Golden Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 32 reviews )

1301 Franklin St (at 13th, downtown), Oakland, California, USA, 94612

The weekday lunch features a steam table. Has an all-day special plate in addition to a large menu of dishes with a variety of faux meats in rice and noodle, claypots, main entrees, and more. Operated by disciples of supreme master ChingHai. Short walk from 12th St BART station. Apr 2013 reported to be all vegan. Open Mon-Fri 10:00am-8:00pm, Sat-Sun 11:00am-8:00pm.

Categories: Vegan, Chinese, Vietnamese, Buddhist

32 Reviews

First Review by tartarugafechada

Comforting Spicy Noodle Soup - Edit

I had lunch with a couple friends here when I wasn't feeling so hot. I got the spicy noodle soup. It tasted very good. It was a lot like pho, where they give you bean sprouts and mint to put in it. Spice level was good... Like a 6 out of 10 on the heat-scale. I enjoyed the pieces of vegan ham, but not the vegan beef... The ham was very flavorful and unique... The beef seemed like it was aiming more for being like real beef and I didn't enjoy it as much. At $6.50... This was really good. And it really helped make me feel so much better. Very soothing and healing for cold symptoms.

As an appetizer, we got the fresh spring rolls. They were good... Tasted the same as any fresh spring rolls. Smaller than I've gotten used to from getting these at other restaurants, but they give you a lot of peanut sauce... It was nice not having to carefully ration that.

Also tried the cucumber salad. It was tasty and fresh. The spicy lemon dressing definitely wasn't spicy at all... It was tangy in a citric way.

My friend got a Thai iced tea and said it was one of the better and more full-flavored ones she's had.

Booths were comfortable and employees were nice.

Pros: Price, Spicy Soup

Cons: Generica

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Amazing! - Edit

Delicious! Great food and friendly staff.

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Amazing! - Edit

Have been there twice since moving to Oakland. What a great spot. The teriyaki chickn and their crispy chowmein are delicious. Will definitely be making more stops.

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What Treat. - Edit

By far the best vegan restaurant in the East Bay, especially if you know what to order. Thanks to happy Caw App for finding this place.
My partner and I go there at least once a week after having tried nearly all the vegan restaurants in the area, this became the top favorite. The food is tasty and on the lighter side since it is served with a lot of raw greens. The wait staff members are as sweet as it can be and the place is clean and well maintained.
Please note that many of the Vietnamese imitation meats are gluten free but not soy free. I know for certain that all Vietnamese imitation chicken are gluten free. Shrimp is gluten and soy free but I believe beef is made with Gluten, and pork may have some too. Having said that, I don't know how they make their dishes and I cannot guarantee that their chicken dishes are made entirely without gluten added to the sauce. If you have gluten Sensitivity, please stick to non-imitation, all vegetable dishes. Many of their sauces which I have not include are excellent too

Here are my most favorites from the menu:



Then there are Chef"s Specialties:
SPICY CHA CHA (imitation Shrimp that is indistinguishable from the real thing, served on a bed of raw greens)
HOUSE RICE CLAYPOT(beyond delicious, I can eat this every day)
SPICY GOURMET CHICKEN (imitation Chicken served on bed of raw greens)

OCEAN OF LOVE (It is not as amazing as the other but still good wrap it yourself dish)

Side order
BROWN RICE (it is mixed with a bit of black rice gives it a beautiful reddish color and lots of antioxidants)

RAW KALE DRINK (surprisingly yummy)

DESERT (in the order that I favor)
VEGAN OREO CAKE (It only has oreo colors of deep chocolate brown and white but tastes nothing like oreo)

The prices are moderate About $10-S14 per plate. Since the food is great and they have a large variety, you may find yourself ordering too many dishes, eat more and pay more. My recommendation is that you go with a group of friend and order many things to share.

