Life Alive Organic Cafe

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 30 reviews )

765 Massachusetts Ave (at Central Square), Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, 02139

One of few locations. Vegetarian restaurant offering fresh juices, smoothies, wraps, and dishes with tofu and quinoa, wraps. Also sells natural products. Sometimes referred to as Urban Oasis. Open Mon-Sat 8:00am-11:00pm, Sun 10:00am-10:00pm.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, American, Organic, Juice bar, Take-out, Fusion

30 Reviews

First Review by m.sun

Great restaurant - eat and out - Edit

Over the last year, I have eaten at Life Alive on average one to two times a week. It is great.

Pros: Healthy vegan food, Cozy eating quarters , Quick service

Cons: Quality of bowls can vary with change of staff

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Packed on a Monday Evening! - Edit

If a restaurant is this crowded on a Monday evening, they must be doing something right. Well, it turns out they do many things right. We decided on salad, soup, and sundaes, and everything was scrumptious! The staff is helpful and friendly, the portions are good for the price, and there is an abundance of wonderful options. Give it a try… or two!

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Good Food! Rude Staff :( - Edit

Visiting from out of town, this restaurant looked very interesting so my partner and I decided to check it out. We ordered the miso udon soup, Elvis smoothie, juice, kombucha and truffles because why not try it all, right? The truffles were incredible! Matcha and cinnamon paired really well with the dark chocolate. The miso udon was very good as well, though the broccoli was somewhere on the mushy spectrum. Kombucha was good, along with the juice and smoothie - very standard and worthy of a 3.5-*4* on food alone.

The service, unfortunately, was very sub par. My partner decided to get another kombucha and wanted to try the corn so she went up to order at the counter and the staff was having a conversation. They looked at her and continued to converse for another 3 full minutes before breaking to walk to the register, without so much as a hello, sorry or any acknowledgement. She told me about this when she sat down and I didn't understand - something must be missing I thought. Soon enough, the same person that ignored her came to our table to drop off the plate without any greeting, just dropped it and headed back immediately without acknowledgement again.
--I understand people shouldn't be expected to always be in the mood to work but I couldn't help but feel like it wasn't worth the effort to come here again after that. The food is good but I'm not interested in going somewhere unfriendly where I don't feel welcome.

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my favorite vegan spot in Boston area - Edit

I have been vegan for almost 6 years, and I have tried most vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants in the Boston area. This is my favorite one, and I have eaten there many dozens of times. The menu is mostly vegan (a few items have eggs). The food is fresh, healthy, and delicious, and for that reason I give Life Alive 5 stars. While this spot has its charms, it can also be a challenge to find seating when it gets busy. And it can get very busy at peak times. I recommend sitting downstairs as it's not as loud and crowded.

Pros: delicious food, organic, fresh, healthy, generous portions

Cons: awkward physical space, gets very loud and crowded at peak times, seating is a challenge at peak times

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Go-to Veg Hub - Edit

Loads of delicious, healthy options, friendly staff, and cool atmosphere. I would highly recommend this restaurant!

Pros: Tasty, Friendly staff, Cool Atmosphere

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excellent vegetarian choices - Edit

Great menu with wraps, bowls, smoothies, and more. We had warrior salad bowls and were very pleased - fresh and tasty.

There was ample room to sit in the basement level - in a cafe-type informal setting.

While we had no trouble at all ordering vegan, we wish they would take the next step to go entirely plant-based.

Pros: delicious , fair pricing , many options

Cons: not 100% vegan :(

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Good bowls, not relaxing atmosphere - Edit

We got the Green Goddess and The Fool. The Fool was a noodle bowl with shitakes and tofu that was pretty good. The Green Goddess was exceptional. Really great flavors.

The atmosphere is pretty crunchy/hippie/etc. Having been vegan for a while, I've enjoyed my share of places with hippie vibes, but something about this place felt a bit off to me. I found the aesthetics to be a bit busy and in-your-face (like if Portlandia envisioned a yoga studio?). That, plus the long queue, large crowd, and cramped quarters led to a less-than-relaxing atmosphere - this was all the more notable given its stark contrast with the "urban oasis" and "soulful, therapeutic" experience they pride themselves on.

That said, I know that aesthetics are a matter of personal preference, so you should see for yourself. Personally, I wasn't feeling the vibe, but the food was really good.

