HappyCow is loading...

ION - It's Only Natural Restaurant

  • Vegan
    ( 27 reviews )
Contact 860-346-9210

606 Main St, Middletown, Connecticut, USA, 06457

Vegetarian turned vegan restaurant, established 1987. ION offers a breakfast as well lunch/dinner menu, plus juices, smoothies, whole vegan cakes to take home, and fresh baked bread. Weekly and daily specials. Hosts workshops on organic gardening, raw food demo, and cooking. Re-opened here Sept 2013 after move from 386 Main St.

Category: Vegan, American, Pizza, Juice bar, Beer/Wine, Take-out, Bakery

Reviews (27)

First Review by jessicataylor

Amazing food, but poor service - Edit

Let me start off by saying that the menu selection and the food here is outstanding. In that aspect, it's a vegan's paradise in this area! However, my overall experience wasn't great due to the poor service. When my boyfriend and I walked in we weren't greeted, and we weren't sure if it was seat yourself or if we should wait for a host. The staff just stood behind the bar and stared at us, so we took a seat. It wasn't a very welcoming environment, at least the time we went. Additionally, the group sitting by us were smoking! Is this allowed? It really put a damper on our experience. I probably won't be back to dine here again, however I will most definitely get takeout!

Pros: Delicious food, Superb menu selection , Large portions

Cons: Smoking allowed, Poor service, Not inviting

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

satisfied customer - Edit

So glad I found this vegan spot.Will deffinetly go with my best friend when I visit Connecticut again .Staff very friendly and food delish!!!

Pros: best vegan restaurant in ct so far :)

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

three decades of change - Edit

Opened in 1987, ION is an enduring classic, a true survivor, and a beacon of vegan cuisine during most of its three decades long legacy. As a faithful patron since 1988, I have observed ION undergo many transformations.

It evolved into ION 8.0 in September 2013 when it relocated a few blocks north up Main Street, eerily close to its original location from which it had moved 15 years earlier. ION downsized both its menu and its space. I’m thankful that ION adapted, but lament the loss of most of my favorite dishes. The new space is cozy and sunny. The new plush seats are really comfy, almost like living room sofas, a welcomed upgrade from the narrow rickety wooden chairs of that of many other veg restaurants.

One very heartening change which I hail is its decision soon after its move to dump cow cheese as one of its three cheese options, which it had offered for ten years. So now ION 8.5 has reclaimed its legacy as a truly vegan restaurant.

Early in 2014, it incarnated into ION 9.0 when the menu changed to fit the specialties of its new chef, rather than the new chef adapting to the specialties of the restaurant. ION rewrote a new and slimmer menu, yet again. Some savory entrées and apps added just a year earlier were edged out. Only the wine and beer list had lengthened, of no interest to me. The newly truncated menu tended toward spicy Tex-Mex, unfortunately for me not among my favorite ethnic cuisines. Its once high nutritional standards had descended a few notches. Many of the dishes were pan-fried or deep-fried, highly refined tofu and overly processed seitan had edged out more wholesome tempeh. There was not much choice outside of fried foods and Tex-Mex and tofu and seitan.

In 2016, ION changed yet again and ascended into a divine ION 10.0, this latest incarnation now full-circle upon the part-time return of masterful head chef Ken Bergeron. Oldsters such as myself will remember Ken as the founder of ION when it debuted in 1987. Ken has migrated the menu out of Texas and Mexico and into Europe and Asia and back into New England.

If you were disappointed with ION in the recent past, do give it another try, because ION has reclaimed its legacy as a stellar vegan restaurant.

Pros: the all vegan cuisine, comfy seating and interior, Ken Bergeron

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great dining experience - Edit

My non-vegan friend took me and my husband (both vegans) here for lunch on Saturday while visiting the area. It's a beautiful establishment, very clean and "zen" inside. The menu was wonderful, with delicious options. We tried the nachos, pirogies, "enchalade", buffalo tofu wrap, and two of the desserts. Everything tasted great! Service has pleasant and prompt. The prices were a bit higher than comparable vegan restaurants in NYC, but nothing crazy. Definitely recommend.

Pros: Variety , Desserts

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Happy Belly - Edit

The buffalo tofu wrap is my favorite...well or maybe the southern fried tofu. I can't decide! The food is great, they give you good portions for the price and you can't help but try to eat it all in one sitting. I'm always walking out of there with a very full but happy belly. Oh and the fries, so good! Drool.

Pros: Buffalo Tofu, Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Options, Handmade!

