• Millennium San Francisco: “Meh-llennuim” more like

    January 19th, 2011mr meanerbay area, more restaurants (not LA), san francisco

    One of the greatest poets of our times, Robbie Williams, penned the now-classic song “Millennium” to commemorate the demise of San Francisco’s famed restaurant of the same name.

    The prescience of his words cannot be understated, as we witness first-hand the falling from grace of this much-hyped, over-priced restaurant:

    We’ve got stars directing our fate
    and we’re praying its not too late
    ‘Cause we know we’re falling from grace
    And when we come we always come too late
    I often think that we were born to hate

    Let’s deconstruct these inspired words:

    “We’ve got stars directing our fate” – any restaurant that has menu descriptions so unintelligible that mortals can’t understand them is clearly aimed at the glitterati. Not that they understand what the descriptions are either, but it does give them a feeling of self-importance. C’mon, a menu item called “lovage remoulade” – SERIOUSLY! I had to Google both words, and even then had no idea what I would be getting.

    “And we’re praying it’s not too late” – because if you show up more than 15 minutes after the place has opened you’ll be seated at a crappy table, four inches from the person next to you and constantly have somebody’s ass in your face as you dine. This is because the tables are far too close together (just look at the picture, how packed in they are). The experience of being so cramped in is degrading in the same way air travel in a middle seat is – on the surface it seems glamorous and adventurous, but underneath you’re squashed in and feel very guilty if you have to move or (god forbid) get up out of your seat.

    “‘Cause we know we’re falling from grace / Millennium” – pretty much says it all. The dining experience at Millennium is so awful, the staff so perfunctory and the decor so bad (the place feels like the buffet in a soon-to-be demolished Vegas hotel), even down to the cheesy paper coverings over the table cloths. I wonder why anybody would put themselves through this, I seriously do.

    “And when we come we always come too late / I often think we were born to hate” – Although I’ve not experienced this directly, I’ve heard that if you’re more than a few minutes late for your reservation (it’s easy to be, considering the street scene one has to negotiate before arrival) they refuse to seat you and add your name to the waiting list. Kiss goodbye to two hours of your life. Of course, Millennium can also be late – I’ve heard of people waiting for over 45 minutes after their reservation time to be seated.

    We’ve been underwhelmed at Millennium before, but we certainly won’t be back after our last visit, which was a nightmare from the moment we approached the place.

    First off, Millennium is situated in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco, known for its problems with drugs, prostitution and gun crime as well as a large and sometimes violent population of homeless people. While every city has areas like this, it’s not often that a supposed upscale restaurant is situated within them. On our last trip, I stopped just outside the door to assist a homeless gentleman (pictured above at the top of the post) who passed out in front of me (pictured below) next to the restaurant.

    As a cosmopolitan European, I’m used to hard core urban survival techniques and am as comfortable in the ghetto as in the penthouse, but few people are as wonderful as me, and would be scared shitless on the walk to Millennium. Be warned. Also, talking of shitless, a friend recently had feces thrown at him by a homeless lady just a block from Millennium. Be warned again, as Robbie said in the song: “Come and have a go if you think you are hard enough.”

    After you forgive the fact that Millennium is accessed through the lobby of a hastily-remodeled Best Western Hotel (complete with pump-action coffee dispensers and styrofoam cups in shrink-wrapped bags), you will be greeted and eventually seated. At this point, you should pray for a four-top table rather than a two-top as the smaller tables are awful. Not that the four-tops are much better, but at least you get a bit of room. You’ll still be buffeted by the rude staff and even ruder customers, but you will at least have space for your food and drinks without having to squish everything together in an extricable mess of china and glassware.

    On our recent trip, we chowed down on a bunch of food but nothing was particularly memorable. Most people tell me that Millennium is only really good for its dessert options, and that the other courses can be hit or miss – I completely concur.

    First up, we got some complimentary bread and hummus. The bread was excellent – crusty and soft with an artisan feel, but was a very small portion for two people.

    Cornmeal Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes: lovage remoulade, pickled green cherry tomato & cucumber salad, fresh tarragon. $10.25

    For our appetizer, we ordered the “Cornmeal Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes” to share: “Lovage remoulade, pickled green cherry tomato & cucumber salad, fresh tarragon.” to start with, as I couldn’t resist eating something with “lovage” in the title. What arrived were four slices of tomato, breaded and fried. That’s Over $2.50 PER TOMATO SLICE (the dish was $10.25). While the food was nice, it was nothing to write home about (kinda like onion rings, but with tomato inside). Total rip-off.

    Brik Pastry Roulade: almond & chard "florentine", grilled oyster mushroom duxelle, ragu of gigante beans, charred cherry tomatoes & grilled torpedo onions, seared green beans, lemon basil peso. $24.50

    We then ordered our entrees, choosing the only two things on the menu that sounded interesting. I’m not kidding, we used Google about 10 times to find out what the heck the menu descriptions meant. One dish was the “Brik Pastry Roulade: almond & chard florentine, grilled oyster mushroom duxelle, ragu of gigante beans, charred cherry tomatoes & grilled torpedo onions, seared green beans, lemon basil peso.” This was a steal (yeah, RIGHT) at only $24.50. To be honest, this just didn’t taste that special. It was a plate of fairly standard stuff, all fried up and greasy (almost inedibly so) with an overcooked crispy pastry thing on top. While acceptable (we ate it all), it was under specified and over-priced. C’mon, Millennium, if you’re going to have such outlandish, made-up menu descriptions that set a high expectation you should at least follow them up with equally amazing food, right? This is a classic case of over promising and under delivering.

