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Wheel of Life

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 38 reviews )
Contact 949-551-8222

14370 Culver Dr Ste 2G, Irvine, California, USA, 92604

Irvine vegan restaurant operating since 1999. Serves Southeast Asian style Thai food. Most dishes feature of a soy meat plus veggies. Menu shows a photo of each food item. Has vegan cakes, soy jerky, and sometimes fried donuts. During the week at lunch time, there is a 16-inch combination steam table where you choose your food. Location is in a shopping plaza with parking. Open Tue-Fri 11:00am-3:00pm, Tue-Thu 4:30pm-9:00pm, Fri-Sat 4:30pm-9:30pm, Sat-Sun 11:30am-3:30pm, Sun 4:30pm-9:00pm.

Category: Vegan, Thai, Buffet, Take-out, Southeast Asian

Reviews (38)

First Review by Meganfrolic

Good food with a large selection - Edit

This place has a massive selection of items, all very different, so everyone in your party is sure to find something that they'll like. The staff is very attentive, to the point of making me feel rushed to make a selection at times.

The food itself is a little hit-and-miss for me, but may be more appealing to those who are familiar with the cuisine. Almost everything leaves me feeling full.

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One of the Best in Orange County - Edit

We love Wheel of Life Restaurant. Even though its under new ownership, I'm so happy to see that they haven't changed the menu and all of our old favorites are still served. The former owner, Victor, who started the place used to say that people would drive from Burbank for the Satays (and I believe him!). The portions seem a tad smaller now, but the flavor and creativity that has made this place famous are still all intact. Please go and enjoy this place. Its a treasure and we are all so grateful in OC to have it. Everything on the menu is GOOOOOOD. Tom Ka Kai soup, spring rolls, Veggie chicken with gravy. All delicious. Enjoy!!

Pros: Creative vegan menu., Where else can you get vegan Thai food?

Cons: No more Victor to shake your hand and say, "Vegan , Portion size reduced under new management, but sti

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lots of choices - Edit

We stopped in for a late lunch with another couple after the SoCal VegFest. As we weren't starving, we ordered mainly appetizers to share. We got the peanut satay, BBQ chicken, moo shu, tom kah kai soup, and som tom papaya salad. It was all very tasty, but a bit heavy on the vegan meats (by our choice though), so I'd order more vegetable entrees next time. The service was friendly and patient as it took awhile for us to decide and it was near their afternoon closing time. I liked that they had both Thai and Chinese choices as I really enjoy moo shu and most places in LA do not have it. We would definitely go back if in the area again.

Pros: all vegan Thai and Chinese, good service, easy parking

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I don't get how the great reviews - Edit

Overpriced spring rolls deep fried with barely anything in them and no protein (2 for $7.50). the rest is history. ..see my yelp reviews

Cons: Overpriced, bad food, skimpy

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Right in my own backyard - Edit

One of the best 100% vegan restaurants I have ever been to, the vegge BBQ spare ribs are amazing. And I went to Irvine High school so this place is right in my backyard

Pros: vegge BBQ spare ribs

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Lunch Buffett - Edit

This is a review for the lunch Buffet:

Tried four items: Eggplant, Spicy Tofu (with mock beef?), spicy tofu in sauce, chow mein

Sauces all tasted the same, with the exception of some added spice in certain dishes.

Dishes were luke-warm, chow mein was bland.

Great to see an all-vegan restaurant and I'll always stop to support one but the food really just wasn't good. Perhaps a la carte is the way to go, although the menu is a bit heavy on processed mock-meat for my taste.

Service was terrific.

Pros: service, all-vegan

Cons: taste

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Great place to take non-vegans - Edit

I first went to Wheel of Life with a group of co-workers, none of whom were vegan except myself. They want to go here all the time now! Every couple of weeks one of them will ask when we're trying to decide where to go "What about that vegan place, Wheel of Life; that was so good!" I highly recommend the lunch special. They have premade dishes available on a steam table, but they make small amounts and keep refreshing each with fresh batches. The fried rice is delicious, and I recommend the orange "chicken" and the pepper "steak", but have loved everything I've had. It's just under $10 for 3 items plus fried rice and lo mein (which is also really good.) My colleagues raved about the various curry dishes (I didn't try - I'm not so into curry) and we shared desserts, all of which were very good. Some of the desserts are not made on the premises, (we tried the tiramisu which was really good) but they have house made cakes every day. You must go to this place!