Pros: Great food, Good service, Clean

Cons: none

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Experiences may vary but this one was great! (5/5 green stars) - Edit

In case you get confused by the “fish,” “chicken,” and “beef” on the menu, the servers helpfully wear T-shirts with the word VEGAN printed on the front in large letters. It probably saves them from having to answer a dozen questions per day along the lines of “is this soy ‘chicken’ really vegan?” We ordered the Spicy Thai Fried Rice and the Thousand Layers Tofu Eggplant and both were exceptionally good – the best Asian food I’ve had so far this year. My pet peeve with fried rice is when it’s barely fried – if I wanted boiled rice that’s pushed around an over-oiled wok for a minute in a desultory fashion and then served as a soggy-greasy mess, I’d order it! Their fried rice was appropriately caramelized and very flavorful, with a good level of spice contrasted with small sweet chunks of pineapple. Eggplant is tricky to cook and I’m hesitant to order it in case it comes out bitter, oily, or undercooked. Everything in their Thousand Layers Eggplant Tofu was delicious, but particularly the eggplant and the sauce (made with black beans, perhaps?). Highly recommend both dishes. Just had water to go with it, so total cost for best Asian meal of the year was $25, including tip.

I’m giving them 4/5 “green stars” for social and environmental impact, based on these reasons:
• Their entire menu is vegan as far as I know (not 100% sure about the Thai iced tea - check if you want to make sure you get a vegan version).
• I believe they encourage customers to bring their own boxes for take-out. Had full intentions to take some of the large portions to go but we couldn’t resist eating it all!
• As far as I know, the restaurant is still owned by spiritual guru Ching Hai, a rather glamorous and self-promoting guru with a hand in many enterprises. Personally, that’s not such a big issue for me – I haven’t come across anything horrific while reading about her. One of her beliefs is “Be Green, Go Veg, Save the Planet,” hence her many vegan restaurants around the world, including the Loving Hut.
• I’d like to see more info on whether they use organic ingredients – especially for soy-based items. I’d rather skip it if made from conventional soy, grown from neonic-coated seeds.
• Again, more info on the company would be helpful – they have no website.

Interested in writing green star reviews? If so, contact me! (greenstarsproject)

Pros: All Vegan menu, Very tasty food, Nice surroundings since they remodelled

Cons: Neighborhood may seem sketchy at first

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My favorite Asian restaurant - Edit

I've eaten at Golden Lotus twice in a day - I work near the restaurant and it's just that consistently good. It's my favorite Asian restaurant.

I recommend the lunch buffet - 3 or 4 items out of a selection of rice, noodles, veggies, eggplant, sweet potato curry, mushrooms, green beans. If you go there for dinner, their noodle soups are large and delicious. Basil Eggplant Tofu and Sweet Potato "Chicken" Curry are excellent with brown rice.

Pros: Great lunch buffet, Fast, consistent, and polite service, Food has delicious sauces and seasonings

Cons: Closes too early at night

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Very good place for lunch - Edit

Such a variety of mock meat dishes and soups. All have been delicious. Only downside is that many of the dishes are covered in high-calorie sauces. There's a reasonably-priced lunch buffet too. I prefer it to the menu because they tend to be healthier than the menu options. Your meat-eating friends will like this place.

Pros: Very tasty dishes, Lots of variety, Lunch buffet

Cons: A lot of the sauces are high fat and calorie.

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Chinese vegan - Edit

It is very nice to go to a chinese place without worrying about an egg or dairy in your meal, while normally it is not easy to achieve. The menu is very wide, with many options, salads, soups, noodles, fake meats, rices, clay pots, etc, at a very nice price. Everything I tried was delicious. Also the waiters was very attentive to us. I liked the cleanliness of the restaurant.The only thing I did not liked excesively is the presence of fake soy meat in almost every plate. It was hard to find a meal without "chicken", "beef", or ,"ham". More veggie-only options, please!

Pros: traditional chinese food, fast service, afffordable

Cons: fake meats

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Solid but slow - Edit

They were pretty good. Standard vegan Asian food. Potstickers and orange chicken were both very good. I would go again but the service was pretty slow. It was kinda busy but there were still open tables.

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Great Chinese vegan - Edit

Their yellow curry taro in clay pot is amazing. Their spring rolls are terrific too. Parking in this part of Oakland can be a challenge, but it's worth the trip.

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Awesome! - Edit

Love this place! Staff are nice, food is awesome, prices are reasonable. My favorite dish by far is the Potato Chicken Curry. So good.

Pros: awesome food, good variety of different Asian cuisines

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Delicious Food, crappy area - Edit

I love the Golden Lotus. The food is fabulous. Amazing mock meats, non-vegan friends love it, it's inexpensive, great desserts......downsides: the area isn't great, no alcohol is served and parking isn't always the best. The atmosphere in the restaurant is just so so, very casual. The food makes up for it though.

