CLOSED: Avanti Cafe

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 19 reviews )



259 E 17 St (at Orange Ave, next to mattress store, Orange County), Costa Mesa, California, USA, 92627

Small vegetarian and vegan food cafe. Menu consists of hot and cold sandwiches plus a deli case display of daily changing samplers, baked goods, beverages. Offers weekend brunch. Reported closed to HappyCow June 2014.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, International, Italian, Organic, Beer/Wine, Take-out

19 Reviews

First Review by veg4life

Vegan Eats in Newport Beach - Edit

On my quest to find a new car I ended up in Newport Beach (my birthplace). After a long hot drive down from Ventura in a car with no AC I was in need of some hydration and sustenance. My dear friend who joined me on my journey, checked HappyCow for close by veg-friendly restaurants in the area. We stumbled upon Avanti Cafe only a few short blocks away and settled in for a unique dinning experience.

Nestled in a typical strip mall surrounded by corporate chains and cellphone stores we were pleased to discover this quaint little place. Their menu offered some tasty-sounding options- many of them vegan or could easily be veganized (I love that word). After downing some water and ordering a refreshing glass of Pinot Grigio we decided on the spring greens salad with poached pears and carmelized walnuts. It was nice to find a non-dairy version of this salad without having to ask the server to take away half the toppings and the dressing. The pears were tender and sweet, the nuts were flavorful and crunchy, the greens were fresh and the dressing was perfectly tangy.

We also ordered the shiitake mushroom- arugula-sweet potato pizza. I was a little disappointed that the pizza had a shiitake mushroom "sauce" and not actual mushrooms on it, but the unique shape and the delicious pairing of the sweet potato and spicy, slightly bitter arugula was a hit. Topped with warm roasted nuts it was definitely the most creative pizza I've had. The beautiful ceramic plates added an artistic touch. We had a raw chocolate mousse for dessert that was rich but not overly sweet. All in all it was a fun experience, I got a new car and enjoyed a delicious celebratory meal with my friend. Next time I'm down in Newport I will definitely check out Avanti again.

Pros: Unique, tasty menu items, Reasonable prices, Beautiful ceramic plates

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Nice brunch menu - Edit

We've eaten here several times and the food is always up to scratch. Happy to find a place that's fully vegetarian in this area, and they have a couple of tasty vegan items too.

We usually order the tofu scramble and french toast (both vegan) and they're great! There's only about 3 breakfast items that are fully vegan, but it's a step in the right direction for Orange County.

Unfortunately the area lets the cafe down (another dry strip mall) - since enjoying a Sunday brunch in a grotty car park isn't ideal. Much respect for being a veg establishment in a sea of meaty fast food chains though!

Pros: 100% vegetarian, Vegan options marked, yum food

Cons: Ugly location, not a huge selection of vegan choices

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Vegan Pizza!! - Edit

I've now visited twice...The vegan pizzas are excellent...a must try.

Pros: Excellent food, Good service, Convenient location

Cons: Busy parking lot

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great vegan options at reasonable ptices - Edit

In a word - wonderful. We will be back again for sure.

Pros: large menu

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Avanti Cafe - Edit

I had read about this place on happycow and decided to stop in. Here's my Avanti Cafe review.

The cafe is smaller than what I had imagined. It's actually semi self-serve as opposed to a sit-down dining atmosphere. We ordered our food at the counter, sat ourselves at one of the handful of small tables inside, and then the food was brought to us.

A large part of the menu consisted of food that was already cooked and displayed in a glass deli case. The server took our order and re-heated the food. We ordered a few dishes from the deli case to share, and overall the food was tasty. There was also a bakery case as well as refrigerated and non-refrigerated packaged foods for takeaway.

Pros: casual, fast, healthy choices

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Good dining for everyone - Edit

I've been here multiple times, and each time I've been the only vegetarian. This place is very non-threatening to omnivores, offering food that anyone would view as yummy. Their dessert selection is also amazing!

Pros: friendly to everyone, great dessert!

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Great place - Edit

Actually they tweeted me to come check them out, since they have Vegan dishes. So we did for Brunch...friendly service ...good food. My picky 4 yo gobbled down the french toast! Bonus.
love this place

Pros: food, service, location

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One of my favorite restaurants of all time - Edit

fantastic made from scratch food, tons of vegan options, great staff, best pizza I've EVER had, Wine and beer pairings - fantastic little place I always take visiting friends too and always get taken care of.

Pros: excellent food, Beer/ wine parings, Great staff

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Yummy! - Edit

I love all the vegan items this place has to offer. Everything taste fresh, is beautiful, and is extremely satisfying. I took non-vegan friends here and they loved it too.

I really enjoy Sunday brunch. I love their Vegan Quesadilla, Tofu Bruschetta, and french toast. I wish they would bring back the peanut butter sandwich, though. The coffee and tea is great and the service is always friendly.

I've been meaning try all their lovely salads for dinner but I can't resist their pizzas and sandwiches.

I will say it can get really crowded on a Thursday night. They have a special on wine and the cafe seems to get really full really fast.

Pros: DELICIOUS, Creative, fresh

Cons: Small Cafe

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Mmmmmmmmm - Edit

I love it all.

Pros: Amazing food, Amazing staff

Cons: Kinda pricey.