The service was very good as well.

Pros: Great value, Absolutely delicious food, Clean

Cons: Parking can suck at lunch

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I love this place so much! - Edit

God I love Wheel of Life. I'm a vegan and I drag my veg/omni friends here all the time. My favorite is the sa-tay and the roti. Friends have loved their orange chicken and all the curries.

Pros: Delicious, Great selection, Friendly staff

Cons: Closed Mondays

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Always the best - Edit

Hands down, the BEST place in Orange County!

Consistently delicious food, the nicest staff and great prices. Thank you for the vegan power!

Don't leave without trying their amazing Pad Thai and vegan cheesecakes :)

Pros: Tasty and delicious, Friendly and helpful staff always, Great price

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Great food. Great People!!!!! - Edit

The food here is amazing. I try something different every visit and have yet to be disappointed.
The owner's are the nicest people in the world and make sure you have a great dining experience.

Pros: Quailty, Taste, Atmosphre

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Wheel of Life is probably my favorite vegan restaurant. The food is never disappointing and the service is excellent as well.

I'm absolutely hooked on the orange "chicken" and the fried bananas with coconut ice cream!

Pros: All Vegan, Fast, Decent Prices

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Flavorful Food - Edit

I had read about this place on happycow, and here's my Wheel of Life review.

The set up is old fashioned as this place has been operating for over 10 years.

The Thai food served at Wheel of Life is unlike the Thai vegan restaurants I eaten at in the greater Los Angeles area. The food here was much saucier (sweeter, more sauce) and with bold flavors. I kinda liked that, but then most of it was also a bit overwhelming. For instance the pad thai noodles we ordered was covered in a super sweet savory red sauce, unlike other pad thai I've had. There were chuncks of mockmeats, sprouts, and peanuts mixed in with the noodle.

The tom yum "meatball" noodle soup was very delicious, actually. even though it probably had more salt than I am accustomed to. The soup had a very strong lemon-tomato-Thai spices taste. The noodle that came with it was an instant noodle kind, which was exactly what I had been craving that day. The "meatballs" had bits of crunchy watercrest inside and tasted so good. This was my favorite dish here.

My husband and I were both underwhelmed by the fresh rolls. Actually if you are not a picky eater, the rolls are decent (with lettuce, thin cucumbers slices, and soy chicken strips - paired with a peanutty read sweet dipping sauce). But we wanted more... like fresh basil or mint leaves would make them "pop" (with taste) and more interesting.

The steamed buns were good but not unusual of buns one can get at any Chinese restaurant. Warm soft bread with some kind of dark greens filling.

Their lemon marble cake was very fresh and spongy. We both liked it but without the sugary lemon flavor icing. We also took away 2 kinds of their housemade soy jerky (the flat sheet kind was better than the spiral shaped ones).

Pros: photo menu, many choices, vegan cake

Cons: too saucy, old fashion interior

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Great food, decent prices - Edit

This place is great. Everything I've tried here is delicious, and the prices aren't bad.

All of the info you need is pretty well covered in the restaurant description, so I'll just say that you should go here.

Pros: All-vegan, Lots of parking, Plenty of seating

Cons: None

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great food! friendly service! 100% vegan! - Edit

Ate here for the first time today per 5 * reviews on happy cow & it didn't disappoint! Beware they are closed late afternoon btwn lunch & dinner, we dropped by just after 4p to find it closed but reopened by 430p to a steady stream of diners mostly regulars. Menu is online, all vegan, wide selection, affordable, fresh. Friendly staff. Great service. Will return soon. :-)

Pros: friendly staff, 100% vegan incl inhouse made desserts!, wide menu selection

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Wonderful Wheel - Edit

I ordered the bbq spare "ribs" and the "Pla Panang" (deep fried "fish" with curry sauce). The "ribs" were okay. The "fish" was pretty good, but didn't really taste different than other fake meat I've had. I also ordered some "jerky" to go. It was chewy, but not as good as I had hoped. The chef (?) came out and greeted everyone.

