• The Refectory Cafe

  • (14)
  • White Veg-options

Serves meat, vegan options available. Cafe menu labels what's vegetarian and vegan. Sample items such as chili, kale salad, dal, slaw, muffins, cookies, breakfast soy yogurt parfait and tofu scramble. Has kombucha, cold press juice, plant milk for coffee drinks. Order at counter for breakfast & lunch. Table service and drinks at dinnertime. Open Mon-Thu 9:00am-8:30pm, Fri-Sat 9:00am-9:00pm, Sun 9:00am-3:00pm.

Venue map for The Refectory Cafe
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14 Reviews

First Review by turtleveg


Points +1387

11 Dec 2022


The food is underwhelming to say the least. $80 for 2 people to eat and we both left wishing we had just eaten at home. The pancakes were greasy and the oil or vegan butter it had been cooked in left a burnt taste. The vegan burger was just okay. It fell apart and the bun reminded me of the cheapest ones you can buy at the store. The cashew sauce on it was good but not good enough to carry the meal.

Updated from previous review on 2022-04-24

Pros: Clearly labeled menu

Cons: Expensive , Bland



Points +2417

01 Jun 2022

Good food, confusing brunch service

Went on a Sunday for brunch and it’s very confusing how selecting a table works. There were a ton of empty tables but they all had reserved signs on them and/or dishes that hadn’t been cleared. We went at 11am and a lot of the empty tables had a 10am reservation sign. Not all tables had times listed so it was very confusing. I think they’re understaffed, so I don’t want to hate real hard but I wish there was a more clear way to not accidentally steal someone’s reserved table.


Points +454

15 Feb 2022

Pretty good

Their vegan menu items were clearly marked. It took a while for us to order and get our food, but it was busy so we were patient. The food came out hot and was prepared correctly.

Pros: Vegan food clearly labeled

Cons: Reserved seating is weird


Points +763

10 Oct 2019

Decent food

My friend had butternut squash soup (a seasonal special) and I had the vegan grilled cheese and sweet potato fries. Food was decent, nothing special but not bad.

Pros: Vegan options clearly marked on menu


Points +89

01 Aug 2019

Solid vegan options

Just had lunch at Refectory. I met some friends and wasn’t sure what to expect. There were several vegan options, all clearly marked. Food and service were good.


Points +953

11 Apr 2019

Lots of options

They have quite a few vegan options including salads, sandwiches, and their signature Dal. I have also had some of their vegan specials which were delicious too. They have a vegan bread option for sandwiches. The dessert case usually has several vegan option too. The cheesecake is awesome!

Pros: Good food, Good portion size, Dessert options!


Points +35

01 Dec 2018

Great lunch spot, great vegan cheesecake

For lunch it's order at the counter and then they bring your food to you. Dinner has table service but I have not tried that yet. I ordered their signature vegan chili which was amazing and black bean sliders lunch special also vegan and sweet potato fries which were perfect as well as a passion fruit raw vegan cheesecake to go. One of the servers said that cheesecake was the reason she decided to work there and I completely get it. Everything tasted great, the service was friendly and fast and I will definitely be back.

Pros: Lots of vegan and vegetarian options, Vegan desserts, Plant milks for lattes

Cons: Dining area a bit loud.


Points +32

26 Jul 2018

Very good

I had a tofu scramble and a muffin for breakfast and it was outstanding!

Pros: Moderate amount of vegan options, Great food, Nice people


Points +260

16 Oct 2017

Good black bean burger

I had the black burger here. It is vegan and spicy. Definitely will try again when I am in the area


23 Oct 2017

Thank you! Our pastry chef created that recipe and we have multiple Vegan breads locally baked.

We look forward to seeing you again when you come to visit Durham. Check out the Vegan pancakes, Vegan scramble and our new Vegan smoothies. We make our own Cold-pressed Vegan juices too! Kombucha is also locally made here in Durham and we carry many Vegan "milks".

Thank you for posting!


Points +128

29 Apr 2017

Very Tasty Food, Super Friendly/Professional Staff

Very welcoming environment and staff. Food was very original and tasty. Had the tempeh steak. Also have several vegan pastries.

Pros: Several vegan options, knowledgeable staff, origin


Points +267

22 Feb 2017

Great vegan cakes

I haven't had the food here, but they have awesome vegan cakes. I've had both the chocolate cheese cake and the blueberry cheese cake, and both are phenomenal. Service is great too.

Pros: Delicious vegan cakes, Good service


Points +1163

29 May 2016

Great drinks

I visited the Refectory Cafe for breakfast and ordered coffee, a green smoothie, and a tempeh scramble. The drinks are all serve yourself with a fantastic buffet style bar. There are several options for sweeteners and such right there. The smoothie was fresh and tasty. The tempeh scramble was very small for the price, which was a tad disappointing compared to the drink bar. The service was wonderful, though.

Pros: Lots of options

Vegan Vagabond

Points +2580

06 Apr 2016


Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I found this place to be a big let down. "Lots of vegan options" are three. A tempeh sauté for breakfast and a wrap or a bowl for lunch. I suspect that all three are the same. One is served for breakfast, the other is served for lunch and the wrap is just the bowl wrapped in a tortilla. So, I went with the breakfast sauté, after double checking that it had "lots of veggies." What I got was a bowl of oily squash and zucchini, with a few strips of peppers and onions and a small amount of tempeh. Not impressed.


16 May 2016

Your negative experience with the tempeh dish aside, they do have several other vegan options including a vegan dal w/ brown rice, and vegan chili, a black bean burger, a few different salads, and a couple of vegan desserts. They do offer several different vegan dishes using tempeh which I think is what you are referring to. Sorry you didn't enjoy!


Points +1590

10 Jul 2013

good food, nice atmosphere

This place is "cafeteria" style but don't let that stop you - it actually has a very nice atmosphere - open and bright - and staff is very friendly. They happily promote their vegan options, which are all quite tasty. Standards include Indian dal, chili, slaw and kale salad. There is also always a vegan cookie and vegan muffin option. And often a daily special or soup that is vegan. The best part is there is a vegan option at breakfast/brunch - tofu scramble and/or vegan tacos (fresh with avocado, veggies, and cilantro - it's really good), and they also have fruit smoothies and soy yogurt parfaits.
Variety of hot or cold drinks including beer.
If it's a nice day, sit outside on the picnic tables.
They also have a location at Duke Law school with a similar menu but I haven't been to that location.

Pros: vegan breakfast options, friendly staff, outside tables

Cons: distance from downtown, would like to see more vegan variety

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