Est. 1973. An iconic restaurant that used to offer fish during some of the years; however, it has been confirmed in late Aug 2020 that they have no plans on offering fish again - only vegetarian & vegan food. There are plenty of clearly labeled vegan items from which to choose. They are famous for their line of cookbooks and are a pioneer in vegetarian restaurants. Sunday nights are ethnic cuisine nights; vegans please inquire. NOTE: Please verify if still fully vegetarian. Open Wed-Sun 11:30am-8:30pm. Closed Mon, Tue.

Venue map for Moosewood Restaurant
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51 Reviews

First Review by amysaundersbigelow


Points +961

05 Sep 2023


I don’t remember it being amazing but it was definitely good



Points +98

03 Sep 2023

Actually. They did have fish on the menu.

Very few vegan options & a lot of dairy. It was challenging to order vegan for two. Even the salmon was cooked in so much dairy that they declined to make it vegan. The wait staff made us feel like nuisances for asking questions. Very underwhelming. Nothing I couldn’t easily make and make better at home.

Pros: The restaurant space is nice and airy, Bookstore, Local

Cons: Wait staff attitude towards vegans, Lack of vegan options , No Parking


Points +79

22 Aug 2023

What happened to the good food here?

I have been a customer of Moosewood since it's inception. While I no longer live in Ithaca, I return every summer and eat at Moosewood each time at least once. Well this year I was very disappointed, both for lunch as well as dinner. The entrees were blah, there was no soup/salad bread option at dinner (only lunch), and both the salad and soup was not very good. Even the infamous brownie was not up to par. Sorry but it's only the Moosewood in name now. Not in quality.


Points +724

20 Jul 2023

Food right out of the cookbook!

This place has the reputation (and James Beard awards) to warrant a five star review. There’s even a kids menu with vegan options and a gift shop. However, while I enjoyed the food and found it exceptionally prepared for what it was (essentially a soup, salad, Thai curry, and vegan chocolate cake), it didn’t overly wow me. It’s nice healthy dishes, but servings are moderate and the price high. I don’t want to complain as I enjoyed the peaceful ambiance and the chill vibe of the staff, but I was expecting more and that’s too bad. Additionally, I don’t understand why this place hasn’t made the move to being a fully vegan restaurant. It should. It’s about time and, honestly, the food would be better and the limited menu more extensive for a vegan if they did. Come on Moosewood! Keep leading the way!

Updated from previous review on 2023-07-20


Points +85

04 Jul 2023

Beyond expectations

I’ve wanted to come here since going vegetarian at age 9, 30 years ago. Surpassed all expectations. They’ve somehow kept it contemporary, vegetable-forward, in season.

Pros: Delicious bean burger, Great local beer, Amazing sides


Points +46

06 May 2023

Creative and Delicious!

Such a lovely restaurant! The staff was so incredibly sweet and helpful. Cora was the best! We had the mint pea hummus, lemon tahini broccoli, and shared the spicy coconut curry. Everything was so well prepared and perfectly portioned. Vegan options are clearly marked and they even provide clear edits that can make vegetarian items vegan. They do the same for gluten free offerings as well. Highly recommend if you’re in the area!

Pros: Lots of vegan options, Clearly marked menu, Kind staff!


Points +1378

10 Apr 2023

Lovely Experience

We had such a lovely experience here. They had tons of vegan options on the menu, including yummy vegan desserts. The service was great.


Points +317

01 Jan 2023

Delicious vegan options

I’ve been here one other time and this time the food was even better than I remembered. I ordered a vegan lentil soup, the black bean burger and a local hard cider. I will definitely come back to try other items! #Veganuary

Pros: High quality ingredients , Imaginative dishes, Well labeled vegan options

Cons: Pricey


Points +39

30 Oct 2022

Best restaurant in Ithaca

I loved the special soup and salad and bread. The West African peanut soup was outstanding. Salad was also great and the bread.
Portions were generous and prices reasonable.
I also recommend the ginger tea

Updated from previous review on 2022-10-30

Pros: Lots of vegan options, Friendly staff


Points +567

28 Jun 2022

The one and only

Moosewood lived up to its reputation on my visit. The meals we had were vegetable-centric, very well crafted, and quite satisfying. Definitely will return to Ithaca if only to come back.


