CLOSED: Mary's Secret Garden

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 46 reviews )



100 S Fir St (at Santa Clara, downtown Ventura), Ventura, California, USA, 93001

Vegan restaurant/bistro in downtown Ventura serving internationally-inspired cuisine. The varied menu features many raw smoothies, a soup of-the-day, raw food appetizers and main entrees, sandwiches, vegan cake and desserts, raw ice cream made in-house, and more. Colorful and cozy. Street parking in front. LAST DAY OCT 3, 2015 PER OWNER. Open Tue-Thu 4:00pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 11:00am-9:30pm.

Category: Vegan, American, International, Organic, Take-out, Gourmet

Reviews (46)

First Review by veegn

tasteful - Edit

my raw tostatos was full of spice.

the burger was pretty good too.

quaint location.

Pros: location, raw, tasty

Cons: expensive

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Yummy- all organic, all vegan! - Edit

This place is really good! I got the Mary's Secret burger and salad. The brownie/cake I got was good also as dessert- but a little pricey. I thought the burger entree was a great price (about 12 and came with side) YUMMY! Also Mary the owner was there- educated vegan and so thankful she is bringing this to a town with not enough vegan options! KUDOS to Mary!!

Pros: Yummmy, Organic, All Vegan,(raw options too)

Cons: Price, Small building

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Ultimate Vegan Restaurant - Edit

If you're a Vegan in Ventura County.. Then you must be aware that Mary's is "THE" place. As mindful beings, we vegans know the type of food our bodies need to arrive in a state of equanimity. Foods that nourish the body and raise the vibration of our soul.

Mary's menu is a beautiful tribute, to food as nature intended. It's kind, fresh, nourishing and loaded with flavor. With every bite, I find myself closing my eyes, shutting off my other senses and fully absorbing into the aliveness of every morsel. A truly mindful eating experience.

Accompanying the cuisine, is a warm, spiritual, cozy atmosphere. Nestled in with fellow compassionately-intentioned humans, I eat, converse and experience peace.. Feeling gratitude, that this perfect piece of heaven exists right here in Ventura County. Serving as a beacon of hope. Nourishing.. body, mind and soul.

Thank you Mary.. And to everyone who works to bring this unique experience to a world so hungry for it.

Peace ✌️

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Mary's 5 Wow Review_Savories/Entrees/Holiday - Edit

Mary has really outdone herself this LOVE season. The restaurant is always warm and cozy but was decorated with beautiful red tulips and purple iris, with red balloons to greet you outside. The love was detailed down to the red napkins and even the musical selections were handpicked, by Mary. The menu was visually stunning as were the selections and the back of the menu boasted several quotes about LOVE. Wow. The first wow was the blood orange juice served in champagne glasses.
The salad's were amazing...her Olive Tapanade Dressing made me feel like that reviewer in the movie Ratatouille, when he flashed back to his mom cooking for him. I'm Italian and that was the most Italian rich flavor dressing I've had in years, and it was not garlic overdone. ((I'm never moved by chefs that only use garlic as a flavor...--to me it's very boring))
Her raw cheeses from pistachio to macadamia are unbelievable. She has an flavor rich sun dried tomato nut cheese that is used in her raw ravioli's that's bangup, as well as the Eat Me Raw salad dressing, a long time fav of ours.
Her pistachio cheese dish "Raw Savory Pistachio Cheese Tart" included Sweet Papaya Chutney (chutney-ish fruit salsa side)...had the flavors of SAMOSAS with the chutneys, especially with the Spicy Mint Leaf pesto.....but very light and LIVE. Very very well done. ((I won't touch a fried samosa with a 10 foot this was a really nice add))
We went from the Italian salad, to the Indian appetizer, then onto my Gourmet Raw wow wow wow (the fourth Wow).
My entree, the raw pizza that was gone so fast I was almost embarrassed by my quickly empty plate. The quality of her ingredients and flavors really shine through in all of her dishes. Her raw crust was nice and moist, not like those dehydrated sandpapers of flax that most try to pass off as "raw bread". (anyone need some paint removed?)
The Risotto, the Menage a Trois... wow again. The portion was huge and it had some amazing string beans and amazing triple mushroom madness. Beautiful sage aroma with sage leaf decoration.
Mary's has full spectrum FLAVOR. If you have never been, it's a MUST DO. She's mastered the use of herbs for flavor.

Updated from previous review on Friday February 15, 2008

Pros: Awesome Staff, Warm Atmosphere, All Organic

1 Response

Shelley 22 Feb 2013 - I was there for Valentine's Day, too. It was incredible. The vibe was amazing as well. My carnivore boyfriend agreed that it was better than any of the expensive, high-end restaurants we've ever gone to. It was simply the best dining experience I have ever had. Loved the quotations of love on the back of the special menu. Mary definitely outdid herself. We are so lucky to have a talented chef like her in Ventura.  

