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Lotus Garden

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 24 reviews )
Contact 541-344-1928

810 Charnelton St (at 8th Ave), Eugene, Oregon, USA, 97401

Eugene vegan restaurant serving vegetarian Chinese food, featuring many mockmeat dishes. Food is made to order. Gluten-free soy-sauce available upon request. Relaxed and casual atmosphere. Open Tue-Sat 11:30am-5:30pm. Also offers take-out only 5:30-7pm; last order 6:30pm.

Category: Vegan, Chinese, Take-out, Asian

Reviews (24)

First Review by Kathee

Huge Chinese Menu - Edit

This is a vegan heaven for those that like Chinese food. Quiet, clean, well-run. Some menu translations are literal, like "wheat gluten, etc. But everything is delicious.

Pros: Cool Asian decor, Quiet, Huge Menu

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Great Experience - Edit

I visited the Lotus Garden this past weekend with my daughter and a friend. All the food was great. I had the Cashew Vegetables. The service was efficient, the wait staff friendly. I plan to visit again next time I'm in Eugene.
The only confusing thing about this place is that they use a lot of faux meet products but call them chicken, fish, or beef on the menu. It IS a vegan restaurant and these items are all soy based but just reading the menu does not make that clear.

Pros: Delicious food, Great service

Cons: faux meat

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Just go! Do yourself and your taste buds a flavor! - Edit

I couldn't find a single negative thing about the place!

My husband and I couldn't get enough of it. We've gone a few times since we came back to Eugene and it's been a blessing to have such delicious, guiltless meals each time we've gone!

Their pot stickers and the steamed vegetable buns are perfect!

The hot and sour soup was perfectly balanced with flavor and aroma!

The Sweet and Sour nugget, the Lotus Delight, and the Szechuan Tofu were all flavorful, had great texture, had a mouth watering aroma and had good portions.

The average cost of appitizers are about $5 to $6, the soups are about $7, and the main dishes are about $10.

The environment is clean, pleasant and relaxing.
The staff is welcoming and polite.
And the restaurant seems to do really well for itself.

It is definitely a must eat!! I don't think you'd be disappointed!

Pros: Phenomenal Chinese food, ALL VEGAN!, Good prices, good amount for the price!

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Nice tea and mochi - Edit

Me and my wife went here to get some good Chinese all vegan food. To me it's important that it is all vegan as no mistakes can be made.
The people working here are great and food is served real fast.
Both of us were happy about our food and the jasmine tea was perfect. I really enjoyed the mochi I got as dessert.

Pros: all vegan

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Meh - Edit

The food was underwhelming. Maybe I just ordered the wrong thing? My friends and I all ordered different things but none of us were really impressed by the food.

Pros: Vegan

Cons: Really not that tasty, Didn't notice any organic ingredients, Lots of soy and oil

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Good vegan Chinese - Edit

We've eaten here several times and are always pleased with the quality and quantity of the food. The service can be slow during busy times, but it's worth the wait, and it's never excessively slow. Lots of options with faux meats. Brown rice is always available. Ambiance is nothing special, though.

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Almost Like Being in a Vegan China - Edit

Great vegan Chinese-style food. I'm from Los Angeles, where the majority of vegan restaurants are primarily Thai-influenced. It was a pleasure to find vegan Chinese food that was as good as any of the Chinese restaurants I remember from my pre-vegan days. Eric, also a vegan, was a wonderful server and was very knowledgeable about and helpful with the menu. The sauces and vegan meats were extremely tasty and we even got a vegan fortune cookie. I'm in Oregon approximately once a month and I certainly will always plan my trip so I go through Eugene to eat at the Lotus Garden!

Pros: Great Food!

Cons: 856 miles from home.

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Overpriced, Underwhelming - Edit

This place is kinda gross. The prices are all a bit too high and the salt levels are off the chart. A lot of deep fried stuff and I really hope you like broccoli. This place should be called the deep fried salt & broccoli house if you ask me. This place ultimately goes wrong where most do however, bad spicing or over-salting. You will find both here. The service is ok but it's usually too hot or too cold in the physical restaurant, depending on the time of year. Also, way too many items on the menu. I could go on but you get the point.