Points +757

09 Nov 2021

The OG ad More Vegan Than I Remembered

The last time I went to Moosewood was about 20 years ago and I remember a limited vegan selection. They stepped that up with lots of vegan and gluten-free options. The food was good, but not amazing, the prices were fair, the portions might have been a bit more. I would rather have paid an extra 20% and had a larger portion.
I just wish the food had a bit more "zing" or something as it was slightly bland, but not bad.


Points +1786

25 Oct 2021

A bucket list item checked off!

I went vegetarian 21 years ago (I've been vegan for the past 14 of those years). One of the first cookbooks that came into my hands was one from Moosewood. I was amazed there was a completely vegetarian restaurant! I really wanted to go someday but never thought that day would come.

This past weekend my husband took me to Ithica and we decided we needed to go to such an iconic restaurant.

They are busy! Definitely call and make a reservation. We called the nor ing of and we're able to get an outdoor reservation.

Service was good as was the food. I don't think anything really blew us away, although I was happy to see many V and VGF options and we'll labeled on the menu.

We had the white bean and shishito dip, it was OK. More shishitos would have been better.

We also had the Finger Lakes red bean jambalaya. It was hearty and filling, but needed hot sauce or maybe worster to full it out flavour wise.

The Red Thai Cashew Curry was quite good. We felt this was the best of the three dishes.

Portions were small, but excellent given the price point. We decided to have the berry cherry mango crumble (warmed up) and it was very good.


Points +20

16 Oct 2021

Moosewood restaurant

I ordered the Thai cashew curry. It was average tasting, mostly the veggies were bland.

The service was pretty good.

The vanilla oat milk latte was good.


Points +12795

05 Sep 2021

Big reputation to live up to

Moosewood is well-known for the iconic cookbook that bears its name. When I was a teenager, I remember my mother preparing meals from this cookbook--I don't remember the meals themselves, but I did appreciate that there was such a cookbook at the time.

I have been to the Moosewood Restaurant a bunch of times while in the Ithaca area, largely out of a sense of nostalgia. My friends and I have always been satisfied with our meals here and have left happy. Something that is admittedly missing, however, is the "wow" factor that lives up to the high reputation of the Moosewood name. The apparent disconnect between the Moosewood reputation and the restaurant itself is something that other HappyCow reviewers have noted, and rightly so.

Am I being unfair in expecting too much? That is, would it be fairer to simply judge this according to the standards of a typical restaurant, rather than in relation to expectations inspired by its famous name? If I judged it according to that of a typical restaurant, admittedly I might have rated this place four stars. However, it might be safest to downplay the expectations--if you are not expecting to be bowled over by Moosewood, you are more likely find the food and atmosphere here to be fine.


Points +129

Mostly Veg
02 Aug 2021

Takeout lunch on patio delicious

Takeout only this past week, but that worked out fine for us. We were able to eat in outside patio. Vegan gochujang noodles had yummy homemade sauce. My family had shawarma wrap & black bean burger, which they enjoyed


Points +229

16 May 2021

Delicious takeout

First time here in the takeout era and it did not disappoint. Good food. Careful attention to dietary needs.


Points +163

04 Sep 2020

Hanging on by its name...

