It's Only Natural Restaurant

Overall rating: 4.0 stars 18 Reviews
Re-open at this location Sept 2013; previously at 386 Main St. ION offers juices, smoothies, soups, salads, wraps, live foods, desserts, whole vegan cakes to take home, fresh baked bread, and daily specials. Hosts workshops on organic gardening, raw food demo, and cooking. Price: Moderate more-less
Vegan-friendly, Lacto, American, Raw, Juice bar, Take-out
reviews

Reviews

First Review by A3TIMECUSTOMER
C2five
C2five
4

reviews

  • mostly-vegetarian

It's a whole new place

5 Posted on 05 / 30 / 2014

I have seen and do not understand the less than stellar reviews about this place. The restaurant relocated down the street from its former location last year, and had kind of a soft re-opening (sparce decor, limited menu items... I agree that was a bummer). However, every time I have been there since, the decor and atmosphere has improved in some way. It's a wonderful setting now, comfortable and inviting.

But let's talk about the food! They also updated their menu, adding new, creative things to their existing popular menu items. I have eaten here probably 20 times, with vegetarians, meat eaters and vegans alike, and everyone has always loved whatever meal they ordered. I find the food to be innovative and delicious, and very reasonably priced. I also have always had good experience with the service.

If you've tried it and didn't like it, do yourself a favor and try again.

Pros: creative tasty food, good atmosphere, good value
LauraT
LauraT
3

reviews

  • vegan

Will not go back.

2 Posted on 10 / 15 / 2013

This was the worst meal we have had in a long time. We went as a table of 4. A vegan, a vegetarian, a meat eater and one who eats gluten free. The restaurant only had a few occupied tables, but the service was very slow. There were quite a few ingredients they didn't have, making the gluten free choices almost nonexistent. The wait for the food was way too long. When the food arrived, it was greasy, flavorless, and appeared to have either been microwaved or reheated numerous times. We sent two of the meals back. They were nice about it and did remove the charges. Nothing healthy or fresh about our meal.
I would not go back. G-Zen and Six Main are much better options.


Cons: Greasy, Mircowaved or reheated, Nothing fresh
KimMamaLove
KimMamaLove
6

reviews

  • herbivore

Fun place, decent food

3 Posted on 08 / 21 / 2013

For a few years, ION was my favorite veg/vegan restaurant. I love the laid-back and funky atmosphere, the holidays lights hung around the windows and then piled into glass jars on the windowsill, the chalkboard-top tables for my kids, the fun things to look at while dining on the deck, and all of the various artwork from local artists. I enjoyed the food for the longest time too. But then Six Main in Chester opened and I now view ION's food as veg/vegan "fast food". I still love being at ION, but I don't enjoy the food like I used to. I would consider the waitstaff to be polite, but quiet & reserved. Sometimes the service can be slow, but it has been rare in my experiences.

Pros: casual & funky atmosphere
Cons: veg/vegan "fast food"
hellokicia
hellokicia
4

reviews

  • vegan

It's Only Okay

3 Posted on 03 / 13 / 2013

I feel kind of bad for all the people who LOVE ION Restaurant. It's really only pretty decent at best. You can get better. The idea is great, and most of the food is decent, and the desserts are pretty good but it just isn't the best. They rarely add anything exciting to or change the menu, food quality is irregular, service is generally slow and inept, they run out of a lot of things quickly and the prices are too much for the quantity and the quality that you get. If you want something amazing, try Six Main in Chester or GZen in Branford. I live in Middletown but would rather make the trek to either of those restaurants than go to ION. My whole family pretty much avoids it at this point, just because of all the bad experiences. I don't mind it if I'm going with someone who isn't vegetarian or if I have extra money to burn but mostly we go elsewhere. If you do go there, try the nachoes with vegan parmesan, the sweet potato fries and/or the ION burger and make sure to get a dessert.

