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The Good Karma Cafe

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 39 reviews )
Contact 213-531-9616

817 W 34th St (at USC), Los Angeles, California, USA, 90089

Lunch only. Encouraged to bring your own reusable eating ware and to-go container. Occasional live music. Open to public, rain or shine, during autumn & spring classes. Prepared to Vaishnava Hindu standards. Accepts cash and Venmo. Open Tue-Thu 12:00pm-2:00pm.

Category: Vegan, Indian, Italian, Organic, Buffet, Take-out, Mexican

Reviews (39)

First Review by mcelwee1

Amazing food and vibes!! - Edit

This is my favorite place to eat lunch because the people are so kind and the food tastes homemade. It's also all you can eat for only $10 and the salad dressing is sooooo good. I wish they were open more often or could get a permanent location but right now its a makeshift buffet underneath the church on usc campus. Definitely try it if you havent!!

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Bet Lunch on Campus - Edit

This place ROCKS. $10 for all you can eat vegan food, consistently excellent, and the almond dressing they make is incredible. Bring some Tupperware for a take home portion, and if you're a hot sauce fan you're in luck - Justin makes a mean one.

Pros: tasty, cheap considering portions, healthy

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BEST EVER!!!!! - Edit

Don't go to Parkside or EVK when you can come here and actually get good healthy food! Bring a container and they'll let you take some food home. This place needs to replace all the dining halls and fast food places around SC. It is simply the best. Bring your friends and family.

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First, I must admit that I love to eat meat. Despite this fact, I ate at the Good Karma Cafe EVERY Wednesday last semester because their food is delicious, healthy and affordable. No meat required.

Honestly, $7 for just one plate of this stuff would be a good deal, but Sarvatma and Justin will keep feeding you until you explode. They actually ENCOURAGE people to bring to-go containers (to be eco-friendly) so I usually eat a big lunch and then take some home for dinner!

Besides the food, the staff and clientele are always friendly and the music is pleasantly eclectic (usually a CD player, sometimes they have live performances).

Anything else I could say has been said by other reviewers... just check this place out; you won't regret it. Whether you're a vegan or a full-on omnivore, you will get hooked.

Pros: Tasty and Delicious, Amazing value (portions), Atmosphere

Cons: Only @ USC twice a week!

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Amazing - Edit

I have been a vegetarian for 9 years and I have never had such amazing, fresh, and wonderful food at such a good price. I ALWAYS go back for seconds, and the salad dressing is one of my favorite parts of the meal. The desserts are amazing...

I have been on both Wednesdays (Indian) and Thursdays (Italian) and I can say that both days are equally yummy and well prepared.

I went to USC for 4 years and I'm sad i just discovered this. I would have been coming here all four years if I had known. I more than definitely recommend this!

Pros: healthy, yummy, great staff

Cons: none, none, none!

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Best Veggie food ever! - Edit

I've been a vegetarian all my life and I must say, this place has one of the best foods I've ever had in various restaurants (including veggie restaurants in India). Amazing vegetarian food, their tomato pasta is simply divine. Try out the salad and specialty almost sauce. But their top hit must definitely be their Halawas (chocolate, blueberry, almonds the list goes on). For the more adventurous, there is always the green chili hot sauce. ;) And who can argue with a $ 7 all you can eat?

Pros: Excellent, Healthy, Friendly staff

Cons: Sometimes run out of food

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Reviewer Avatar

Another Ode to Sarvatma - Edit

If you're hungry on Wednesday or Thursday for lunch,
Good Karma Cafe is the place you should munch.
Our dear chef, Sarvatma, has talent to spare.
You really should try it. You'll like it, I swear!

What Sarvatma serves up is truly auspicious.
It's organic, it's scrumptious, it's even nutritious!
And it's just $7 for all you can eat -
Now that is a deal, and that deal is sweet!