I had a sense the dinner wouldn't go well when I was informed by the person in charge of seating that they had no record of my reservation. It was made the day before, but somehow wasn't in their 'system'. Reminded me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry reserves a rental car but one isn't available when he shows up at the counter. Moosewood TOOK my reservation, but didn't KEEP my reservation. Fortunately, a small table was available outside, (where I specifically requested to eat the day before). I knew what I wanted before I was seated, and ordered right away, but despite that, it took at least 15 minutes for the salad to arrive. This was not during the evening rush; in fact, it was early, around 5 PM. OK, no problem, I'm thinking they're going to bring out this beautiful salad with all local veggies and olives, as the menu describes. Well, some chopped dark green lettuce (not mesclun mix or arugula or anything tasty) formed the base of the salad, with a generous mound of freshly grated carrot on top. On top of that was one, I repeat ONE, olive. Four slices of cucumber and four cherry tomatoes completed the salad, along with some miso dressing. Fortunately, I smuggled in a huge heirloom tomato from my garden, otherwise the salad would have been even more disappointing. Their cherry tomatoes didn't even taste like they were local. [Edited to say that the tomatoes were indeed local; they just didn't taste like it.]

OK, I took a deep breath and said to myself the entree will make up for the lackluster salad. The Indian cashew curry came out just as I was finishing my salad, and my first impression was that I thought the last time I ordered this it was plated in a larger bowl. I could be wrong, but in any case, the portion size was barely adequate, and not worth the price. Flavors were OK, but only a couple of pieces of tofu in the entire dish. No fresh cilantro garnish, either, and I don't recall any pieces of cashew, though some may have been in the sauce, all ground up.

I decided to forgo dessert, and I had asked for the check as I started my entree. It had not arrived by the time I finished, so I did some math in my head and left $24. I'm glad I didn't order dessert, because I may have been there for another hour or so if I did. I scored a gorgeous peach/strawberry pie at the local coop that is to die for.

One final complaint:Why no gazpacho on a perfect late summer day? Ithaca's winters are long enough.Save the hot soups for those 9 months

Updated from previous review on 2020-09-04

Pros: Outside seating available, though on noisy street., That's about it

Cons: Poor service, Bland dishes, Living in the past


Points +44

01 Mar 2020

vegan brunch

love coming to moosewood for sunday brunch. most of their meals can be made vegan, even the pancakes and sweets. delicious food, but portions are on the smaller side. great atmosphere and my favorite brunch spot in ithaca😄


Points +101

28 Dec 2019

Vegan options from the 70s

Though a quick review of the menu told me not to have high expectations, I still wanted to visit Moosewood since their cookbook (the first one) was gifted to me as a new vegetarian by my aunt and I love the veggie pot-pie recipe from this book. However, as some reviewers have noted, their vegan options are so uninspired it's as if I were traveling back in time to the 70s/80s with dishes heavy on the sweet potato and sprout. My husband had their sweet potato roll and I had a modified dish of cauliflower with pasta and marinara. Bland -- needed some Beyond sausage or maybe some cashew cream? Very unimaginative. The best part was the delicious cocktail, a hot ginger toddy.

Pros: Historic

Cons: Bland, Not many vegan options, Unimaginative options


Points +1120

15 Aug 2019

Always Great food!

The food here is great! Everything tasted fresh and wonderful.

Pros: Lots of vegan options which are clearly marked , Vegan dessert options


Points +100

03 Jul 2019

Vegan options kinda bland

Used to be a vegetarian mainstay, now serves fish. Can't speak to the non-vegan menu items but I've found that the vegan ones are constantly bland. Does have good atmosphere & drinks. Vegans who prefer whole foods/healthy fare would probably like the options better then this review.

Pros: Large seating area (indoor & outdoor), vegan, options clearly marked. Bar seating.

Cons: Bit expensive. Like most of Ithaca, only, has street parking. At peak times can , be hard to get a spot nearby.


Points +82

03 Jul 2019

Very pleasant brunch on the patio.

We came with no expectations. Yes, the menu was small. But I had the avocado toast on fresh ciabatta. It came with a house salad. I got the lemon tahini dressing. I did pick the peppers out of the avocado because I have enough to cry about.

