Chicago vegan food restaurant. Price: Moderate more-less
Vegan, International
reviews

Reviews

First Review by organiclives
njhassinger945
njhassinger945
  • vegan
Contributions
+52

A decent Vegan selection!

4 Posted on 07 / 17 / 2014

In all honesty, Karyn's is often hit or miss when it comes to taste and quality. Sometimes I order in because sometimes the service is exactly top quality either. They do have some really great items though, but definitely not the best vegan food around.

Pros: decent food
Cons: consistency, service, quality
nstrawbr
nstrawbr
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+47

Gourmet Vegan Restaurant

4 Posted on 06 / 06 / 2014

Karyn's Cooked is a nice Vegan restaurant serving Gourmet food that is good value for money. We shared the Buffalo Wings and the Nachos both really good and then purchased a Vegan Cookie to have on our walk back to our hotel. We were more than happy with the food and it was a good night out. They have friendly staff. We would definitely recommend going here.

Pros: Good Selection, Gourmet Quality, Friendly Staff
AmiP
AmiP
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+23

Comfort food

3 Posted on 01 / 03 / 2014

Karyn's is a few blocks from our house, and we eat here perhaps once a month. We like Karyn's but aren't head over heels in love with it. We do love that there is a vegan comfort food option close by, though, and will support it as long as it's in our neighborhood! We tend to order the "Mexican" food items, such as the guacamole, mashed potato enchiladas, and chili. The food is good, but it is a bit heavy. The desserts are pretty yummy. Try the apple pie!

Pros: Nice vibe, Big portions
Cons: Service is so-so
Rosa and Joe
Rosa and Joe
  • vegan
Contributions
+45

nice enough, but really nothing special

3 Posted on 12 / 01 / 2013

We were disappointed by Karyn's Cooked, after reading some good reviews. We shared a nice pizza starter, but the main courses were hard to finish. The salmon looked amusingly convincing, but was large, bland pieces of seitan wrapped in seaweed - we were pleased to see somewhere having a go at vegan fish though, quite rare - we don't know how to do it at home... Ribs we similarly huge pieces of bland seitan drowned in an over-sweet gloopy sauce. The veg and accompaniments weren’t great either - nice coleslaw but undercooked rice and overcooked broccoli!


MissAlanna
MissAlanna
  • vegan
Contributions
+37

One of my favorite restaurants!

5 Posted on 10 / 03 / 2013

I'm shocked to see all the negative reviews! I've enjoyed pretty much everything I've ordered and the staff is always super friendly. Don't let the negative comments scare you away, try out Karyn's Cooked for yourself!

If it's your first time going, I recommend the gluten free spaghetti w/lentil meatballs(:

Pros: Amazing food, Friendly staff, Gluten free options
Cons: Price

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twovegans
twovegans
  • vegan
Contributions
+64

One of my favorite Chicago restaurants

4 Posted on 08 / 25 / 2013

I took a colleague to dinner at Karyn’s Cooked, one of my favorite Chicago restaurants. It was an easy walk from our downtown hotel. We started with the buffalo wings appetizers, which were tasty. I had the flautas, which were delicious – rolled fried tortillas with a tofu stuffing topped with vegan sour cream and guacamole – and came with salsa, mixed greens and refried beans. This is an upscale vegan restaurant with a diverse menu and delicious desserts that will satisfy anyone. I’ve eaten here a few times and have thoroughly enjoyed the food each time. On the weeknight we dined, they did not take reservations. They seem to do a decent to-go business, too. With our check we were given coupons to Karyn’s Raw restaurant and Karyn’s Corner, which is a good way to get people to visit those sister businesses owned by the same woman.

Pros: Nice ambience, Vegan dessert choices
Cons: Pricey, Did not take reservations
youshouldbeglad
youshouldbeglad
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+17

Dissapointing and pretty awful

2 Posted on 06 / 27 / 2013

What expectations I had after reading the reviews and their website. However the food was absolutely terrible. It had a glaze and taste of being old food warmed up to serve and on top of that, it wasn't even warmed up enough. The polenta lacked any flavor and the meatloaf was mushy and gross. The place had no airconditioning either and it looked like they are more concerned about marketing Karyn and their packaged products than putting out quality, fresh food for the dinner crowd. I would never go back and I would pass on Karyns Raw on principal after our terrible experience and food and Karyns cooked

Pros: NONE
Cons: Hot and stuffy, Terrible Food, Bad Service
sglcklch
sglcklch
  • vegan
Contributions
+758

Fair to middling

3 Posted on 06 / 23 / 2013

It wasn't in our plans to eat here due to the mixed reviews, but staying in the loop meant a lack of vegan options within walking distance (especially on a weekend evening), so we popped down here for a little dinner.

Having no expectation whatsoever, we actually quite enjoyed our meal. We got the Ron's salad to start. As simple as it was, it came with a side of the almighty hemp seeds for sprinkle, which I thought was a nice touch. We also ordered the apparently highly popular enchiladas, which were pretty good, and the green curry off the daily special. Served like a risotto studded with assorted veggies in a creamy coconut sauce, the curry plate was a clever twist and was pretty yummy. Just a few Thai basil leaves would have taken this dish up another level.

