CLOSED: Gaia Cafe

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 14 reviews )



209 Diamond SE (at Lake Dr), Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, 49506

Self serve coffee and tea. Dairy-free, vegetarian brunch. Most dishes can be made vegan on request. Showcases artworks. Reported closed to HappyCow, Sep 2014.

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, American, Macrobiotic, Organic, Juice bar

Reviews (14)

First Review by erbavore

great food, casual atmosphere - Edit

The food is great, portions are nice. The entrance into the place is odd, you feel like you are intruding. Also, parking is a pain. But it's all worth it. Best pancakes in GR

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Great Vegetarian Soul Food - Edit

Atmosphere and spirit-wise, Gaia Cafe is everything I could want. The servers are friendly and good at what they do, the interior is very simple, and I love that if I want more coffee or water I can just get up and get it myself. It's all very laid-back and well lit.

The food is hardy and tasty, though most dishes contain dairy or eggs. Fortunately, the waitstaff is happy to offer substitutions, such as tofu or avocado. I am a big fan of breakfast here, but get there early or prepare to wait in line.

It's a small place, with a small menu, but each option has been tasty in my experience. Definitely try their vegan bars as well.

Pros: Good Value

Cons: Busy Often, Lack of Vegan Options on Menu

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Heaven for Vegetarians - Edit

Not great for vegans. For a 100% vegetarian restuarant, I found it odd that they offer such a paucity of vegan options. As a vegan, I'd come here once to try it but even if I lived in Grand Rapids I wouldn't come back, simply because I don't feel valued here. They could easily remedy this by putting a star next to the menu items that 'can be made vegan on request' -- and offering items that can be made vegan. That said, the vegan dessert bars by the cash register are very good.

I still gave it four cows b/c if you are vegetarian, you will love it.

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So Much Food! - Edit

This food is delicious and extremely hearty. If you order veggies, you get veggies! I'm a huge fan of the steamed vegetables. The hash is great too. I do wish there were more completely vegan options, but the vegetarian ones are great and you can get many without cheese to make them vegan. Go with an appetite! (And get a vegan cookie - the best dessert in Grand Rapids!)

Pros: Hearty, Lots of Vegtables, Great Flavor

Cons: Not a ton of purely vegan options

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Fantastic Food, Fantastic People! - Edit

We've been regulars at Gaia for about 6 or 7 years. We're not regulars anywhere else; that's probably because when we eat at Gaia, we thoroughly enjoy the menu, and we leave feeling like we did ourselves a great favor by eating healthy food. The atmosphere is homey and comfortable, and everyone - the waitstaff, the cooks, the customers - are always friendly and in a great mood. Such a variety of clientele, it's really fun to bring out-of-towners, even the meat eaters! A BIG thumbs up to Gaia, for giving us a healthy place to eat with our son!

Pros: great food, friendly staff, family atmosphere

Cons: not a one, baby!

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Predictable wait, good food - Edit

As soon as we walked in, the waitress told us it would be 15 minutes until we would be seated; exactly 15 minutes later, we were seated. There is no scrambled tofu, which is a con. They can substitute eggs with tofu, but it will be a slab. The Mexican-like food is good, as was the hot chocolate. There was also a very large selection of tea.

Pros: expansive tea selection, good food, easy to find

Cons: no scrambled tofu, busy, not many vegan items

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Yum! - Edit

I just felt like I needed to write a review in order to make up for the negative reviews that others have given. I've been going to Gaia off and on for years. For every bad server, there's 3 or 4 good ones. I understand how a server can make or break your experience, but I can say that I HAVE NEVER personally had bad service at Gaia. The food is alway delicious and they have no problem veganising anything on their menu. Try the Mean Green Burrito or the Grilled Seasoned Tempeh on Foccacia. Yum!

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SO rude to vegans here. - Edit

If you're vegetarian it may be the place for you, but if you're a vegan skip it for dinner and go to Teshlou's or Brick Road instead. Stop by Gaia to get a vegan bar afterward, maybe, but the staff is really rude to people seeking vegan options here and their scramble is not a scramble.

