• vegan in long beach: zephyr cafe

    May 30th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, zephyr cafe

    long beach has got nothin’ on LA when it comes to vegan food. it’s actually quite shocking after having been spoiled in this vegan mecca to drive just 20 miles south and be met with so few dining options. lucky for us herbivores, the LBC does have one entirely meatless restaurant and while it isn’t worth a special trip, it definitely fills the void. i’m talkin’ about zephyr cafe.

    mf burger: homemade patty, tofutti cheese, sprouts, tomato, onion, romaine, mushrooms, avocado & vegan mayo

    zephyr cafe is a spacious comfy eatery with lots of hippie vibes and a completely vegetarian menu. i raved about the place two years ago, but looking back on my review i feel like must have not gotten out much back then. now i eat at vegan restaurants like it’s my job, and the zephyr praise just doesn’t hold up. don’t get me wrong, the food is decent and good…but it just hits the spot, without going the extra mile.

    we recently hit up zephyr on an overnight trip to the queen mary. if you ever stay at the QM, zephyr is gonna be your best bet because it’s a nice longish walk away from the hotel. my husband ordered the mf burger which i would highly recommend, as it’s the best thing i’ve tried from the menu. it comes with a homemade patty topped with all kinds of fixins including mushrooms, vegan cheese, tomato, and onion. it’s hearty, tasty, and sizable…a damn fine vegan cheeseburger.

    seitan bowl: seitan, seasonal vegetables, mushrooms, tomato, black beans and rice.

    i myself went with the seitan bowl, which turned out to be “just okay.” the bowl comes filled with chunks of seitan, seasonal vegetables, mushrooms, tomato, black beans and rice. i added avocado to mine for an extra buck. my biggest complaint about the bowl is that it tasted like white wave seitan almost straight out of the package. i mean it was cooked with a bit of seasoning, but this really just felt like something i could have made myself. other than that, the vegetables were fresh and tasty enough…it’s just not something i would write home about.

    our biggest problem with zephyr a few weeks ago, was the rude service we received from one of the waitresses. everything was going fine until she brought the wrong order to our table, and then gave us attitude when we told her that it wasn’t our food. i saw her dealing with other customers and she seemed very hassled all night, as if she was in a really bad mood. oh well, it happens…whatever, not really the restaurant’s fault…but definitely worth noting.

    so while i wouldn’t recommend that LA vegans hop in the car and rush down to zephyr anytime soon, i think it’s definitely a good option for when you visit long beach. i know i will be back next time i find myself in that area. just be sure to get the mf burger. it’s really good.

    check out zephyr on myspace (lol, myspace!) and twitter. they don’t have a website at this point.

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17 responses to “vegan in long beach: zephyr cafe” RSS icon

  • I live in town and eat there all the time. Here’s my recent food playlist:
    Teriyaki Tempeh Bowl
    Grilled Zucchini and Tempeh Sandwich
    Escargot appetizer thing which is oily, garlicy, and delicious.
    Soup ov the Day
    Works burger of course and I like the seitan bowl too so what do I know.

    Do they still update the myspace? They post here now:

    hope that works

  • I’m down there all the time (Artesia trips.) Will be trying out the burger, that looks good.

  • Jack Bee Garland

    I also live in the LBC. There aren’t too many vegan joints to frequent but on the bright side i’ve become a great cook 🙂
    I used to go there a few years ago but the staff was ALWAYS stoned and they took forevvvvvvvvvver to get my order done even when there wasn’t anyone in the place. no joke, i once waited half an hour for my order when i was the only person in the freakin place.

    so anyway, the speed of service has gone up but i have found the the customer service is hit or miss. try the herb chickenless burger. it’s moist and yummy and under 8 bux.

  • I have lived three blocks away from Zephyr for the past 1.5 years and rarely eat there. I absolutely love the food (especially the Grilled Zucchini and Tempeh Sandwich) but the service is horrible. I too have waited there for an hour to get my food, only to have half of my group told they’re out of what they ordered.

    With all that being said, I had a friend in from out of town today and we went there after spending the day packing my house for an upcoming move. It’s close, it’s vegan and we were tired. I can only assume this review already got to them because I had the best service and meal I have ever had there! The owner (who is usually the only cook) was working the front of the house. He was friendly, chatty and made suggestions. Our meal was served hot and DELICIOUS. I got my usual Grilled Zucchini and Tempeh Sandwich, while my dining companion got the Special of the Day – BBQ Chicken Sandwich. Both were super scrumptious and I was blown away with the fast and friendly service we received.

