Cafe Flora

Recommended

Restaurant
2901 E Madison St

Kelly O

Cafe Flora was born in 1991 of a utopian dream. It was to be—according to the harmonious views of three Madison Valley friends—the perfect restaurant: community based, using local and organic ingredients whenever possible, and fully, ambitiously vegetarian. A million years later, it remains a Seattle destination for upscale meat-free cuisine, presenting rigorously ethical, ecofriendly cuisine that’s good enough to inspire lust in vegetarians. (The kitchen harnesses the power of salt, cheese, cream sauces, and the deep fryer in ways more pious vegetarian joints—Carmelita, Sutra—do not, while also maintaining a roster of vegan and gluten-free items.) And while Flora’s not working enough magic to make fans of carnivores, they’ll probably still like the famous Oaxaca tacos and portobello Wellington.

Cafe Flora

2901 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112
206-325-9100
Hours: Mon-Fri 8 am-10 pm, Sat 9 am-10 pm, Sun 9 am-9 pm
Restaurant Details
  • Features Breakfast/Brunch, Gluten-Free Friendly
  • Cuisine Local/Organic/Sustainable Focus, New American, Vegetarian/Vegan
Bar Details
  • Features Full Menu, Happy Hour, Good for Groups
  • Scene Neighborhood Joint
Read Reviews (15)

It makes me sad lately..but there is still promise

Cafe Flora used to be my favorite restaurant in Seattle. Sure, the prices were higher than average, but they focused on small farm organically raised produce, served in a comfortable dining room with great service.

Then they redecorated.. I'm guessing all that focus on small organic farms colored their ideas for redecorating, as it now looks and feels like a barn. A noisy barn.

I decided to go anyhow, for my birthday dinner. I had a craving for the coconut tofu. I figured I'd sit in the atrium, which typically find to be more private than the main dining room with better ambiance. We were seated quickly only to find that it was not heated. It was 28 degrees outside. Then they seemed to forget about us altogether. We sat there, trying to catch any server's eye for 45 minutes. Did I mention it was 28 degrees outside (and inside) and I was there for my birthday dinner?

Finally we got their attention and they comp'ed the coconut tofu for us. By this time we were visibly shivering, but trying to hold out because it was my birthday. We ordered chai (it came LIBERALLY coated with cinnamon, which made me sneeze) just to have something warm to keep our hands from freezing.

The Oaxaca Tacos were good, though I admit I prefer the pico they serve with it in the summer when tomatoes are in season. We skipped dessert because our chais were cold by this point and couldn't handle sitting in there any longer.

In short: it used to be GREAT and worth the price. Now we'll only be going in summer when their produce is great and we can stand sitting in an unheated dining room.
Posted by veghead on December 20, 2010 at 4:39 PM · Report this