On Wednesdays it's rice, with veggies and spice -
Maybe veggies you won't even know, but they're nice!
On Thursdays it's pasta in all shapes and sizes,
Marinara or pesto, and other surprises.

The salad's green-leafy. The dressing's divine.
Go get your own seconds! I will not share mine!

The chef calls his hot sauce Chernobyl runoff -
Wherever it's from, it'll blow your head off!

To drink you'll have juices of various sorts,
Maybe ginger or guava - you'll want to drink quarts!

Dessert is halava, so rich and so creamy,
In a rainbow of flavors that are simply dreamy!
Chocolate or peanut or blueberry-Vishnu -
You'll think you're in heaven. You won't know what hit you.

The setting's just charming, with fountain and flowers.
You'll be tempted to sit in the courtyard for hours.
And with music eclectic - tango sung by a Finn!? -
You'll find yourself smiling, whatever mood you are in!

I urge you try it. No need to abstain.
Once you eat there the first time, you'll eat there again.
Go visit Sarvatma, and do not delay!
Take your good appetite to Good Karma Cafe!

Pros: healthy cuisine, tasty food, good value

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Good Karma Cafe @ USC - Edit

Man...the food here is good.
I've had the Wednesday food before but due to class on those days, I normally only come on Thursdays.

Thursdays cycle between Italian (marinara) and Pesto days. While both are amazing, the Pesto is ... ultra amazing.

As others have said, entry is seven dollars and it is very worth it. Eat until you're full (or even after you're full), and enjoy the relaxing ambiance of the place. It is a good area to get out of the hustle and bustle of thousands of students rushing to class.

The salad dressing is just as amazing as everything else here, it is seriously made of some highly illegal addictive substance...too bad we don't get to know what it is.

You can also buy the salad dressing to take home, which I've done, but somehow it just tastes better while there.

Moving on to dessert...the halava is awesome! I'm normally not one to like sweet stuff but I had never had this type of dessert until I first came here. It's not overly sugary or sweet but it just hits the spot whether during or after eating up all that pasta and salad.

The drinks are very unique but most days I just prefer water.

Also to note: the hot sauce may look friendly but it can seriously kick your butt, use with caution. That said, it is a great addition to both the pasta and the salad, adding a nice kick!

I really didn't want to write this review as the lines at Good Karma have already been getting way too long but that's the price you have to pay when your food is really that good.

P.S. Sarvatma plays a MEAN game of table tennis!
Updated from previous review on Wednesday April 13, 2011

Pros: Pesto., Dressing., Everything else, too!

Cons: Lines., Only 2 Days a Week.

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Good for the Body, Soul, and Wallet - Edit

As a graduate student at USC, Good Karma Cafe is a much-needed on-campus food option for students who want to eat healthy food at a price that's kind to the wallet. Their $7 all-you-can-eat lunches come complete with an entree, salad, dessert, and a drink. Some friends introduced good Karma to me a couple of weeks ago, and I've started to invite more friends to join me for lunch. The UUC's little courtyard is also a great spot to meet up with friends and enjoy a nice outdoor lunch together. The folks who run the cafe are really sweet, and it's evident that they put a lot of thought and care into the food they create and serve. Thanks!

Pros: delicious food, good value, convenient location for USC students

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My Ritual - Edit

I go to Good Karma Cafe every week that I possibly can. I'm not even a vegetarian, but if I could eat like this all the time I might consider it. They have a helluva halva and that dressing is just pure goodness. I usually eat a light breakfast so I can circle back for a full plate of seconds (or on special days, thirds).

Pros: So tasty, All you can eat, Dressing

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Wonderful Lunch - Edit

The Good Karma Cafe offers a fabulous lunch on the USC campus. When they say "all-you-can-eat" they actually mean it. The vegan/vegetarian fare is extremely satisfying. One of the few places at which I feel supported by my adventures in vegetarianism. So delicious! I hope they stick around for a long, long time.

