Tillie Gort's Cafe

  • Veg-options Veg-options
    ( 26 reviews )
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831-373-0335
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111 Central Ave, Pacific Grove, California, USA, 93950

Serves meat, vegan options available. Calm atmopshere, a few blocks from Monterey Bay Aquarium. Offers organic food with many vegetarian dishes (sandwiches, Mexican food, hot plates, pasta). Uses dairy and egg, so vegans be sure to specify. Flexible menu. Open Mon-Sun 7:00am-9:00pm.

Categories: Lacto, Ovo, American, Organic, Beer/Wine, Mexican, Non-veg

26 Reviews

First Review by prezeliz

Still Serving Good Food - Edit

This was an old standby when we lived in the area 20 years ago. We were pleasantly surprised to find things exactly the same. The woman seating us was the same, the menu was basically the same, and the restaurant itself looked the same. A few vegan options, including vegan desserts. It's a decent place to enjoy a meal near the bay.

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delicious! - Edit

Service was friendly and helpful. Food was delicious. They accommodated our request for minimal oil.

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memorable service, coffee & vegan meal - Edit

Tillie Gort's has been around since 1969 but it is beautifully modern with its local artwork, large wine selection & vegan/vegetarian menu options. I fell in love with the walnut pesto tofu scramble and my husband had a chicken sausage omelet with Odwalla OJ. The service was kind and accommodating and the atmosphere was lovely. Definitely on my favorites list!

Pros: separate vegan section on menu , separate vegetarian section on menu , homemade jam :-D

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Enjoyable salads and cakes - Edit

My mum and I enjoyed some delicious and generous sized salads at Tillie Gort's. There were plenty of options to pick from (we don't mind asking for something vegetarian to be "veganised" eg. Hold the sour cream). There were a couple of vegan cakes for dessert and we shared a huge piece of carrot cake.
Service was friendly and the atmosphere was cosy and charming. I'd recommend it!
We had never heard of Tillie Gort's so perhaps people giving negative reviews are influenced by nostalgia or hype?

Pros: fresh and tasty, good selection for vegetarians with veganisation a, a rare vegan find in fish-loving Monterey!

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Flavorless and overpriced vegan breakfast - Edit

The food here is overpriced and terrible. The vegan blueberry pancakes were very tough/over-mixed and had no flavor. The syrup was the fake kind, and there’s no vegan margarine. Plus, they charge an extra $2.75 more for vegan pancakes than they do for the regular ones, so you end up paying $10.76 for two flavorless pancakes. The Greek tofu scramble was also flavorless, and the portion was very small (the plate is dominated by toast and potatoes). I see that another reviewer heard from the server that they don’t put a lot of salt in the food because some people don’t want salt – but those people should specify as such, and there are a lot of other ways to add flavor to food besides salt. Adding salt and pepper to food that’s already cooked is not the same as getting food that’s flavorful and well-seasoned. The coffee was also terrible. We were so excited to eat here because it can be hard to find vegan breakfast options, but we really wished we hadn’t wasted our time and money here.

Cons: Very bland, Expensive

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WONDERFUL - Edit

The food was great, homey, without the pretentiousness of some equally veggie-based places.

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Breakfast in Monterey - Edit

We almost didn't come due to the negative reviews, but I'm so glad we decided to ignore them. We got the Pesto scramble and the Greek scramble and were happy with both.

The atmosphere was very calm and welcoming and it felt like a neighbor's kitchen. Our server Alexie (spelling?) was so nice and we chatted about the town and places to visit.

The food came out fast and was delicious. Some of these reviews mention that the food is bland, but Alexie told us the kitchen does not salt the food due to most people not wanting so much salt. There are salt and pepper shakers at each table so there is really nothing to worry about. Definitely a place to go if you are in Monterey and want a nice calm breakfast.