Reasonable prices, decent food, adequate service, our experience was good, although not great, but certainly not as bad as some of the reviews suggested. We leaned towards the straight-up vegan items (as always) other than the fake meat/dairy stuff and would recommend the same.


Elodie
Elodie
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+17

Pricy and average...

2 Posted on 06 / 19 / 2013

The feel and the menu were more like a regular restaurant trying to have vegetarian/vegan options. It wasn't bad, it wasn't good either. And I wasn't convinced by the quality of the produces. Pricy for what it is, I guess you pay for the trend.
Special mention for the strawberry cheesecake tho, velvety and melt-in-your-mouth.


BanjoGirl
BanjoGirl
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+45

LOVE this place!

5 Posted on 10 / 19 / 2012

This is one of my favorite places in the city (if not my absolute favorite)! They have so many great options to choose from. I have taken several non-veg people here and they also loved it. My favorites are probably the enchiladas or taquitos, but I have never had anything bad here. Highly recommend!

Pros: excellent food, nice vibe
ieatmodestmouse
ieatmodestmouse
  • vegan
Contributions
+51

karyn's cooked

2 Posted on 09 / 27 / 2012

this was the worst meal i have ever had. after i heard so many great things about this place, i had to try it. my non veg friends said it was great too, so i thought it would be amazing. my husband and i got the fried basket appetizer of tofu, mushrooms, and zucchini. came with ranch and bbq. that was good. for dinner we got sloppy joe and the steak sandwich. the sloppy joe was mushy and soft and watery with not much flavor. the steak sandwich was so SPICY and peppery you couldn't really taste anything else. they both came with sweet potatoes topped with bbq which was good. and some coleslaw which was watery as well. we didn't finish our meals and we NEVER leave food on a plate.
i heard great things about the dessert before so we got the german choc cake and the coconut cake to go. ate it once we got back to our hotel and had to THROW IT AWAY it was so bad. the german choc cake had a weird flavor. and as bad as this sounds, the coconut cake left a taste in your mouth that was reminiscent of barf. i have the biggest sweet tooth and will eat just about anything that is dessert. and i had to throw them away. it was horrible and i was shocked. an expensive meal ruined! on top of that our waiter was very unfriendly and there was a weird vibe in the restaurant. our waiter didn't even smile once the entire time we were there. and we were one of 3 tables in the place. so it's not like he was stressed and busy or anything. so disappointing!


Missjosierose
Missjosierose
  • mostly-vegetarian
Contributions
+15

wishing we had one back home

5 Posted on 08 / 11 / 2012

The only sad part of this visit is that we don't have one in Orlando. Everything was tasty. Great selection. Please try the chocolate silk pie. It's all flavor and won't weigh you down.

Pros: variety, comfort food, taste
Cons: !!?
KatieFucito
KatieFucito
  • vegan
Contributions
+49

We were very excited...

3 Posted on 08 / 07 / 2012

We were very excited to eat at Karyn's because I had thought it to be a gourmet restaurant and we never really eat anywhere fancy. The interior of the restaurant does give off the fancy vibe - so do the prices! The food, on the other had, was average at best. My husband had the cheeseburger and he said it was good but he liked the ones we make at home better. I had the green enchiladas. While the sauce was delicious, the enchiladas themselves were simply corn tortillas stuffed with what tasted like plain instant mashed potatoes. The refried black beans on the side had a very strange taste and the rice was cold and dry. We ordered blueberry cheesecake for dessert and were VERY disappointed. It was expensive and not enjoyable at all - it tasted watery and bland. It also took forever to get our server's attention, it seemed that he was paying more attention to the people coming in who looked wealthy.
Updated from previous review on Tuesday August 07, 2012

Pros: nice interior, good location
Cons: staff, food, expensive
veggietwin
veggietwin
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+29

Okay

3 Posted on 07 / 08 / 2012

I went here, after visiting Karyn's on Green(which is awesome), but I was disappointed. The food was average, but the prices were good. The staff was lackluster, and acted as if they did not want to be there. The cakes were dry, except the tiramsu (which was pretty good), and the macaroni was bland. The pizza was pretty good. The adult beverages were disappointing, first was too salty, and the second was bland. I would rather go back to Karyn's on Green, which is owned by the same owner, as it was more inspiring.

Pros: price, lots of choices
Cons: lackluster food
mollypitcher
mollypitcher
  • vegan
Contributions
+49

Excellent Food!

4 Posted on 04 / 10 / 2012

I think all of Karyn's places are pretty great! Karyn's Cooked has a wonderful selection from raw to vegan comfort food. You can't really go wrong with anything on the menu. One of my favorites is the jerk tofu sandwich--spicy and delicious. The service can be a little slow, but other than that I have no complaints at all (and that one is really only minor).

Pros: selection, quality, good food
Cons: slow service
antgirl
antgirl
  • vegan
Contributions
+113

Great food!

5 Posted on 03 / 28 / 2012

Karyn's Cooked is one of three Karyn's restaurants and is probably my favorite. The food is really good and everything I have had I have loved. Be sure to save room for one of their amazing pies or cakes. They will not disappoint even for the non-vegan. I like the atmosphere and the staff is always very helpful.