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Best part of my day - Edit

I work and go to school at USC and the Good Karma Cafe provides the healthiest, most delicious, best value food on campus and in the immediate area. My lunches there are the best part of my day! The food is always tasty and fresh and served with a smile (and a few jokes). It's a great way to get a vegan or vegetarian meal and still get protein (especially from the Indian food on Wednesdays). They often serve pesto on Thursdays and it's the best vegan pesto I've ever had. The food (which is unlimited and you can take to-go) can be enjoyed in an outdoor courtyard or in the cooler indoor seating. Be sure to try the freshly made beverages, too (usually mint or ginger with fruit juice or tea). I cannot highly recommend this enough!

Pros: fresh, healthy, tasty

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Hidden Vegetarian Jewel! - Edit

I never expected to find such an amazing little place when I walked past the United University Church on USC. The Good Karma Cafe is tucked away in a "Secret Garden"-esque nook, with amazingly friendly service, and delicious food. I had the pleasure of coming on Wednesday's Indian cuisine day. The salad was amazing, and so was the apple-spiced cumquat dessert. The Good Karma Cafe is a must try healthy alternative to other, lesser USC eateries.

Pros: excellent service, delicious cuisine, amazing atmosphere

Cons: a little hard to find

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The Best - Edit

Good Karma Cafe is always a treat- open two days a week right on USC's campus (but right on the perimeter to be accessible to street parking and the general public). Wednesdays are Indian food days, and Thursdays are Italian. This little lunch line style, all you can eat buffet WILL have you coming back for more. The food is always fresh, healthy, and delicious. There is plenty of family style seating with interesting USC faculty, students, and people from the community. The only part of the meal that is not vegan is dessert, thought when the owner remembers I'm vegan or I tell him, he always goes and gets me some surprise dessert from the kitchen!

Pros: Delicious, Healthy, Fun atmosphere

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Amazing Vegan Lunch at USC - Edit

I first tried Good Karma Cafe a few weeks ago and I am hooked.

Sarvatma and his team prepare an absolutely delicious (and all you can eat!) array of prix fixe Indian or Italian entrees, served with mixed greens and halawa. I don't understand how Divya's Almond Dressing can be so good, but it is absolutely fantastic every time. If you like your food with more of a kick, add a spoonful or two of the homemade spicy hot sauce. Topping off a fantastic meal is the always-interesting drink of the day, which ranges from grapefruit juice to barley/ginger/mint brew.

If you want a great meal at bargain prices, Good Karma Cafe is the way to go. On most days, musicians from the USC Thornton School of Music give live performances during lunch, enhancing the ambience.

Pros: Delicious and Healthy, All You Can Eat, Divya's Almond Dressing

Cons: Only 2 Days/Week

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Support good food in USC! - Edit

So I made an account just to spread the word about the AWESOMENESS of Good Karma Cafe!

"Awesomeness" to me means:
1) Healthy, filling, and satisfying food.
2) Lots of variety (Salad w/ the Chef's secret Almond dressing, really good Chef-created spicy sauce, a different new Halawa dessert every day, a different unique homemade juice-blend every day, annnnd the main entree)
3) CHEAP! $7! (If you know any other place close to USC to get completely full on 7 bucks, pleeeease let me know)
4) Really friendly and personable Chef. He's a great guy and as you come more he'll get to know you and have interesting conversations with you. (Also, he's really good about any food allergies/concerns you may have. Hygiene/Food safety is also very good.)
5) Great vibe and atmosphere. You get to eat healthy food with trees and vines giving you shade in a "private" courtyard and a cool selection of groovy music playing in the background every time.

Also, as far as parking goes if you're not on the USC campus usually.. Check out: http://transnet.usc.edu/guest_services/pdf/upc_color.pdf

Your best bet would be to park on the street (metered) on Jefferson, Figueroa, or Hoover (in order of preference).
Also, if you check the map in the link, you can park in Parking Lot 1 without a permit (between Entrance 7 & Entrance 8). It's metered, so like a dollar/hr (cheapest on campus). From the lot, it's only a 3 min walk..