Pros: Service

Cons: Taste, Atmosphere, Menu

1 Response

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kindlizard 13 Apr 2011 - my arteries harden just thinking of this place

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Victory, No more MSG - Edit

Apparently I have had quite an impact over there at Lotus Garden. For ten yrs they have been open. It took them until this week to end their use of MSG, per Eric Devin the manager. What was troubling about their persistent use of MSG over the past ten years is that when they opened they said they did not use nor did their food contain any MSG. The first amendment of Veganism is The Right To Know What Is In Your Food. If you scroll through the reviews to to the beginning, you will see people saying 'No MSG' or they asked and told there was none; one girl said she worked there and I was wrong. Well, I was not wrong until this week, which means all those people who were told this were misled. The manager preferred to debate the caustic nature of MSG, calling it an allergy rather than a neurotoxin. However, if not for my persistence of how it taints otherwise (presumably, though their pork bun used to carry egg whites or whey, hopefully they have found a new source for it as well) vegan food, they likely would never have changed anything.

Thanks Eric and LG. I think my protests of using MSG for most of those ten years have been heard and answered, so thank you, and to those who eat there, you are welcome.

It seems as though the cafe has been reborn. I suppose on one hand the worst part is over yet the sad part that remains is what is on the plate. I have eaten deep fried food not knowing it would be so. This type of deep fried food, and this is just one man's honest opinion, obliterates what food it started as.

He cleared up a misconception of mine regarding the freshness of food. I am glad it is made fresh. However, the problem is as a consumer, it does not taste like it. I've had freezer burnt dumplings, sadly. The Hot & Sour Soup, of which I have had the best (which this is certainly not), to my tongue tastes like the base is from a mix, a mix I imagine used by another place elsewhere in the state. It is heavy on white pepper, yet H&S soup is a black pepper soup. OR at least that's my tongue's perception; not saying I watch them in the kitchen.

The sauces are all one-note; Super-Sweet. Usually the super sweetness is caramelized in the deep fryer and it creates a hockey puck effect.

Glad to know w my input and the honesty and integrity of their new manager, Eric, we rid LG of MSG! Still has long way; hopefully next step is to maybe divide menu into deep fried section and then the rest.

Maybe I will have to try these new faux-cuts myself!

Pros: No More MSG!!!, Manager full of integrity, open to feedback

Cons: deep fried +, too sweet, no finesse, just power fry

1 Response

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kindlizard 22 Feb 2013 - hopefully this is my final review, unless I go back and have an improved review. just want to be as fair as poss & the fact they removed MSG, likely due to feedback here, says a lot. I think that alone merits no longer being called the worst vegan cafe in the US. Thanks again to Eric the manager for convincing them to stop even though he didn't himself see it as a problem. Kudos squared!

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Affordable and tasty vegan Chinese. Update: No MSG - Edit

Review: My name is Eric Devin, and I am the server and manager at Lotus Garden. I wanted to write a review of the restaurant as objectively as possible, with the intent of clearing up misconceptions regarding the way food is prepared and MSG.

First of all, I believe that our food is pretty good. I've worked at Lotus Garden for almost two years now and haven't gotten tired of it. I've lived in Washington DC, Ann Arbor, and spent an extensive amount of time in New York. Lotus Garden doesn't make my top ten restaurants of all time, but it does so a fantastic job of being what it aims to be. That is to say, fresh, delicious and unpretentious vegetarian Chinese food, served in a casual and friendly atmosphere.

My personal favorites are the Potstickers (made fresh at least every other day), Won Ton Soup (Hot and Sour is also popular), Cashew Vegetable, Twice Cooked Soy Slices, Special Chow Mein, Long Life Vegetables and Mu Shu Brown Slices. Lotus Delight and Sweet & Sour Nuggets are also very popular.

I should also stress here that every single entree and soup is made fresh to order; if you have diet concerns, please make sure to talk with your server (probably me) and we will make sure that you get a meal that is both delicious and prepared with the ingredients that you care for. Be sure to ask about our gluten-free soy sauce, which can be used to prepare almost any dish gluten-free!