Pros: All vegan options, Great food, Good price
brentonagony
brentonagony
  • vegan
Contributions
+55

Good food and service

4 Posted on 02 / 10 / 2012

On my trip to Chicago I ate at Karyn's twice. Once at Brunch and again at dinner. The service was very friendly and we were seated immediately (it wasn't very busy though).

For Brunch I had scrambled tofu with hash browns. It was delicious. Dinner I had the lasagna with the fried mushrooms on the side. Very tasty.

I would dine here again.

Pros: Food , Service, Decor
hungrig
hungrig
  • vegan
Contributions
+43

Ridiculous wait-time for food

2 Posted on 10 / 20 / 2011

It took 45 minutes until we received our appetizers here! An hour until our meal came. The restaurant was not even half full. The front of house staff was attentive and knew how unacceptable that wait time is. We had to ask to have our entrées to-go since we had no idea it would take so long and had to be somewhere afterwards. They ended up comping the meal. They need more kitchen staff apparently. One party that was there before us looked to have had a long wait too, as they were asking for the check and to-go boxes before all of of their meals had arrived.

We got a fried basket for appetizers which was pretty good, especially the french fries. We also had the ribs and meatloaf. The ribs were basically big logs of pre-made fake meat with a sauce that wasn't anything special. It wasn't awful but I wouldn't order it again. The meatloaf was so-so. The mashed potatoes and gravy with it were excellent though. So from the few things we ordered, the potato items sadly were the best.

I've been meaning to go here for years but I guess I wasn't missing out on too much. I'm debating about ever going back there seeing that so many people have really enjoyed some of their other items. I would probably order take-out in advance though.

Pros: appetizers, fries, numerous options, helpful staff
Cons: Unacceptable wait-time for food
msteele0327
msteele0327
  • vegan
Contributions
+18

yum!

5 Posted on 07 / 27 / 2011

Been there twice for take out and both times I loved what I got. First time had the jerk tofu wrap and this time I had the lasagna, both were great!


Paulie10022
Paulie10022
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+44

Amazing BBQ for non-meat eaters

4 Posted on 07 / 08 / 2011

So I try to avoid the fake meats as much as possible, but having read a review of Karyn's Cooked which highly recommended the BBQ 'slab of ribs' I had to try them. I've been here twice now and ordered them both times. The second time I took a 45 minute train ride to get them. EASILY the best BBQ sauce you have ever, ever tasted. And with a side of her unbelievable greens, this will definitely be my last meal, if I ever end up on Death Row. Skip the Thai skewers though - the peanut sauce is way too sweet and the seitan is not good.

Great choice of beers & wines. The staff starts off a little surly, but then become friendlier as the meal progresses. Nice decor and you could go dressed up or casual.

Pros: Best BBQ sauce ever, Best greens ever, Sam Smiths ale
Cons: Staff can be a little surly
CarlaJV
CarlaJV
  • vegan
Contributions
+16

Great vegan food!

5 Posted on 06 / 03 / 2011

I visited Karyn's Cooked at lunchtime yesterday for the first time and had a great meal. Two non-veg friends met me there, and they were really impressed by the food. I had the tofu jerk wrap, which was spicy but delicious. One of my friends had the stuffed eggplant. I had a bite of that and it tasted great. The service was terrific. The crowning glory of the whole experience was the bread pudding for dessert. YUM!

Pros: excellent food, great service, nice atmosphere
Nelson
Nelson
  • raw
Contributions
+31

the low-down

2 Posted on 05 / 12 / 2011

For raw food, this place is very limited -- usually only one or two options. They are consistently fair options, and it has the convenience of central location and lots of decent cooked (more or less vegan) options for non-raw friends. The place is indeed noisy; the service is indeed relatively poor; the food has nothing exceptional about it, but it does a satisfactory job in general; and it is relatively expensive. The worst feature is Karyn Calabrese's endless self-promotion, which is even more overbearing at her all-raw place on N. Halsted St. in Lincoln Park.

Pros: central location, raw options available
Cons: mediocre food, expensive, generally poor service
  • JohnnySensible JohnnySensible

    This is not a review. It is an exremely unpleasant view of your psychological problems Nelson. Delete it & check the expiry date of your medication.

    more-less
hippiechik23
hippiechik23
  • vegan
Contributions
+14

Yuk!

2 Posted on 04 / 12 / 2011

So disappointed. I have wanted to try Karyn's for years and was excited for finally go. I have been a vegetarian most of my life and vegan for two years. The food was overall very poor. I actually wanted to eat something else when I left to get the taste out of my mouth! While the restaurant was nice looking it was very very loud. I couldn't hear the person across the table from me. I will never go back and I am always looking for good vegan food!

Pros: presentation, vegan
Cons: taste, loud, quality
happycowgirl
happycowgirl
  • vegan
Contributions
+1310

What am I missing?

3 Posted on 01 / 15 / 2011

People rave about Karyn's Cooked. I've been here twice and I just don't get it. Don't get me wrong, this place is 100% vegan so right off the bat it's tops in my book. But if I am to objectively rate the food and service, I'm sorry to say I don't see what all the fuss is about.

The menu has a good selection but I found the food bland and unmemorable. My companion had the same opinion - "it was okay but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat here again".

