Natural Oasis Cafe

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 21 reviews )

288 Monroe Ave (at Alexander), Rochester, New York, USA, 14607

Ethiopian food. Daytime buffet features 4-5 dishes plus injeera bread and soup and is available til 4pm. Dinner is a la carte menu. Free Wi-Fi. Open Mon-Sat 11:00am-8:00pm.

Category: Vegan, Buffet, Ethiopian

Reviews (21)

First Review by sashwap

So good! - Edit

Went for the first time, and everything was delicious! All dishes at dinner are $4, and 4 of us only spent $50 altogether! Definitely come for dinner.

Pros: Cheap, Quick, Delicious

Cons: Small Parking Lot

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

casual & yummy - Edit

I would call the food sort of Ethiopian & southern fusion. We had the lunch buffet, a great deal and each dish had a distinct seasoning & flavor, the cook kept everything stocked. Great for the whole family!

Pros: buffet self-serve, kid friendly

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great natural food, a real oasis! - Edit

Great natural food, a real oasis! Warm and cozy atmosphere, owner and chef were super kind with us. We had a really great lunch for a very reasonable price and high quality. I am a vegan and I have really liked it, and so did also my non-vegan friends!

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great meal - Edit

For the price, the buffet here cannot be beat. There were about 10 options, including soup, injera, rice & the usual vegan Ethiopian stews, like collard greens ( a beet dish I'd never had), for just under 10$.
If I lived near Rochester, I would definitely be a frequent patron.
That said, I've eaten at many Ethiopian places and, while good, this was not the most flavorful. The injera was cold (some places serve it warm which is better). & the one staff person was on his cell phone nearly the entire time. & this is "no frills" place. That's why 4 & not 5 stars.

Pros: all vegan!, cheap, tasty & healthy

Cons: almost too casual, watery dishes & no slotted spoon

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great place and hours - Edit

Ate here with my fiancee a while back and since the plates aren't expensive we just got one of everything. Almost all the dishes were great and we had enough for lunch the next day. The staff is friendly and not over-burdening which is a nice change of pace from other places we've been.

Pros: Open long hours, Great value, Friendly staff

Cons: Parking can be difficult

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Delecious food made fresh - Edit

Wife and I love this place. First time in it might be a bit disorienting as it is a rather large room and the seating is further to the back, near the open kitchen.

The prices for everything is very reasonable, especially for what you're getting. The food is all vegan and very filling.

Great for medium sized groups, especially if some people are new to the cuisine. It's not too spicy, and everyone will be able to find something they love.

Quite and peaceful place. Staff is very friendly.

Absolutely worth the visit if you're in Rochester.

Pros: Amazing food + value, Friendly staff, Fun for medium sized groups

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Holds a Special Place in My Heart - Edit

I stumbled across Natural Oasis serendipitously, and it was my introduction to all-vegan restaurants. The food is absolutely incredible and very unique. Lunch offers a small buffet style, and dinner allows you to choose from a good-sized variety of Ethiopian dishes. It is perfect for bringing a group of friends and trying a little bit of everything! The staff are absolutely wonderful, and I try to stop by every time I am in the area.

Pros: Extraordinary Food, Inexpensive, Wonderful Staff

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

delicious and affordable - Edit

We started with coconut milk chai tea with agave. It was wonderful on a cold rainy day.
Each dish cost $4 and it was suggested we order 2 or 3 dishes per person.

Everything was served with injera, an Ethiopian sourdough flatbread made with teff and barley.
We had Lentil stew, risotto with caramelized onions Brussel sprouts and cashew cheese, pizza with shiitakes baby spinach and roasted garlic, salad with arugula and spinach, and Gnocchi with roasted cauliflower.
The only item I didn't like (but my husband did) was the Bhaji. It was broccoli dipped in a chick pea batter and fried.

For dessert my kids had the chocolate carmel Ice cream with coconut milk maple and agave. It was a huge hit.

Each member of my family picked a different item as our favorite. We all agreed we love the food and will certainly be returning.
The service was quick and our server was very friendly.

When we first arrived we almost didn't go in as the place looked a bit sketchy. I am sure glad we did.

Pros: delicious , affordable, Quick service

Cons: Needs redecorating

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Delicious! - Edit

My husband and I LOVE this place. The owner is very friendly and the food is delicious. During the day and on monday evenings food is served buffet style; Tuesday through saturday you order off the menu. Each item cost $4 and we usually pick 6 items to share between the two of us, which is fun because we each get to have variety. The stew and the lentils are the most amazing thing I've ever eaten; I could seriously eat those every day. It's also nice to go somewhere that is all vegan, thus we can eat anything on the menu.