Pros: Amazing food, inexpensive, nice staff

Cons: crappy area, parking, no booze

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Surprisingly good faux meats - Edit

I am always a little wary of places with a lot of faux meat, because I am not looking for the taste of meat. The Golden Lotus has done some very nice dishes that are great in their own right without trying to replicate meat. Whenever I'm in Oakland I eat there, and I have always been pleased and a few times I have been delighted. Good value, pleasant staff.

Pros: Creative/delicious meat alternatives, Good value, Nice staff

Cons: Not much on atmosphere

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An enduring favorite - Edit

We have enjoyed hundreds of meals at Golden Lotus since 2001, and it continues to please.

The menu is diverse enough to have something for almost everyone, including some of the best faux-meat specials one can find as well as plenty of dishes with fresh, steamed, or stir-fried veggies. Brown rice is available.

Most of our favorites are listed under the specials (e.g. lemon grass chicken, curry chicken, tamarind beef, and many others), but there are also great picks among the less expensive items (e.g. vegetable chow fun and the soups and appetizers). The lunch specials are great value. For those with a sweet tooth, the vegan Thai iced tea (which can be ordered without ice) and the carrot cupcake (actually a proper carrot cake in the form of a largish cupcake) are nice additions.

The owners (originally from Vietnam) are kind and generous people and we're happy to see them still doing good business after all these years.

Pros: extensive menu with diverse options, both vegetable-oriented and faux-meat

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heavenly fake chicken - Edit

No matter what you order, all dishes are fresh, delicate, delicious and creative and cater to everyone's taste. Being a vegetarian all my life it was exciting to taste chicken and beef and knowing that it was not. We tried the Lotus salad, the Thai salad, the sauteed ginger chicken, the szechuan spicy beef, eggplant in basil sauce, caramelized chicken and sauteed garlic beef and many other things and all were delicious in their own way. And yes, we came back 5 times. Highly recommended!

Pros: gorgeous and surprising fake meat dishes, fresh and exotic salads, embarrassingly cheap

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Order From Menu - Edit

I'm from Seattle and look forward to eating at Golden Lotus when in Oakland. I've eaten there on at least five or six occasions over the years - usually for dinner. It's always been pretty good quality.

On a recent business trip, I invited a friend to join me for lunch and because we were in a bit of a hurry, we opted for the buffet.

I selected a three item plate consisting of the fried rice, eggplant and green beans with tofu. I was disappointed with the food and I wasn't able to finish my meal.

If you end up choosing Golden Lotus for lunch, I would suggest ordering from the menu since it looks like they don't put much effort into the buffet.

Pros: Affordable, Good Selection

Cons: Buffet Quality

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Great use of spices - Edit

I feel so satisfied after i eat here. The food feels lite but hearty and each dish has great balance in taste and texture. I only wish they'd make the coconut soup with less noodles and more veggies.

Pros: Variety of flavors, Hearty, Good value

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Good Food - Good Price - Edit

I went to the Golden Lotus with a co-worker since we're here in Oakland for work. I liked the variety of the food as well as atmosphere. Very simple, good prices. Overall I think it's a great little restaurant in downtown Oakland.

Pros: Excellent Food, Good value

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Delicious - Edit

Everything is good, but, if you arent familiar with there menu a few personal favorites would be:

All the apptzers are tasty.
Wonton Noodle Soup.

Garlic Beef; Marinated tender veg meat on a green lettuce salad with a vingerette.

Lamb Clay Pot; Mushroom steams and tofu in a savory brown sauce in a clay pot.

This is the original rest. there is as another one in SF. I prefer the food here to the branch in SF although the menu is the same. It is Asian cafe style seating; nothing fancy. Members of the'Supreme Master'LOL Suma Ching Hi cult. I try to over look it as their food is so good. At least they dont sell her personal items/used clothes or material at these restaurants.

Really delicious food but customer service is def lacking.

They are only one block away from the BART station so its easy if you are on public transport. They also offer validating car parking at a near by lot.

Pros: Delicious, Vegan, One block away from bart or parking lot

Cons: Poor service, Basic seating, Cult

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golden lotus - Edit

I love it great food good prices there lotus salad was great as well the lemon chicken
Updated from previous review on Saturday April 02, 2011
up date the food is great but i don't know what happened to the service the waitress is rude taken away my plate while i was still eating did not receive my full order had to remind the waitress several times to bring the other half of our order.PLEASE GOLDEN LOTUS PLEASE RETRAIN YOUR STAFF

Pros: healthy , fast, great food

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The Best Vietnamese Restaurant - Edit

I have been to Golden Lotus about 50 times and have even tried their sister restaurants in SF (Golden Era) and Santa Clara (Merit Vegetarian). They are all fantastic.