The service was mediocre. The wait staff did not greet us warmly at the door and that was a precursor of service to come. They were far more entrenched in conversations with each other than on helping us.

I want to love this Karyn's but it's failed me twice. Maybe you'll have better luck.


Mikemotorbike
Mikemotorbike
  • vegan
Contributions
+89

YOU CAN'T VISIT CHICAGO WITHOUT GOING HERE!

5 Posted on 01 / 10 / 2011

I go here whenever I can. Once I took a 2 hour train just to eat here (and go record shopping). I think this place is great. Good people. The food is something else. It's really a great place and I can't say enough about it. It redefines what/how vegans can eat.

Pros: excellent food, fairly priced , diverse menu
Krutolow
Krutolow
  • vegan
Contributions
+103

Comforting and delicious

4 Posted on 10 / 22 / 2010

Read the complete review with pics at Marty's Flying Vegan Review
www.martysnycveggiereview.blogspot.com
Night one in Chicago and the big guy is happy to watch baseball and eat at TGIF so I have a car and a 100% vegan mindset. I Happy Cow, (now a verb you see), and find 2 Karyn's places but one uses words like, "chic," and I'm not really chic. I'm cool but not chic. So I pick Cooked.

It takes me about 20 minutes to get there from the hotel near Midway and I find a parking space around the corner. I spend another 15 minutes trying to figure out if I need to pay for parking and by then there are only 22 minutes left that I have to pay for parking FOR. So I spend another 5 wondering if I could get away with it and being from NYC where the traffic NAZIS will ticket you while you are actually walking to the machine to pay for your parking receipt to put on your dashboard to prove you paid for parking, (right?!), I cave in and buy $1.40 worth of asphalt rental time.

Karyn's has several tables outside and a welcoming facade. Inside it is warm and ... cool, woody and modern but not trying to prove anything, just a nice place.

There were only about 6 people there when I first sat down but by the time I left there were about 15 so I stopped worrying that they'd go out of business.

Look what my camera can do in Panoramic mode. I'm just amazing myself.
My waitress was upbeat and more than willing to find out the answers to my questions about what was made inhouse, (the seitan/tofu protein mixture), and what was purchased outside, (the Match meat used in my Buffalo Wings), and willingly shared which were her favorites on the menu.

I started with a local organic beer, (well, Wisconsin is local to me anyway), Lakefront Organic ESB which stands for Extra Special Bitter. It was milder than I was bracing for and quite enjoyable with my wings.

A nicely laid out plate with Buffalo sauce, Ranch Dressing and BBQ sauce
Buffalo Wings $9.00
Chicken soy meat dusted in whole wheat flour. Seasoned with paprika, garlic and onion. Served with garlic and barbeque sauces

Still working on clear closeups.

Nice and chewy with a fantastic crunch coating.
The Buffalo Wings were a hit with me. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I swear I could have put a straw in the Ranch dressing. It had a creamy and slightly sweet taste to it. Man that was good. The Buffalo sauce had a nice hot sauce flavor but didn't scorch. Did I say that Ranch should have been served

Pros: some outstanding dishes, friendly staff, nice venue
Cons: killed my collards
santa fe macro
santa fe macro
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+11

REally Needs Updating

2 Posted on 10 / 18 / 2010

Incredibly old fashioned veg cooking, lots of imitation meat dishes and Mexican. The buddha bowl was a sodden mix of uninsdpired zucchini, peppers and a few other veggies. So heavy in oil and completely lacking in flavor, almost inedible.

Pros: nice atmosphere, close to dowtown
Cons: uninspired, heavy foods
darbygal
darbygal
  • vegan
Contributions
+21

Great Place with Fantastic Atmosphere

5 Posted on 10 / 02 / 2010

I was in Chicago on business and typically try to test out the local vegan places. I went here the first night and second night as well it was so nice and welcoming. It has a somewhat upscale feel which I love since so many vegan places are sandwich bars. Nice wine list and helpful servers. Had the vegan pizza and pulled "pork" sandwich the first night. Snadwich had some major heat (yes, they warned me). Pizza was excellent. Bread pudding dessert was also great. Night two went for the pizza again. Reasonable prices.

Pros: Location, Decor
Stevie
Stevie
  • vegan
Contributions
+2241

Karyn's Cooked, Chicago

5 Posted on 08 / 21 / 2010

I had dinner at this place last night. The place has a nice sort of vibe to it and the staff are very attentive and considerate. The menu is 100% vegan vegetarian.

The sections on the menu include apetisers, entrees and wraps - no section for main courses. I went for the broccoli which was very nice and was served with some home made bread the likes of which I have never seen nor had before. Then from a different section of the menu I was going to have the polenta. I asked the waitress (she turned out to be the manageress) for a recommendation between that and the tofu lasagne and she strongly recommended the lasagne saying it would blow my socks off. She was absolutely correct. It looked sensational in presentation even before I tasted and when I put that first forkful into my mouth I knew that I was on to a winner. It was served with a couple of pieces of garlic bread most of which I didn't eat because I was full. $6 for a glass of house and the whole the thing came to $28. I thought this was reasonable for the quality being offered.

A big thumbs up from me.