On the map, Good Karma Cafe is at E3 (University Religious Center).

Good luck, and I really do hope you try this place. This sounds like an ad, but after 4 yrs of being at USC, it honestly is the best food within a 14-min drive that I've found. :)

Pros: Healthy, Filling, & Cheap Lunch, Friendly and Comfortable Atmosphere, Almost always fast/quick

Cons: Cravings on days they're not there!, At certain times, the line is ~5min

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Oh so good ... - Edit

really tasty food made with love and served with a smile at a very reasonable price. And the salad dressing is out of this world.

Pros: excellent food, good value, friendly

Cons: parking

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Nothing but Good Karma from the Good Karma Cafe - Edit

I was introduced to the Good Karma Cafe in early August 2010, and have made it a point to go twice a week every week. The food is great, the atmosphere is awesome. Whether you bring a bunch of friends or eat by yourself, this is definitely the place on campus to get vegetarian food. Sarvatma is not only a great chef, but remembers who you are, where you're from and makes small talk while serving you the best food on campus. 5 cows.

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Best Food at USC! - Edit

As a vegetarian and someone who tries to be conscious of what she consumes, I found the Good Karma Cafe to be the perfect eatery on or off campus in the USC area. No longer am I reduced to "grilling" some sad, flavorless tofu on the panini-maker at EVK amidst the questioning stares of my classmates!

This dishes at GKC are a true delight. There is usually an Indian dish with rice on Wednesday and an Italian dish (tomato or pesto) on Thursday. Both days there is a salad with AMAZING almond dressing and the chef, Sarvatma, is inventive with the different flavors of the desert (halva) and the juice (my favorite combo is the orange juice and mint tea mix, so refreshing!).

Additionally, the atmosphere is always welcoming and friendly. The staff are amicable and sometimes there are a couple students from the jazz band playing. Whether I go with friends or solo, I always have a good time, and I feel like I can really relax here.

In summary, visiting the Good Karma Cafe for lunch is definitely worth $7 and I would recommend it to non-meat eaters and meat-eaters alike!!

Pros: friendly atmosphere, amazing food, good value

Cons: limited hours, limited selection

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tasty healthy and charming lunch setting... - Edit

indian style veggie biryani on Wed and italian pasta on Thurs. Yummy mesculan salad with the best almond goddess style dressing this side of the Mississippi. And a creative fruit and nut halva sweet treat on the side. most guilt free and yummy meal available on USC main campus.

Pros: taste, quantity, never rains

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Reviewer Avatar

Food made with love - Edit

I love The Good Karma Cafe at USC! We are so fortunate to have a place where you can enjoy good healthy cuisine knowing that it is prepared fresh daily. The atmosphere also lends its self to a tranquil experience that is not found anywhere else on campus. The only down fall is that they are not on campus permanently, and I'm hoping that will change someday.

Pros: Great Food, Good Value, Healthy portions

Cons: not enough days on campus

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Love the good karma cafe - Edit

Every week I look forward to my veggie Indian cuisine and am very disappointed if I don't make it over there. LOVE the SALAD DRESSING and the chocolate dessert.

Pros: Great taste, Fresh, Inexpensive

Cons: Only twice a week, Cash only

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Delicious irony - Edit


when i need resuscitation
or just taste bud jubilation
this is always where i go;
for food that makes you want to gobble
food that makes willpower wobble
food i dare you to eat slow;
see the lines of hungry scholars
holding out their seven dollars
licking lips with wild gusto;
come and join us as we wallow
come and join us as we swallow
you'll be glad and SO mellow.

Pros: Taste, Music, Intellectual Atmosphere

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Delicious - Edit

I have been going to Good Karma cafe every Thursday for the past couple of years. Granted, I miss a few weeks here & there because of busy schedules but it's always such a joy eating here.