Pros: Many vegan options, Calm atmosphere , Good chefs

Cons: You might need to lift the salt shaker

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End of an era? - Edit

We hadn't been to the Monterey peninsula for years, but decided to stay there overnight on the way back from SoCal. Wanted to have lunch before getting on the road, & did not have computer access, so browsed a city-produced "dining out" pamphlet & were happy to see that Tillie Gort's was STILL there. ("Vegan" seems to be a dirty word in the gourmandish peninsula.) We drove there with our dog in the car, & had to take turns going in to look at the menu to order, got the food "to go" & ate in our car - since I was told that it was "not legal" for us to sit at one of the OUTSIDE tables with the dog. Weird, since a few miles away, Carmel goes out of its way to be dog-friendly. I did ask to use the rest room, & was astonished to find that there is no hot water in there - just hope the staff have their own rest room which DOES have hot water running! Was also very dismayed to discover that there are all sorts of meat items on the menu. Normally, I won't eat food made in a kitchen that also has meat around (too many bad past experiences) but my husband was getting very hungry, & said he didn't care, so we did order food. My 'tofu scramble' was heavy on the rice & black beans side-dish. The tofu was in large cubes. There were a few pieces of mushroom, some runny tomatoes & a fair amount of spinach. There did not appear to be any seasoning in anything. The only tastes were the ones that come directly from the ingredients. All my husband got was rice & beans (with 2 small corn tortillas & a small container of salsa), & he shared my small tofu 'scramble." "ALL" that for $20?! While waiting for my order, I studied the photos near the front door, recording the social evolution of the place since 1974. The staff & friends back then were sure a bunch of happy looking hippies, posing with an assortment of kids & dogs - their faces seem to radiate enthusiasm, idealism, and commitment. The woman who took our order today was about as un-hippie as you can get. I suppose it's not possible for the same people to still be there working hard 40 years later, & probably there came a time when the original owners decided it was time to retire & sell. Maybe it would have been better for them to close it outright, or if they needed to cash out, specify in the contract that the name and purported "veggie" association be dropped, and only the actual facility change hands. Sometimes it's better for a business's era to end, than to limp along, a pitiful caricature of its former self.

Pros: not many veg choices in town

Cons: serves meat, funky bathroom, bland & overpriced

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Has gone way down hill - Edit

We have eaten here every time in Monterey for many, many years. We should have listened to all of the many recent negative reviews. Poor quality food, over-priced, served by grumpy people. Hoping it returns to the old standard!

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Disappointed - Edit

Few vegan items on the menu. Ordered cake for dessert, both vegan and non-vegan were very dry.

Pros: Location

Cons: Limited menu.

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Good Eats - Edit

Dinner with family.

Pros: awesome prices, vegan options

Cons: waiter a little grumpy

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High prices for unimpressive and limited cuisine. - Edit

I bought a $20 certificate for $10 to try Tillie Gort's recently.

Wanting to see what vegan cuisine was available in my area, I was fooled by the advertisement's promise of "organic vegan and vegetarian cuisine." One weekday evening we headed to the restaurant.

Upon arrival, we chose a table near the window and had a seat. I ordered a flavored, unsweetened iced tea (the highlight of my meal), and my husband had root beer.

We had quite a lot of trouble finding anything vegan on the menu, and I ordered the lentil soup with baguette. It wasn't exactly what I was looking forward to, but it seemed to be the lightest vegan option. As I recall, not one of the salads was without animal products without modification. My husband and I were both surprised to find chicken, tuna, turkey, and even bacon dominating the menu. As we were both hard-pressed to find vegan options, my husband ordered tacos "hold the cheese and sour cream." He wanted to order tacos with "soy strips," but they were out, so he ordered it with a chopped up veggie burger...

When the food arrived, we both found it rather lackluster. My soup was very hot and the bowl was large- I was very satisfied after the meal, but I thought the soup was a bit salty. The flour tortillas that came with the tacos were not in any container to keep them warm, so they quickly became cold. The "fixings" included bell peppers, onions, black beans, tomatoes and lettuce, along with the chopped up soy patty. There was no rice with the tacos, which would have been a nice addition. They weren't very flavorful and nothing about them was spicy.