I want to take a moment now to clear up a few mischaracterizations, especially those posted below by the user kindlizard. Regarding MSG, as of April 10, 2010, we have a different supplier for our mock meats, and they no longer have MSG. That being said, even a look at Wikipedia will show links demonstrating that there have been NO conclusive studies about MSG having a negative effect on human health beyond that of an allergen, much as gluten is for some. It affects individuals in different ways; it cannot be limited by a blanket statement demonizing it.

All of the vegetables that we use except for the bamboo, peas and corn are fresh. We also make our own potstickers (which are pan-fried by definition) and won tons fresh 2-3 times a week. As stated above, every single entree and soup is made fresh, when it is ordered. If you don't want something deep fried, or canned vegetables, say so; we are more than happy to make substitutions at no charge. Also, we use no eggs in any of our dishes.

Pros: Location, Variety, Value

Cons: Parking

2 Responses

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kindlizard 14 Apr 2010 - thanks Eric, its amazing you found a different source for your mock meats like I suggested! Thanks! Congrats to you for your effort and LG for willing to change. You are the man!!

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kindlizard 15 Apr 2010 - are the tastes or textures different between your two new meats? will it throw off your recipes? will the die hard frequenter notice their dish being different? are they similarly priced? word dude

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Awesome! - Edit

I love this restaurant. Lots of great mock meats and the Hunan sauce is really good. Lots of traditional deep fried chinese dishes but with Seitan and tofu! I recommend the Lotus Delight, Sweet and Sour Nugget and the Special Chow Mien.

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Very good, happy with my order - Edit

I stopped in there right before Valentine's Day and ordered the sweet and sour shrimp. SO FLIPPIN GOOD!! I was so happy with my food, I can't even express how delicious it was. We have good chinese vegan up here in Seattle but nothing compares to the sweet and sour shrimp. I'm going back around Memorial Day and will be getting some of this - right away! The staff was a bit shy and put-off but still very nice. Quick service too.

Pros: Sweet and sour shrimp! , Fast service

Cons: Horrible parking, Hours could be longer

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Best vegan Chinese in Oregon - Edit

I love this place as do all my vegan friends from out of town.

I highly recommend the Lotus Delight which is a deep fried, battered seitan with rice, broccoli and carrots with a delicious sweet Hunan sauce.

It is a concern that they might use cane sugar which sometimes may be processed with activated charcoal which sometimes comes from bones. They may be changing this in the near future.

They used to have fortune cookies with egg but we told them about it and they started getting all vegan ones.

Highly recommended!

Pros: Delicious Food, All vegan, Lots of Oil

Cons: Lots of oil, Doesn't last in a to go container

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Fun - Edit

This is a neat spot. They do americanized chinese food with mock meat ingredients. I originally thought the place would be expensive because the name "Lotus Garden" sounded trendy, but the prices are surprisingly low.

Pros: fun, affordable, it tastes like american chinese food

Cons: it tastes like american chinese food

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Delicious - Just know what to order - Edit

I love lotus. I go there when I'm feeling under the weather for a spicy pick-me-up, and I go there when I am well. I love lotus. I have heard many newbies complain about the menu and I believe it is a case of not knowing what to order - I would like to suggest: special chow main (sp?), lotus delight, twice cooked soy slices, hunan veggie beef, the pot stickers, the spring rolls. The experience is wonderful from the tea to the service to the meal - I had some sweet and sour once and did not enjoy it however, others may feel differently. The staff is ALWAYS friendly, something missing in Eugene, and I highly recommend it to vegans, veggies, and carnivores alike - especially those visiting from the east coast. I was glad to find out for sure that there is NO MSG in their food and would be quite disappointed if that rumor was true. Having never eaten at a Chinese food restaurant in Eugene other than lotus, I cannot compare it to the traditional chinese available. I can tell you that Lotus tastes clean and delicious. Highly Recommended. Be Sure and call before stopping by to make sure they are open since they have strange hours and split up their days, closing between lunch and dinner.

