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Claire's Corner Copia

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 19 reviews )
Contact 203-562-3888
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1000 Chapel St (at College St), New Haven, Connecticut, USA, 06511

A funky cafeteria-style place where you bus-your-own table. Offers specials of the day, soups, burritos, breads, and desserts. Vegan food options are marked "V" and sometimes include sheperd's pie, lemon cake, "meatloaf," falafel, and salads. Wholegrain pancakes are served on weekends. NOTE: maybe serves fish on occasion, please verify and let HappyCow know. Mon-Thu 8:00am-9:00pm, Fri 8:00am-10:00pm, Sat 9:00am-10:00pm, Sun 9:00am-9:00pm

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, American, Italian, Organic, Take-out, Mexican, Kosher

Reviews (19)

First Review by Mary McCurry

AMazing!!! - Edit

So MANY options! Such a big menu with dishes packed with delicious flavor. Love all the baked goods, it's hard to come by fresh vegan dessert in ct !! One of my favorite restaurants, very friendly staff, not a long wait.


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Claire's Corner Copia - Edit

Some of the reviews posted here seem kind of unfair. We had to travel to New Haven last week, and sought this place out--and with no regrets. The food was very tasty, creative and well-conceived. Unlike some reviewers, we did not find the place dirty at all, and the workers were all friendly, even solicitous. My only wish is that Claire's would be 100% vegan--it's not--but most of the non-vegan menu items can be made vegan. If we have to go back to New Haven again we will definitely come here to eat.

Pros: good food, tasty and healthy, good service, friendly and helpful, pleasant atmosphere

Cons: not 100% vegan


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Yummy - Edit

The food was good. I had huevos. the sauce could have been more flavorful and the egg came cooked a little more than I wanted. It was still super r yummy.

The restaurant was busy and a little cold.

I took a piece of cake to go and I'm looking forward to eating there tomorrow.

Pros: Vegetarian, Diverse menu, Healthy

Cons: Crowded, Cold


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Boring and dirty - Edit

I really cant believe that Claire's has stayed in business so long. The food runs from mediocre to bland, and the tables are
Always sticky. The place smells like they never clean out the self service waste station. Often the people behind the counter are snotty. Its really depressing that a city with as many restaurants as new haven claims this as some kind of vegetarian haven.

Pros: Hmmm...

Cons: Smelly, Bland, Sticky tables


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Is all the food here this uninspired? - Edit

We were excited to try this eatery based on previous reviews and the fact that it is a vegetarian diner. We were visiting from the West Coast and stopped for Sunday breakfast. We both had the tofu scramble. It arrived pale, flabby, and covered in oil. The only veggies in the dish were a huge amount of canned black olives and some very overcooked spinach. There may have been one or two small diced onion pieces. This dish had no flavor except salt, and more salt. What's ironic at this diner is the management keeps extra salt shakers at the silverware station. This is because the kitchen would like you to experience the dish as the chef intended. We aren't sure what, exactly, the chef wanted us to experience because what we did experience was a true eating disaster.


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Many Options - Edit

Being vegan, you usually don't have many options when it comes to the menu. Well, the vegan menu here is pretty extensive. The food was good and they even have some vegan desserts and lattes.


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look out the window to take your mind off the food - Edit

News about Claire's! Recently in 2014, Claire’s dipped its toes into the 21st Century and increased its proportion of vegan entrées, as well as began offering vegan cheese as an option to all its cow cheese dishes. (Until now, you could substitute cow cheese with blah tofu). Took a while for Claire’s to get here, as until around 1999 Ms. Claire used to offer tuna, but removed it from the menu, maybe upon opening her upscale meat restaurant next door. While a chef need not be veghead to creatively cook veggies, still it's unsettling that Ms. Claire is a carnivore at heart.

Most other vegan reviewers berate this place, which I can understand, but I would rate it "fair" rather than "terrible." You simply must pick and choose wisely from among its extensive menu. On the plus side, you can view some of the standard entrees and most of the specials in a display case near the registers, and doing so is more edifying than the inscriptions on the wall boards. The noise level inside compares to a college dining hall, and the seating is cramped and uncomfortable, so don’t bring your date here. But if you sit by a window you can enjoy the view of the Yale University and New Haven community parading by, and thereby take your mind off the bland, industrial-quality food, in which case you can actually enjoy sitting here.