After the meal, we took a chance and ordered the vegan carrot cake, and we were again disappointed. The icing was sweeter than candy and the cake was very dry.

Overall, it was truly less than satisfactory. I love eating out at new veg-friendly spaces, and this restaurant is not recommended for the purpose.

Pros: Good iced tea

Cons: Overpriced, Stale/dry dessert, Lacking veg options

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not bad - Edit

They'll veganize anything, but I had a baked potato and veggies. Not bad, very nice service, water bottles on the table, great pit stop on trip

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Felt Mislead.... - Edit

I had searched the net looking for a vegan resturant and found this one listed. There was only one vegan option listed and it was more of an appitizer to share than a meal and didn't really contain much veg, mostly hummas and pita bread. The rest of the "vegan options" were for them to remove a key meat or cheese ingredient from something listed on the menu and not replace it with any sort of vegan protein choice leaving the item rather "flat'. We also ordered a slice of cake which was dry and grainie. I thought the price was high for the food and to top it all off the waitess seemed like she would rather be anywhere else than there. She made no attempt to engage with us other than to get our order and our money. We were the only customers in the resturant at the time...maybe that should have been our first clue?

Pros: location, easy parking

Cons: over priced, lack of vegan options, lack luster service

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Totally underwhelming - Edit

We ate here once and were taken aback by how expensive the food was considering how simple & cheap to make it is.
The lackluster food, however, was completely eclipsed by the piss poor service. The server (owner?) didn't bother to give us any smiles, never said thanks, rarely came by our table (only one other table was occupied), and looked completely miserable when we ordered dessert.
If we're such an inconvenience, then I guess we won't bother her anymore.

Cons: awful service, mediocre food, overpriced

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So happy to have found Tillie Gort's - Edit

My husband and I recently vacationed in Monterrey and were so happy to have sought out Tillie Gort's after seeing it here. The waitress we had turned out to be the owner. She was super accommodating and the food was delicious. The place is this old cafe' from the Hippie Era and seeing the pictures of the staff through the years was so touching. It is so nice to find a great veg family place. I highly recommend it because if they can serve me they can serve anyone. I am a gluten free vegan. I had a delicious tofu scramble that I customized and some nice house potatoes and black beans. For those who can eat gluten they also had at least 6 different kinds of vegan cakes which looked delicious. We loved it so much we went twice. I highly recommend this place for locals and visitors a like.

Pros: Gluten Free and Vegan Friendly, Accommodating and Kind Staff, Vegan Desserts A plenty

Cons: needs a refresh on the furnishings, needs more customers in town who eat veg

1 Response
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kolkol1739 27 Mar 2013 - Monterrey is in Mexico; we are Monterey. Also, I don't know how your impression that there are no vegans is a reflection on Tillies, so why you listed that as a con is beyond me.  


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Love this place - Edit

I was so happy to find a place that offers 10-12 vegan options. Most of the food is organic. I had steamed vegetables over roasted potatoes. It was delicious, fresh and very filling. The tahini sauce and the hummus were perfect, fresh with a little tang. I finished with a piece of orange cake that was fluffy and sweet. The service was friendly and Carmen was very knowledgeble. I will eat here whenever possible. My husband had the all in one with tahini sauce. This was beans, rice and veggies. I had some of his too. I highly recommend eating here.

Pros: lots of vegan options, fresh, organic food, great service

Cons: moderately priced but well worth it.

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No substitutions - Edit

We ate dinner on 2 successive nights at Tillie Gort's. The first night, we were met by a friendly waitress who discussed the special, vegetable curry with rice, and brought us wine before dinner. It was a pleasant experience. The second night, I ordered a veggie burger, from a different waitress on duty. The menu indicted mayonaise and cheese which I asked to be replaced with avocado. The waitress did not understand the word "vegan," apparently and said there would be an extra charge for a substitution. I conclude this restaurant is vegetarian friendly, but not vegan friendly. Sad, too, since their business seemed to be dropping off on these 2 nights, and one would think that a goal would be to accommodate customers to encourage return business. Oh, well.