Pros: central location, good desserts, okay food
Cons: slow, inconsistent service, food quality is irregular, too expensive for quality & quanity
DMW
DMW
1

reviews

  • mostly-vegetarian

Clean Me

2 Posted on 02 / 18 / 2013

I am always thrilled to be able to eat out, difficult with food allergies and diet restrictions for both my husband and I. This is a cute place, a good selection of food. I enjoyed my meal (I had an enchilada), however my husband who had a stir-fry got a bad stomachache after leaving. My big and serious gripe is this place is FILTHY!!! The floors look like they get swept once a month and have never been mopped. The bottoms of the tables (that is very visible) are full of dirt from peoples shoe and dust. We saw two huge flies flying around (in February) and the bathroom...do not go in until AFTER you eat. My thought is it's always much worse where customers cannot see - like in the kitchen. I will never go to this place again - this is unfortunate because I am a vegetarian that tries to only eat organic food - so my options are very limited. Oh, and I saw someone who works there lick her fingers and blow her nose and not wash her hands after. :-(

Pros: great concept, cute place, good selection
Cons: filthy, sweep and mop the floor, clean the bathroom!

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jlbco
jlbco
15

reviews

  • vegetarian

Best Veg Restaurant in CT

5 Posted on 01 / 02 / 2013

My wife & I may not have tried every single veg restaurant in CT, but we HAVE tried many of them, and this one gets our vote as BEST. Yes, there are some great restaurants in New Haven, but this one is in Middletown-- far from city noise & traffic, but at the same time, not way off "in the boondocks", either. It's almost completely vegan, and everything we've ever had (we've been there multiple times) has been creative and outstanding. Actually, we're glad that it's more than an hour from home, otherwise we'd be in there weekly, if not more often! If you're going to be in central CT, you GOTTA try this place! You're certainly not going to do any better in Hartford!

Pros: Great food, Reasonable pricing, Nice environment
ladybugs323
ladybugs323
11

reviews

  • vegan

Worth a visit

5 Posted on 03 / 04 / 2011

I have been here a few times and I have really enjoyed my food each time. ION has a nice atmosphere and outdoor seating options in the warm weather.

Pros: Good food, Quick service
Cons: A bit pricey
Corina
Corina
6

reviews

  • vegan

Best Veg restaurant in CT?

5 Posted on 10 / 18 / 2010

The food here is inventive and delicious. I've tried the cajun tempeh, tempeh 'crab' cakes and the pierogies, all of which were great. The vegan cakes are good too, moist and rich. I'm not sure if all of the menu items are vegan, but most of them seem to be.

The main drawbacks are the cost (something like $20 a meal, if I remember correctly) and the fact that it's about an hour from my house.

Pros: Delicious, Nice Atmosphere
Cons: Expensive
TheSweetestVegan
TheSweetestVegan
5

reviews

  • vegan

I will return!

4 Posted on 08 / 31 / 2010

Located about 20 minutes outside Hartford, CT, It's Only Natural, or ION, is well worth leaving the city. ION really is located on Main Street USA, a condensed strip of stores, restaurants, entertainment, and slanted parking on the street. The restaurant itself is located inside a small mall of cultured stores and eateries. The entire menu is vegan, except for the cheddar cheese, which the kind and welcoming Hostess made sure I was aware.
I ordered my food to go, so I can not speak on the waiter service, but the seated area looked very comfortable. Broadly appropriate for a first date or family outing. And it appeared to be clean and sanitary, I even went to the bathroom. Always check the bathroom. If the bathroom is not clean, you don't even want to see the kitchen. Not only did I get dessert here, but I also tried the Vegetable Pizza Rustica. Talk about delicious. I would return here any day, rather I was vegan or not, good food is good food.