Pros: Good for Vegetarians

Cons: Rude to vegans

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Yum! - Edit

After seeing some of the reviews on here that complained about the service, I was a little skeptical to go to Gaia - but I got a pleasant surprise! Those other reviews are over a year old so I wouldn't be surprised if they have new waiters and waitresses by now, because our waitress was attentive and friendly. Most importantly, the food was delicious! Everything on the menu is vegetarian or vegan, and pretty much all of the vegetarian items can be made vegan. They have organic teas and juices, and tons of other beverages. It was cozy and in a nice area of town. Prices were totally reasonable, maybe $7 or $8 for a meal. Portions were big (but I finished my HUGE tempeh burger - it was so good!) All of the other reviews raved about the vegan cookies, but there was only one type of vegan cookie (and a few non-vegan), and I thought it was a bit overrated. It was good, but I was expecting, like, the best cookie of all time. Still, I'd definitely recommend you stop in there!

Pros: excellent food, good value, lovely atmosphere

Cons: chilly inside - open windows & fans, you get your own drink (con for some?)

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Just Okay - Edit

I would say that overall Gaia is overrated. Sure, the food is ok.. but it's just ok. Not great. I've been going to Gaia since 1994 (14 years already!) and the menu and quality of food hasn't changed much at all. It's best, I think, for breakfast, and their coffee is pretty good. Their cookies are wonderful and I've always enjoyed their suicide juice. But I have always found their food to be rather bland, which is sad, since vegetarian and vegan food can be so delicious - it doesn't have to be bland at all. Also the service has always been extremely slow, which sometimes is nice when you just want to linger, but not at all nice if you're at all constrained by time. I have found servers to be nice, just not always as attentive as they might be (and this is coming from me, who hates being 'checked on' every 10 minutes). Overall this is never a first choice for me when I'm thinking about eating out. As another poster said, Marie Catrib's which is one block north, is much better in every way.

Pros: clean food, large portions, good beverages

Cons: slow service, bland food, static menu

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my favorite place in all of michigan - Edit

i travel a lot with my job, and always look forward to eating here. i often drive out of my way to intetionally go through grand rapids just for gaia! try the chai, of course. fill up again and again. if he has the polenta on special, definitely get it! amazing sauce. the mean green burrito is bigger than your face.

Pros: atmosphere, chai

Cons: closed on mondays!

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the wait staff is horrible - Edit

We went to Gaia two weeks ago and had this male waiter there. He was a jerk and totally ignored us. The service was horrible. The food was ok, the pancake I got was really dry but their fried potatoes and vegan cookies are awesome. SO we went back last weekend hoping for better service. We got the same male waiter and he sat three other tables and took all three orders before coming to our table. We sat there for 20 minutes and he didn't take our order. So we left and found this awesome restaurant called Marie something. I can't remember the name. I'm gonna find out and put them on here cuz they had awesome vegan breakfast and cookies. The waiter was so nice. Its down the road from Gaia too. So you should go to Marie whatever its called instead. It was great. Just because the food is ok at Gaia doesn;t mean its worth to be treated like you are not important.

Pros: ok fried potatoes, coffee bar, awesome vegan cookies

Cons: the worst waiter, very noisy, bad parking

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Never been to a place like this... - Edit

The Gaia is a strange restaurant; the food was FANTASTIC, but we waited for 45 min before our food got to our table. The service was terrible, and I really think it should be remodeled inside. The poor old building needs a facelift. The menu is very small, and it is extremely busy!

Pros: Fabulous food, Very good prices

Cons: terrible service, small menu, very disorganised

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Its Grand Rapids Premier Veggie Place. - Edit

The Gaia Cafe is an oddity within itself. The food is simple, yet good. It's all vegetarian, yet there is only 6 vegan dishes. The staff is underpaid, thus its hard to get outstanding help. Special meal requests are strictly prohibited by the owners, who are strangely NEVER present. Coffee, Tea and water are all self-serve. Also, there is a picture of a DEAD fish on the wall.

Pros: food is decent, large portions, price is right

Cons: Odd hours, Its old inside

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