Pros: all vegan, friendly staff

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AMAZING!!! - Edit

they have the most delicious food there!! i love there spring rolls and there "i cant belive its not cheesecake"!!! i would recommend this place to anyone, vegan or not:)

Pros: friendly , delisious, unique

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This Place is Pretty Cool - Edit

Firstly, this place is cool because it's owned by a medical doctor who opened a vegan restaurant because he thought being a doctor wasn't helping *enough* people, and that offering people vegan food would help a lot more.

Secondly, have no worries that this place is definitely 100% vegan, you just don't ever need to worry about whey or rennet anywhere.

And now, the food :) Well, there's a lot to choose from... almost too much :P The fake meat here is all pretty good, and one of my favorite dishes is the silver noodles (Pad-woon-sen I think) and I get it with fake shrimp. The flavor is really good. However... everything here is pretty greasy. Which is fine once in a while, but I can't eat here that often because of that. It's absolutely great if you're craving some junky asian food. If you want to be a little healthier, they have some fresh stuff and veggie soups that I honestly haven't tried much of-- I've had their fresh spring rolls and vegetable soup, both of which were good (spring rolls quite so), though I don't get why the fresh spring rolls are more expensive than the cooked ones :/

Their deserts are really, really good, too. Their fried banana spring rolls with coconut ice cream is so good... I've never had coconut ice cream that good, so much coconut flavor, and the ice cream has a really neat texture, like little ice crystals in your mouth. Put some ice cream on the warm banana rolls for a hot-cold combination that's pretty fun.
And also their cheesecake here is absolutely THE best vegan cheesecake I've ever had, must try it if you're a fan of cheesecake, or were, as the case may be :)

And they can put boba in any drink you like-- I've gotten it with the young coconut meat drink and the pineapple drink, both of which with it goes really well.

So, if you're vegan, this place is pretty worth going to every once in a while, or more if you can handle the grease. And if you want to take non-vegan people to a vegan place, this is a good place to go as well. Also try Au Lac in Fountain Valley of the Native Foods Costa Mesa location.

Pros: generally inexpensive, good fake meat, GREAT desserts

Cons: most food greasy, that's it.

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The best orange chicken! - Edit

I just went to the Wheel of Life this weekend and the food was so delicious. We ordered crispy spicy chicken, orange chicken, and spicy noodles. I was disappointed by the spicy noodles and would not order them again. They were really lacking flavor and the mock meat in them was just rubbery. That won't deter me though and I will continue going to this place.

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Best thai ever - Edit

This place is a staple of my diet as I tend to go there about four times a month. The food is delicious and has some of the most realistic textures and flavors that I can recall from my meat eating days. The staff is extremely friendly and the lunch specials provide an opportunity to try a large variety of their items at a fair price.

Pros: delicious, friendly staff, lunch specials

Cons: dinner can be expensive

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Consistently Awesome - Edit

I try to go to this place as often as my wallet will allow. The lunch special is incredible because of it's variety and affordability. Every Item I have ever had here has been awesome and I have been going here a very long time. Victor is very serious about being a 4th generation Vegan so you never have to worry about lazy ingredient checking. This is the best Asian food you can get. If you haven't gone than go now and if you have than go again.

Pros: Great food, Very friendly and knowledgeable, excellent lunch special

Cons: none, none, and none

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If you get the right items it rocks - Edit

Some items suck some items are awesome. Russian roulette with your wallet. This place is a little more expensive than normal places. I recommenend the spicy crispy chicken. An amazingly awesome dish. Dipping sauce is good too. Unfortunately they're about as big as an appetizer. I think the pad thai was pretty good as I recall. Other items such as broccoli beef sucked. Orange chicken was alright. It is really hit or miss.
Small-ass portions.
I highly recommend going to Irvine solely for the spicy crispy chicken.

Pros: Some items

Cons: Some items, Tiny portions

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hit or miss - Edit

i have been to this restaurant three times and have only been satisfied once... i'd have to s say that i will not go out of my way to go there again.