Pros: 100% vegan vego, Great food, Great service
Keith_Thode
Keith_Thode
  • vegan
Contributions
+303

Second only to Karyn's on Green

5 Posted on 07 / 21 / 2010

Read my review of Karyn's on Green. Much of it applies to this place as well. The Jerk Tofu Wrap was spiced just the way I like it, and the taste was great. I took a pizza to go, and was glad I did - fantastic. The tofu Thai Skewers in peanut sauce were great as well.

I feel that the deserts here are better than the deserts at Karyn's on Green - less imagination, less artistic, less exotic, but more to my taste. I took some home. I tried the lemon meringue pie, mango cheesecake, carrot cake, banana cake, and a peanut cookie, and they were from very good to excellent.


shsmile23
shsmile23
  • vegan
Contributions
+45

Loved it!

4 Posted on 06 / 21 / 2010

hands down, the best carrot cake EVER! I'm mostly vegan, but my friend is a carnivore and this was his first go at vegan food. He said that had he just walked in for dinner w/o knowing it was a vegan resturant, he never would have known! Can't wait to go back! Our server, Thomas, was very accomodating, knowledgable, and efficient!


melisastarr
melisastarr
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+13

Awesome Breakfast

5 Posted on 05 / 27 / 2010

Went there for breakfast not knowing what to expect. Now I ask my husband to make special trips into the city on Sunday mornings because I want a Karyn's fix! The scrambles are so good. Tried lunch one day and had the enchiladas (filled with garlic mashed potatoes only- it needed some veggies) but not as impressed as I am with breakfast. Nice to have comfort vegan food in the morning! I love the bread pudding too.

Pros: Large Quantity of Food, Friendly staff, Dessert
supremeunlocks
supremeunlocks
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+23

Horrible entree!

2 Posted on 03 / 05 / 2010

Please stay away from the Slab of Ribs entree. It was horrible. I like to eat and I couldn't eat that crap. The menu listing completely deceived me.

It read: Slab of Ribs $11.95
BBQ lovers- a grilled tofu/seitan meat substitution that will fool and delight you.

My server was ok he got me something else (Homestyle Meat Loaf). This wasn't good either too spicy and lacked flavor. I've had better. Maybe they should stick to the raw foods.

Pros: Fast
Cons: dark
  • Paulie10022 Paulie10022

    I guess it's all a matter of taste - I personally LOVE the slab and think it's the best BBQ sauce I've ever tasted. Always order the side of greens with it. They are amazing too.

    more-less
TammyRN1
TammyRN1
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+11

Amazing

5 Posted on 02 / 26 / 2010

I can't remember the last time I felt strongly enough about something to write a review, but generally it is the really bad experience that ellicits such a need. Today however I am compelled to write because myself and my family were simply amazed by how delicious everything was, right down to the desserts. We had the green enchiladas, jerk "chicken" wrap, and the falafel sandwich for dinner and shared our food so we all got to taste. The jerk wrap was pretty @#$%^hot, but really good. Everything was fantastic!!!! I look forward to our next trip!! It was worth fighting the traffic for.

Pros: excellent food, affordable prices, friendly staff, relaxed atmosphere
Cons: about an hour and a half drive
brittani
brittani
  • vegan
Contributions
+21

go there!

5 Posted on 01 / 05 / 2010

my husband and i went there to eat a couple of weeks ago and it was awesome! the menu was pretty big and i wanted everything lol. i had a falafel, a side of mac and cheese and the double carob cake. the cake was amazing and is possibly served in heaven. the falafel was good but not perfect, and the mac and cheese was great. oh and the service was sooooo good. they were attentive quick and super nice. i cant wait to go back and try everything.

Pros: great desserts, great service , awesome food
Cons: not located in my house
hippublican
hippublican
  • vegan
Contributions
+198

Good food, bad service.

4 Posted on 12 / 21 / 2009

First things first, the inside of the restaurant is very nice. Some of the smaller tables are kinda squished together, so that was kinda awkward though. The menu doesn't have a huge selection, mostly sandwiches, and it's a little overpriced. We ordered a basket of fried cauliflower/zucchini/mushrooms as an appetizer. It was all delicious, especially the cauliflower. I had the grilled portobello sandwich. It was alright, nothing special. It could have used more sauce or seasoning. It was filling though and I liked the big wedge fries that came with it. My husband had the grilled veggie sandwich which he said was very good, although he thought the bun it came on could have been better. For dessert we had the bread pudding (a la mode) which was AMAZING.
When we went to the restaurant, the number of staff standing around chit-chatting outnumbered how many diners were there. So I wonder why our simple, easy to make sandwiches took nearly an hour? We had to ask a passing waiter to find our waitress several times. She didn't even acknowledge or apologize for the slow service. The food was good, but the crappy service will definitely make me hesitate to visit again.

Pros: good dessert, pretty decor
Cons: careless waitress, slow service, cramped seating
SynthVegan
SynthVegan
  • vegan
Contributions
+2506

One of The Best In Chicago

5 Posted on 10 / 18 / 2009

I've had my ups and downs with Karyn's Cooked (a fully Vegan restaurant) in the past, but I think it's definitely been on an upside for me lately. There are many good things on the menu including but not limited to the jerk tofu sandwich (yum), mashed potatoes (very good), cookies (best in Chicago), fried cauliflower appetizer (OMG!), bread pudding (wow), burger, meatball sandwich, etc. If you have a Vegan friend from out of town and are looking for a good place to take them, this is a definite place to go. It's also well decorated and not your typical "hippie-type" (as my bf refers to Vegan restaurants) Vegan restaurant. And yes, my non-vegan friends love this place, so be sure to try it!