The people, food and atmosphere are always something to look forward to. My friend and I love the Halava dessert (with always a new flavor every week!) The green mixed salads with delicious dressing make my mouth water and I can't wait to go again this week.

Give it a try! For $7 all you can eat, it's a great steal.

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Tasty, Feel-Good, All-You-Can-Eat Bliss - Edit

The Good Karma Cafe is, hands-down, the best lunch spot on the USC Campus. Not only is it the cheapest option (all-you-can-eat!), but it is also the healthiest with fresh, natural ingredients that don't leave me guessing what I just ate. Divya's salad dressing is TO DIE FOR--I could eat this salad dressing on literally everything (I personally like to mix it with the pesto pasta served on Italian days). The best secret? You can buy your own online! Also, I love The Good Karma Cafe because vegetarians and omnivores alike will find satisfaction here (no, there is no meat, but I wonder if your meat-eating friends would even notice). I promise, no one will leave hungry. Lastly, the chef is very innovative with his Halava and Juice flavors, so that these are always a tasty surprise. Please come support this vegetarian cafe!

Pros: Healthy Cuisine, Good Value, Delicious Salad Dressing

Cons: Only open two days a week, sometimes there is a line

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Nice Surprise - Edit

This great little spot tucked inside a secret garden by the church at USC is a wonderful addition to the limited number of vegetarian options available at the school. The people who run it are great.

Pros: People, Location

Cons: Number of options

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True vegetarian soul food - Edit

Not in the sense that it resembles anything traditionally considered 'soul food'. But it is a cheap, dependable source of amazing food that is good for your soul (and it's all-you-can-eat). The conversation and ambience are as healthy as the food. Wednesday's meal is an Indian rice dish (Kitchari) and Thursday alternates between pesto pasta and tomato-based pasta. All meals are prepared deliciously and really accentuate the naturally great flavors of the fresh ingredients used.

Oh yeah! Sometimes the great musicians from the USC jazz program set up and deliver an impromtu master perfomance! And if not, Sarvatma has his own music collection playing.

Great food, great music, great experience. Spread the word...

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Best food in all USC area - Edit

As a previous student and now staff member at USC, I was always dissapointed with food options on and around campus UNTIL I ate at the Good Karma Cafe. First of all, the location has to be the most beautiful and serene places on campus. Upon going downstairs, you are greeted by Sarvatma, who is always very friendly and always remembers your face. It is a delight to chat with him whenever I visit. He remains amazed at my ability to eat the (not so spicy for my liking) hot sauce. Everything is delicious and healthy. The almond dressing is to die for, the halava is my favorite dessert ever, and the portions of pasta and/or Indian rice is more than filling. The drinks are also very refreshing and tasty. If you are not full after the first serving, you can always go back. Several people take tupper with them and take food to go. You honestly HAVE TO try Good Karma Cafe. I reccomend getting there early beacuse the lines have been getting longer every week. Often times, the food runs out by 1 pm. I've refered several friends on and off campus, all of whom have now refered several others. Good Karma is USC's best kept secret. A definite MUST HAVE!

P.S. Make sure you order your own almond dressing to take home. So easy to make and very healthy choice.

Pros: healthy, affordable, beautiful scenery

Cons: long lines

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Good Karma Cafe= Good Karma Day - Edit

I love GKC, I usually go on Thursdays (Italian day) right after class. The food is unbelievably tasty, especially- well, all of it. Salad comes with almond dressing that is amazing and the pasta (usually pesto or marinara) is delicious, but not too heavy. For dessert the Helva is great too. The atmosphere is nice, people come eat with friends and even if you come alone you can find someone you know. It's perfect right between classes because it is enough to satisfy your hunger but doesn't give you that food comma that kills you for the next two hours.

Pros: GREAT food, atmosphere, healthy

Cons: Only open twice a week!

