CLOSED: Govinda's Gourmet

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 11 reviews )


215-545 5452

1505 South St (at corner of Broad St), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 19146

Govinda's To-Go Cafe is a vegan friendly, sit-down dining place. Features a nearly all vegan menu (2 non-vegan dishes) with Asian and American regional influences and a vegan Indian food buffet. Confirmed open Feb. 2014, just enter through the to-go side due to construction. CONFIRMED CLOSED, JAN 2017.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, American, Indian, Asian, Vedic

11 Reviews

First Review by will-travel-for-food

Great Vegan Food. - Edit

I've eaten at Govinda's Cafe afew times and each it was a real treat. I loved the vegan philly cheese steak and the cheese cake out of this world. I've dine these as well and I really enjoyed the buffet, I found the prices very reasonable and the waiter was wonderful.

Pros: great food, good value, friendly staff

Cons: Had to a little to long.

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Go for the buffet! - Edit

I've been to Govinda's a few times and have always liked what I've gotten. The all you can eat buffet is the best deal you can get, and if you can eat you can get your money's worth. The last time I was there about 5 months ago, my girlfriend and I got an amazing pumpkin cake for dessert and we still talk about how good it was to this day. I tried calling the number listed on here and it seems to be wrong the person who answered they number provided gave me another number to call which was only a voicemail.

Pros: buffet

Cons: expensive

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Terrible Veg Food - Edit

This restaurant is supposed to be a hare krishna restaurant which are generally very good. The idea is that vegetarian hare krishna devotees cook the food and offer it to God, a very sanctified process. This restauraunt has neither devotees cooking or only vegetarians for that matter. How is a non veg really going to appreciate veg food? So the food is NOT sanctified like they claim which is a real insult to the Govindas model worldwide. A lot of the food is not vegan either. The shrimp has whey protien and the steak is not vegan as well. The condiments have onions and garlic which are ok to most, but forbidden by hare krishnas. The staff is generally unclean, the restaurant is dirty and I once saw the owner walking around with no shoes exposing his knarly feet.

The food is skimpy, over priced and not homemade in the sense that they buy the bread, the fake meat, the cheeses. You could easily make it yourself for a much better price and quality.It is also incredibly slow and the staff are not that nice. I heard that some of the entrees, like the sweet and sour, are made in large quantities and frozed in spackel buckets! $20 for this? They should really try to get back to their Krishna roots of high quality food made from scratch and cooked by devotees with love and devotion. This seems to be a real spiritual secret to success and something that has made krishna restaurants famous around the world.

Pros: vegetarian

Cons: pretty much everything

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Not very vegan - Edit

The pepper steak is not vegan. They claimed the steak was vegan for a long time, and when one of the workers who actually cares about veganism read the ingredients of the package of "chicken" for the pepper steak, the ingredients contained non-vegan ingredients.
The pepper steak is NOT vegan. When they get shipments of vegan "steak" for the pepper steak, they never continue the same product. They frequently receive shipments of non-vegan "steak" products and serve them in sandwiches, not stating that they are in fact, not vegan.
The workers could care less about veganism, which is a problem only because they won't try to separate the vegan from non-vegan food.
They're always out of bread.
They charge too much for a dinky sandwich. It isn't even vegan!

Pros: kind of tasty

Cons: expensive, small portions, not vegan

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Vegan not-so friendly. - Edit

For 8ish years Govindas has been serving "Pepper Steak" sandwiches and claiming them to be vegan. About 5 months ago they were caught and it turns out that in fact the steak used (NOT the same as the chicken cheese steak) is not vegan. The owner claimed he had no idea. If he doesn't know enough about veganism to read the ingridients of his own food, he shouldn't be serving it.

For a month after that the cafe got another steak substance and when a customer would ask for vegan cheese, they would give them the vegan alternative. after that ran out, they went straight back to using the non vegan steak and not saying anything to their customers. one of very few workers there who actually cares about veganism finally put up on the sign that the pepper steak is in fact not vegan.

Govindas is overrated and really expensive, and it sucks being lied to about your food.

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NOT entirely vegan, and not the best - Edit

At the restaurant, there are definitely dairy dishes. A couple of them are excellent, others are mediocre. Go to Mi Lah or Horizons instead. Muuuch better.

At Govinda's To Go (next door), the employees don't wash their hands - touch hair, touch food, touch money, touch food. Gross. Also, $3.25 for a vegan donut?? I only ate their once, but with no a/c in the summer, it looked like the cook was sweating into my food. I feel more comfortable eating from Gianna's.