Pros: extensive selection, increased proportion of vegan entrees, the view out the windows

Cons: bland industrial-quality food, noisy and uncomfortable, finding parking sometimes futile


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Exceeded My Expectations - Edit

I was going through New Haven on my way up to Maine and stopped in at Claires. It was so good that I stopped back again on my home.

The first time I ordered the roasted organic vegetable platter with chipotle 'chicken'. I asked for a side of tahini. It's a well roasted veg platter served over rice. The 'chicken' was excellently spiced. I poured the tahini on top and a great meal was had. The plate was enormous. I barely finished the whole thing (and I can eat quite a bit).

The second time, on my way home, I was not too hungry so I opted for the flat bread pizza with daiya. The sauce is good and they do a great job with cheez coverage (some places skimp here, but not Claires), however the whole 'pizza on a tortilla' thing didn't really pan out as well as I expected. Tough to manage and a bit of a mess.

That said, I would go to Claires whenever I have the chance.

Pros: Good Food, Great Atmosphere


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vegan food new haven - Edit

Clairs is not completely vegan....mostly vegetarian. Staff are great. Food usually good, although sometimes quality fair. Have had takeout and food appears not freshly made. Also, if you are non diary, you need to check the food-they will put cow cheese on the food despite telling them no diary. Unfortunately there are not many vegan options in new haven.
Updated from previous review on Saturday March 22, 2014

Updated from previous review on Monday May 19, 2014

Pros: staff great, vegetarian mostly, organic plants

Cons: diary, quality sometimes, no raw


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Mediocre - Edit

Not very enthusiastic service. The food was ok, but fairly bland and not very carefully done. Thy were out of daiya and not very apologetic about it. The vegan options seem like an afterthought. They mostly don't even sound that good, and the one we ordered were not that impressive. The veggie burger is incredibly bland and the tofu ranchero had these huge hunks of tofu not cooked very well. The smoothies were watery and I hate paying extra to have it be vegan. Very few vegan dessert options given the number of different cakes and pastries they had. The prices were too high fpr the quality of food and for having to basically wait on yourself. I wouldn't seek this place out again.

Pros: Some vegan options, Big portions, Convenient location

Cons: Bland food and watery smoothies, Overpriced, Bad service and annoying ambiance


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NEW AND IMPROVED! - Edit

Claire's used to snub us vegans by offering very little for us. This has CHANGED.

The default rolls served with everything are now VEGAN.

She offers vegan mayo.

I think she still has yet to offer vegan cheese.

She usually has at least 1 thing in the bake case that's vegan, and several in the daily specials case that are vegan as well (usually half or so).

Way to go Claire!

Now she just needs to (1) stop giving pats of butter by default with every order. (2) start offering vegan cheese!

p.s. The food is stellar. Try the broccoli rabe with soy chicken and soak it up with one of her vegan rolls. ::drool::

Pros: more vegan options, vegan rolls, food is great

Cons: a little bit pricey, needs vegan cheese, can get busy


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find out exactly what you are getting first - Edit

I ordered the salad with garlic roasted veg, on a bed of spinach, the 3 veg, carrots, practically raw, did not taste roasted, broccoli inedible and courgettes very nice, no hint of garlic on a mountain of far too much spinach. I also had a vegan cup cake very heavy and vegan choc chip cookie ok.

All in all I'm sure there are a lot of good things to be had here, I did enjoy my smoothie, just find out exactly what you are getting first

Pros: lots of choice


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Good Variety, know what you order - Edit

I used to frequent this place very often when I moved in to New Haven, since this was the first vegetarian friendly restaurant that caught my attention.

Very conveniently located right in the heart of New Haven, they offer a great variety of vegetarian options all displayed very nicely. But don't go by looks alone. The food is wholesome, but a little bland for my tastes. However, there were some dishes that were to my liking. So my advice would be, maybe speak with the people behind the counter before you order to make sure you like how it tastes. Some dishes are blander than others.

Pros: Good Variety, Nice ambience


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Claire's - Edit

I had gone to http://www.clairescornercopia.com/ to print out their menu prior to a trip to New Haven, CT. On the menu it states that they are open everyday at 8 am. Well, not exactly true. If I had looked at the bottom of their website, they open at 9 am on Saturdays and Sundays. I was there on a Saturday at 8 am expecting to get in, along with several other couples and passersby- they probably lost quite a bit of business that morning! I waited until they opened and ordered a vegan tofu scramble in a whole wheat wrap to-go. The wait time was 15 minutes (and I was first in line to order, but others were served first). The meal was very bland. It was basically just cubes of tofu heated with a few undercooked red onions and some spinach, and a whole lot of oil. I ate half and took the rest home to doctor it up with spices. I will give this place another try though, because I would like to experience eating at the restaurant. If I didn't have to order food to-go (due to lack of time by that point), then I would have ordered the vegan pancakes. I did attempt to return for lunch that same day, but after driving by and not being able to immediately locate any street parking and seeing the line was just out the door (this was at 3:30 pm on a Saturday), I passed. I'll post another review after giving it another chance.