A restaurant resting on its laurels

Like so many restaurants that have been around a long time, Cafe Flora has seen its share of changes over the years. Unfortunately, once a restaurant gets a certain reputation, it also tends to get a certain amount of customers by default just by word of mouth. I have been going to Cafe Flora from the very beginning, and I feel like Flora has slipped several notches in quality and consistency in the last year or two. Their first mistake was their redecoration of the main seating area. It now looks like a barn. I don't know about you, but I don't want to eat a meal in a barn. They also stripped all the carpeting out - it may be more green but it's also extremely noisy, especially during weekend brunch (choose the garden room if you have a choice). Lastly, they've butchered many of their signature dishes such as the Oaxaca tacos which they are now serving with a yucky salsa instead of the pico de gallo. Avoid Sunday evening dinner which is when we've had the worst food. Unless things turn around, I don't plan to spend anymore hard earned money at this restaurant anytime soon.
Posted by bodhisatva2 on December 5, 2009 at 5:37 PM · Report this
I love Cafe Flora. Their Yam Fries are delicious, but I also love their brunch - Tofu Scramble...mmmm...
Posted by ann on June 10, 2009 at 5:01 PM · Report this
I am so excited to see your review of my favorite restaurant! I probably go here a couple times a month, and honestly I have never once had bad service! I am not a vegetarian either, but I still really love eating here and I usually forget that it is a vegetarian restaurant at all. Absolutely everything I have ever tried has been amazing, so much so it is hard to pick just one thing to eat when I go. Okay so the Oaxaca Tacos are by far suburb, but the french dip is effing amazing as well. I must bring friends each time so I can have a bite of each. They had a pumpkin or squash ravioli that I went back for again and again and again. I DREAM of their yam fries and pretty much will have to go there right after I am done writing to get more. But have you had their dessert??? http://twitpic.com/4732c I'm not lying when I say I bring friends and we order many things to share. Alcohol may have been involved when we ordered every dessert on the menu, but it was well worth it ( http://twitpic.com/473i5 yum ). There is a chocolate mint avocado cake. It sounds weird, but don't let that stop you from ordering it. It is unbelievable - rich and tasty but light and not too much. I actually haven't had a dessert there i didn't like. I am also a big fan of their cocktails and love the champagne one with the berries floating in it, but again, it's hard to choose. Cafe Flora is a NOT to be missed restaurant!
Posted by audrey on June 10, 2009 at 3:36 PM · Report this
I went to Cafe Flora today for the brunch. My mom and I got there at 12:30 and were told we would have a 30 minute wait (which was fine). However, there were empty tables sitting there begging to be sat at but no one was being seated. This was all fine, however once we were seated and ordered we weren't checked on very often by the wait staff (all the while they all kept saying, "it is so busy"... but it sure didn't seem like it - well, except the wait).
My mom was brought her brunch, while I was apologized to and told that the order didn't get placed and they would make my breakfast. I sat there another twenty minutes before she brought the check out and basically said that they didn't make my breakfast. Nothing was offered in return other than taking my meal (that I never received) off of the check. I waited two hours for nothing.

I will NEVER EVER go back there again.
Posted by laura Lew on May 31, 2009 at 4:37 PM · Report this

HORRIBLE customer service

However good the food may be, it cannot make up for the horrible customer service. My sister has Celiac's disease so she ordered the gluten free pizza. When her order came out the waitress reassured her it was gluten free. A few minutes later the waitress comes back and says that the pizza is actually not gf, after my sister had already had a few bites. When I asked to speak to the manager about the incident, they said the manager was too busy to speak to me. If Cafe Flora wants to advertise that they serve gf, their staff should be more educated about the issue and more understanding when a mistake has been made, especially when a customer's health is at risk.
Posted by cmc on April 9, 2009 at 1:18 AM · Report this

What's wrong with you people?!

I don't understand these reviews. Cafe Flora is my favorite restaurant. The food is delicious, made with great ingredients, and they regularly add new, seasonal items to their menu. Their space is beautiful (with a bus stop right in front, and adequate parking to boot). The service is fantastic. I absolutely love their brunch -- best tofu scramble in town, and lots of eggy stuff to make the non-vegans happy. I regularly take non-vegetarian friends and family there, and everybody loves the place. That is, everybody who doesn't require a giant grease-bomb to be satisfied. Their food is fresh and healthy. It's not heavy. They don't serve Cheesecake-Factory-sized portions. So, I guess the terrorists are winning, by some peoples' standards. But I freakin' love the place.
Posted by violet_dagrinder on May 12, 2008 at 8:47 AM · Report this

Preposterous

A) It's difficult for non-vegans to find a good meal here. This is a restaurant that is attempting to cater to people who have a bizarre religion when it comes to food, with very restrictive kosher laws. B) It's really smug about itself. The menu lectures you about how important it is that the employees feel great working there, and treated wonderfully, prior to actually presenting you with any food options.
Posted by Yuk on October 15, 2007 at 8:29 PM · Report this

Don't believe the hype

As a vegetarian who recently moved to seattle, I was told no less than a dozen times this month to go to cafe flora. For the way that people talk about it, I expected something more. The portabello wellington, that people rave about, is mostly an upscale hot pocket. I haven't been in seattle that long, but there have got to be better, more affordable vegetarian restaurants in this town.
Posted by Marne on October 8, 2007 at 6:28 PM · Report this

Overpriced and overrated boring food

I had the Portobello Wellington w/ mashed potatoes in a madeira sauce. The sauce tasted like some gravy you buy at the supermarket, the mashed potatoes had no flavor along with the pastry portobello. My friends had the beets risotto and that also didn't taste any special to me. Decoration is really bad with old formica tables like Taco Time style. Price is too high, food is nothing special. Service is good!
Posted by Scoth on August 19, 2007 at 4:05 PM · Report this
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