Pros: vegan options

Cons: cleanliness, value for price

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c'mon - Edit

Vegan Philly Cheese steaks...what else could you want?! How about a selection of sandwiches, salads, soups, vegan cakes, desserts and ice cream? 'Chicken' Salsa Soup is a must try. Every time I go here I want to try something new, but in the end the cheese steak is #1. The staff is so friendly and inviting. Seating is limited, but it the food tastes just as good as take out (you can call ahead, and they deliver too!). AND across the street from the Lombard/South stop on the Broad St. line, SO easy to get to!

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Great Vegan Food, but Not Worth the Price... - Edit

Went to Govinda's last night with high expectations. It was definitely not a total bust, but if you're thinking about going there, you might want to check out Horizons instead. Everyone in our party agreed that Govinda's was nowhere near the quality of Horizons, even though the prices were about the same.

[For what it's worth, I have been vegetarian for 14 years and have experience as a cook in an Asian restaurant, so I have worked with tofu, seitan, and other mock meats in a professional environment.]

At Govinda's...

1) It was $17-19 per entree and $6-9 per appetizer. Almost all of these had some sort of mock meat (chicken, shrimp, beef, duck). These all obviously come from Asian mock meat manufacturers because I've seen the exact same thing in other restaurants and in the frozen section at Asian food stores. Not exactly original.

2) The sauces and side dishes were fairly bland. My mock duck was supposed to have some sort of peanut ginger sauce, but I could taste neither of those two ingredients. A friend also ordered the same dish and she thought it had a weird aftertaste and too much of a smoky flavor (I agree). The sweet potato and chard that came with the duck was also bland and had a very bizarre flavor.

3) If you're going here for upscale vegetarian food, and you don't like mock meat, find somewhere else. One vegan in our group got a shrimp dish and thought that it tasted too much like real shrimp (it did), and he couldn't finish it. Of course, if you're trying to impress some meat eaters, this might be the place.

The verdict?

I can't highly recommend Govinda's because A) For the same price, I can find much better food elsewhere (see Horizons) and B) I can find similar quality food for a cheaper price elsewhere (see Kingdom of Vegetarians).

Pros: nice atmosphere, decent food, good portions

Cons: expensive, low value, slow-ish service

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Delicious and satisfying - Edit

Everything that was served to us was beautifully presented and delicious. I took three non-vegetarian friends and we were all more than happy with what we were served. The entrees had nice, large portions and exquisite tastes and textures. The appetizers were flavorful and a wonderful build up to our meals. The cakes at the end of our meals were delicious, especially the vegan cheesecake!

The restaurant was comfortable and not crowded. Our waiter was nice and charming. The food was out in a reasonably timely manner. We were all pleased with the experience! I'll definitely go again, and recommend it to others.

The cafe is right next to Gourmet to Go. I think a lot of the reviews here are for Gourmet to go. Govinda's Cafe is just a little bit up the street. Ask the people in Gourmet to Go, they were very helpful in finding it.

Pros: excellent food, friendly staff, intimate atmosphere

Cons: a little confusing to find

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Nice Place - Edit

It was practically empty when I went which makes me think that maybe other people were as confused as I had previously been about where exactly the Govinda's cafe dining room was. You have to go UPSTAIRS for Govinda's cafe. It's a little confusing because there's another seated table area to the right on the South street side of Govinda's fast-food restaurant "Gourmet to go" that looks completely different than the Gourmet to go area but that's NOT the dining room for Govinda's cafe.
If you do manage to get to the actual restaurant, it's really nice--warm lighting, nice decor, etc. The appetizers we ordered were excellent. The entrees were good too, it's just that they're mostly all mock meat and I'm not really into fake meat; I prefer my veggies and lentil type dishes.

Pros: Great food, Friendly service

Cons: Difficult to find, too much mock meat

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Okay for mock-meats, but pricey + slow - Edit

If you are into the mock-meat thing, this place would be alright. Almost all of the dishes are centered on some mock meat (fake shrimp, fake chicken, etc.), so it's not the healthiest food in the world. Also, when we went, getting our meal took FOREVER. They did bring us free pappadums to hold us over, but it didn't help much after 30 minutes of more waiting. Also, the prices are higher than they should be for this type of food.

Pros: Central location, Pretty inside

Cons: Too much mock meat, Too expensive, Very slow service

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