20000 Cows Vegetarian House

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 14 reviews )

Lismore vegan restaurant existing as a proclaimed sanctuary, operating as a philosophically based business with a suggested prices only menu. Please call for hours before you go. Open Mon-Sun 6:00am-8:30pm.

Categories: Vegan, International

14 Reviews

First Review by tofu-on-a-stick

Cool and unique...but expensive - Edit

Really unique place with a great philosophy and vibe. The food was average - good, lots of things to choose from and it was wholesome and fresh. However, the food was very overpriced, most main meals were $30, e.g. curries etc. On the first page of the menu it says briefly that the prices are suggestions, but I would feel very uncomfortable asking to pay less as when you go to the counter they just expect you to pay the price they "suggested". I'm not sure if I will return due to the excessive price which is unfortunate...

Updated from previous review on 2017-10-28

Pros: Tasty, fresh, vegan food, Cosy atmosphere, Beautiful philosophy

Cons: Expensive for what it is

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Beyond words!! - Edit

The food, the service and the beautiful vibe are second to none. The kugelis and the amazonian croquettes blew my mind. Some of the best vegan fare I've ever tasted!!

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20,000 Cows - Edit

Everything I ordered was delicious.
Their recipe book has become my vegetarian bible.

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Distinctly Lismore Dining - Edit

Several visits to 20 000 Cows over the years has satisfied the tastebuds and tummy. The food is vegan, the owner and cook Murray uses nut cheeses on pizza and my favourite dish the Amazon Croquettes. The curries are always flavourful and side salads often include edible flowers, which is a nice touch. We always make sure that we visit 20 000 Cows hungry, because the meals always have generous amounts of oils and can tend to be quite filling. When we have family visiting, we usually take them to 20 000 Cows so they can experience delicious vegetarian local food. The decor is a bit nanna-ish and the staff are pretty relaxed, so it is not the kind of place that you would go for a romantic meal, however, this is definitely a five cow experience.

Pros: Tasty food, All vegan, Spices and flavours - yum!

Cons: Decor

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Great Place - Edit

We come here every time we visit the Northern Rivers and we are rarely disappointed.We love the very tasty comfort vegan food,particularly the kugelis.The retro styling transports one back to the flower power era and we have usually found the staff friendly and helpful.This is a unique place which invariably has us driving back to Byron in a happy and contented space!

Pros: Enjoyable vegan fare, Quirky fun vibe, Totally unique

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tasty and quirky - Edit

Quirky bohemian atmosphere with tasty (although heavy on the salt!) food. Telephone first for opening times.

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Rude waitress - confusing restaraunt itle - Edit

I took my partner to 20,000 cows for her birthday as we are both vegetarian, and as the web page heading says '20,000 cows vegetarian house' I thought she would love it. I took a birthday cake with cream (honest mistake) as the title indicates 'vegetarian house. The waitress said she couldn't put it in the fridge as this is a vegan restaurant, which was fine and we fully accepted although slightly confused as we thought 20,000 was a vegetarian restaurant. The waitress seemed happy with that. An hour and a half later she came back out and in the middle of the party, became very irate at everybody there, raising her voice and embarrassing everybody there including my 7 year old step daughter who became quite distraught. No one at the table said anything as we were all in shock. She then came out with a smart alec line "ooh the silence is deafening". Everybody got up and left the restaurant, and I went into pay. The waitress took one look at me and said to a very polite young waitress, you deal with him and flicked her hand at me. My partner and step daughter left the restaurant very upset. When she asked us if the cake was vegan we were honest and said no it has cream she wasn't upset, she told us that she just wouldn't be able to keep it their fridge, so no body at the table thought that it would be a problem from there on. There are better ways of talking to customers who had made an honest mistake and thought otherwise as per the heading on the website and the fact she was ok about it from the beginning. Will not be going back.

Cons: Rude Waitress

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I have NEVER in my life been treated so badly by a waitress! My understanding is that the 20,000 cows project aims to spread love and understanding - apparently the staff haven't gotten that message because this waitress treated us like dirt! She was rude, snobby, and judgmental.
I will never return to this restaurant, and I will tell anyone who wants to listen how horribly we were treated.

