• golden mean: new vegan cafe in santa monica

    April 13th, 2009quarrygirlgolden mean, LA restaurants

    last week the west side got a little more vegan-friendly when a brand new vegan cafe opened up on wilshire and 11th in santa monica. golden mean is a small restaurant offering a variety of organic teas and coffees, salads, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, pizzas and vegan baked goods. the place has a total hippy vibe that is “sooooo santa monica” in my book, with stuff like bamboo plates and quartz-infused walls. even the name golden mean is either a reference to some philosophy or magical ratio….i dunno….i just want some vegan food.

    now, how do i put this nicely? i understand that as vegans, we have the tendency to get pretty excited when we find stuff we can eat. i get that the fact that a new 100% vegan restaurant on the west side is something to get worked up about. but don’t let a whole menu full of vegan options and a case full of vegan desserts distract you from the fact that in the end, the food at golden mean just isn’t that great. sorry, i wanted to like it…it’s just…so….blah.

    the works burger: bean and grain veggie patty with lettuce, tomato, pickles and special sauce on burger bun plus avocado, tempeh bacon, and vegan cheese. $12.75

    the works burger: bean and grain veggie patty with lettuce, tomato, pickles and special sauce on burger bun plus avocado, tempeh bacon, and vegan cheese. $12.75

    we hit up golden mean over the weekend, and trust me, we were so ready to rave about this place. the menu looked a little pricey, but hey it’s vegan stuff so that’s to be expected. they were still working out the kinks of the computer system when we went in, so it took a while to place our order. we got the works burger which comes with avocado, tempeh bacon and vegan cheese and clocks in at over 13 bucks once you’ve added tax. it comes with either some potato chips or a side salad, so we ordered it with kale.


    overall the burger wasn’t disgusting or anything…it was just bland and definitely not worth 13 dollars. i mean, that’s even more expensive than m cafe’s big macro which is huge, also comes with a side, and is probably the best burger in town. the kale side salad was flavored with orange or something and tasted way too sweet, i definitely wasn’t a fan.

    we also ordered the portobello mushroom panini which i liked better than the burger, but it still wasn’t worth the price.

    portobello panini: roasted portobello, onions, baby arugula and vegan mozzarella on a ciabatta roll. with a mugwort soba side salad. $10.95

    portobello panini: roasted portobello, onions, baby arugula and vegan mozzarella on a ciabatta roll. with a mugwort soba side salad. $10.95

    i ordered my panini without bell peppers and the chick at the register said they get the paninis pre-made, but she would be able to remove the peppers before heating the sandwich. i was fine with that, but it’s always good to know when you are ordering food that’s been pre-made. the portobellos in the panini tasted great, and the arugula added a fresh and tasty touch. as a side i got the mugwort soba noodles with vegetables which tasted good but were a little on the bland side. overall, this was a pretty decent dish…i just know of much better sandwiches i can get for well under 10 dollars.


    while i wasn’t that impressed with our lunch, i can tell you that golden mean definitely blew me away with the dessert. we tried two things, both of which were f-ing incredible.

    vegan chocolate cake. $5.50

    vegan chocolate cake. $5.50

    the vegan chocolate cake was absolutely massive and slathered in the richest and creamiest frosting. it also had little crushed up chunks of cookies and coffee beans all over it. so damn delicious. we also tried the strawberry short cake which was amazing as well. the cake was really spongy and moist, the fruit was fresh and the frosting was decadent. ***** out of 5.

    vegan strawberry shortcake. $4.25

    vegan strawberry shortcake. $4.25

    so there you have it: hippy vibes, bland expensive food, and really awesome desserts. that’s what i took away from golden mean. definitely check it out though. some vegans have been really positive about the place, while others have been sort of on the fence. i can tell you, with a great restaurant like interim cafe so close by, i don’t know when i will ever find the motivation to try out golden mean again. although i could be tempted by that cake. i guess we’ll see!

    here is the menu if you wanna check it out. special thanks to jennshaggy for scanning this and sending it to me.

    golden mean menu. click to enlarge.

    golden mean menu. click to enlarge.

    golden mean vegan cafe
    1028 Wilshire Blvd.
    Santa Monica, CA 90401
    (310) 393-6500

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15 responses to “golden mean: new vegan cafe in santa monica” RSS icon

  • i agree with this post 100%. all i want to do now is go to M and try the big macro and get some of that amazing kale salad.

    i’m going to figure out how to make those shortcakes at home. it’ll save me a lot of time and gas!

  • Well, that’s a shame because the menu actually looks pretty good.

  • The Chef is the same person who’s been RFD’s chef I believe, so the food is very similar to RFD, kind of Vegan 1.0, but generally healthy, the desserts, I agree are some of the best around. I think if someone lives nearby and goes to RFD you’d save some $ and get a quicker meal & have better parking vs RFD. They definitely could put some more zing in their items, but aside from their desserts its all extremely healthy and low in fat in comparison to most vegan restaurants so that upped the score in my book!

  • Looks SO good. Definitely going to check it out next time I’m on the west side for lunch. Thanks for sharing!

  • Thanks for the shout out, home skillet 😉
    You will just have to come over on your lunch break once we move and meet her!

    PS re: The Harrod’s Post…my lavish jewish grandma sent me there, telling me it was the best shopping in London. She’d sent me to Camden Town first, so I figured she couldn’t steer me wrong. Little did I know I’d decided to visit during their HUGE x-mas sale, and I ended up getting lost for an hour. Finally an employee helped me out.

  • I feel obliged to point out that the “Harmony Salad Trio” is a combo of any three salads – but there’s only two salads on the menu.

  • I do like a good dessert! Too bad about the food.

  • What the hell does “sooooo santa monica” mean? The hippies left 10 years ago.

  • I am sorry . . . maybe it was an off day but this blogger could not be more wrong about the food at Golden Mean. I have been a vegetarian since 1973 and the vegeburger is absolutely the best I have ever had, hands down . . . I was blown away. The wraps are huge and the desserts are amazing. The cookies . . . to die for. Chewy, yummy love!

  • Another place I just recently got to try…there’s no reason to go back unless my car were to break down in front of it and I’m starving. That is all.

  • I ate here the other week and got the pizza with pesto base (love me some vegan pesto). The portion was definitely small for the price: $12 plus tip for a pita-sized dish, but it was tasty and I ate slowly.

  • I’ve only had the club sandwich from Golden Mean & I thought it was delicious.

  • My gf is not vegan but she LOVES the veggie burger.

    I tried the club, but was disappointed bc it included a pesto mayo whose flavor really overwhelmed the rest of the sandwich.

    I also had a breakfast scramble on a previous visit. I thought it was decent…a bit oily for my tastes and kind of pricey, but I’ll definitely be back bc it’s hard to find decent vegan breakfasts.

    Oh, the coconut cake is awesome!

  • I too had a different experience at the golden mean, I loved it. Aside from the fact that it IS hard to find vegan lemon bars that are as good as those, the food was really flavorful when I went. I’m not like a super sensitive, I-never-use-salt health vegan. If anything I’m the how-can-I-make-this-taste-exactly-like-real-cheesecake kind of vegan. Bottom line, I avoided that place for months thinking it would suck and then went there grudgingly one morning because it was on my way and I was starved, to discover that I’d been missing out. Other than the entree being slightly greasy, the coffee, coconut cake, and soba noodles with breaded fake duck were really good. I’ve been back several times since and always enjoyed what I had.

  • ugh

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