Cons: Price

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

disappointing - Edit

This restaurant has gone DOWNHILL from the original owners. It no longer offers the vegan options it used to. Very disappointing. I would not recommend wasting your time!

Pros: not many

Cons: few vegan options, no raw options

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

my favorite!! - Edit

I love love love this place! The atmosphere is very earthy & relaxed, while the food is very much alive with flavor. ION offers many more gluten free options now which I love. I'm vegan while some of my friends are full on meat eaters & they love this place just as much as I do. I recommend this heavenly place to everyone

Pros: 100% vegan , atomosphere , location

Cons: parking can be difficult

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms


This is my favorite place. The food is delicious. I've even taken non-vegans there and they thought the food was delicious. Definitely one of the coolest vegan joints I've been to.

Pros: Food tastes amazing, always new menu options, you can even eat outside

Cons: a bit pricy

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Fair - Edit

I'm vegan and a few years ago I used to love this place. Then they got really bad (one of the former owners now runs GZen, which is much better). Despite the bad service and food -- including a particularly poor valentines night -- I seem to just keep giving them one more chance. Not a fan of the new location; noisy and I have left with my clothes smelling of grease. Went very recently to try out the new chef, but most of their menu seems unchanged, and it still seems like the only good food is deep fried; not what I want. Deep fried tofu is delicious, but where are the healthy choices offered by places like Six Main? For what they charge at IoN, I struggle to find positives. I want so badly for this place to be good again, but it's not that way yet. The Tibetan place a few doors down has better food for much less $$

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

It's a whole new place - Edit

I have seen and do not understand the less than stellar reviews about this place. The restaurant relocated down the street from its former location last year, and had kind of a soft re-opening (sparce decor, limited menu items... I agree that was a bummer). However, every time I have been there since, the decor and atmosphere has improved in some way. It's a wonderful setting now, comfortable and inviting.

But let's talk about the food! They also updated their menu, adding new, creative things to their existing popular menu items. I have eaten here probably 20 times, with vegetarians, meat eaters and vegans alike, and everyone has always loved whatever meal they ordered. I find the food to be innovative and delicious, and very reasonably priced. I also have always had good experience with the service.

If you've tried it and didn't like it, do yourself a favor and try again.

Pros: creative tasty food, good atmosphere, good value

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

slow service - Edit

We went as a table of 4. A vegan, a vegetarian, a meat eater and one who eats gluten free. The restaurant only had a few occupied tables, but the service was very slow. There were quite a few ingredients they didn't have, making the gluten free choices almost nonexistent. The wait for the food was way too long.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Fun place, decent food - Edit

For a few years, ION was my favorite veg/vegan restaurant. I love the laid-back and funky atmosphere, the holidays lights hung around the windows and then piled into glass jars on the windowsill, the chalkboard-top tables for my kids, the fun things to look at while dining on the deck, and all of the various artwork from local artists. I enjoyed the food for the longest time too. But then Six Main in Chester opened and I now view ION's food as veg/vegan "fast food". I still love being at ION, but I don't enjoy the food like I used to. I would consider the waitstaff to be polite, but quiet & reserved. Sometimes the service can be slow, but it has been rare in my experiences.

Pros: casual & funky atmosphere

Cons: veg/vegan "fast food"

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

It's Only Okay - Edit

I feel kind of bad for all the people who LOVE ION Restaurant. It's really only pretty decent at best. You can get better. The idea is great, and most of the food is decent, and the desserts are pretty good but it just isn't the best. They rarely add anything exciting to or change the menu, food quality is irregular, service is generally slow and inept, they run out of a lot of things quickly and the prices are too much for the quantity and the quality that you get. If you want something amazing, try Six Main in Chester or GZen in Branford. I live in Middletown but would rather make the trek to either of those restaurants than go to ION. My whole family pretty much avoids it at this point, just because of all the bad experiences. I don't mind it if I'm going with someone who isn't vegetarian or if I have extra money to burn but mostly we go elsewhere. If you do go there, try the nachoes with vegan parmesan, the sweet potato fries and/or the ION burger and make sure to get a dessert.