Pros: Good bowls

Cons: Busy, long lines, Not relaxing atmosphere

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macro & more - Edit

Full on hippy menu of macrobiotic organic salads that can also be wrapped. Predictably busy at lunchtime. In-house eating areas include a grungy dungeon complete with purple ceiling. Maaaan.

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Awesome location, space and food - Edit

Life Alive has a great atmosphere. Everyone is friendly and it's so comfortable to hang out and eat and talk. The food is all fresh and flavorful. My only negative is that the portion sizes are a little on the small side. Most people I go there with have no complaints about the sizes though, I just eat a ton of food. Love this place and will keep going back.

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Missing Cambridge - Edit

This review is hard to write because I am on the opposite side of the country to this amazing place. You basically build your own vegan beautiful creation and watch the amazing people behind the counter make it. Huge portions and delicious juice as well.

Pros: Huge portions, Customization , Delicious

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Creative and nice - Edit

Many interesting sounding and tasty dishes. Very nice "hipster" place and lively environment.

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Urban Oasis - Edit

I hooked up with health food activist Hanna in Cambridge while enjoying pure vegan grub at Life Alive with fellow Fit Father Kyle Ay. Thanks to Jeff Cutler for the recommendation we were able to enjoy the purity of their smoothies, wraps, salads and bowls with the uttermost satisfaction. Featuring an upstairs and downstairs this happening veggie spot is the place to be for the urban elite. I went with the Green Goddess consisting of Kale, onions, avocado, onions, tofu.

Pros: clean foods

Cons: none

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Vegan/Vegetarian Heaven! - Edit

A few weeks ago in Boston, my mom and I were walking around the Harvard Campus and Harvard Square, and we decided to go to Life Alive since we had been dying to try it for a very long time.

It was about 1:30-2:00 PM when we arrived, so the wait was not long at all; we ordered at the counter right after finding a place to sit.
I asked for The Explorer salad in a wrap, my mom got The Goddess bowl with brown rice and both tofu and sprouted legumes. We each also ordered a Jive Alive juice.
I love that they offer two sizes for the bowls, so you can choose depending on how hungry you are.
The staff were friendly and quick to list off the ingredients of their food, and were fine when I asked for a few substitutions.

It was about 5-10 minutes until we received our juice in these adorable glass mason jars with a straw. Another 5-10 minutes passed before we got our food- my wrap came first (probably because it was not a warm/cooked meal), then the bowl a few minutes later.

I don't know what their secret is, but that hummus was absolutely amazing! There was not too much or too little, and the entire thing was just so tasty.
I had a few bites of The Goddess bowl as well, which did not disappoint in the least. It was nice and warm (like the menu suggests), and wasn't allowed to get cold before it was served to us.
The next night I looked up a copy-cat recipe for the Nama Shoyu sauce and made a version of The Goddess haha!

The Jive Alive juice was a perfect addition to our meal. It felt cleansing, refreshing, and energizing. I could tell the veggies & greens that had been used were truly fresh and crisp.

I also really like how the produce that is used is right up front behind the counter.

Overall, I rate this place 5 stars easily, and would eat here practically every week if I lived closer!

Pros: Food!!, Friendly and helpful staff, Perfect portion sizes

Cons: May be hard to find a place to sit

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Best Veg*n Food Ever! - Edit

I am lucky I live just a mile away from this gem. For the first three years I lived here I just walked last it because it just looked wayyy too hippy for me. After so many of my non-veg friends recommended Life Alive, I knew I had to try it.

For your first time visiting, just order any of the items. They all sound really weird and you may not know the ingredients but try something out. The Adventurer is my go to dish if you like garlic but The Swami is often what I order because it fills you up well and has a beautiful curry taste. You can add any mix-in at a modest price to tailor any meal to your liking. The free homemade hot sauce is an amazing and will help transform your meals (be careful as it can sneak up on you).

For smoothies I highly recommend the Carrot Cake Alive or Coconut Alive which are packed with nutrients and flavors. If peanut butter is your thing, try out the Elvis Alive. If you're lucky, while waiting in line you may be able to sample one if they have extra that doesn't fit into someone's glass.

The line does get very long, especially during peak hours (lunch or dinner) so you might have to wait around 30minutes before getting your food when the line is out the door.

