Guest

Amazing and Incredible Food

5 Posted on 06 / 27 / 2007

The sandwhiches are just incredible-- as a former meat eater, this the the only thing which comes close. Juicy "meats". I esp. like their chicken versions and then their ham. It would be nice if they would add more variety of sandwiches.

I too, like the other reviewers, don't like the wait, in such a popular place. Well.. I found the perfect solution for that-- you can call in advance. Just get the # from their website and they have a call-out # listed in their message... we call 1/2 hour in advance usually, and it's perfectly ready by the time we arrive to pick it up.


Guest
Guest

Awesome!

5 Posted on 05 / 11 / 2007

Had the chicken cheese steak with soy cheese. It was incredible. Took two meat eaters with me. One had a chicken cheese steak as well, albeit with real cheese, and loved it too. His wife got the veggie and cheese and really liked it as well. I can't wait to go back and try some of the other things. Price could be slightly lower for sandwiches but only by a $1 or $2, it's not unreasonable.

Pros: Outstanding food, Indoor and outdoor seats

 

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Last updated: 2013/11/06

 

Added: 2007/08/01

 

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