Pros: Friendly Service, Delicious Food

Cons: Not open at all hours of the day

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Real comfort food - Edit

Well, we quite enjoyed this restaurant for supper. We don't normally have Chinese food except when on vacation because our city doesn't have vegan Chinese. On vacation, it is great to find a restaurant like this when it is fun to have some mockmeat. It hardly rates as health food except for the veggies but it sure tastes good. The restaurant was not crowded and the server spent a lot of time helping us to order the best dishes as well as sharing information about Eugene and the world in general.

Pros: rich taste, friendly service, inexpensive

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Vegan Chinese Food - Edit

Lotus Garden is a fun place with lots of Chinese dishes, and it's great to be able to order anything on the menu and know that it's free of animal products. I also know non-vegans who really enjoy this place. In fact, it's a really good option for dining with non-vegan friends.

The Cashew Vegetable is delicious, as is the Vegetable Chow Mein, and they have a fun selection of appetizers. I have friends who love the Pot Stickers, and I enjoy the Spring Rolls. A lot of the dishes have faux meat in them (having avoided meat since childhood, I can't say if the faux meat tastes genuine or not); and there are a good selection of tofu dishes as well. It does seem like all the dishes could have a bit more veggies in them, but everything I've tried has been tasty.

You can order your food less (or more) spicy than they normally offer, and they also have brown rice as a healthy option.

Lotus Garden is a very popular restaurant and I've heard that they do no advertising - just word of mouth. Many evenings it is packed, yet the staff is friendly even when a bit hurried by all the customers.

The prices are quite reasonable and the portions are large enough that you'll probably take some home to enjoy later.

Pros: vegan, tasty food, good prices

Cons: parking is challenging

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Great vegan veggies and tofu - Edit

Lotus Garden was great. The entire menu is vegan and that's fantastic. We had Cashew Tofu (fried tofu with broccoli, carrots, celery, water chestnuts, and lots of cashews in brown sauce) and Sweet & Sour Nugget (battered fried mock chicken nuggets with broccoli, carrots, and pineapple in sweet n sour sauce), $8.95 each. Portions were very generous. The Cashew Tofu plate had a ton of fresh veggies and a ton of tofu and cashews - and lots of sauce. Neither was spicy but there were spicy options on the menu if that's your thing. I asked if any of the food contained MSG and the answer was no. The restaurant had a very relaxed atmosphere.

Pros: Vegan, Generous portions, Yummy

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A Vegan Mixed Bag - Edit

I was delighted to find a vegan Chinese restaurant. The atmosphere is pleasant and the service was good. The food all had tofu or seitan as a meat substitute. I've never seen so much tofu on one menu! Personally, I would have been happy with stir fried veggies and rice.

We ordered the cashew and tofu, which was excellent, and the sweet and sour tofu which wasn't. The sweet and sour tofu had hardly any vegetables or pineapple with it. It was just tofu in a red, commercial looking sweet-sour sauce. There were a few tiny pieces of pineapple, not more than six, along with a single piece of broccoli. I expected sweet and sour to have pineapple, perhaps green pepper, and carrot. It made a very small dish, lacking veggies.

The price was moderate; we spent about $20 for two people. I'd feel like it were a better value if they were more generous with the vegetables.

I will go back and try some of the other dishes. Hopefully, the sweet and sour tofu is the exception.

Pros: vegan, convenient location, pleasant environment

Cons: some food not good

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Recommended: fresh, "clean" tasting Chinese food. - Edit

I am surprised by some of the negative comments about this restaurant. Although I no longer live in Eugene, when I did, I ate there often, from the time that it opened a few years back.

I cannot compare Lotus garden with the best Chinese restaurants in Manhattan. Having been a vegetarian for more than half a century, I have also avoided Chinese restaurants for almost as long. The smells of meat and, often, of reused oil, always put me off. Then this restaurant appeared, and even in very vegetarian-friendly Eugene, most people thought a vegan Chinese restaurant wouldn't make it. They were wrong.

