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“Best vegetarian restaurant I've been to”

Golden Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant
Ranked #132 of 1,265 Restaurants in Oakland
Price range: $1 - $20
Cuisines: Chinese, Vietnamese
Good for: Large groups, Families with children, Business meetings
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Families with children, Business meetings
Level Contributor
34 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Best vegetarian restaurant I've been to”
Reviewed September 4, 2013 via mobile

This spot is so special. I always stop at least once when in Oakland. You order your meal AS IF it were fish, chicken or beef ( it isn't) and the dish arrives with the texture of your desire and fabulous flavor. Fresh fresh fresh veggies and lots a beautiful greens. They've added a scrumptious kale drink to the menu. You will not be disappointed. Don't overlook the noodle dishes.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Laurel S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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33 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    15
    10
    7
    1
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
13 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Great Asian vegan”
Reviewed March 5, 2013 via mobile

Great Asian vegan place in Oakland, extensive menu with lots of fake meat courses as well as healthy salads and gently cooked vegetable dishes. Reasonable prices, generous portions & quick service. Can't recommend this place enough!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Skast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bay Area, CA
Level Contributor
75 reviews
48 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“One of the Best of its Kind”
Reviewed January 28, 2013

Golden Lotus is a vegetarian restaurant, but one doesn't have to be vegetarian to enjoy it. I am a vegetarian, but every omnivore/carnivore I've brought to Golden Lotus has fallen in love (or respect) with it. In a word, it's quality, flavor, and execution in one.

Golden Lotus is principally a vegetarian version of a Vietnamese restaurant, though it does offer a few Vietnamese versions of classic Chinese dishes (Mongolian Beef/Chicken, potstickers, Spicy Beef). They use faux meats to represent their actual counterparts, and what's interesting is that there is more than one kind of faux chicken to represent different kinds, cuts, and textures of chicken that one might experience were actual chicken being served.

While I enjoy the food all-around, I do think that some strategic ordering can be helpful when navigating its large menu. For one, the soups are generally fantastic. Most of the soups use a base broth that is homemade by a laborious and time-consuming process of cooking, carmelizing, and baking the vegetables over several hours. One would never know -- it is still hard to believe -- that this is a vegetarian broth. Their soups do not taste watery or bland. They are, in a word, the best anywhere. There are other vegetarian-Vietnamese restaurants in the Bay Area (Golden Era, Central Vegetarian, etc.), but their soups aren't quite as good as the soup at Golden Lotus. The Wonton Soup (with vegetarian wontons), the Vegetable Soup, the Spinach Soup all use that same curative elixir of perfection, and I highly recommend that one consider starting their meal with one of Golden Lotus' highlights. That said, I'm not a fan of the hot & sour soup. It's Thai-style, not Chinese -- so it's more tangy and sour, not as thick. It uses a different base than most of the other soups, and while it's still very good/excellent (if those flavors appeal), it's not reflective of my palate preference.

The non-fried spring rolls are excellent (as is the peanut sauce); the fried Imperial Rolls are a miss. The potstickers are incredible (as is the ginger sauce), and the Veg-Chicken Drumsticks are meaty and delicious and come highly recommended as well. The lotus salad is excellent too (skip the Chicken salad, however, as that is not).

For main entrees, I typically stay on the "Specialties" menu, which is a bit pricier. My favorites are the Carmelized Chicken (off the hook), Gourmet Spicy Lemongrass Chicken (not to be confused with another lemongrass chicken dish not on the Specialties menu), Gourmet Spicy Curry Chicken. Other non-"specialties" I enjoy are the Mongolian beef/chicken, the spicy pineapple beef. I also love the Spicy Thai Fried Rice (superb). Admittedly, I've never tried the claypots, but people like them.

I have tended to think that the noodle dishes are on the bland-side, and I typically steer away from just the regular run-of-the-mill "mixed vegetable" type dishes. They're good, but I prefer the vegetarian versions of meat-based dishes most of the time, as they are more interestingly spiced.

Service isn't the strong suit. Sometimes it's good; sometimes it isn't -- and I'm a regular (it guarantees me nothing). You may have to ask for water multiple times, and if you need help navigating the menu, don't expect a whole lot of help from the staff. They tend to be a hurry and without much affect when they take your order. The food will arrive in whatever order at whatever time. There is not usually a wait -- the food comes fast once ordered -- but it doesn't always arrive in the order you'd prefer. The soup may come after the main course (unless you order in stages, which I sometimes do). I couldn't care less. For food this good, it's fine. I'm delighted they are in business; I'm delighted that they bring such culinary acumen to the art of vegetarian Asian cuisine; and I'm delighted to patronize them.

It's not a fancy place, and yes, you could get cheaper food elsewhere. A vegetarian meal at a non-vegetarian (i.e., typical) Asian restaurant could be 20-30% less, although many times there is chicken stock, oyster sauce, or fish sauce in those supposedly "vegetarian" recipes. Even so, I think Golden Lotus is better than most of those. I've never had a bad meal at Golden Lotus. I've certainly had better meals than others, and over time I've sampled much of the menu, thereby culling down my favorites. The vast majority of my meals, however, are superb, and I can't say that about many places.

Live outside of your comfort zone for a night. You may be surprised. Golden Lotus is the real deal.

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank SalsaB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orlando, FL, USA
Level Contributor
134 reviews
73 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“AMAZINGLY delicious -- and cheap!”
Reviewed April 16, 2012

While in Oakland for a teachers' conference at the nearby convention center (2 or 3 blocks away only), I stumbled upon this place. Wow, WHAT A FIND! The food is Chinese/Vietnamese vegetarian, including the fake meat (made of gluten, I think). Excellent, excellent, excellent! I had the claypot with eggplant, yum! My friend, who is one of the pickiest eaters I know, had the spicy ham soup, and she loved it. In fact, she wanted to go back for lunch on the 2nd day of our conference.

Great place, great food, great prices!

I should also add that there is a lunch buffet -- not the usual Americanized buffet that has 50+ items for the glutinous. No, this has only 8 items and they all looked so delicious. This buffet is only M-F, and I am pretty sure it costs like $6.35 for 2 or 3 items. (They have brown rice instead of white for an additional charge. I also appreciated that they gave me a reasonable portion of brown rice, not enough for 3 people as most Chinese places do.

I have nothing but praise for this place! Even when it was really busy on Friday, the staff managed to come across as courteous and provide good service.

Eat here!

  • Visited April 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank orlandotennis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Bland and Pricey”
Reviewed July 8, 2010

Everything tastes the same, regardless if curry or otherwise. Pricey when you consider all you get is tofu, $90 including tip, for 4 dishes, soup and potstickers. Potstickers were awful.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank SanFranciscoMcc123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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