Tigra220
Tigra220
  • vegan
Contributions
+593

Love at First Bite!

5 Posted on 10 / 13 / 2009

I went to Karyn's Cooked for the first time two weekends ago and a couple of my omnivore family members decided to tag along. Let me just say that it was so fantastic that they insisted on driving back (4 hours) this past weekend.

My absolute favorites are the Fried Broccoli Basket, the Jerk Tofu (And I'm not a tofu fan, but both the sandwich and the wrap are delicious! If you're sensitive to spicy foods ask for light jerk sauce. If you love spicy, ask for extra!), the carrot cake, the chocolate chip cookies, and the bread pudding (it's a must!).

The Southern Comfort (flavorful beans & greens w/o meat!), Falafel, Homestyle Meatloaf, the Flautas, and the double carob cake were all very good. Excellent seasoning and spices on the meatloaf.

The taco salad was ok. There was something missing or off with the ground soy, but I can't quite put my finger on what it is exactly. If you like the taste/flavor of coffee, you'll love the tiramisu cake.

My companions loved the Grilled Portobello Mushroom sandwich, the fried mushroom basket, the Vegan Pizza, and the Bruschetta.

All of the food (on all three days) was fresh and beautifully presented. The portions were large enough to share and to take home for the next day's lunch or dinner; a great value. Service was excellent and friendly. The restaurant is small with a very warm ambiance. Perfect for dates, lunch/dinner for a few, or lunch/dinner alone. Reservations are suggested for weekend dinner.

Pros: Excellent vegan food, Excellent value; large portions, friendly staff; open late
lauraw
lauraw
  • raw
Contributions
+16

Best Downtown Vegan

4 Posted on 09 / 11 / 2009

If you want serious vegan food or a hearty raw option downtown, this is your best bet. Karyn's Cooked has a great brunch too! The menu is huge and full of amazing dishes and the atmosphere is more stylish than your typical veg joint, but not too fancy. They also have a good wine list and great raw desserts! The menu has lots of good options for those a bit scared of veg cuisine such as chili, burger, sloppy jo, pizza, etc, so you can feel confident taking veg skeptics here. The website is great, so you can get a good look at the menu and some pix before you go.

Pros: tasty food, raw options, good atmosphere
Cons: slower service
Mighty Vegan
Mighty Vegan
  • vegan
Contributions
+72

An excellent brunch experience!

4 Posted on 09 / 02 / 2009

We went there for brunch, so the menu was limited compared to what they would normally serve. We shared the skillet scramble and the tofu quesadilla. Both were excellent, very filling, and really well presented. In hindsight, we might not have gotten 2 dishes that were quite that tofu heavy...it might have been better to mix it up a little. The place was cool, was busy, and the service was very friendly. As out of towners we were a little confused as we had associated Karyn's with a raw restaurant, but it turns out the raw place is at a different location.

Pros: Good food, Good ambiance, Good location
Cons: Brunch menu is limited
kdschwoerer
kdschwoerer
  • vegan
Contributions
+21

Delicious!

4 Posted on 03 / 16 / 2009

A great vegan island in downtown's meat-heavy landscape. The food is delicious (my omni friends love it), the decor is modern and clean, and the prices are reasonable (for downtown). The service can be a little slow, but what's the hurry? Their bread pudding is to die for and only $3.

Pros: great food
Cons: slowish service
Sophie
Sophie
  • vegan
Contributions
+41

Best vegan food in the city!

5 Posted on 02 / 13 / 2009

I love this place! We had the vegan pizza and it's the best pizza I've ever had...tons of veggies and the soy cheese was perfect! We also had a basket of fried veggies which was awesome of course! The carob cake was a lil dry but overall the meal was excellent!!

Pros: Excellent Food, Large Variety of Foods, Amazing pizza
jaml730
jaml730
  • vegan
Contributions
+55

Great experience

5 Posted on 02 / 11 / 2009

I recently ate at Karyn's and can't rave enough about the place. I had a lot of trouble deciding what to order because everything on the menu sounded amazing. They even gave me some free samples to help make the decision. I ended up ordering the raw plate and it was great. The postion size was too much for one person but I managed to eat most of it anyway. A word to the wise: some of their raw desserts have honey in them, so be sure to ask!

Pros: Great food, Helpful staff, Good value
Cons: No parking, "Vegan" desserts have honey
yourfacehxc
yourfacehxc
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+108

One of the best!

4 Posted on 12 / 28 / 2008

First of all, I love Karyn's. The food is always incredible, the atmosphere isn't bad, and they have my favorite wine, 7 Deadly Zins. With that said, I've been here a number of times for brunch, lunch, and dinner and have never left disappointed. My only beef (no pun intended) is with the service I receive. I definitely consider this to be hit or miss. I've had one or two terrific experiences while the rest I care to forget about (or wish I could). They weren't attentive or particularly friendly either. Nothing to right home about. Fortunately what the wait staff lacks, the food makes up for. Try the fried broccoli, 7 deadly zins, and any entree. You won't be disappointed! I consider this to be a bargain for what you're getting.