The food always seems very fresh, and it is reliably vegan right down to the candy that comes with the check. The premises have none of the above-mentioned scents, and it is an exceptionally clean establishment. This is not the place to find authentically spicy Chinese food, but everything I have tried is wholesome, and tasty enough. I love spicy (Indian) food, but that is not what this place is about. But it isn't bland either.

My only gripe is that they have all these fake-meat names for the entrées, like "Chicken," "Steak," etc. If you can get past that (and no booze, although you may bring your own), I strongly recommend this restaurant. (p.s. I am very surprised to see people referring to their using MSG. If true, that's new. Tell them to hold the MSG. Everything is prepared from scratch.)

Pros: Reliably vegan, Very fresh veggies, V. clean & friendly

Cons: No beer (BYOB), Few spicy dishes

2 Responses

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redsoxvegan 26 Aug 2008 - Kindlizard, your comment is very misleading and basically untrue. You seem to take pleasure in going to extreme lengths to downgrade what is one of my favorite restaurants ever. Every single goddamn entree is made from scratch, to order as are all the soups, the potstickers and the spring rolls. The sweet and sour sauce is homemade from scratch, as is the potsticker sauce, and the hot mustard. The longevity buns, steamed vegetable buns and mu shu wrappers are the only things that are bought readymade, and the first two are slow sellers, and I challenge you to find a place that makes its own mu shu wrappers. I am friends with Chris (waiter with the red beard who left a little while ago) and Eric (the guy who works there now), so I have this on the highest authority.

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kindlizard 04 Aug 2009 - So MSG is heard from your highest authority from Eric himself atop the page. I will accept your apology if you ever login again.

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Boring - Edit

The food here seemed really uninspired. A friend and I split a veggie stir fry with tofu and a mock shrimp dish. Both seemed quite flavorless. Everything is fried and many of the mock meats have msg. The potstickers are average, and the red bean buns tasted highly processed and maybe came from the freezer. Eugene is suppose to be known for it's 'green' folk but this is the only totally vegan restaurant that I'm aware of. The lack of vegan options in town is the only thing that will get me back in here.

Pros: vegan, brown rice, price

Cons: weird hours, msg, fried food

2 Responses

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3party 22 Feb 2013 - Punkiness: Try the szechuan tofu. The dishes you ordered are indeed bland -- what can you do with stir-fried veggies, except soak 'em in soy sauce? -- but the place is worth another try. Tell them exactly what you told "us." They are very responsive, and dishes are prepared from scratch. If an ingredient came from the freezer, they made it.

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kindlizard 22 Feb 2013 - 3p-
there is a lot you can do with veggies rather than "soak 'em in soy sauce". you agree it is bland at Lotus Garden, but in your own review you said it was NOT bland.

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Lotus Garden is one of the best for vegans! - Edit

The Lotus Garden offers quality vegan food prepared with a high consciousness and served by a polite and helpful staff. I never personally met a vegan who didn't enjoy their visit to the Lotus Garden immensely. The owners are kind folks who offer their peaceful food to peaceful palates with much generosity of spirit. Eugene would be a lonely city indeed without this marvelous vegan restaurant! Thank goodness there is still a vegan restaurant we can all appreciate, patronize and be grateful for! The yummy cruelty-free food fills your tummy while the high vibrational ambience feeds your spirit. If you're veg and in Eugene, don't miss it. These are good people doing good things and I'm grateful they're here.

Pros: generous portions, brown rice, exquisite taste

Cons: that there aren't more, just like them so that, all could enjoy!

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Where are the veggies! - Edit

This style of cuisine reminds me of Buddist temples like on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. The lack of meat is so central to their philosophy that they are obsessed by meat analogs, ie meat-like replacements. I don;t know about you, but one of the reasons I am vegetarian is I don't like meat. I don't want meat substitutes! I want fresh and abundant veggies. Of which I am afraid, this restaurant is sadly missing. While I still eat here occassionally, I find the lack of fresh veggies to be an ultimate turn off. Glad its there, but wish there were veggies, which by the way, health-wise are vital while wheat gluten, alas, is not!

Pros: vegan, no hidden meat in sauces

Cons: cranky staff, no veggies

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