Farmer and The Cook Cafe

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 16 reviews )

339 W El Roblar St, Ojai, California, USA, 93023

Vegetarian cafe where you order at the counter and food is brought to your table. The day starts with muffins, scones, and breakfast scrambles (ovo, lacto - vegans specify). At 11am the offerings are a salad bar with veggies grown on the owner's farm, two soups (one is vegan), grain and seed bread, and a menu with meals inspired by Mexican street food. The kitchen food scraps go back to the farm. Open Mon-Sun 8:00am-8:00pm.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, American, Pizza, Organic, Buffet, Salad bar, Take-out, Mexican, Bakery

16 Reviews

First Review by Brett

Simply amazing - Edit

My dish, the huarache, was nothing short of divine. It was filling and delicious. I wish I didn't live halfway cross the world, and I'd eat there more often.

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Delicious and Extremely Vegan-Friendly! - Edit

The type of place you could keep coming back to! Food is delicious, nice outdoor seating area.

Pros: nice selection, casual/friendly/laid-back, delicious food

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all around fantastic - Edit

Stopped in for just a smoothie on my first visit and this place is awesome. From local produce to whole food treats with some vegan options, pantry supplies, refrigerated goods (homemade vegan cheese?!), skin care, bulk herbs, books and a sit down restaurant with a lovely patio F and C has it all! I love it here and will be back many a time. Oh and the smoothies were unique and very tasty.

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Very good - Edit

Visited in summer 2013, we got takeout to eat in the park. Delicious nut cheese options, yummy mexican using great quality local ingredients. Highly recommended.

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Love that it's all organic! - Edit

Great salad & soup bar, incredible fresh baked bread (especially if u get it right out of the oven), some tasty vegan baked goods. One of the few veg places in that area, wish it was all vegan, but I always stop there when there.

Pros: organic, great soups , some good vegan desserts

Cons: pricey, would like to see more vegan options, closes early

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Fine Vegan Option - Edit

The ambiance is wonderful, but the service was slow. I ate the burrito with cashew cheese, should you like to know. My dad ate the veggie burger, the better choice of the two. It came with a side salad and had a sweet sauce to boot.

Pros: outside seating, vegan options for all dishes with cheese, not too pricey

Cons: slow service

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Great Vegetarian Cafe with Tons of Vegan Options - Edit

Farmer and the Cook is a model of what I look for in a restaurant.
They have a farm near the store (hence the name Farmer and the Cook), which grows the best organic produce I've ever had.
They make amazing spelt bread (and they have earth balance), great vegan soups, organic vegan mexican food (the taquitos are my favorite, filled with a cashew-tofu cheeze and covered in mole sauce).
And don't forget to try their Chai, made with soy milk, and the Vegano pizza, served friday through sunday nights.
I have yet to find a vegan restaurant that does so much, so well, while also using organic and local ingredients.

Pros: Organic, Friendly Vibe, Addicting Food

Cons: I don't live in Ojai

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Cute little market cafe - Edit

I had read about this place on happycow, and ate here in February 2012. Here's my Farmer and Cook Cafe review.

The cafe and the market are attached. You can order everything a the counter and pay for your grocery at the same time.

We came just in time for breakfast and early lunch. After we ordered a tofu and veggies scramble (the only seemingly non-egg-and-dairy option on the breakfast menu board), the staff began to fill up the salad, soup, and food bar.

Unfortunately, the toast that was served with our tofu scramble came wet with butter, so we sent it back for plain toast. My husband went back inside to get a soup from the soup bar. The vegan choice available was an African peanut soup, which was quite tasty.

Suggestion for improvement: Needs to label what's vegan and what's not. Vegans must be very specific.

Lunch and dinner menu seems to be more vegan-friendly though.

The place is very cute with a country market cafe feel. Plenty of outside seating in front. The owner is a farmer and the food is made from his wife's recipes, hence "Farmer and the Cook" name.

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Love this restaurant - Edit

I live on the east coast and while visiting my family in Ojai had the pleasure of eating in this restaurant. The best veggie burgers I've ever had. This restaurant accommodates vegan appetites and has a very nice salad bar with soups made daily.

Pros: Great Food

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Excellent place, excellent people, excellent food! - Edit

This is a really special place that is *definitely* worth a visit if you've never been.

Their food is delicious even if you're not a vegetarian. And the staff is always very nice.

I notice a review below saying the food is "overpriced." I was disappointed that the commenter would make assumptions about what it "should" cost to provide GREAT quality goods and service. Fast food served through the window by a grumpy minimum wage earner costs less than responsible, sustainable, delicious local meals specially prepared just for you and handled by a great team. :-)

Farmer and The Cook is a terrific destination!

Pros: Delicious cooking, Healthy food, Charming location

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Nice neighborhood hangout - Edit

The restaurant has a nice local vibe and is a good meeting place for neighbors. I found the food good, but a bit overpriced.

Pros: fresh, local food, good vegetarian options, nice people

Cons: overpriced

1 Response
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tinysunhouse 22 Feb 2013 - I was disappointed that someone would make assumptions about what it "should" cost to provide GREAT quality food and service, without knowing anything about Farmer and the Cook's business.