In summary, if you're visiting from out of town, you must try this. If you live in Cambridge/Boston, don't go because you will only make my wait longer =-P

Pros: Healthy, Unique, Filling

Cons: Long Lines, Slow Staff, Grungy

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awesome - Edit

went twice to this place for their juices. would love to work there or just hang out. lots of options!

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Love Life Alive! - Edit

The Cambridge location has a bit of a different feel from the Lowell location. It's much busier and frequented by a younger crowd. The seating is a bit tight, I'm pretty thin and could barely get between the tables to sit down.

The food is amazing, The Swami is my favorite. I also enjoy the smoothies. All my omnivore friends were "surprised" and enjoyed their meals.

The one bummer is that I noticed they put number pad locks on the bathrooms. I'm not sure if they had trouble with non-customers using the restroom, but it just gave off a "go away" vibe from such a friendly restaurant. I didn't like having to find someone to give me the code.

Pros: Food, Smoothies, Energy

Cons: lock on bathroom door - really?, tight seating/crowded

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Amazing place - Edit

Visited this place a few times on a recent trip to Boston. It's one of those places I wish I have in my town. To be able to get delicious, healthy, organic, vegan food at a reasonable price is heaven for me.
My only gripe would be the code for the toilets. On one visit I was sat near them and observed many people having issues and needing to ask for the code. This place is supposed to all be about the love. Is it really a problem if a passer-by needs to go the toilet and uses yours? I mean I know, generally speaking, this is a major problem that we need to be cracking down on (and hard!), but maybe in this one oasis of hippie love an exception could be made.

Pros: Delicious, healthy food, Wonderful decor and vibe, Large portions

Cons: Code for toilets (where's the love?)

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Delicious quality meals! - Edit

I wanted to check out the cambridge location after being at the lowell one. The food was delicious again ( we got the adventurer on a wrap, the swami on a wrap, the explorer salad, and the Lust Alive smoothie). The adventurer was my favorite, and the swami was my friend's favorite. No one cared much for the salad, and the smoothie was diluted too much in rice milk and very un-flavorful. Overall, the lowell location definitely does it better, but I do like that they have the menu posted on the wall at this location.

Pros: Good vibe, Menu Posted

Cons: Crowded

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Put Your Dollar Here - Edit

5 stars for variety and raw menu
5 stars for value for money
5 stars for customer service

Since moving to Boston, Life Alive has become my choice place to eat. All food is cooked lightly, or prepared completely raw. This care ensures each dish maintains a nutritional benefit while still being a invigoratingly tasty chow.

Unlike most vegan restaurants, they source and use only organic ingredients. For me, this is an essential step in living the ecological consciousness vegans and rawists support.

Customers clear their plates and order food at the counter forcing the customer to be involved in their "economy" care sooner or later.

Put your dollar here.
Updated from previous review on Friday December 27, 2013

Pros: Excellent food, variety, Raw and nutritional benefit, Complete vegan/raw advocacy

Cons: Cash only

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My Fav Vegetarian Restaurant In Boston - Edit

This place rocks. The food is so yummy you'll love it even if not a vegan/vegetarian. The atmosphere is fun and arty and the staff is VERY it should be if you're an enthusiastic hippy. Healthy and delish and that is what you should get when eating vegetarian/vegan. The best in vegetarian food!

Pros: Delicious food, Friendly staff, Huge variety

Cons: Expensive, Can get crowded, Very hippy-ish

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Lives up to its name, and more! - Edit

I stumbled upon this vegan oasis in Cambridge and am so grateful I found it. As soon as you walk in the front door, you can sense a wonderful vibe. All the workers look like they really enjoy their job, and it shows in the food and the service. I had an Alchemist Salad with a Coconut Alive smoothie, and all I can say is this was one of the best vegan lunches I've had in a long time. The smoothie was so good, I ordered another one for dessert. Desserts are the only thing lacking here, but you will almost certainly be satisfied after any of the salads, wraps, or bowls. 99% vegan, with the vast majority of that being raw. All in all, I think it is the best place for healthy, vegan food in the Boston area.

Pros: Quality and presentation of food., Friendly, efficient service., Reasonable prices for organic raw vegan.

Cons: No desserts., Parking can be difficult.

