Moosewood Restaurant

Ithaca & Finger Lakes, New York

3.3 / 9 votes

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Cafe of vegetarian cookbook fame

What vegetarian doesn't have at least one Moosewood Cafe cookbook? This famed eatery sits unobtrusively inside the small downtown Ithaca DeWitt Mall. The atmosphere is cozy. Menus are small and change daily. The focus is on fresh seasonal fare. As you might expect, cookbooks and merchandise is available on-site.

Added by Ms Margaret on Aug 4 05 (last updated Oct 6 14)

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Most Recent Reviews

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As a young adult, Moosewood cookbooks were the gold standard for vegetarian cooking, so on a recent trip to Ithaca I knew I had to visit the restaurant that has been a vegetarian institution in my life. The restaurant is much larger than I expected and doesn't have the same handwritten charm as the cookbooks, but it's bright and pleasant.

Moosewood updates its menu twice a day (lunch and dinner) and doesn't like to rush things (so don't expect an updated menu until within the hour of the opening of lunch/dinner service.) You can catch on to the rhythm though, leftovers from last night's dinner may end up in the next day's lunch recycled slightly and vice versa.

On my visit, I had the tofujitas. It was a smaller serving than I expected, but satisfying nonetheless. The sauce and veggies were seasoned well and meant to be appreciated. We also split a It's Summer, salad plate with roasted tomatoes and asparagus on mixed baby greens with a fresh basil vinaigrette. Again, the flavors were so good I wanted to sop up every last drop of the vinaigrette. There were plenty of vegan options to choose from and the staff even offered to hold on the honey in the ginger tea I ordered.

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I grew up in Ithaca, but never went to Moosewood with my family of meat-eaters. As an adult, I was diagnosed with an allergy to casein, and I needed to find more vegan-friendly restaurants to avoid items cooked in butter and such.

Looking at the reviews posted here, I see that a few were frustrated with the vegetarian-rather-than-vegan nature of Moosewood, but I beg to differ. "Bread and butter" is on the menu, but they happily serve Earth Balance (a vegan butter substitute) and use it to cook items on the grill, as well. Want one of the sandwiches or other items with melted cheese? They use daiya for vegan customers.

There might be dishes any given day that cannot be made vegan (a lasagna, for example, that is made before service begins), but I've always had very friendly wait-staff who are glad to show me which items the chefs can modify to make vegan, even if they aren't listed as such on the menu.

And yes, the menu is small, but it gets created after the chefs choose fresh (often local) ingredients and changes every day... no small restaurant could maintain a five-page menu with that system in place. I, for one, love the surprise when I walk into Moosewood and find out what's for dinner that night.

Try the lemon-tahini dressing on your salad... and order dessert!

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At the intersection of N Cayuga St and E Seneca St.


Accepts Reservations

Wheelchair Accessible


$$ - average


  • American
  • Eclectic (Varied)


  • (Mostly) Organic
  • Gluten-Free Options
  • Outdoor Seating
  • Quiet


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11:30am - 8:30pm
11:30am - 9pm
11:30am - 8:30pm

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