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Too good! - Edit

This is by far my favourite raw/vegan restaurant ever, and I have been to a lot! I had the cheese platter to start (amazing), the secret burger for the main and a raw chocolate cheese cake for desert, all incredible. The guy who was serving us was cool and helped us choose, good vibe..
Updated from previous review on Friday July 26, 2013

Pros: food , service , vibe

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The BEST Food I've had in Forever! - Edit

This restaurant is the best kept secret in Ventura County. Mary's Secret Garden is a treasure of a place to eat. It serves an all vegan menu, and the food is AMAZING! My daughter took me to eat there for a late lunch today, and my palate was thankful for the delicious grilled veg protien/wrap sandwich and the curry soup. The pistachio/mint smoothie was bomb, and the finale', a dessert my daughter and I shared, was a vegan raw brownie with vegan ice cream. Rich, but in a portion that was JUST right! My new favorite restaurant in Ventura!!

Pros: Excellent Food and presentation!, Fantastic Service, kind wait-staff!!, Lovely Bistro Atmosphere!

Cons: A little pricey, but still fair range., The restaurant is a little small. , There should be more of these places!

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Amazing - Edit

This place had very delicious food. A very tiny place, the food was a bit pricey but it was very good. My husband & I shared the Thai Sweet Potato soup & it was amazing. We shared the Chicken Sandwich with fakin bakin & grilled onions. The best chicken sandwich I have ever had in my whole life. We ended our meal with thr raw ice cream with real maple sauce & pecans. That was just ok. It's made with almond milk so you can taste the grittiness of the almonds. We will definately return again next year. We visit out here every year at this time because it's our anniversary. Awesome place for sure.

Pros: Excellent food, Very healthy, Organic & offers lots of raw choices

Cons: Pricey

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Excellent, I loved it - Edit

I had read about this place on happycow, and here's my Mary's Secret Garden review.

A friend and I made time to drive to downtown Ventura from LA to experience what all the buzz is about. We were impressed.

The restaurant is small but very comfortable and pleasantly decorated. Could be suitable for a casual meal, a romantic dinner, or meeting with friends. We chose a little table outside on the sidewalk and enjoyed our meal in the sun while looking at the park across the street and glancing at the Pacific Ocean just a block away.

The menu was very impressive and offered a good and varied range of dishes. We would have tried everything if we could (...I will just have to return again to try the other stuff).

My friend and I shared a raw pistachio mint shake made with sprouted almond mylk, and it was awesome. Smoothies are priced at $6.00-7.00 each. We also enjoyed the raw ravioli, and they were delicious. I especially liked the unique sauces and dressings. The raw tacos were also outstanding. Their signature burger with the works was very tasty. Cooked and raw main entrees ranged from $10.50-16.00.
We also ordered the Thai coconut curry stew, at our waitresse's recommendation. It was very hearty, sweet yet spiced. Packed it home cuz we just couldn't eat all of that food in one sitting. Made for great left-over.

Finally, we ended our meal with incredible raw vegan ice cream made by Mary. A cherry one drizzled with chocolate ganache sauce and a mint cacao one drizzled with a gooey mint sauce. The raw ice cream were out-of-this-world better than any dairy version or other vegan ice cream I've had in a long time!

Cudos to Mary. She is very passionate about her restaurant and the food she serves, and it shows. I highly recommend coming here when you are anywhere near Ventura or driving by. It's a special place.

Pros: beautiful presentation, delicious and healthy, good service

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A treat for the tastebuds - Edit

My first visit and I can say without restraint that Mary's Secret Garden serves really delicious vegetarian fare. Try the veggie burger..which might I say puts all others up to this point to shame. I wondered who Mary was..?.I figured that she was the lady hovering in the background with the very thoughtful demeanor...Whoever Mary is... thank you for creating fabulous food for those of us who find it a chore to try hunting for healthy non meat dishes in a world of carnivores.

Pros: tasty, interesting, flavorful

Cons: non

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Great food! - Edit

I frequent Mary's because it is the only all Vegan restaurant close to my house. The food is a bit pricey but totally worth it. I always enjoy the Secret burger and I love the different sides everyday. The desserts are fantastic! If your in the area and want some yummy organic vegan food you definitely have to check it out!

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Excellent RAW Food!! - Edit

I have been meaning to get to Mary's for months and finally did. Wish I had sooner. Love it!! Her creations are delicious. She is a doll, her husband is sweet. Basically all who work there are loving! It shows in more ways than one. Thank you for having this place available for those of us who LOVE and Live through RAW food!!

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Organic.... not - Edit

I wanted so badly to try this restaurant for a very long time so I had the opportunity to a few weeks back. Luckily a couple of days before QuarryGirl posted a review about the high pricing and pre-made processed soy patties they used in what seems to be their most popular menu item. I am always willing to give a place a try no matter what people say, but the fact that the patty was preprocessed got me to call the company that makes the soy patty and I found out it was not organic. I called the restaurant to confirm this and the girl that answered the phone confirmed it.