First of all, resist the temptation of eating at the "buffet" bar. This food is just mediocre. If you tried the food there you'd think I was nuts.

You have to start with the spring rolls. They are uncooked rice paper rolls with veggies and tofu. Best ever! If you want a fried option, the pot stickers are fantastic with the ginger sauce.

I've tried many of the items on the menu, but nothing is close to the caramelized beef. It is the best mock meet I have ever eaten. The teriyaki chicken is very close and comes on a bead of spinach and a rich sauce. The beef salad is a great dish that has you filling lettuce with a mock meat, mint and a delicious sauce. We also like to eat the garlic beef but it is a little greasy.

The spicy (not) noodle soup is great as lunch or to share with friends. If you don't mind the grease the spicy Thai rice is very good.

The only shortcomming that Golden Lotus has is that they only have 2 desserts and neither is very good. Since the food is so good, I never miss the dessert.


Pros: Caramelized Chicken, Sprint Rools, Spicy Noodle Soup

Cons: Dessert

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Mouth-watering Creations - Edit

Our vegan knowledgeable family had several dishes from Golden Lotus waiting on us when we arrived in town. Beef & Broccoli, Carmalized Chicken, & Vegetable Chicken Black Bean (which I personally did not care for), all with brown rice. With the exception of the last dish, they were quite delicious! If I had more time in the city I would definitely have gone back to try more entrees.

Pros: Tasty vegan options

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Quick and tasty - Edit

I got a tasty to-go order from here a few months ago. It was a bean and tofu dish and it was tasty and huge. I called in my order ahead of time but it looked the service was quick for walk-in customers as well. I need to check this place out again, but I liked it.

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Good selection - Edit

I enjoyed this place. The flavor rating was a thumbs up. The serving size was so-so. Not too bad not too great. I finished mine with ease and was still hungry but my girlfriend had to get her leftovers to go.
Pricing was standard

Pros: Flavor

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great - Edit

I would never recommend going to Oaklad. But if you ever find yourself there, as we all have. Go to Golden Lotus. You won't be disappointed.

Pros: great food

Cons: in oakland

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I {heart} Golden Lotus!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - Edit

yum. everything I have had there is AMAZING. my faves are the carmelized chicken, beef w/ Chinese broccoli, & Chicken salad. my kid loves the chow mein. their Thai iced tea is delish. I'd give this place a hundred more stars & "pros" if I could!

Pros: lots of fresh veggies!, light & yummy sauces!, affordable

Cons: uneven service, sketchy area @ night, bad parking during the day

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Please Read This - Edit

I've been eating here for over 7 years. The food is soo good I have to constantly forgive them for putting onions in my food more than 60% of the time.... Don't care having to pull out onions... the food is fantastic.

But: Just ordered take out.. on top of my chow fun dish was a couple of semi-twisted metal splinters/shavings. Took it back to them to make sure I can help them find the problem, so it won't happen to anyone else. The manager took one look at the metal and knew exactly where/how/why they got into my food. The noodle area has a fan that once in a while flings them out, this is what she told me.

She offered to make me a new one.

No i don't want another meal from you.
No i don't want a refund.
No, i will not sue you... the world is too "sue Happy".

Yes, i lost all trust in you and will not eat your food ever again... bummer because i love your food.

Yes, i contacted the alameda health department to send an inspector to you... so you will be forced to fix the problem that "happens every so often". Because apparently it's not important enough to you to fix.

Yes, you are very, very lucky my wife or little daughter did not get hurt from your lack of caring!

After they told me about this "repeating incident", i just had to walk out. No need to start screaming at them to make them feel guilty... when in reality they don't seem to care enough about it.

Honestly... i enjoy their food so much, i would of probably forgiven them.... if i didn't have a daughter. If i didn't catch it... she might of been the one to gobble it down. And to think of what that would of done to her... wow.

I will keep in contact with the health department, to make sure the physical problem is fixed. So others can safely eat there. Especially those that will never know what happened. But never again for me, as for you, at least you can make an informed decision now.

Thank you for your time.

Pros: tastes great

Cons: tastes like metal sometimes., Lack of caring about our safety., Forgets about not adding onions

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