• The Natural Cafe - Hitchcock Way

  • (11)
  • White Veg-options
Fast food
Juice bar

Serves meat, vegan options available. Several locations in California. Extensive menu includes many vegetarian dishes: sandwiches, salads, pasta, smoothies, two veggie soup of the day (one of which is always vegan and usually gluten-free). You can ask to veganize many dishes using veganaise, etc. or by omitting dairy products. Open Mon-Sun 11:00am-9:00pm. Open on most holidays.

Venue map for The Natural Cafe - Hitchcock Way
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11 Reviews

First Review by jlautner


Points +17

08 Jun 2023

Tasty, Healthy, and affordable

We go often, and enjoy the wide selection of vegetarian dishes, which include burgers , sandwiches, marvelous fresh salads. Order at the counter, and they’ll bring it to you promptly. They also have side orders, delicious sautéed tofu, guacamole, chips, baked potato, steamed veggies (as a small side as well as a main entree). I love the juicy portobello sandwich, and the fresh avocado sandwich, while my wife often has the soup & half-sandwich combo, and steamed or sautéed veggies with rice. But we like many other things as well. When we go with non-vegetarian friends, they can get chicken or fish or regular burgers. They also have Mac & cheese for kids of all ages. This local chain has places in several cities, all with the same menu, and all reliably delicious., modern, neat, & clean, too.



Points +250

19 Apr 2023

Fast, filling, inexpensive, and tasty

Natural Cafe is my favorite place for a quick, healthy lunch. I go to the one in Goleta most often because it is near UCSB where I work. My favorite dishes are the Spiritual Spinach salad, with no feta, added sautéed tofu and avocado, the Good Karma burger, sans mayo and add avocado, and the Tofu Veggie bowl, which is vegan, no modifications needed.😄The smoothies are good too, and they have great bottomless iced tea.
My husband loves the vegan Chipotle "chicken" sandwich and the Baja burrito with sautéed tofu instead of chicken, and sub soy cheese for dairy.
My son is pretty picky, so he likes to get a side of black beans, rice, and sautéed tofu, and a tortilla and make a simple burrito for himself.

Pros: Fast, Tasty , Not expensive

Cons: Needs more vegan items on the menu


Points +81

08 Jul 2022

In love with the Veggie Tofu Bowl!

Has a complete vegetarian menu. Not all the items are vegan but you can ask for substitutes if needed. I got the veggie tofu bowl. Would definitely recommend sharing with more than one person because the portions are massive.


Points +47

13 Jul 2020

Bland but fine

Lots of options for vegetarians and vegans, but their food is just not that good. Every time I’ve visited my meal has been bland and inoffensive. It’s not bad, but there are certainly better options for in town.


Points +70

10 May 2019

very filling

really good vegan burger that you dont have to change it to keep it vegan, i only wish they had more options!

Pros: great atmosphere , great service


Points +58

21 May 2018

Great Place with Lots of Vegan Options

I love this place and come to it quite a bit. Many dishes have to be made vegan by removing items (e.g., cheese or sour cream), and I've never had an issue with them forgetting to do so. They now offer Chao "cheese" in place of regular cheese for no extra charge! (2018) In my experience, the staff is pretty well-versed on what's vegan and what's not.

Depending on who's at the register, they can substitute in guacamole for sour cream for free, but their guac isn't the best...

Salads are awesome here, with lots of variety and vegetables available on them. And you can never go wrong with adding sauteed tofu, which is deliciously seasoned! Just make sure you keep an eye out for sour cream on some of the salads, which is stated clearly on the menu.

It does seem like most of their food is pretty healthy - lots of vegetables, black beans, brown rice. Of course, if it's covered in cheese and sour cream, it's not all that healthy. Someone mentioned that their bread isn't vegan - I'm pretty sure that's true, so avoid that if you're vegan.

Natural Tamale - great filling, tasty beans and rice + a side salad (I like the tahini salad dressing all over the dish). Take off the sour cream.