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peaceful food - Edit

On Wednesdays/Thursdays from 12-2pm spot the Good Karma sandwich chalk board with the daily menu & follow the stairs down to the courtyard and you'll find yourself in the middle of a cozy, peaceful courtyard. it's almost as though you've entered another realm with freshly made food (AYCE for $7, there's pasta (or kicchiri), salad, halava, and freshly made brew/juice). the cheeky chef, Sarvatma Das, has an eclectic taste for music and usually has some playing in the background as you enjoy your lunch amongst friendly strangers. recently, however, there's been a live band, which is FANTASTIC. Simply put, I love good karma, but who doesn't?

Pros: great music, fresh food, peaceful

Cons: line

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SO GOOD - Edit

$7 all you can eat? Sign me up!! This is such a good deal on an university campus! The quality of the food is really good too! They make everything right before they open, and their salad is not only organic, but the dressing is divine!!!! I have no idea what they put in it, but it's good on anything and everything!! Their dessert is something called halava which changes flavors every time! Yesterday was apple cinnamon and today it was blueberry!! I love how it's healthy and all you can eat because no matter how much you eat, it's not detrimental to your health! If you're ever on USC's main campus on a Wednesday or Thursday, this place is definitely worth checking out!!

Pros: Cuisine, All you can eat, Friendly people

Cons: Only 2 times a week

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Vegetarian food your carnivore friends will like - Edit

Good Karma is one of the best things at USC, and there's a lot to like at USC. Good karma cafe is always good food. No matter the mood I am in when I visit, I am uplifted by the time I leave. Did I say good food?

Oh and even my carnivore friends like it. A friend who came with me brought some beef jerkey in his pocket just in case, but there was no need for it thanks to Good Karma.

I am a satisfied customer. And so are my friends. We will be there next week.

Pros: atmosphere, food, service

Cons: only open two days a week, may not be open in the summer

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Fantastic - Edit

Though small and only open for lunch Wednesdays and Thursdays, Good Karma Cafe is my favorite source of food on campus. Healthy choices on the USC campus are abysmal, and the Good Karma Cafe is an amazing departure from the terrible options located in the area. I wish USC would make this a permanent fixture, because the food is incredible, and it would be amazing to have it available for more of the week. Everything is fresh and well-prepared, and you can't go wrong with any of it.

Pros: Friendly staff, Fresh food, All you can eat

Cons: Limited hours

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Good Karma is a life saver!!!!! - Edit

Before Good Karma Cafe came to USC, I complained everyday about the availability of decent food in the area. When Sarvatma showed up with his delectable vegetarian delights, it was like the second coming! I no longer attend USC, but still make every effort to get down there on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Get there early on Thursdays since it is pesto day and the lines are longer. Dont forget to take a home a package of his salad dressing to mix at home... my son can no longer eat a meal without it!

Pros: Excellent Food, Healthy, Very Friendly

Cons: Only open Wed and Thurs, Only open for lunch

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From a non-vegetarian - Edit

I stopped by one day because The Good Karma Cafe is a few steps from my office...had the best, fresh tasting meal ever from a campus vendor...as I am not vegetarian, the meal was very satisfying, and filling! The desserts are so delicious. The price includes a drink and that's a complete meal for a small amount of money considering it's freshly made with fresh from the garden ingredients! Try it, I'm sure you will enjoy it! Oh, and to mention...the music is great and the eating area is in a sunken patio/garden - lovely!!

Pros: excellent food, healthy cuisine, friendly staff

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Reviewer Avatar

Good Karma at USC - Edit

I am so terrifically thankful for the Good Karma Cafe and Sarvatma! It is virtually impossible to eat consciously, vegetarian or not, at USC and in the area... Good Karma is not only a welcome addition to my eating schedule in the week but a nice opportunity to stop and share a meal with other folks who care about their bodies, their earth and their food.

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