So basically they boast the importance of organics and health, yet they choose to pimp preprocessed GMO soy patties under that guise. This basically tells me that I cannot trust what is organic and what isn't at this joint. Selling GMO soy in an organic Vegan restaurant is highly deceptive especially for people like me that know organic food is the healthiest food to consume. They now have me questioning all the "Organic" Vegan restaurants I go to that serve soy. I asked two restaurants that I go to every week about their soy and they proudly say that all soy their is organic. I really hated to ask for fear of a repeat of Mary's.

I find that a lot of Vegans that care for animal rights are not very healthy in there choices and they consume a lot of cheap deep fried food that will in all likelihood make them sick at some point in their lives. GMO soy and corn are two crops that Vegans should not support for more than one reason. Just know that the Monarch Butterfly population is slowly being killed by the GMO pollen drift from these crops and to support this is not very Vegan. Just do a web search and you will find all the information about this Mansanto directed nastiness.

I just want people to know that a business like this makes other businesses of its kind look bad. Because they talk a good line of health at Mary's I thought writing them an e-mail would get a response. BUT I never heard back from them which is really not surprising.

Take this review as you will. I know that they are the only Vegan act in town, but that doesn't give them the right to deceive their customers.

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A-mazing - Edit

I was traveling through and this place is so worth the stop. I loved the amazing menu choices and decided to go with the light Spring Rolls in Peanut Sauce, a lovely blueberry/mint smoothie, and a to-go order (for dinner that night) of Sun-dried Tomato Mushroom Pasta and a slice of their Chocolate Cake. Everything was PERFECTION and well worth the price.

Pros: Raw options, Good quality, Perfect flavor

Cons: Pricey

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UNBELIEVABLE!!!! - Edit my husband surprised me with a romantic weekend getaway in Carmel. We left Orange County and decided to drive the coastline up. While driving, I logged onto Happy Cow :)) and searched for somewhere we could stop and eat lunch along the way. I being a vegetarian for over 25 years and my husband who eats meat occasionally, recently heading Vegan and Raw, looking for somewhere to go. Mary's Secret Garden is so secret that had it not been for Happy Cow, I never would have found it. What an unbelievable surprise. The food was beyond amazing, seriously!! My husband ordered the Curry Stew and I the RawViolis. Honestly, I couldn't tell you which plate was better. The presentation of the RawViolis was superb and the taste, fantastic! OK, now that i think about it, I would have to say the Curry Stew was to die for. Really. My husband (jokingly) picked up the bowl when he was done and began licking it clean. We both enjoyed our food immensely, we left full but not stuffed or bloated. We drove all the way to Carmel without eating another thing and all we could do was talk about how wonderful it was. There was one thing I must say we were very disappointed about and that was on our way back home, they weren't open on Sunday. We so badly would have loved to eat there again but have vowed next time we drive up north, Mary's Secret Garden will be our first stop!!!

Pros: Excellent Food, Excellent Food, Excellent Food

Cons: Absolutely no cons

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The Secret's Out!! - Edit

On holiday from the UK and looked on Happy Cow for somewhere to have brunch. Found Mary's Secret Garden and oh my goodness how amazing it was. It cost slightly more than we intended but it was worth it. Had never had the chance to eat raw either so this was a great opportunity to try it. It was gorgeous!! I nearly cried when I saw the dessert too as it looked so lovely and tasted even better!! I would be poor if I lived anywhere near this place but no doubt I would be a lot healthier too!!

Pros: All vegan!, Healthy, Tasty

Cons: Price, Small inside

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Very impressed - Edit

This was my first time going to a vegan restaurant, and I was very pleased. In fact, this was the best food I've had since I returned from a cruise a few weeks ago, and the atmosphere was lovely - we felt very relaxed. We were seated right away, and the server was very kind, never rushing us.

The smoothies were amazing and the appetizer was delicious, just like the main course. I had to get half of my burrito to go so I could save room for dessert, which was also great. I highly recommend getting the cheese trio platter - not only did I love it, but so did my dad, who is a really picky, non-vegan eater.

Needless to say, I will definitely be returning to Mary's during my next visit here, despite the prices. I think it's worth it.

Pros: Delicious food, Comfortable, Good service

Cons: Pricey

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Oh my goodness...... what a great place to dine! - Edit

My daughter and I had the extreme pleasure of dining with you this evening. She had the BLT Wrap and could only eat half. It was HUGE! I enjoyed the Rawvioli - excellent, again a very generous serving. We shared the Cheese Sampler as well - yummy! For dessert - we were already well satisfied but had to try the Pecan Pie with a scoop of ice cream. Oh my goodness!! Sooooo good!! The service was very pleasant; I look forward to our next visit.

Pros: Fresh taste, friendly service, wonderful energy

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Favorite Restaurant - Edit

This is my favorite restaurant, vegan or otherwise. a friend and I have been there twice and plan to return on a regular basis. I disagree with the reviews that claim it is expensive. I am over 50 and have been fortunate enough to eat at high priced restaurants a number of times. The food and presentation at Marys are both high priced in value at a very reasonable price. We had two delicious meals, a smoothie, tea and dessert for a little over $45.00. It's well worth the experience.

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