Pros: Excellent food, very friendly owner/staff, small, charming atomosphere

Cons: parking (car pool if going with friends)

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

basic - Edit

The lunch buffet started at 11am and it seems like there are always around 4-5 dishes plus a soup. I wasnt hungry at the time when i was there, so i did a take away. It was $5.99 per pound. The dishes are very common, tasted good enough though. There were yellow rice, lentils, vege soup, stew haricot beans with cabbage, stew turnips and beets and another carrot dish. The dishes were so common that, i wont bring my meat eater friends to go there for experiencing vegan food. But i myself wont mind to walk around one mile from down town to eat there, just because of it is vegan. The staff was friendly and ambience was good though.

Pros: vegan, ambience, staff

Cons: basic

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Unique, yummy food - Edit

All vegan food, loved being able to try a little bit of everything and go back for seconds!

Pros: Great food

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

good food - Edit

I loved that I could try a bit of everything as it was all vegan! Some of the items were better then others, like I wished I took a lot more lentils! Staff is very nice.

Pros: all vegan, nice staff

Cons: always the same thing, some items don't taste as good

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

good food - Edit

I love this place this is the best vegan food I have ever tasted the food is so good and warms the soul. I miss the place. Please try the goodness.

Pros: excellent food, healthy, friendly staff

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Nice place to drop in and eat - Edit

I went here about 2 years ago...

Very friendly staff, they do not bother you. The food looks like poop on a plate, but... I have to say it was very delicious and I enjoyed most of it. I can only say that because I know NOTHING about Ethiopian food, this was my 1st, and I would most certainly go back.
The only thing I didn't like too much was the atmosphere, it looked kind of thrown together like they didn't know what to do or where to put what. That could use some improvement for sure.

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Yummy! - Edit

I went here for the first time a couple of weeks ago for the lunch buffet. Though there was only a 5 dish selection with brown rice and spongy flat bread called injera as side options, everything was incredibly delicious! My particular favorite was the lentil dish. It was such a relief to know that everything there is vegan, a lot of times vegetarian themed restaurants will pile on their dishes with dairy products. The atmosphere was warm, casual and open. And the staff were all very friendly and welcoming without being overbearing or annoying. I am definitely looking forward to trying their dinner menu!

Pros: All Vegan, Warm Staff, Cozy Atmoshphere

Cons: Not many selections for lunch

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

A hard review to write - Edit

I was really excited to try this place based on the reviews on Happy Cow. I have never been sadder to write a review of a vegan place. I love Ethiopian and eat it a lot, I think that was my least favorite.

First, all the good things: The lentils were tasty, as was the vegetable lentil soup. The Collard Greens were also pretty good. These were all mild but well spiced. There is brown rice with the buffet if you are not into the injera or want it with your dishes. The place is all vegan, a super plus for me.

Now for the things that I was not big on. The Injera. The most important foundation for all Ethiopian food is the injera. The best injera is fresh and warm. The first injera I got here was cold and falling apart. It was the end of the basket, so I waited for more to come out, when it did, the first thing I did was go get some. This was cold and crumbly too. Apparently, they do not make fresh injera during lunch. If the injera was good and fresh, I probably would have given this place 4 stars, maybe. Good injera goes a long way.

There were 5 dishes out in the buffet. One of which was not good at all, I really am not sure what it was but it was super salty and the flavor was not something I enjoyed. The lentils were good. The collards were good for while but after a few bites something changed, it may have been salt too. The potatoes and beets were alright, good color, not much flavor. and the pureed vegetable and lentil soup was really good for a few bites but for the whole bowl, it lacked a certain pizzaz in flavor.

There is also no service at all during lunch. You come in and do your thing and pay on your way out. I could have totally gone for a drink but no one offered anything, so self serve water it was. Lunch costs $9.70 ish and i just gave him $10 for everything. That is pretty reasonable for a lunch buffet. I wonder if they raised the price a few bucks if they could have good food and a server. If they had a liquor license, I would have totally dropped money on a beer or 2.

Overall, I hope lunch is different than dinner. But based on my experience, I will not be back and will go to Abyssinia for all my Ethiopian needs in Rochester.

Pros: All vegan

Cons: no fresh injera, salty food, no service

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

great little place! - Edit

My wife and 2 children went here for lunch after finding ourselves in Rochester for the morning. The food was really good, especially the lentils!!! Everyone loved it! Well priced, cozy atmosphere!

Pros: homemade, 100% vegan, yummy

Cons: none

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Wonderfully delicious! - Edit

My husband & I have been here quite a few times, all without disappointment.

The food is wholesome, flavorful, & comforting. We've had the buffet all but 1 time, as they have reportedly started serving dinners. We will have to try that in the near future!

The owner is a total sweetheart. A genuinely nice man who cares about his customers. He & his wife (who is more behind the scenes) have put a lot of TLC into the place.

The ambiance is of the relaxed, cafe sort, since the restaurant is at the back of a health foods store. Very cute though.

We always feel that the food is satisfying & healthy. Writing this is making me hungry for it. Yum!

Pros: Delicious, healthful food, Friendly service, Fast service

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Link to this page from your site. .
Return to Rochester 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 Natural Oasis Cafe closed, shut down, moved, or changed? Please use the Update Form.
This page has been viewed 8392 times.