M Cafe de Chaya

Los Angeles, California


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Warning: This place serves REAL fish. Real (out-of-the-sea-had-a-pulse-and-a-central-nervous-­system) fish, but everything else is vegetarian.

Brought here by my BF/F for a post Pedro Almodovar movie meal. "I'm So Excited" to have eaten here at this European Cafe style Chaya Restaurant. According to the M Cafe website, Chaya is basically a Japanese style of macrobiotic eating focusing on taste. The European style cafe is too big to be a cafe, so there's some possibly playful ironic tones of cafeteria of large white tile and big chalk boards. I must say I love the accents of lemon plants adding a homey fresh kitchen atmosphere to the dining areas with woven chairs. This place has very friendly and welcoming staff willing to guide us through the M Cafe experience.

After some discussion we decided on the Big Micro Burger for my BF/F and, the manager's favorite, the Thai Curry Bowl. I recommend getting a "Green Arny" for your beverage. It's like an Arnold Palmer, but instead of black iced tea, they add iced mint green tea to your lemonade. The Big Macro wasn't a heavy "Big Mac" type of burger we were half expecting, but a light and, dare I say fluffy, whole grain brown rice patty with a generous amount of alfalfa sprouts and soy mozzarella. You get your choice of side and we highly recommend the Kale in a Spicy Peanut Dressing, so scrumptious, that BF/F gobbled it up almost immediately. If you're not on a gluten free diet, I recommend getting the Crispy Seitan for the Thai Curry Bowl. They lay the Seitan on top of the bowl so that it doesn't become prematurely soggy and lose its crispy appeal. The mouth feel of the Seitan had the right amount of crispiness, internal chewiness, and hearty flavoring throughout.

As for desert, BF/F and I shared and enjoyed two. The tiramisu balanced with delicate overtones of fresh coffee. So many tiramisus use an old stale mocha which drowns the dessert, but M Cafe somehow knows how to keep the coffee taste fresh. Kudos. Although, I enjoyed the Tiramisu, but I have to say that the Strawberry Shortcake was the best I've ever had and I'm a man who enjoys his strawberry shortcake since childhood. When I visit again, I plan to go after that dark chocolate pudding that was also calling our names.

Veg Out,

Veggie Army

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I would rate M. Cafe 4 1/2 stars. I've eaten at both the Melrose and Culver City locations, and found the food to be consistent and equally tasty in both locations.

Probably my favorite thing to eat at M. Cafe is dessert -- the chocolate sacher torte to be specific. It's very chocolatey and has a fresh raspberry filling. Other foods I have enjoyed at M. Cafe include all three of the paninis, the melorse avenue muffaletta, the wasabi sweet potato salad, the sesame soba noodles, and the shiitake-avocado sushi roll. I was less keen on the squash soup and the banana millefeuille, but even these were not bad. For LA, the place isn't too expensive, so I recommend it pretty highly.

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Macrobiotic food that is bursting with flavor. The Kale in peanut sauce is one of my favorite dishes in LA.

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Went here for dinner on a Monday night. It was busy, but tables cleared up fast because orders are placed (and paid for) deli-style at the counter. There is only one big table though, so our group of 7 was not able to sit together.

The food is delicious and fresh, and even though most of the entrees are on the expensive side, I was able to get a plate with two different salads (Sesame Soba Noodles and Chickpeas with Dandelions and Red Rice) for $7 that was filling and delicious. I also got the Shitake-Avocado sushi roll, which was also very good.

I couldn't fit dessert in at the restaurant, but the Banana Chocolate MilleFeuille cake that I got to go was one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth! All of their desserts are vegan and contain no refined sugar; I honestly don't know how they did it! I would go back here just for that cake!

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I am flying from San Francisco to Los Angeles this weekend just so I can eat there again. Seriously! I plan to come home with a week's worth of food. Enough said!

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A definite '10' for M Cafe.

Everything is very imaginative and fresh, but not to chichi to eat. The atmosphere is not pretentious, despite the fact that it is prime star-gazing territory. It is clean, open, and inviting.

Prices are reasonable for the quality and quantity of dishes. -They do not serve micro-portioned macrobiotic.

Everything is delicious (though I had one bad bento-box experience, the other meals that I have had there make up for it). Try the Carolina BBQ or one of the panini sandwiches (the fact that they have those menu items is impressive to me. I had never had a panini before going there...).

I have not been there for brunch, but I have indulged in the sweets from their Patisserie...they are amazing. Beautifully presented and delicious.

Their one downfall is extremely limited parking and huge popularity. Be patient finding a spot, or plan on walking some distance (and be kind -do not double park!).

They really need to open a second location...

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