Pros: friendly staff, nice atmosphere, all vegan

Cons: bland food, pricey

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Delicious! - Edit

I went here a few weeks ago with my husband, who is a meat-eater, and he loved it! He said he couldn't tell the difference between the food, and normal chinese food. We shared the orange chicken, the bbq chicken appitizer, and the sweet and sour chicken (our fav)- it was very good...the sweet tea was strange though.

Pros: great mock meats, free literature/books, plenty parking

Cons: small establishment, strange sweet tea

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Sooo good! - Edit

I used to come here often with my family or when we had family visiting. Everyone we have brought here was impressed with the food and service. The food is amazing here!! If you love Thai or Chinese food, you gotta try this place. The prices are also pretty reasonable. The owner is also very nice. He always goes to each table and converses with guests. I recommend ordering the following: spicy tofu, moo shu combo, pineapple fried rice, peppered steak, the wheel soup, stuffed tofu delight, and orange chicken. The restaurant is a bit small, but the atmosphere is cozy. Sometimes there are long waits, but it is totally worth it!

Pros: healthy, friendly staff, flavorful food

Cons: small

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Hit or Miss. - Edit

Have been there a few times-- just not a fan. The food was hit or miss for me-- the chef kind of creeps me out. He makes it a point to touch you and brag about how long he's been a Vegan. They have a lunch take out section as well for those who want to go.

Pros: Large Selction, Take Out Section

Cons: Creepy Chef/Owner

1 Response

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vegan power 16 Aug 2013 - That is a very sad review. Victor was the most amazing, wonderful, positive and kind man. Proudly Vegan for over 30 years. He passed away recently and it's been devastating to his wife, children and legions of loyal customers.

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Amazing! - Edit

What a wonderful surprise this restaurant was! Small and friendly with an extensive menu of fresh homemade food! We really loved the 'stuffed tofu' (never had anything like it before!) The atmosphere was cozy and warm and the staff was very friendly! Don't miss out on this one!

Pros: Great food!, Good selection, Warm atmosphere

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Best Food in California! - Edit

I love this place! They have an afternoon buffet that allows you to try several items from the menu depending on what they made that day. They almost always have the orange "chicken" which is one of the best. I suggest the chow mein, spring rolls, fried wantons, "chicken" broccoli, and the sea food sizzler. The thai iced tea is amazing and quite a sugar rush, and for dessert you must have the chocolate cake! There really is nothing else like it on earth! The people who work there are very nice and it's a cute little place just off the freeway. Don't miss it; it's the only good thing in Irvine! :)

Pros: Orange Chicken, Chocolate Cake, Thai Iced Tea

Cons: None

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Only good if you like fake meat - Edit

I am a vegetarian who does not like fake meat. Eating at this restaurant is difficult since almost all the entrees have "meat'. Owner and staff are wonderful, too bad their menu is so limiting. The few entrees that can be made meatless and that I ordered were average.

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all time favorite vegan restaurant - Edit

I take all of my non-vegan friends here to eat and they love it. My favorite dishes are the wontons, the pad-see-you, and the pineapple or house fried rice. Their vegan cheesecake is the best dessert ever, and their cakes are really moist and yummy. It you're in the area you should definitely stop here. The owner and his family are also very friendly.

Pros: food, owner, desserts

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The Best! - Edit

This is my favorite Vegan restraunt! They have a huge picture menu with all kinds of delicous food. The "meat" is so so good! Check out the manager's specials for some of the best dishes. I reccommend the tamarind chicken, BBQ chicken, pepper steak, crispy chicken, chow mein, pad thai...it's all amazing! I've taken many meat-eaters there and they all loved it!

Pros: Very friendly staff, Peaceful environment, 4th Gen. Vegan Owner!

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amazing, every time - Edit

i've never been to wheel and had a bad experience. everything there is good, especially the satay. i go there often and it's always good. highly recommend it :)

Pros: food, victor, ambience

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Wonderful!!! - Edit

This food is amazing, all vegan, and the staff is wonderful. I have several favorite dishes here...the fresh spring rolls, pad thai, cashew chicken, stuffed tofu, and the list goes on. The people who work there are very kind. They also have another location in Huntington Beach if you are in that area

Pros: amazing food, large portions, wonderful staff

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