Pros: central location, good desserts, okay food

Cons: slow, inconsistent service, food quality is irregular, too expensive for quality & quanity

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Clean Me - Edit

I am always thrilled to be able to eat out, difficult with food allergies and diet restrictions for both my husband and I. This is a cute place, a good selection of food. I enjoyed my meal (I had an enchilada), however my husband who had a stir-fry got a bad stomachache after leaving. My big and serious gripe is this place is FILTHY!!! The floors look like they get swept once a month and have never been mopped. The bottoms of the tables (that is very visible) are full of dirt from peoples shoe and dust. We saw two huge flies flying around (in February) and the bathroom...do not go in until AFTER you eat. My thought is it's always much worse where customers cannot see - like in the kitchen. I will never go to this place again - this is unfortunate because I am a vegetarian that tries to only eat organic food - so my options are very limited. Oh, and I saw someone who works there lick her fingers and blow her nose and not wash her hands after. :-(

Pros: great concept, cute place, good selection

Cons: filthy, sweep and mop the floor, clean the bathroom!

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Best Veg Restaurant in CT - Edit

My wife & I may not have tried every single veg restaurant in CT, but we HAVE tried many of them, and this one gets our vote as BEST. Yes, there are some great restaurants in New Haven, but this one is in Middletown-- far from city noise & traffic, but at the same time, not way off "in the boondocks", either. It's almost completely vegan, and everything we've ever had (we've been there multiple times) has been creative and outstanding. Actually, we're glad that it's more than an hour from home, otherwise we'd be in there weekly, if not more often! If you're going to be in central CT, you GOTTA try this place! You're certainly not going to do any better in Hartford!

Pros: Great food, Reasonable pricing, Nice environment

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Worth a visit - Edit

I have been here a few times and I have really enjoyed my food each time. ION has a nice atmosphere and outdoor seating options in the warm weather.

Pros: Good food, Quick service

Cons: A bit pricey

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Best Veg restaurant in CT? - Edit

The food here is inventive and delicious. I've tried the cajun tempeh, tempeh 'crab' cakes and the pierogies, all of which were great. The vegan cakes are good too, moist and rich. I'm not sure if all of the menu items are vegan, but most of them seem to be.

The main drawbacks are the cost (something like $20 a meal, if I remember correctly) and the fact that it's about an hour from my house.

Pros: Delicious, Nice Atmosphere

Cons: Expensive

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

I will return! - Edit

Located about 20 minutes outside Hartford, CT, It's Only Natural, or ION, is well worth leaving the city. ION really is located on Main Street USA, a condensed strip of stores, restaurants, entertainment, and slanted parking on the street. The restaurant itself is located inside a small mall of cultured stores and eateries. The entire menu is vegan, except for the cheddar cheese, which the kind and welcoming Hostess made sure I was aware.
I ordered my food to go, so I can not speak on the waiter service, but the seated area looked very comfortable. Broadly appropriate for a first date or family outing. And it appeared to be clean and sanitary, I even went to the bathroom. Always check the bathroom. If the bathroom is not clean, you don't even want to see the kitchen. Not only did I get dessert here, but I also tried the Vegetable Pizza Rustica. Talk about delicious. I would return here any day, rather I was vegan or not, good food is good food.

Ion's wheat-free, nut-free, dairy-free version of cheesecake. Before I start, I must say that the crust makes this pie. It was so good. On first bite, the Teasecake had a caramel undertone, but as I went on, I got a tofu taste and texture. It also came with a sauce. It looked like a thin caramel, and with the caramel undertone in the Teasecake, that is what I expected. But it was some orange-ness that I only had to taste once to know that I did not want to taste it again.
I got through about half of it before I was tired of it. I also allowed my non-vegan boyfriend to try it. He hated it and that totally ruined my motivation to imagine that is was "cheesecake". Even though this dessert did not turn out to be a ten in my book, I would have no reservation about returning to try any of the other desserts at Ion. Great restaurant.

Pros: Pizza

Cons: Teasecake

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Fantastic! - Edit

This is just an amazing place. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is wonderful. The sweet potato fries are the best I've ever had. The deserts are, in my opinion, the best part. Nowhere else has come close to the awesomeness of their Teasecake! Highly recommended.

Pros: Great service, Great deserts

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Best Gourmet Restaurant in CT - Edit

ION is the best gourmet restaurant in CT, if not one of the best in the US, and not just for vegetarians and vegans, but for anyone who enjoys fresh, local, creative meals. I love ordering off of the daily specials menu- there are some unique items that come around depending on the season. Also, if you love breakfast, you must try the Sunday brunch menu items. The atmosphere is very unique inside- there are always different local artists' work on display (and for sale). Also, in warmer weather you can be seated outside. This isn't really a place you'd take kids to- I think it has a great adult atmosphere. You definitely get what you pay for, and each penny spent at ION is well worth it!