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The best raw vegan option in boston - Edit

On the whole, Life Alive is a must-go! Juices and foods are so tasty and ORGANIC which is an important feature especially in the US where pesticides are poured on almost all types of vegetation.
I tasted the yummy "Jive alive juice" ( Cucumber, celery, kale, Lemon, Ginger) to kick up my energy level and the best salad ever " The searcher"!

Pros: Great raw vegan options, tasty

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Great lunch place - Edit

Food is simple, nothing that you can't really make at home, but it's super healthy, nutritious and tasty to boot. Great location as it's only steps away from Central Square T stop. Decor is funky and hippie. I came on a Sunday afternoon and the place was hopping. It got a little noisy, but that's maybe because we sat upstairs. I liked that they offered half size, which to me was quite the perfect portion for one. Definitely a place for lunch or a quick bite.

Pros: healthy, good food, location

Cons: little noisy

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nice atmosphere, food ok - Edit

Life Alive is a pretty good place for a healthy and hearty meal. The smoothies are excellent. The food, in the other hand, was just ok. Fresh and colourful, but somewhat bland just the same. maybe they need to use a few more spices, our perhaps I just wasn't in the mood for that kind of meal. Regardless, prices and portions are fine, and the atmosphere is funky and energetic.

Pros: healthy

Cons: food a bit bland

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Great option - Edit

This is a place that delivers exactly what they advertise - tasty, healthy, nutritious food that satisfies. It is effectively a bowl and wraps place, with very few surprises, but as aforementioned, they deliver exactly what they promise. I had a Lovers bowl that was extremely tasty, and while the portion was not immense (get the full size unless you're teeny-tiny or not hungry at all), it was enough. I felt full without being bloated. The smoothie was satisfactory, though it didn't blow me away. All in all, a really enjoyable experience in a pleasant atmosphere. I'd certainly come back again, though nothing was out of the ordinary or superb.

Pros: Healthy, Good atmosphere

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The adventurer! - Edit

I love Live Alive. The adventurer bowl/wrap is the greatest combination of veggies I have ever eaten :)

great service, friendly people, take out... yum

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A very welcome addition to Central Square - Edit

I eat here all the time, so I figure it's about time to write a review. In all honesty, I hesitate to do this because the place is already getting very popular (crowded) and I'm afraid I have nothing but nice things to say.

Nearly all the menu is vegan, so there is a wide range of choices. Most of the warm meals consist of a grain (usually brown rice or quinoa), a wide variety of fresh organic vegetables, some nuts or seeds, and some sort of sauce. You can get these either in a bowl or as a wrap, but I always get a bowl because you can fit more veggies in it (and they do!).

I originally wasn't too keen on some of these warm dishes because the put more sauce on it then I would like (many won't mind this, but I prefer my food as unadulterated as possible -- let the veggies speak for themselves). Then I found that they were more than happy to go light on the sauce, or omit it entirely. The staff are very friendly and will do anything they can to help you make the most of your meal. My current favorite is "The Innocent", but I am also quite find of "The Fool" and "The Lover".

They also have several meal-size salads, most of which come with one of two varieties of hummus: lemon-garlic or red-lentil. I highly recommend the red-lentil, it is low-fat, protein-rich, and very tasty. On the days that I get a salad, I generally alternate between "The Explorer" and "The Sufi Poet".

There are also soups of the day, some of which are truly awesome (I love the black bean) so definitely take a look at these before you order. A cup of soup and one of their big salads makes a perfect meal.

There are also "warm cheesy wraps" on the menu, but they aren't vegan (and even if they were I wouldn't be likely to order them, I'm not a big fan of vegan cheese), so I won't say anything about them. And they have an amazing juice bar which I keep meaning to try, but I haven't yet.

The atmosphere is awesome -- full of plants and funky artwork. It has a great vibe and is a really cool place to just hang out. Unfortunately this (and the great food) have made it very popular and it can get crowded. I recommend avoiding the lunch hour rush -- go before noon or after 1:30.

The only thing that would make Life Alive a more perfect place than it already is would be some homemade whole wheat bread (currently they don't offer bread of any sort, only the whole wheat tortillas they use for the wraps).

Pros: Great food, Great staff, Great atmosphere

Cons: Can be crowded, No bread

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