Black bean enchiladas - substitute chao and take off the sour cream.

Tempeh Tacos - not the best seasoning, but you can substitute cheese for the vegan chai cheese, which is pretty good.

Natural Salad - pretty simple but lots of veggies (lettuce, tomato, onion, carrot, jicama, cabbage, sprouts) very tasty salad, especially if you get tahini dressing and sauteed tofu.

Tostada Salad - filling salad with beans and rice (remove sour cream). Again, I love the tahini dressing and tofu added on.

Stay away from the falafel. In my opinion, falafel is best fried in oil. Being a "healthy" place, they seem to just bake it. Not very good. You've been warned ;)

Updated from previous review on 2018-05-21

Pros: Lots of options, Nice atmosphere, Really good if you know what you're getting

Cons: Hit and miss depending on the entree


Points +496

27 Jan 2016


Like a lot of the order-at-the-counter natural food places. Being whole-food wheat-free vegan it's a cross-over place and I need to be picky and choosy here, but it is not a complaint.


Points +376

03 Oct 2011

Good food!

This casual restaurant has lots of healthy veg choices that are very tasty. Can't beat the tempeh tacos, the Super natural platter, and the vegetarian daily soups.


Points +8505

23 Jul 2010

So-so: acceptably tasty, marginally healthful

All the Natural Café locations serve the same middle-of-the-road fare: nothing stellar, but plenty of OK options.

Our main complaint about the Natural Café, besides the fact that it serves meat and doesn't always get special orders right (e.g. vegan dishes without dairy, etc.), is that the food is neither remarkably flavorful nor remarkably healthful. It's perfectly acceptable and better than a restaurant that makes no effort to use healthful, natural ingredients, but that's about all we can say in praise of the food. They do not make a point of using organic produce, and a lot of the food is fattening, so though "natural" is in the name, that doesn't strongly equate with genuinely healthful food.

Put less delicately: the Natural Cafe serves food that tastes like "health food" but isn't in fact especially healthful.

That said, we still prefer it to most other restaurants in Santa Barbara because at least they do have some OK vegan options and at least they do make a minimal effort to use fresh and "natural" (though not organic) ingredients.

Recommended (though not very enthusiastically) are the tempeh tacos (order without cheese) and the "natural tamale" (order without sour cream).

In the end, if flavor is more important to you than the minimal attempt at "natural" cuisine, you might be happier with one of Santa Barbara's several veg*n-friendly Asian and Italian restaurants.

Pros: Several vegan options, minimally healthful

Cons: Serves meat, Not organic, Not especially tasty, on the whole


Points +28

16 Oct 2009

Beware Vegans

All the bread at the natural cafe' is not vegan it contains honey. The item I usually order the old town salad with out feta cheese and tahini with grilled tofu, the soup is really good and I usually get it with out bread. What I get is really good and recommended but be careful of the employees will tell you all the burgers are vegan which is technically true but they forget to tell you about the bread. I ate there for years thinking it was vegan so bummed I was lyed to.

Pros: Fresh Food, Good Tofu

Cons: Expensive , Not much vegan food


Points +68

26 Jun 2009

A lot of choices for veg people

I have been to several Natural Cafes, many times to the one closest to me - San Luis Obispo. I just tried this one last Monday. I cannot resist the sauteed tofu here, even when I am trying to reduce the amount of fat in my diet. It is just not to be missed. The restaurant is large, airy, has a nice outdoor patio (dog-friendly perhaps?). As with the other Natural Cafes, you order at the counter, then find a seat and wait for your food to come to you. There are more veg choices here than there are meat, which makes this cafe stand out in my opinion. You can also get sides to make up a meal that meets your dietary needs - brown rice & steamed veggies, for example. I always enjoy eating here.

This location has the advantage of being on the way out of town for me, not caught in the downtown parking dilemma.

Pros: attractive restaurant, good food, earth-conscious

Cons: not all vegetarian

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