No-one is the arbiter of what the "correct" price is. Farmer and the Cook charge what they need to charge and they definitely aren't getting rich doing it.

Is their food cheap? No; no-one will disagree. But do they "overcharge"? That's not for us to say.

If a couple dollars extra is what it takes to get delicious, healthy food, I'm happy to support this local business! :)


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Unique & Funky - Edit

The parking lot was full so I figured it must do a good business.

When we walked through the front door, it wasn't clear it was a restaurant and it isn't - it's a market also. To your right is all organic produce, bulk products at very reasonable prices, salad bar and lots of other food products.

We ordered at the counter (Shawna was very friendly and helpful) and they bring your food to you at either your inside or outside table.

I felt that the prices were a bit high, but the food was above average in taste and presentation.

The decor in the restaurant section was... well, there was none. There were pictures on one wall that looked 1970s, the tables were old & wooden; just really no ambience to it at all. An interior decorator could SO improve it, but I suppose they are going for that hippie/funky/groovy feeling, and if so, they achieved it!!

Pros: Tasty food, Friendly counter person, Inexpensive bulk foods

Cons: Just a bit pricey, Restaurant ambience

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Excellent vegan pizza! - Edit

What a great find in Ojai! We went there for dinner last night when the restaurant serves it's "Farm Cafe" menu (at lunch they have a Mexcian menu) and were so happy with our food! All their food is vegetarian with a few vegan options, and they grow most of their own produce, so everything is fresh and organic. I got the Pizza Vegano, made with cashew cheese, and it was hands down the best vegan pizza I've ever had. It's $13.75 but it's worth it.

The service was great, the decor is cute, and it's clearly a popular local hangout, since pretty much every table was full. They seem to close early (the website says they are open until "at least 8") and when we left around 9 they were shutting down.

If you're ever vising the resort in Ojai, definitely make a stop here!

Pros: Excellent pizza, Nice wait staff, Cute decor

Cons: None!

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Farmer and Cook - Edit

Before moving to the valley, we would visited Ojai staying with our friends, Lol & Linda. One of our first impressions of the valley was formed over lunch at The Farmer & The Cook restaurant and store. I fell in love with the place. I wanted to move to the valley immediately. It was a good first impression.

Unless you're a local, The Farmer & The Cook may seem to be off the beaten path on W. El Roblar Street. The jog to get there, however, is worth the effort. Don't expect a fancy, new restaurant. Part of its charm is the free flow of energy among the staff, the kitchen and the store. A headline in the online "VC Reporter" declares that "This Farmer's Wife Can Cook". I quote this review because I can't think of words any better than that. It is clear that the proprietor, Olivia Chase, has a passion for cooking. You can see it in her eyes and taste it in her food. Olivia Chase is the Alice Waters of Ojai.

Since my first visit a few years ago, I have been back many times. I am impressed by the number of food choices on their current "Mexican Cafe" menu. The menu is diverse with 4 appetizers and 8 full meals. Almost everything they use is organic. Prices are reasonable especially considering the freshness and quality of the food. When I ate there for a late lunch last week, I ordered the huarache if for no other reason than I liked the name. I remember, as a kid, buying and wearing huarache sandals made from old tire tread. In Mexican cuisine, the huarache is a pizza (sort of) served on a handmade tortilla.

When I went to order the huarache I found it had been replaced on the menu by a taco salad. So I ordered the grilled squash quesadilla. The quesadilla is made with two hand made corn tortillas and came hot to my table with goat cheese, mozzarella cheese, shiitake mushrooms, jalapenos and roasted red pepper. And if that isn't enough to make you salivate, it came with a side of beans, red rice and fresh slaw. I was pleased to learn that many of the ingredients (including herbs and spices) used in preparing The Farmer & The Cook meals are grown by her husband, Steve, at Rio Gozo Farm here in the valley. Maybe, if I'm lucky, I can visit the farm one day and post a blog on my experiences there.

Go to The Farmer and The Cook. Experience the goodness there.

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Good food - Edit

great breakfast food, organic produce. recycles and composts everything they can. nice relaxed atmosphere.

Pros: food

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Nice place! - Edit

Regular music and events in the evenings, build your own salad bar is very good, kitchen items are a mixed bag for me, I had one of their Pizza's that most of my friends love and it didn't do anything for me, but the rest of the things I have had there were very fresh, and very good. I can live on their salads! Oh and when I say fresh, I mean fresh! How Fresh? My mom and I were there once having salads, and they ran out of beets. They told us they would have more shortly, a minute or two later the owner walks in with beets. He had gone to his farm and came back with fresh beets, mud and all, and a few minutes later came back with a freshly grated batch. For certain people that might not be seen as a plus, but for us it sure is, and it beats "the other guys" when it comes to organic, locally grown produce!

Their Chai is great, their deserts are very good, the ambiance is not upscale, but it's a cute little place that seems to have it's priorities in the right places!

Pros: Far fresh produce, Generally tasty kitchen items, music and "green" events

Cons: A little pricey, not a huge selection

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