Teasecake
Ion's wheat-free, nut-free, dairy-free version of cheesecake. Before I start, I must say that the crust makes this pie. It was so good. On first bite, the Teasecake had a caramel undertone, but as I went on, I got a tofu taste and texture. It also came with a sauce. It looked like a thin caramel, and with the caramel undertone in the Teasecake, that is what I expected. But it was some orange-ness that I only had to taste once to know that I did not want to taste it again.
I got through about half of it before I was tired of it. I also allowed my non-vegan boyfriend to try it. He hated it and that totally ruined my motivation to imagine that is was "cheesecake". Even though this dessert did not turn out to be a ten in my book, I would have no reservation about returning to try any of the other desserts at Ion. Great restaurant.

Pros: Pizza
Cons: Teasecake
mark m braunstein
mark m braunstein
22

reviews

  • vegan

the BEST! period.

5 Posted on 06 / 01 / 2010

ION is a true gem and 98 percent vegan (two dishes are clearly labeled with cow cheese). I rank ION as the best vegetarian restaurant in all New England, and feel blessed to have it somewhat nearby. Expensive yet well worth the expense, but if cost is a factor for you, then skip the desserts and order mostly appetizers and sides. (Really, omit the entrees, because who the heck needs to eat brown rice or steamed greens or salad greens at a restaurant, if that's what you eat all the time at home.) I highly recommend the sweet potato fries (I confess, it is one of my only three dietary or lifestyle indiscretions, the other two being maple syrup and marijuana), tempeh dishes, thick soups ... and that's just from among the appetizers. Among the side dishes, you will be amazed to find that elsewhere usually boring potato salad or elsewhere usually bland hummus can be so good. I dare venture to state that theirs is the best potato salad and best hummus I have ever tasted, anywhere. While I do not recommend the pasta (because all whole grain pasta still is paste-a), the wholesome and nourishing dishes otherwise never disappoint me, and my nutritional standards are high and hard to please. Bring a hearty appetite, because there's so many unique vegan choices here, you'll regret you'll feel too full to try them all. Worth the trip, regardless of distance.

Pros: the delicious food, the nutritious food, the beautifully presented food
x82594
x82594
1

reviews

  • vegan

Fantastic!

5 Posted on 03 / 03 / 2010

This is just an amazing place. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is wonderful. The sweet potato fries are the best I've ever had. The deserts are, in my opinion, the best part. Nowhere else has come close to the awesomeness of their Teasecake! Highly recommended.

Pros: Great service, Great deserts
Elsie
Elsie
7

reviews

  • vegan

Best Gourmet Restaurant in CT

5 Posted on 02 / 17 / 2010

ION is the best gourmet restaurant in CT, if not one of the best in the US, and not just for vegetarians and vegans, but for anyone who enjoys fresh, local, creative meals. I love ordering off of the daily specials menu- there are some unique items that come around depending on the season. Also, if you love breakfast, you must try the Sunday brunch menu items. The atmosphere is very unique inside- there are always different local artists' work on display (and for sale). Also, in warmer weather you can be seated outside. This isn't really a place you'd take kids to- I think it has a great adult atmosphere. You definitely get what you pay for, and each penny spent at ION is well worth it!

Pros: Artistic meal presentation, Amazingly delicious fresh local food, Funky atmosphere
Cons: Serving staff can be bland
christopher byron
christopher byron
21

reviews

  • vegan

The best vegetarian restaurant in CT

4 Posted on 11 / 03 / 2009

It's Only Natural (ION) is by far the best vegetarian restaurant in CT. My family lives in CT and I make it a point to go there every time I'm home. The vegan perogies are delicious and the service has never been bad even during rush hour.

I just found out that they have a vegan cooking class and I want to take that!

Pros: delicious food, service, environment
Cons: small portions, location
mariab1
mariab1
1

reviews

  • vegetarian

Fantastic restaurant

5 Posted on 10 / 20 / 2009

I love this restaurant. There is such a large variety and selection of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu. Most vegetarian options on the menu they can also make as a vegan dish instead. The food is fresh and delicious. It is a very relaxed atmosphere and the staff are always friendly. I just wish it was closer to my home.