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yummy, small veggie cafe, euro style - Edit

finally decided to give this place a try.. sorry waited so long. small cafe, more mom and pop, but food yummy. have great bakery selection, my son thought cupcake tasted like wedding cake, that good. menu is split half veggie and vegan, but they seem willing to alter according to preference. prices reasonable, especially considering use organic ingredients. located in same shopping center as mothers market. ordered vegan pizza and it was the best.. want to try pasta or veggie burger next. most veggie joints do not have large selections btw.

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cute little place - Edit

Yummy food, really enjoyed the small cafe atmosphere. A little overpriced, but would definitely visit again.

Pros: tastey food, sidewalk seating

Cons: price

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Avanti Cafe Live nude veggies. - Edit

This fine vegan restaurant is located in a somewhat less traveled area of the 17th street shopping and restaurant area in downtown Costa Mesa.
The cafe is small, with about 8 tables, but the food and the service is great. Mark and his crew rotate between cooking and baking outstanding vegan dishes and pastries to waiting on the tables with an extremely pleasant attitude.
My wife and I look forward to every Sunday when we visit this wonderful eatery with its' very friendly employees.
One of the display cabinets has a collection of great freshly baked pastries and the other their daily specials of vegan dishes that they will gladly and with great pride allow you to sample before you order.
Avanti even has a extensive selection of herbal teas that may be found nowhere else.
to add to your dining pleasure each few weeks there is a new collection of local art works that are exhibited and for sale.

Pros: great vegan meals, wonderful pastries, very frendly staff

Cons: rather small, somewhat difficult to find

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excellent food, even better service - Edit

I have frequented this cafe with friends over the past few months, and i have to say, every single visit has been an adventure. Their food is absolutely amazing and very innovative. Everything is healthy, and honestly, it is absolutely delicious.

The service is wonderful as well. The staff seem to genuinely care about their coustomers, and they do not hesitate to bring out some extra sauses, or give us some samples to taste their fare while we wait for our food.
Some issues about hygine were discussed in another post below mine; i would like to address that topic. I have visited several times, and have tried almost everything on the menu. There is absolutely no basis for questioning the practices at avanti cafe - no one i know (and i know quite a few people who frequent this place) has ever ever fallen sick after a meal here.

in conclusion, GO TASTE IT FOR YOURSELF.

Pros: great food, great service, wonderful take home sauces!

Cons: small - not noticeable , obscure location

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Not so good... - Edit

My husband felt VERY VERY SICK after eating here. Seriously, he couldn't eat anything for the next 24 hours - he even went over to the Urgent Care the next morning to get checked out by a doctor, it was that bad! We will not be going back, that's for certain. The food wasn't very exciting, and the menu was pretty limited for vegan choices. It's a shame too, because the staff was very friendly and it seemed like a cute local place.

Pros: Friendly Staff

Cons: Limited Menu

4 Responses
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JohnnySensible 11 Apr 2008 - Sorry to hear about the sickness of your husband.

Why do you include it in a restaurant review?

Did he eat / drink nothing else that day?

Could he have picked up a stomach bug from any other source?


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irlandaise 11 Apr 2008 - Yes, it was his FIRST and (thus) LAST meal of the day. He felt great before eating at Avanti Cafe, and nauseated directly after.  

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Avatar Avantiacs

Avantiacs 13 Apr 2008 - Hello Irlandaise, We are sorry to hear that your husband was ill the day you visited Avanti Cafe. We wish you would have brought this to our attention directly instead of posting such a negative accusatory review of us on Happy Cow. We taste every batch of everything we make & pride ourselves on freshness & quality. We have heard no other reports of anyone ever being sick from our food. Also, we completely reject your statement that we have few vegan options. Over 70% of our menu items can easily be made vegan. We appreciate that you and your husband did not enjoy your visit to Avanti Cafe, but we suggest that when writing reviews, please keep comments professional & not personally insulting and accusatory. Many thanks, Avanti Cafe  

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JohnnySensible 22 Feb 2013 - What you have written is just not appropriate for posting anonymously on HappyCow.

By insisting on posting this you are hurting a business.

I request that you delete & rewrite this Review.

Bug's can be picked up from toothbrushes / door handles / keys / any number of places.

Even if the bug was on one of their ingredients such as the bread these things are microscopic / cannot be avoided.  

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Food for all types! - Edit

Tasty, delicious and unique. Food options are all tasty & flavorful. Every meal option is organic, and made "in house." Good place to take any date, or non vegetarian. Great pizza's and sandwiches. Wine and beer selection is top notch as well!

Pros: friendly staff, organic options, relaxing atmosphere

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oc gr8ness - Edit

wonderful atmosphere, moods...oh yeah, and the food's GR8 t!

Pros: healthy, progressive, vegetarian

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People aren't paying attention - Edit

I've already read reviews on this and it makes me annoyed. The ones that say that there is only a small selection of deli items... well THERES A MENU!!!!! its not just the deli items. The deli items are things that mark (owner) feels like making that day. they are always new and always different. And when heating them up, they don't use a microwave. They don't even own a microwave. So people... open your eyes and grab the menu also!!

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Big fan! - Edit

A very relaxing electic cafe...Excellent, favorful food made with many organic vegetables and different spice blends that give the food a kick! Desserts are delicious but a little over-priced.

Pros: great flavors, relaxing, friendly

Cons: desserts are pricey

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