Vegan Vietnamese Cafe

All vegan restaurant (except maybe the Vietnamese coffee) in the East Village. The menu includes appetizers, soups, salads, baguette sandwiches and fake meats. They've even got a veg version of Pho.

Note that Lan Cafe is cash-only.

Added by starfive on Nov 4 06 (last updated Nov 13 11)

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Most Recent Reviews

Image for conde.kedar

rating star

Update: Lan Cafe isn't quite what it used to be. For one thing, the portion sizes of each dish are tiny and the prices aren't that great; to make matters worse, Lan Cafe is also cash-only.

None of the dishes really stand out, either. They're all mostly basic stir-frys and not particularly innovative or unusual.

I had the seitan lemongrass curry which was decent but not worth the $10 or so that I paid for it.

I also was not impressed with their mock duck/seitan baguette sandwiches, which had low-grade bread and too processed a sauce/mayo.

All told, I would skip Lan Cafe. It's decent if you're desperate, but there are many superior restaurants nearby, such as Organic Grill, Pukk, and Vegetarian Dim Sum House (which is a bit of a hike, but not too far away in Chinatown).

Original review (December 2008): Lan Cafe offers friendly service and excellent prices for unusual, tasty Vietnamese dishes. Their coconut-potato soup was simple and good; I loved their tofu curry and green papaya salad. The tastes were spicy, but subtle, and completely different from Thai or Chinese cooking styles. I really liked that this place is all vegetarian as Vietnamese food can be intimidating if you're vegan and not familiar with the ingredients. If you're looking for a delicious change of pace in a great environment, I strongly recommend Lan Cafe.

Image for Dave Rolsky

rating star

I was here recently with my wife. We shared summer rolls, tofu with mixed vegetables, and the seitan with basil and water spinach.

The summer rolls were great. They had some interesting filling, including thick rice noodles, potato, and toasted rice powder. The sauce they come with is a nice peanut sauce, although we also added some soy and hot sauce to the mix. Very tasty and fresh, with lots of mint.

The tofu with mixed vegetables was not too exciting. The sauce was a little drab, basically soy with some hint of peanut. It wasn't bad, just dull.

However, the seitan with basil and water spinach (#37) was amazing. I highly recommend this dish. I've never had water spinach prepared like this, but it was a great combo. The sauce was a spicy soy-based sauce, and I think it also had lemon grass in it. Combined with basil and onions it was amazingly delicious. I also really liked the seitan they used, which was very tender, quite different from typical seitan. The whole dish had a very fresh, lively taste.

One thing that annoyed both of us was the ridiculously small amount of rice they served. They gave us two tiny bowls, and each bowl was barely half-full. Seriously, it was maybe a quarter cup of rice! That's ridiculous when you order a stir-fry dish at a Vietnamese place. The rice was good (jasmine), though.

I'd definitely go back, because based on the seitan dish, I'm sure they have some other gems to order.

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Neighborhood

East Village

Directions

Between 1st Ave & 2nd Ave.

Non-Smoking

Prices

$$ - average

Cash Only

Cuisines

  • Vietnamese

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Lemongrass curry with seitan!

Lemongrass curry with seitan!

Hours

11am - 10pm
noon - midnight
noon - 10pm

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