CLOSED: Red Avocado

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 14 reviews )



521 E Washington St Ste 3, Iowa City, Iowa, USA, 52240

Vegan organic restaurant. Menu features cashew coconut stir-fry, jerk tempeh sandwich, seasonal menu, gluten-free options, and more. Brunch on weekend. Reported closed to HappyCow.

Categories: Vegan, International, Organic, Juice bar, Catering

14 Reviews

First Review by veganpower

Absolutely 5 Cows! - Edit

Driving across the country on I-80, this is a great place to stop. The food is gourmet vegan and organic. This place does everything right. It's like you died and went to vegan heaven.

I'd recommend the strawberry-rose smoothie...amazing. Also good is the "bruschetta" appetizer which was whole wheat toast with a roasted red hummus topped with a few vegetables.

The mango 'icecream' dessert was a bit too much. Mango sorbet with a wonderful ginger sauce and chocolate covered peanuts on top. Each element by itself was delightful, it was the combination of the 3 that was too much for the tastebuds. Would have been better with vanilla 'icecream'.

Perfectly spaced tables inside...cozy but not where u feel u are eavesdropping on other's conversations. Intimate outdoor seating area in the back. Nice artwork on walls. Knowledgeable, friendly waitress.

I will agree with one of the other reviewer on here about the odd order in which they seat guests. We were the first ppl in the restaurant and they seated us at the table nearest the washroom. If you're going to do that, you might want to have the hostess ask as she seats you, "Is this table ok?" B/c clearly there are many others to choose from. Some ppl don't want to offend the hostess by asking to be seated at a different table. Another solution: The men's restroom is appropriately away from the seating area, it's only the women's restroom that's too close...maybe turn the men's restroom into a unisex one and close down the women's.

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Love This Place - Edit

I was born and raised in Iowa and went to college in Iowa City. Left Iowa about 12 years ago, but come back 3 or 4 times a year. Each trip I make to Iowa I have to stop at the Red Avocado. This place to me is the quintessential Iowa City restaurant. I will have to admit, someday are hit and miss, but the majority of the time I visit, the food is right on and very creative. Just typing this review is making me look forward to my next Iowa trip.

Pros: Food, Location

Cons: Price, Not as Eco-Friendly as it use to be

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not what I imagined - Edit

First, let me say the good. The fact that it is a strictly Vegan cafe is awesome.

However, the food was not good. the corn chowder tasted like soymilk w corn in it. (Who am I to argue with Iowans about anything corn related?) It just had nothing 'wow' going for it. ***Updated: so Red Avocado disputes what the soup was. It may have been coconut corn like they claim and it was just so unmemorable I had a hard time recalling it exactly once I was done my journey. Or maybe they had a special on bland flavorless soup that day. However, due to their sarcastic reply, I have been more honest about the tone of the staff. Of all the things I mention in the review, to harp on a slight oversight is less than admirable. They should have responded that they were sorry for the experience and they hope to see me again!

The pesto noodle salad was just not good in anyway shape or form. It was not a pesto, nor was it a salad. I don't know why they thought it was, but it was really bad (sorry to say, I really was so excited to check these guys out).

The coffee was excellent.

Another odd note, I was the only patron in an empty cafe, yet they sat me right next to the bathroom, which did in fact smell very bad. They need to clean their cafe, especially the bathroom. Seemed like every staff member made sure to use the bathroom while I sat there too. How about a more private table when the cafe is empty, esp when y'all are very actively using said area.

The best part of the time there was leaving. I wish I knew, but had heard raves about the place and felt obliged to try. There were better options for me down the road, but couldn't make 2 stops.

Updated from previous review on Wednesday October 22, 2008

Pros: vegan , good coffee

Cons: food , bathroom seating, bad attitude

1 Response
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The Red Avocado 13 Jun 2009 - We must have worked some real magic because there is no soy milk in the coconut corn soup. (Note: Soup, not chowder)  

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Great Quesadilla, Nice place - Edit

Stopped on my cross-country I-80 trip: Great special of the day: tofu-cheez Quesadilla (scrumptious). The Revolutionary Reuben was good as was the healthy veggie burger I got to go. They let the dogs sit with me outside, which was nice on a warmish July day.

Pros: All Vegan, Organic!, Friendly

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A Great Restaurant - Edit

Based on Happy Cow reviews a friend of mine and I decided to stop off in Iowa City during a roadtrip to eat lunch at the Red Avocado and pick up a few things at New Pioneer Co-op just across the way.

The food at the Red Avocado was splendid. We sat out on the patio on a rather nice day. The place had a very friendly atmosphere about it - a quality typical of vegetarian restaurants it seems. Our waitress was a delight, very helpful and thoughtful.

They serve water in unique little reused jars which my friend and I appreciated very much. Despite not being a big fan of coconut to begin with, the Coconut Corn Soup I ordered was great. I can't recommend the "Greenfix Smoothie" (banana, soy milk, sea greens, spinach, carrot, cashews & echinacea) enough; it was delicious and made me feel oh-so-good. My reuben sandwich was pretty good, nothing superb. That day's special which my friend ordered, a sort of tofu pasta, was much better. Overall the entrées were good. I would really like to go back for dinner when their menu looks much more interesting. To be fair, they onl recently began serving lunch so there's room to grow. Between the two of us we also had a slice of pineapple upside down cake (very good) and apple cobbler à la mode (also very good). And all vegan of course!

The Red Avocado also offers a kids menu, at least for lunch. There were a few daycare workers having lunch with some children on the patio with us which was really nice to see.