Pros: Artistic meal presentation, Amazingly delicious fresh local food, Funky atmosphere

Cons: Serving staff can be bland

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

The best vegetarian restaurant in CT - Edit

It's Only Natural (ION) is by far the best vegetarian restaurant in CT. My family lives in CT and I make it a point to go there every time I'm home. The vegan perogies are delicious and the service has never been bad even during rush hour.

I just found out that they have a vegan cooking class and I want to take that!

Pros: delicious food, service, environment

Cons: small portions, location

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Fantastic restaurant - Edit

I love this restaurant. There is such a large variety and selection of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu. Most vegetarian options on the menu they can also make as a vegan dish instead. The food is fresh and delicious. It is a very relaxed atmosphere and the staff are always friendly. I just wish it was closer to my home.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

One of the best in Connecticut - Edit

This is the place that introduced me to the idea of being vegan. Before i was even considering being vegetarian i tried and loved this place. For years i was vegetarian and my family made this place our go to restaurant for special occasions and weekend outings. Now i've been vegan for about a year and it feels so great to have such a wonderful restaurant smack in the middle of our state. The southern fried tofu, the sweet potato fries and the cali melt are all worth the trip.

Also the desserts. They are great. You are missing out if you have not had them.

Pros: Southern Fried Tofu, Desserts, Classy Joint

Cons: Understandably a little expensive., Menu could use a little shaking up.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

It's Only Delish! - Edit

My review for It's Only Natural is long overdue. My wife and I have been enjoying this restaurant for over 20 years and its quality has always been excellent. It's got an award-winning vegan chef and mostly vegan choices all beautifully presented and very delicious. There are comforting staples here we always crave: sweet potato French fries with smoky ketchup, Cajun tempeh cutlets with red pepper sauce, and their famous carrot spread with homemade bread. (The tempeh cutlets come as strips when topping the delcious "Caesar" salad.) The soups are out of this world and can be a meal in themselves with bread. We are especially fond of the cauliflower bisque with diced apples. And I vow never to leave this fantastic restaurant without ordering the teasecake -- a dairy-free cheesecake. Sometimes it's flavored and, when it isn't, they'll artfully drizzle a ymmuy raspberry sauce on the plate. The servers are very friendly and knowledgeable. And during the warmer weather, we enjoy eating outside on the deck. We recommend It's Only Natural.

Pros: mostly vegan, delicious, artful presentations

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Among best places for vegan food in New England - Edit

My husband and I made an excursion to ION on our way to Gillette Castle. Our lunch was one of the best vegan meals we've ever had out at a restaurant! We stuffed ourselves silly in order to try as many things on the menu as possible. Check out the photos I've uploaded. To start off, we split the tempeh crab cakes and a portabello pizza. Both were delicious: great flavors and textures, fresh ingredients, and colorful, creative presentation. For our entrees, we each ordered the vegan pierogies. Delicious! They were just as good, if not better, than the vegan pierogies available at Duck Soup in Hamden, CT. We ended our meal by splitting the special dessert, which was an apple-pear tart. Again, it was tasty and lovely. Our waitress was very nice, and she refilled our water glasses constantly. As someone who loves food very much and is critical of many vegan offerings at restaurants, I can wholeheartedly recommend It's Only Natural. I can't praise it enough, and we are looking for reasons to go back to Middletown -- just so that we can eat at ION again. I can't wait until the ION cookbook comes back into print!

Pros: exceptional food, great staff, nice decor

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms


I have been to its only natural restaurant 3 times in the past few months. I live over a hour away so I won't be able to go there as much as I would like. The workers are so nice and polite. The service is fast. There are so many exciting choices on the menu. I realy love the german chocolate cake, it is so moist and delicious, the cake is served on a plate with raspberry sauce. The carrot ginger salad dressing is the best dressing I have ever had in my life. My friend and I shared the hummus platter with vegetables which is so delicious also. The bread is fresh baked and soft with carrot miso spread. I realy wish I could go there everyday! I plan on going agian next week. I can't wait to get the german chocolate cake again. I plan on trying the taco salad next.


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Link to this page from your site. .
Return to Middletown Vegetarian Restaurants & Health Food Store Listings
Business Owners, if you see an unfair review, read this.
Why was my review removed? - details
Reviews are not endorsed by HappyCow - review terms
Has ION - It's Only Natural Restaurant closed, shut down, moved, or changed? Please use the Update Form.
This page has been viewed 4656 times since Aug 2007.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now