Pros: Vegetable curry , Veggie burger

Cons: rigid rule, no substitutions

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good vegan options - Edit

Ate there recently. The entrees were quite good, but the 2 vegan cakes (one chocolate, the other orange) were dry.

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Decent but too expensive - Edit

Tillie Gort's is as close to a vegetarian restaurant as we have in Monterey...unfortunately. The food is decent, but nothing amazing. On the plus side they have a couple veggie protein options, but overall they serve more and more meat and the menu has gotten way too expensive. $12 for brown rice, black beans, and steamed veggies? come on now, i could make that at home for like $2.

Pros: veggie proteins, good soup, cozy atmosphere

Cons: too expensive, owners are not very friendly

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Yummy Food, Delicious desserts! - Edit

I have been going to Tillies for the past years at least once a week. I love their home-made meals as well as their desserts. Being a vegetarian, I haven't seen another place with such a huge selection!!! Everything is very fresh, with the best selection of quality. The breakfast tofu dishes are very yummy. The vegan cakes are the best. Thank you Tillies once again!!!

Pros: Good food, good service, friendly staff

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Been around forever. Not bad considering - Edit

So first off I will say that I've eaten here on a number of occassions. I generally find it to be satisfactory & recognize that there aren't many options in the area, it being "seafood country" & all. Their version of the veggie patty is pretty good & finding vegan options isn't difficult. I am writing to comment about the cakes: Don't buy them! I was there recently on a trip & picked up two different slices. One chocolate, one vanilla. Both were so dry they were unedible. My wife was complaining about hers & I said something glib like "yeah, well I got you a cake & this is the kind of thanks I get." 30 minutes later when I tried mine I begged forgiveness. Not just dry. Dry beyond comparison.

Again, other choices on the menu are perfectly fine & you'll have a wide selection. Try the cake if you'd like, but be careful- $7.00 for a frosted toasted tortilla is bit pricy for my tastes.

Pros: There, Lots of options, Friendly staff

Cons: Dry cake, Lots of cheese to avoid, Dry cake

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way below par - Edit

I got the meatloaf, it was dry and over toasted on the outside soft and lukewarm on the inside. Only means one thing FROOZEN.
They need a better wine selection too.
I will never go to Tillie Gort's Cafe again.

Cons: bad food

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Central Avenue Bakery better for vegans - Edit

I was looking for macrobiotic/vegan food over the holiday weekend and tried both Tillie Gort's and the Central Avenue Bakery. The Central Avenue Bakery is much better. There was only one adaptable item on the menu -- a veggie burger with mushrooms on a whole wheat bun. But the waitress seemed confused by the request for no mayo, and it was clear nobody really had a clue about vegan options. For lacto-ovo vegetarians who don't mind rich food, the restaurant is probably fine -- although their front door also had a problem opening. Even so, I was not very impressed. The laid-back hippie ambiance of Tillie Gort's and the Central Avenue Bakery is about the same -- but the Central Avenue Bakery is more creative and has a wider range of options for vegans.

Pros: friendly service, warm ambiance, food hot

Cons: no vegan/macrobiotic options

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So sad... - Edit

For YEARS Tillie Gort's was one of our favorite restaurants, one of the few places where locals could get a good old fashioned, 1970's style veggie meal! But in recent years (under new ownership) it has really gone down hill. They've taken to microwaving pre-made plates of food and serving more and more meat items. Also, we've noticed the food to be a lot greasier and not nearly as fresh. Such a shame!

Pros: local, friendly atomosphere, good desserts

Cons: microwaved food, heavy on the oil, too much meat

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Comfort food - Edit

This is one of my favorite restaurants. After a day at the aquarium, treat yourself to some good home cooking! I love the tomato mushroom soup. Nothing fancy, just good homey food.

Pros: tastes like home-cooking, great local art

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