Pros: Location, Service, Atmosphere

Cons: Lunch menu could be better

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Delicious! - Edit

I have lived in Iowa City for almost 21 months and finally went to The Red Avocado! I was very impressed - the food is fabulous! I had the Coconut Corn Soup, which was amazing. I don't think I will be able to go there without getting it every time. My friend and I shared their seasonal bruschetta, which was Cashew Butter, green apple slices, pea shoots, and balsalmic reduction on their amazing bread. Then we shared another special, the empanadas, which were quite good, and the cashew coconut vegetables with tofu, which was also good but probably my least favorite of anything. I am mostly vegetarian but I've never been to a completely vegan restaurant. I was amazed at all they could make with no animal products. I am addicted.

Pros: Delicious food, Friendly staff, Variety

Cons: Too expensive to eat every day!

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Loved This Restaurant! - Edit

I'm a relatively new vegan (1 year), and this was my first vegan restaurant. I just turned 50, and my family took me there (non-vegans). I had the ginger tea, miso soup, tofu crusts with BBQ, broccoli & spinach with mustard sauce, beer-battered onion rings, cornbread, house bread, my daughter's spaghetti, and carrot cake.

Everything was just perfect. The service was outstanding. The atmosphere was wonderful, nice music and lighting.

We drove 1.25 hours to get there, but it was well worth it!

Highly recommend it. And you can shop at the New Pioneer Coop after the meal, which is right across the street

Pros: awesome food, excellent service, wonderful atmosphere

Cons: none

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vegan delivery - Edit

The Red Avocado has added a "meal plan" that offers a set of 4 meals for 2 that you either pick up every Tuesday or have delivered. Menu is vegan and local. I've just begun but the food has been great. Marinated tofu with mixed vegetables in a curry sauce and spiced sweet potatoes and turnip or Marinated tempeh, daikon radish and kale in roasted red pepper sauce sauce with spinach polenta are dishes I'd never cook at home even if I had time.

Pros: tasty vegan, healthy delivery

Cons: delivery cost more, only 4 meals a week

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amazing - Edit

i ordered caramelized tofu with leeks and potatoes from red avocado's locally grown menu. i have been vegan for five years and eaten at fine restaurants all around the country, and this was a nearly incomparable experience. the potatoes in particular were quite literally the best potatoes i have ever had. i could not imagine what more i could ask out of a potato, although admittedly i would have never asked what i received from these potatoes in the first place. it was a little expensive ($16), but well worth it, considering the ethical, environmental, and gustatorial aspects of the meal. the portion was smaller than at most restaurants, but was exactly enough to make me full without making me overfull -- a good thing, since i can't help but clear my plate, and most restaurants err on the side of too much. if they have to err, too much is better than too little, but why err at at all? my friend ordered the curry and found it delicious but less entirely delicious than my meal. plus, they're all vegan and offer a rather nice selection of wine. i can't imagine what occasion would bring me back to iowa city, but were there ever to be one i would jump at the chance. possibly the closest thing to a perfect meal i have ever had.

Pros: delicious, 100% vegan, locally grown options

Cons: pricey (but fair, i guess)

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A Must Visit Place - Edit

All of the reviews are right-on, except for that nonsense one, but I love this place so much that I feel compelled to share my thoughts/experience. I cannot say enough about this place! I travel to Iowa City for business every 4 to 6 weeks and I can be found at this restaurant at least 4 times during each visit. The menu selection is fantastic, the food is extremely tasty and the staff is very kind and friendly. The coconut corn soup, cold pasta salad and hummus plate are among my favorites, although you can't go wrong with anything, and the table next to the furnace is the best seat in the house. I often bring my customers with me and they are also quite impressed, and not one of them is vegetarian, much less vegan. Additionally, they use environmentally friendly To-Go packaging. Hands down my favorite restaurant - I just wish they were closer to my hometown. A must visit place if you are in or around Iowa City!

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Yet Another review - Edit

I was again on travel in this area and had an amazing meal! I had the Marsala, fresh juice, and tea (their own blend). I can't say enough good things about this place.

Pros: Vegan Friendly, Healthy, Friendly

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Worth the drive to Iowa City alone, hands down - Edit

Red Avocado is in my top 10 of all vegan restaurants in the world. It's eclectic atmosphere lends to the creativity and charm of the menu and specials. If its cold make sure you get a seat next to the old fashion stove/heating thingy! I had both brunch and dinner and both were out of this world among the top vegan meals I've ever had in my life and if you take a peak at the amount of vegan places I've eaten I hope that speaks for itself. (The only negative is their cheesecake is way too healthy so skip it and opt for something else. We also did an upside down cake (gluttons aren't we?) and it was fantastic!
An added bonus is that the Co-op is practically across the street so you can walk on over and grab some vegan goodies for the road!

Pros: brunch, creativity

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WOW!!! - Edit

Our whole trip to Iowa City was worth it just to have the enjoyment of eating here!! The brunch was out of this world. I loved the sesame seed potatoes, buckwheat crape, tofu scramble, and the homemade vegan cheese quesadilla, very good and interesting. Then that night for dinner was even better, we both had the seasonal specials and they were amazing!!! Everything was so fresh and the staff was extremely friendly:)

Pros: Empanadas!!, Great Vaule, quesadilla

Cons: Key lime Cheese Cake

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great great great - Edit

the only place in town you cn get super good vegan food from locally grown places. i do agree with the bland sauces that other people have mentioned..but its nice to have a simple meal every once in awhile.

Pros: good food, local support, friendly staff

Cons: bland sauces, somewhat over priced

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