Pros: Cute interior, Lots of organic food used

Cons: Hours, Downtown parking


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Great experience- wish for more vegan options. - Edit

I greatly appreciate the push to using locally sourced ingredients. A great mission. While there were multiple vegan choices on the menu when I visited, I certainly would like to see more.

I have been very happy with everything I ordered, beverages, entrees, and deserts (I LOVE the Lemon Coconut mini bundt cakes!!!). I think the prices are quite appropriate for the quality & quantity that I got.

I'm looking forward to my next trip.

Pros: Great food, Freindly staff, Locally sourced ingredients

Cons: Wish for more vegan choices, It can get busy


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A new lease on Claire's - Edit

I have previously had a few experiences with Claire's that made me skeptical, and I realize that this is because to experience Claire's at it's finest, it is up to you to become a wise and skilled orderer. I recommend that everyone peek into the glass case near the registers that shows the specials of the day, and peruse the desserts and see what looks good and is vegan (in my case anyway). If they have the Shepherd's Pie (which is vegan)and the Lemon Coconut Cake (also vegan) you must not look at the rest of the menu, as this will be a perfect meal. They give you a nice portion of the Shepherd's Pie which, if it does not fill you up completely, you can eat the Cake right away, otherwise you can eat the cake later when your hunger returns. Another good choice is the Vegan Meatloaf. If meatloaf is something that appeals to you, they make a nice vegan version and serve a good portion. I heard from friends that the Arnold Palmer drink has been watered down on several occasions. I usually get hot cider which is just fine. But who needs to pay for a drink when you can just have some nice cold new haven tap water?... I've also had a couple of salads that were good featuring a good assortment of veggies and avocado and spicy soyness and they have a good tahini dressing, I usually require a double dressing because i like a lot of tahini. The bread is usually hard but it's good anyway and if you are dipping it it's no problem. They unfortunatley give out butter packets even if you order all vegan food and i'm sure this just gets thrown out so ask for no butter if you don't want it! I like the order at the counter and pay first and then sit down and they bring the food to you method because then when you are done you are free to go as soon as you clear your dishes, there is no after meal payment confusion or delay. I heard the wholegrain pancakes on weekends are really good but have yet to be in town at the right time. I don't really recommend falafel items or mexican dishes because i find that these kind of specialties usually disappoint when you order them at a restaurant that does not specialize specifically in that kind of food. If you have had a bad experience on Claire's, I recommend giving yourself another chance to improve your ordering skills, and maybe it would be a good idea to go with someone who can approve of all of your selections. I gave up on Claire's a long time ago, and friends brought me back, and now I have realized the potential.

Pros: Good Specials, Organic/Fair Trade, Cool Ordering Method

Cons: Haven't realized full vegan potential, a lot of dairy on menu


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Unsurpassed Vegetarian Cuisine - Edit

Claire's Corner Copia was my daily hangout over twenty years ago until I moved to CA. I since have found no other restaurant that compares with the unique dishes that Claire provides at a remarkably low price. The large and varied menu of both vegetarian, vegan and organic dishes provide an eclectic combination of ethnic foods in incredibly delicious dishes. The atmosphere is warm and friendly and theview of New Haven Green adds to the charm. Each meal comes with a freshly baked mini loaf of homemade vegan bread. Portions of food are quite filling even for big appetites. claire's is always a must visit place when I return to CT as I've done in 2008. As a vegan let me recommend the avocado salad with baby spinach leaves, red onions, tomato, grapes, large portion of fresh ripe avocado, and vegan chipotle soy chicken topped with Tahini dressing. It can't be beat!!! And after 33 years in business Claire says she still has fun with her little 'Corner Copia'. Her joy comes thru in all the food. Don't miss this gem of a restaurant when coming to CT and be prepared to come back over and over again.!!

Pros: Food Combos, Friendly Atmosphere, more than reasonable prices

Cons: 3000 miles from CA


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