Pros: Delicious!, Well priced., Ummm...delicious?
Cons: Hit or miss wait staff., Can be quite a wait at times.
shineonyou
shineonyou
  • vegan
Contributions
+39

Good, but not super great

3 Posted on 12 / 21 / 2008

I went here with a vegetarian friend and an omni friend and we all enjoyed our food. The waiter was friendly. I did however find it odd that the restaurant billed itself as vegan, but one of the drink specials was mead i.e. HONEY, which I confirmed with the waiter. Even as a vegan who avoids, but doesn't give much thought to honey, this bothered me quite a bit.

I was pleased with my experience, and it was close-ish to where I was staying, but there are better and more interesting veg restaurants in Chicago. I would appreciate this place far more in almost any other city.

Pros: good, but expensive desserts, friendly, good atmosphere
Cons: honey
Rox
Rox
  • vegan
Contributions
+35

The Good About Karyn's Cooked....

4 Posted on 09 / 01 / 2008

I have ate at Karyn's 3 separate times
and after reading some reviews and some thought.....
I am very appreciate of Karyn's Cooked for the many menu selections, meals that aren't too extravagant (but they don't need to be.) The liberal use of mock meat makes it a GREAT place to take your meat-lovin' friends to show them they can eat something that didn't require the slaughter of an animal and enjoy it.
Another thing I like is the decor; clean and simple compared to many veg-places I've been to across the USA-- which have a grungy-feel, hippy appeal with random-odd-art all over the walls (unless it is an Indian/ Ethiopian restuarant). Sometimes it comforting to find food I enjoy in an environment I am comfortable in. Karyn's is a place I can take my grandma, boss or co-workers, or my girlfriend without having to beg.

However, one thing is true.. I cannot recall ever having good service at Karyn's Cooked, whether lunch or dinner, whether crowded or not. The waiter seemed uninterested and too preoccupied (and not with other customers).

Pros: Food Selection, Ambiance/ Decor, Omnivore's Love It
Cons: Service
Kell Bell
Kell Bell
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+45

Southern comfort food not so comforting

2 Posted on 08 / 26 / 2008

The food at Karyn's tastes okay, but I didn't see many healthy options. The menu seemed to consist of things normally found at a steak and rib joint, but "veganized" for the non-meat eaters. Good place to get some comfort food once in a while, but I couldn't eat there regularly. The 'slab of ribs' were your typical seitan drowned in bbq sauce, and the mac & 'cheese' was overcooked and cold. A disappointment since I go out to dinner to eat foods I can't make at home, and a child could have made this. The night we were there, it looked like there was only one waiter for the entire place, but then again, the place is small. We thought about getting desert, but the waiter disappeared, so we left.


Cons: boring food, unattentive & unfriendly staff
veganinvegas
veganinvegas
  • vegan
Contributions
+82

Very good food

4 Posted on 08 / 22 / 2008

Went with an omnivore (who wimped out with the falafel). I had the Thai Skewers for an appetizer, the slab of ribs for an entree and (since I couldn't decide) the coconut cream and lemon creme pie for desserts! Wonderful. Even my friend tried it all and said it was "interesting".

Service was wonderful and very knowledgeable, food was great.

Pros: vegan, close to hotel, desserts
button
button
  • vegan
Contributions
+168

Thumbs up

5 Posted on 08 / 13 / 2008

I had great service here, though I ate in the non-peak afternoon. The food was delicious, and the atmosphere very nice. Save room, the dessert was outstanding!

Pros: Excellent food , good service, Great dessert!
hickman
hickman
  • vegan
Contributions
+18

VEGANS BEWARE

2 Posted on 07 / 12 / 2008

The sign on the door says vegan. My meal arrived, assured by the waiter that it was vegan. The "cheese" tasted good so I asked how they made it---the waiter told me what brand it was---THEN OFFERS HIS APOLOGY THAT IT HAD CASEIN IN IT--As A vegan, I wouldnt trust them again


Cons: lied about being vegan
food lover
food lover
  • vegan
Contributions
+47

Best vegan restaurant in chicago

5 Posted on 04 / 06 / 2008

We stayed at the fantastic Sofitel Chicago Water Tower hotel recently, and found virtually no veggie options at their restaurant. Very thankfully, "Karyn's Cooked" was walking distance from the hotel. Superb food, just delicious, huge menu, beautifully presented food, great smoothies & desserts, large serving sizes, amazingly friendly & attentive staff, clean, & great ambiance. We were so impressed with the extensive range and quality of food, we had 7 out of 9 possible meals there during our stay in chicago! We would have had the other 2 there if they weren't closed on easter sunday! A meal including starter, main course and smoothie was about $15-18 each. Would pay that quite happily because it was just that great! The tables/chairs/place settings were very basic, but everything else was so fantastic, it really didn't matter! They opened for brunch/lunch at 11 am, and shut around 10pm, which was perfect for us. Overall, it's tied it at first place in our books, along with the infamous "Il Margutta" restaurant in Rome.

Pros: Excellent food, Superb Staff, Good value
Cons: No significant cons
jessia
jessia
  • vegan
Contributions
+24

Love this restaurant!

