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I wanted to love this place because it's (lacto-ovo) vegetarian and there are so few veg options in the Monterey area. I went in September '10 with 2 other vegans and we were all similar in our opinion of the food and the experience: good, could be better.

I give them an A+ for effort. The waiter informed us that any dish can be prepared vegan, by request. My 'take' was that the owner/chef is fairly new on the path of learning how to cook vegan. Very commendable! He was gracious and came over to talk to us. We enjoyed the creative decor, adorned with the owner's wife's artwork. Another positive: The prices were very reasonable: about $10 per entree.

Our group of 3 ordered the enchiladas, the polenta, the risotto, and the chocolate cake. Lots was excellent about our dishes: especially the grilled and sauteed parts like the mushrooms, the eggplant and the greens. A complimentary pizza-like bread was served alongside a regular bread before the meal and both were wonderful and warm. Yum!

The risotto had a lot of rosemary and I love rosemary but I thought it was way overpowering. We thought it a bit too al dente and not creamy like the long-stir kind we make at home. The polenta itself was plain, much improved by the tasty tomato sauce. The enchiladas were pretty good, with fresh veggies, but the sauce, my friend said, needed a bit more zing.

The waiter pointed out that the chocolate cake was from a vegan bakery in the SF area. (I forget the name.) Who can pass up chocolate cake!? They smothered it in fresh berries--a nice touch! The cake itself was only ok. It tasted strongly of banana and had a pudding-like texture.

I will try Julia's again but I have to say I'm hoping it will be better next time.

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