    Way to go QG and way to step it up, Zephyr!

  • I’ve got a similar Zephyr story – went there with a group of 7, and was pretty much told my group was too large to seat together. When we finally hacked together some tables, service was awful, though the food was pretty tasty. My full review (from December 2008) is available at http://www.goeggless.com/2008/12/zephyr-vegetarian-cafe.html.

  • I’ve lived in LB my whole life. I was super stoked when it first opened, but like you I have become spoiled by L.A. restaurants (Silver Lake/K-town living now). When I go to LB I usually hit up Coco Renos for mushroom burritos, Hole Mole for cheap veggie burritos, Sura BBQ for tofu tacos, or Thai Silk. Not really anything else worth mentioning.


  • Denise: Coco Renos FTW! Blackened Mushroom Fajitas…I’m there at least twice a week 🙂

  • Your review is spot on. If there were more vegan places in town to compete with I think they’d step it up. Their raw collard rolls are a pretty good deal though.

  • I live in Long Beach and have been to Zephyr 100+ times and I have never had crappy service! Yes, a few times my food took a long time to get to my table, but that just means they were making it fresh. If you find yourself in Long Beach I would definitely hit up Zephyr! They get all their veggies from the local farmer’s markets and their soup of the day is usually made fresh that day! If you live in LA consider yourself spoiled! There are just sooo many AMAZING vegan restaurants to choose from! We who live in Long Beach are happy to have Zephyr!

  • VeganKitten: Fuck yeah! Kinda rare to find a Mexican joint that doesn’t put lard in the beans or meat broth in the rice. Merced’s on Broadways is badass too, but I’ve yet to find out if the beans have lard. So far I’ve been told they don’t put meat broth in the rice. I didn’t have an adverse reaction, so I’m hoping it’s safe.

  • Zephyr can be slow, but I’ve never thought the service was bad (everyone’s always so friendly!), and I’ve eaten there pretty regularly practically since the opening. The food has remained consistent and good, and the new specials they are adding are great. They have a fantastic tempeh reuben, and the vegan escargot appetizer is so good. Soups of the day are always spot-on and creative, too. And salads! I recommend the “seedy salad”, but all are great.

    Basically, Zephyr is a simple and delicious place with expanding options and is very rooted in the Long Beach community, art, and music scene. It’s ridiculous Long Beach doesn’t have more vegan restaurants, but there are plenty of good options at omni places… you just might have to ask around a bit.

  • I live smack in the middle of LA & Long beach. When deciding where I want to go for some good vegan food, I always end up in LA. Zephyr is definately the place i always go to when Im in the area, but I dont go out of my way, ever, to go there.
    At least the service is better. As miss Jack Bee Garland (Hi Mikey!!) said, the workers used to always be stoned, and would take forever to prepare anything. You could smell the weed from the alley and sidewalk! Apparently theyve cleaned up the staff a bit, and they seem friendlier, and less stoned. Haha!

  • I think Shillelagh on 4th is definitely worth checking out. Omnivorous, but very vegan friendly. The menu is vegan friendly in a very basic way, but if you mention you’re vegan, they get really excited and give you all kinds of special options. Plus, they’re attached to an awesome bar.

  • Went here one night when I had time to kill before picking someone up at the airport. Certainly wasn’t bad, but wasn’t particularly memorable. And yeah, the service was just “so so.”
    It falls into what I call the “stereotypical vegan vibe,” and the reason so many veggie/vegan places fail; it’s soooo laid back and “hippy dippy.”
    All that being said, I was SHOCKED at the lack of vegan places in LB.

  • Went to Zephyr once 2 yrs ago- there was a paper sign stating that they were closed.
    Made the trek again a few weeks later. This time, thrilled to find they were open, but the staff said they were actually closed for some letter writing campaign. There were only a few people there, and no one was ostensibly eating! Plus, nobody picked up their phone (from our first experience, we learned to call first).

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    So great to know this place turned vegan recently!

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    Did that comment go through…trying again…had just said it’s great to know this place turned vegan recently.

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