Jelden
Jelden
8

reviews

  • vegan

One of the best in Connecticut

5 Posted on 07 / 30 / 2009

This is the place that introduced me to the idea of being vegan. Before i was even considering being vegetarian i tried and loved this place. For years i was vegetarian and my family made this place our go to restaurant for special occasions and weekend outings. Now i've been vegan for about a year and it feels so great to have such a wonderful restaurant smack in the middle of our state. The southern fried tofu, the sweet potato fries and the cali melt are all worth the trip.

Also the desserts. They are great. You are missing out if you have not had them.

Pros: Southern Fried Tofu, Desserts, Classy Joint
Cons: Understandably a little expensive., Menu could use a little shaking up.
solarvegan
solarvegan
6

reviews

  • vegan

It's Only Delish!

5 Posted on 11 / 19 / 2008

My review for It's Only Natural is long overdue. My wife and I have been enjoying this restaurant for over 20 years and its quality has always been excellent. It's got an award-winning vegan chef and mostly vegan choices all beautifully presented and very delicious. There are comforting staples here we always crave: sweet potato French fries with smoky ketchup, Cajun tempeh cutlets with red pepper sauce, and their famous carrot spread with homemade bread. (The tempeh cutlets come as strips when topping the delcious "Caesar" salad.) The soups are out of this world and can be a meal in themselves with bread. We are especially fond of the cauliflower bisque with diced apples. And I vow never to leave this fantastic restaurant without ordering the teasecake -- a dairy-free cheesecake. Sometimes it's flavored and, when it isn't, they'll artfully drizzle a ymmuy raspberry sauce on the plate. The servers are very friendly and knowledgeable. And during the warmer weather, we enjoy eating outside on the deck. We recommend It's Only Natural.

Pros: mostly vegan, delicious, artful presentations
will-travel-for-food
will-travel-for-food
71

reviews

  • vegan

Among best places for vegan food in New England

4 Posted on 11 / 12 / 2008

My husband and I made an excursion to ION on our way to Gillette Castle. Our lunch was one of the best vegan meals we've ever had out at a restaurant! We stuffed ourselves silly in order to try as many things on the menu as possible. Check out the photos I've uploaded. To start off, we split the tempeh crab cakes and a portabello pizza. Both were delicious: great flavors and textures, fresh ingredients, and colorful, creative presentation. For our entrees, we each ordered the vegan pierogies. Delicious! They were just as good, if not better, than the vegan pierogies available at Duck Soup in Hamden, CT. We ended our meal by splitting the special dessert, which was an apple-pear tart. Again, it was tasty and lovely. Our waitress was very nice, and she refilled our water glasses constantly. As someone who loves food very much and is critical of many vegan offerings at restaurants, I can wholeheartedly recommend It's Only Natural. I can't praise it enough, and we are looking for reasons to go back to Middletown -- just so that we can eat at ION again. I can't wait until the ION cookbook comes back into print!

Pros: exceptional food, great staff, nice decor
A3TIMECUSTOMER
A3TIMECUSTOMER
1

reviews

  • vegetarian

THE BEST RESTAURANT

4 Posted on 07 / 10 / 2008

I have been to its only natural restaurant 3 times in the past few months. I live over a hour away so I won't be able to go there as much as I would like. The workers are so nice and polite. The service is fast. There are so many exciting choices on the menu. I realy love the german chocolate cake, it is so moist and delicious, the cake is served on a plate with raspberry sauce. The carrot ginger salad dressing is the best dressing I have ever had in my life. My friend and I shared the hummus platter with vegetables which is so delicious also. The bread is fresh baked and soft with carrot miso spread. I realy wish I could go there everyday! I plan on going agian next week. I can't wait to get the german chocolate cake again. I plan on trying the taco salad next.

Pros: GREAT FOOD, FRIENDLY WORKERS, NO SMOKING

 

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Last updated: 2014/01/28

 

Added: 2007/08/01

 

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