Pros: Very pleasant on the patio, Friendly servers, Fresh wholesome food


Points +27

07 May 2019

Great food!

I love their food and service! Everything that can be made vegan is clearly marked. I have tried their Samosa Wrap and loved it so much. Their salad is of good portion and my favorite dressing is their housemade lemon-tahini. Their vegan desserts: the vegan chocolate cake and the baked fruit bowl are both amazing!

Pros: Vegan & vegetarian friendly , Great service, Excellent food


Points +140

13 Feb 2019

Vegetarian dining of yesteryear

Go to Moosewood if you want to time travel and experience a vegetarian (pescetarian really) eatery of circa 1970s or 1980s - lack of vegan choices, missing flavors or spices, bland, unimaginative, salad of lettuce, carrots, cucumber and olive, steamed veggies, slow service.
I know the famous cookbook, which is very dated in its own right, still brings plenty of business to the place; it does get very busy especially in the summer and on weekends. On our last visit, which honestly was a few years back, we waited more than an hour to get seated one Saturday evening in the summer.
If you're not into that kinda of time travel, especially avoid Sunday nights when they do ethnic cuisines. Trust me you could do a better job at home with health food store bought Indian or Thai or any other sauce.
If you must eat out, go to any of Ithaca's albeit non-vegetarian Asian restaurants, but they all have extensive vegetarian/vegan choices. Or better yet, go to Ithaca Farmers Market (April to November), you wouldn't believe all the restaurant quality food there and plenty of vegetarian and vegan options!
28 reviews and only 4 photos on Happy Cow is very reflective of its state of culinary affairs - there's nothing to show off!
Hey, but at Moosewood you can get a souvenir glass or a t-shirt...

Pros: Outdoor seating

Cons: Outdated unimaginative cooking, Surprising lack of vegan options, Overpriced


Points +476

26 Aug 2018

Good for Vegetarian/Flex, Not for Vegan

It's a nice place to visit, maybe once or twice a year if you are vegan. Their plant-based entrees were limited to two options when we visited in early August.

Still they were AMAZING. Presentation is most of the meal, if that's what you're after at the moment.

Pros: Friendly prices, Great desserts, Nice people

Cons: Limited vegan options


Points +136

16 Jun 2018

Limited vegan options, but excellent vegan chocolate cake!

Like other reviewers, I am disappointed that Moosewood restaurant serves fish & seafood. When I became vegetarian in the 1980s, I first taught myself vegetarian cooking from the iconic Moosewood cookbook. When I first visited Moosewood Restaurant in 1989, I was disappointed to find that (unlike the cookbook) they were more "pescatarian" than vegetarian. I recently went back, and was hoping that they might have changed with the times and dropped the fish & seafood. But, unfortunately, no.

We went for lunch, and there were limited by adequate vegan options. We started with a spicy sweet potato soup that was delicious. For entrees we had a ragout special and a Chipotle-Mango BBQ Tofu burger. They were both good, but not that exciting. The vegan chocolate cake was fantastic!

Pros: excellent vegan chocolate cake

Cons: serves fish & seafood


Points +159

29 Apr 2018

Vegan Brunch!

Moosewood is an institution in Ithaca, but as a vegan I've been disappointed (Especially because they serve fish as an advertised "vegetarian" restaurant). Recently they have started an expanded Brunch Menu and it is definitely worth the trip! My husband and I both had the Vegan "Chickn and Waffles". Although it is more typical to have seitan for the "chickn," in this case it is Oyster mushrooms and was very good. I would recommend Moosewoods for brunch and lunch, but there are much better options in town for dinner (dinner options tend to be bland at Moosewood and a poor representation of vegan cooking). The lunch burgers and salads are reliably good. My star breakdown; brunch=4.5 , lunch=4 , dinner=2 .

Pros: Great brunch, Reliably good salads and burgers for lunch, Outdoor patio

Cons: Bland dinners, Cafiteria-ish feel

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