In addition, the food is EXTREMELY overpriced, and not very good quality. The restaurant is dirty & dilapidated, and we found a hair in our food :-/

Pros: none

Cons: waitress, food, price

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Not worth your time or money - Edit

20,000 Cows may be an institution, but it's time is well past.

Having been to 20,000 Cows more than a decade earlier and having enjoyed that experience, we were looking forward to the new owner reopening the place. Our anticipation did not match the reality.

If you feel like dining in someone's crumbling loungeroom, then this is the place for you. The lack of care of the premises is just the start. We were so shocked by the prices (which didn't have a hint of being "suggestions" in any way) that we decided to try some of the cheaper options; a curry for $25 in Australia in 2012 is found in places with gold cutlery, not with a bunch of cobwebs!

Our entree of spinach and nut cheese rolls consisted of two pencil-thin tubes of pastry containing a leaf of spinach and something white. Whether this white stuff was made out of nuts was impossible to say. This was truly a minimalist item both on size and on taste.

Our main was a pasta with a coconut milk and mushroom sauce. This was a bland and hastily prepared meal, with a strange mix of cooked and uncooked vegetables. It was at least 1/3 too expensive.

Thankfully there was a nice paratha to finish off our meal, but it too was small for the price.

We decided to cut our losses and did not order any of the overpriced desserts.

There is very little going for this place. The waitresses seemed unsure of what they were doing, we never got the water we were offered, and even the bill was mucked up.

The new owner took over only in early 2012, but really, 20,000 Cows should have retired a long time ago. It needs a lot of work to get up to scratch.

Pros: none

Cons: ancient premises, ridiculous prices, badly trained staff

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Absolutely delicious - Edit

We've been to 20 000 Cows about 6 times. The food here is consistently really high quality, and wonderfully presented. And Diverse!

But that's only half the experience. The furniture is all mismatched, and old, there are cobwebs, the tablecloth may have dried candle wax on it - but hey, when the food is that good, who cares.

The vegan cheese on the Pizza is amazing, and the chilli sauce which comes with the Amazon Croquettes is worth bottling!!

The menu is international, so you'll find all sorts of dishes from many areas of the world. Everything we've tried has been fantastic, with one exception - a cauliflower entree dish with vegan white sauce, very sad.

Not sure about the "pay-as-you-feel" concept though, as all items on the menu are priced, and they add it up at the end and expect you to pay the menu quoted amount.

Still, a real highlight of Vegetarian dining. 5 Cows! (Sorry, can't give 20 000)

Pros: Extremely delicious, International, Vegan

Cons: Not low-fat, Pricing structure dubious, Not open 7 days

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Yummy! - Edit

I went to Lismore specifically to eat all the yummy vegan options available. I had heard all about 20000 Cows and was not disappointed! I love the way it is decorated with recycled furniture, the staff were warm and the food was amazing. We went there two nights in a row and every dish we had was great. The lemon rose water drink was also beautiful.

Pros: excellent food, friendly staff, great value

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Vegan Food - Edit

I recomend the Falafel Roll as the best deal.

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Yum - Edit

Great food, quaint atmosphere, modest prices. All vegetarian (vegan i think) dishes, Indian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean options.

Highly recommended!

Can also buy the Wolf and Lamb cookbook by the chef / manager - al dishes are in the book.

Pros: all vego, laid back, hippy philosophy

Cons: must book

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Quirky and tasty institution - Edit

20000 Cows is an institution...the food is good and very spicey (perhaps a little much at times??). Menu doesn't change much, but is varied.

Atmosphere is unreconstructed '70s hippie and the place is in a little weatherboard in a pretty grotty part of Lismore. Also, it is a bit 'one in, all in' for seating, so not much chance of a secluded, intimate candle lit dinner. But all this is part of the charm.

There is a strong philosophical bent to this place(think about the name...). So it is a vegan's vegan restaurant.

It suffers from not being on the coast (Byron Bay) in terms of recognition, but more than worth a go.

PS Also makes tempeh for sale.

Pros: food, philosophy

Cons: not for a intimate dinner

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