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“Great place that happens to be vegan - not simply a great vegan restaurant.”
Review of The Owl House

The Owl House
Ranked #12 of 1,288 Restaurants in Rochester
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: International, Healthy
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Saint Ignace, Michigan
Level 5 Contributor
75 reviews
53 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Great place that happens to be vegan - not simply a great vegan restaurant.”
Reviewed August 23, 2012

I would rate The Owl House on 3 separate criteria: atmosphere, the bar, and food. Top marks on all 3, but especially the first two. Located in a converted single-family residential home, The Owl House embraces you as soon as you walk in ... charming look, warm colors, great music playing. You feel welcome. Storm at the bar is friendly, knowledgeable, and skilled at making whatever drink you need. The vegan fare is excellent - we had the daily flatbread (crisp with fresh ingredients) and the grilled tofu with sundried tomato quinoa with almond butter garnish (wonderful).

Bottom line is the atmosphere is great, the drinks expertly made, and the food well prepared. It's even romantic. What else do you need?

So live a little. Worth a visit.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank JMarquette1671
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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214 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    109
    73
    27
    2
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Rochester, New York
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Gluten free meals!”
Reviewed August 9, 2012

The only place to get a GF sandwich!! Great food a must try when in Rochester. Service was excellent and food choices are creative.

Visited June 2012
Helpful?
Thank Pat P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Recent unresolved issues”
Reviewed August 9, 2012

We have been eating at The Owl House for years, and have always enjoyed the food. In recent months, obvious issues in kitchen management and hosting/serving staff have conspired to make the dining experience lag far behind the quality of the dishes served. Most recently, we were seated at a table exposed to the airflow from the ceiling mounted a/c - very uncomfortable. We moved ourselves to the adjoining table of the same size. As a courtesy, I pointed this out to the upstairs host, who pedantically and condescendingly asked that in future, we ask first as people sometimes request specific tables. My response was that I, too, requested a certain table: one not under the a/c duct.

Annoying hosts aside, we then ordered three courses of food for four people, and sat back to wait for our meal. And we sat. And we waited. 35 minutes after we were seated, our waitress told us the kitchen was backed up and it would be a "few more minutes". No offer of a drink, no specifics. 10 minutes later, when she tried to avoid my eyes, I intercepted her and told her that if there was no food on the table in 60 seconds, we would be leaving. Magically the food arrived immediately. Coincidence? Maybe. The dishes were hot and fresh, so I suppose the kitchen was in fact backed up over 45 minutes. That is on the kitchen, not the server. However, the complete lack of interest in finding a way to keep us happy by offering so much as a complimentary dessert or cup of coffee is inexcusable. As my wife is find of saying: "In a service industry, the customer is always right." I don't need free food. I do expect an effort when guests are left stewing in their own juices for close to an hour waiting for food in a restaurant with several empty tables. And the food quality suffers subjectively when you are annoyed and hungry.

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank purposefultravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, New York
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“great for vegetarians and vegans... average for the rest of us”
Reviewed July 12, 2012

This place a a good addition to Rochester. If it was located in a bigger city, it would be considered average. My vegetarian friend loves this place, and I am not a huge meat eater, but the menu is a little boring after you have been more than a few times. The atmosphere is great! They have a nice outdoor patio. The service is hit or miss. The last time I was there, the waitress was scarce.

  • Visited July 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank TravelingSpangela
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, New York
Level 6 Contributor
3,024 reviews
2,004 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 976 helpful votes
“Really nice, unique food in a novel kind of restaurant”
Reviewed July 2, 2012

First of all, I have to admit that I found The Owl House by browsing the list of home-town restaurants in Rochester, which is something that I seldom do. But I wanted something that was NOT a chain restaurant, for a change, and something that was out of the ordinary. The Owl House met all of those criteria, so we decided to give it a try.

This restaurant is located all the way downtown, right next to the inner loop. We seldom get into the city that much, but it really wasn't tough to access at all...just a couple minutes off the major thoroughfare (Route 490). Parking wasn't real easy, but it wasn't too tuogh either. We had to walk about 300 feet up the road. They had a parking lot somewhere, but we didn't read about that until after we got inside.

The menu at The Owl House is exactly as described on their website; a unique mixture of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes with a smattering of meat and seafood dishes mixed in. The place probably caters to the vegetarian side, but they have enough "regular dishes" to satisfy the omnivores and carnivores in the party. I started out with a really tasty and unusual soup; which was a gazpacho-rhubard concoction that was served cold. It look different enough for me to try, and I was glad that I did, because it was very, very tasty. My wife and daughter had appetizers of cooked spiced edamame beans, which were also tasty. (I tried one; it was nice, but I need something a little more substantial, even for a starter.)

For the main course, I ordered a trio of soft-shelled taco that were filled with braised pork, a red Thai cabbage slaw, and other ingredients that rendered this a very enjoyable combo. It was served with a bowl of black bean and corn combo that was seasoned with anise or fennel seed. It was pretty nice as well, although I thought that the tacos were better. The tacos were also offered two other varieties; fried tilapia or vegetarian, both of which sounded great.

The rest of our family ordered items that were also large sandwiches. My wife had a lentil burger with greens, while my older daughter had a baguette-style sandwich that she thoroughly enjoyed. Meanwhile, our little one had a sandwich that featured turkey on a roll with something that looked like mashed potatoes and cranberries. It looked great, but something in the sauce was triggering her allergies, so she didn't eat much of it. She did enjoy the thick homemade potato chips, which she always devours. (Good eating habits are not yet fully developed by age 10.)

The service at the Owl House was spot on...friendly waiters and hosts who are very familiar with the menu and help make recommendations. THe bar service look great, too, with lots of custom-made drinks, if you happen to enjoy an alcoholic beverage. (We stuck to our diet Cokes.)

A few other things to know about this restaurant. First, the food is EXCELLENT, but some people may wish that there was a little bit more food on their plate. I am a big eater, and I thought the serving sizes were OK, but I was glad that I ordered an appetizer. Regardless, though, they do serve you enough to have a great meal, but you will not overeat here. (It was "right-sized!") The other thing was that they have a wonderful-looking patio out back, which is a fenced-in dining room with a lot of tables. It looked beautiful, and if the weather suits your fancy you could enjoy a great meal outside.

In summary, The Owl House exceeded my expectations, and we will gladly return there in the future.

  • Visited June 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Larry W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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