5 Posted on 01 / 18 / 2008

I have eaten here several times since I've been in Chicago, and I've enjoyed everything I had.

Tip: save room for dessert! Try the French Silk pie... it's absolutely divine! Their veg comfort food type options, like the sloppy joe, are great; other dishes are unique and you can't get them anywhere else (that I know of), like the stuffed eggplant.

I've taken several non-veges here, and they all left happy. My meat-lover friend loved the pasta with "meat" sauce so much he said he couldn't believe it was vegetarian.

Pros: great food, nice atmosphere
Cons: slow service at times
newbveggie
newbveggie
  • vegetarian
Contributions
+12

Service is terrible, food was bland

3 Posted on 01 / 08 / 2008

I have been to Karyn's cooked twice. Both times the service was horrible. The food wasn't to memorable. Menu was overpriced. The staff was not knowledgeable. I will not go back.


gr8vegan
gr8vegan
  • vegan
Contributions
+1633

Trust the Gr8Vegan! This place rocks

5 Posted on 12 / 05 / 2007

So the service is not the best. Here's the trick I've noticed people doing. CALL AHEAD for carry out and then eat it at the bar :) The pizza and lasagna are fantastic and so is the soup. We had great desserts here. The service has been slow each time, but its walking distance from most hotels on Michigan Ave. Its seriously a must hit for Chicago vegans. Don't let the reviews turn you away. Its at the top of my "if I could eat anywhere right now in the world where would I go"

Pros: lasagna, soup, dessert
Cons: slow!
fawn588
fawn588
  • vegan
Contributions
+27

Avoid at all cost!

2 Posted on 11 / 14 / 2007

Even though the reviews were mixed i decided to try Karyn's anyway. IT WAS HORRIBLE. Unoriginal, plain, boring food. Thank God they serve liquor so at least you can drink until the food taste palatable. [edited- see terms]


Deano
Deano
  • vegan
Contributions
+95

Loved it

4 Posted on 10 / 17 / 2007

The food was excellent. And (wait for it....) the service was absolutely fine. One waiter was so enthusiastic about our food choice I thought he was going to start kissing me on the mouth.
Don't miss the pecan pie. We also loved the lasagne, the spaghetti and "meatballs" and the bruschetta. The pizzas are pretty good too.

Pros: Great food, Vegan pizza
Guest
Guest

Wonderful food

4 Posted on 07 / 12 / 2007

I completely agree with several of the reviews in that the service is really poor. The waiters are not knowledgeable about the food or wine selection, and they are very slow in returning to the table. I also made reservations and arrived to find that their was no table for me. I had to wait almost 20 minutes for a table. I have no complaints, however, about the food. My fiance and I have tried several things on the menu and have yet to be disappointed! If you want a more casual atmosphere and equally great food, go elsewhere. Otherwise, Karyn's is a great downtown option.

Pros: Great food, Nice atmosphere
Cons: Slow service, Lack of menu knowledge, Limited seating
Guest
Guest

Karyn's Cooked

2 Posted on 07 / 12 / 2007

While the menu is diverse, it depends heavily on faux meat and is not creative. I ordered the chili, pizza and a snowball. The chili was spiced well but chalk full of TVP. There were few natural beans and vegetables. Healthy Vegans do not stuff their bodies with an excess of fake meat, it is difficult to digest. The cornbread was dry and unoriginal. Pizza was edible but disappointing. The crust was sort of like two wheat tortillas cooked together, topped with wilting veggies, and there was hardly any caisin cheese to balance the ingredients, and make it pizza. I did appreciate the pizza sauce however. Meanwhile the atmosphere was contradictory to anything comfortable, healthy, pro-vegetarian/vegan or environmental. The dessert, a round sweet full of carob, walnuts I think, peanut butter, sesame, was very heavy and not that great. In all, the service was not nice, food was mediocre and the environment that would hope to support the service and food, sucked.

Pros: Rare Alternative, Good Location, Nice Desert Selection
Cons: Overpriced, Staff, Ambiance
condekedar
condekedar
  • vegan
Contributions
+936

Amazing food, so-so service

4 Posted on 04 / 20 / 2007

I've been to Karyn's Cooked three times and had superb food every single visit. Try the lasagna or the green enchiladas or the homemade soy milk and cheesecake. However, the service has been mediocre at best. Waiters are slow and inattentive and occasionally rude or curt. One time I waited over 45 minutes for my food without anyone telling me that the oven was malfunctioning. And the restaurant had only two customers in it! They did compensate me with a free dessert, but the service should be much better, considering the higher prices and food quality of the place.

Pros: Superb food, Good portions, Location
Cons: Poor service
organiclives
organiclives
  • vegan
Contributions
+20

The Best Vegan Dining in Chicago

4 Posted on 11 / 13 / 2006

Having been to Chicago a few times and eaten at most all of the vegan places this is definitely the best food around. The service was great although not all of the staff was fully versed on the menu; they were very willing to get the answers for you though! I ate half of my meals here during my stay and thoroughly enjoyed every one of them!!

Pros: Great Food, Great Portions, Great Staff
Cons: Portions too large

 

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Last updated: 2013/08/31

 

Added: 2007/08/01

 

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