    Roasted Corn Masa Cake: pozole rojo with caramelized fennel, pinquito beans, tomato confit and exotic mushrooms, seared kale, mole negro, avocado-jimaca relish. $24.50

    The other entree was the confusingly named “Roasted Corn Masa Cake: pozole rojo with caramelized fennel, pinquito beans, tomato confit and exotic mushrooms, seared kale, mole negro, avocado-jimaca relish.” Again, exorbitantly priced at $24.50, and a very small portion size as well. This was, actually, rather tasty but it was nothing special – just mushrooms, sauce and a big chunk of greasy masa-mass plopped down in the middle. Also, the menu description mentioned Kale, but we couldn’t find any for the life of us.

    Talking of greasy, Robbie Williams summed up the after-dining feeling from Millennium perfectly:

    live for liposuction
    and detox for your rent
    overdose at Christmas
    and give it up for lent
    we all enjoy the madness cause we know we’re gonna to fade away

    After the oil-soaked bread, deep fried tomato things and both main courses, I felt I’d eaten way too much fat in one sitting. OD’ing on oil has a habit of rendering one partially vegetative, and I seriously felt like going for liposuction, “giving it up” (oil that is) for a few days after that fateful meal.

    When we checked in on Foursquare, we got a promotion for a free dessert, and as we knew the desserts were excellent we ordered the “Caramel Torte”, which would have usually cost an outrageous $9.

    Caramel Torte: mocha cream topping, hazelnut shortbread, fig-coffee gelato, vanilla bean creme anlaise. $9

    Sadly, this thing was inedible, despite how amazing it looks in the picture. Even though it was free, we couldn’t eat much of it, and ended up sending it back as we asked for our check. Funny thing was, the server seemed quite understanding when we said we didn’t like it — almost as if she was getting used to people complaining about that particular dish. She did, though, give us some cookies in a box to take home.

    They were quite delicious, if a little dry!

    Returning to Robbie one last time, I think he summed up the customer/proprieter dynamic perfectly in this stanza of his work:

    Some say that we are players
    Some say that we are pawns
    But we’ve been making money since the day that we were born

    So, you go into the restaurant feeling like a player (it’s fancy after all, and they use long words on the menu), yet you quickly become a pawn – pumped for your money, given over-priced and uninspiring food in an environment that is stressful and discourteous. And, we all know who is making money… at $100 or more for two people to eat this food Mr. and Mrs. Millennium are making bank.

    Finally, here’s Robbie to tell you all about it.

    Note: The picture of the homeless gentleman is used with his permission. After assisting him to his feet we asked if we could take a picture for our blog. He was happy to comply, and we compensated him appropriately.

    Millennium Restaurant
    580 Geary Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    Tel: 415-345-3900
    5:30pm – 9:30pm, Sun – Thurs
    5:30pm – 10:30pm, Fri & Sat

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97 responses to “Millennium San Francisco: “Meh-llennuim” more like” RSS icon

  • Fuckin FAIL on Robbie Williams. Oh yeah, FAIL on the restaurant too. 😛

  • “One of the greatest poets of our times, Robbie Williams, penned the now-classic song…”

    I never thought I’d see those words together! HA!

  • Thanks! I was told I HAD to try this place. Not gonna happen.

  • Ahhh Tenderloin. I remember the guns so well. Balls to Millenium… Shame its really gone downhill. I’ll not bother next time I’m in SF. Nice that you gave the man some money though. Hope he spent it wisely… ‘~)

  • Aw, I loved this restaurant. We took a group of friends who weren’t vegan and they were nervous, so the waiter brought us a lot of free entrees and desserts to try. We loved everything, the best restaurant we’d been to. Maybe it’s because the waiter helped us order so he directed us to the better dishes?

  • I like Millennium. I had the chance to dine their couple times and I was pleased with the experience. No offence to you (and I like to read your blog), but I never though you would like Millennium for many reasons. I think you are fantastic at judging comfort food or any pizzas that are soaked with daiya cheese but not sure about fine cooking. I mean you think Madeleine Bistro is amazing but their food is greasy, bland and tasteless. You also do have a reputation of wanting to be treated as food critic and you expect special treatments, maybe the Millennium did not do that and that is why you are bashing them!

  • eh, whatever.

    the food at XIV is way better than millennium, and it’s not even a vegan restaurant. just because we like daiya and/or madeleine bistro doesn’t mean we can’t tell when something is a rip off for $25. and our food at millennium was just as greasy as anything at madeleine. the fried tomatoes were too much…even for me.

    btw, we didn’t expect any special treatment. we didn’t even tell them that we were bloggers. so there ya have it.

  • Dead on review. Glad somebody finally said it.

  • That makes me sad. I have always loved Millennium, but I haven’t been in a couple years.

    I agree with you on the menu descriptions, and those entree prices are ridic!

    Ugh! Madeleine and Candle 79 (what I’d consider to be comparable places) have failed to impress me. Are there any worth-the-money “gourmet” veg restaurants??

  • @nabil – I think quarry girl covers more comfort food and lower-end places as there are so many more of them. just a few days ago there was a glowing review (brilliantly written) about a place in London that was very high-end dining. She also liked Sublime in Ft. Lauderdale which is much more upmarket than Millennium. Also, a glowing review of Candle 79 in NYC.

    Yes, these posts can be opinionated, but it’s just somebody’s blog!

  • @cg SUBLIME in Florida is worth every penny.

  • i actually think madeleine bistro and candle 79 are better than sublime. i love sublime, but it kind of annoys me that they are so expensive and still use gardein.

  • Maybe I’ll have to give Madeleine another try. EVERYTHING we ordered was insanely over-salted. It was like someone confused TSP and TBSP.

  • I very much agree. We ate there once, and I’ve no desire to ever go back. If I want to eat food that can be tasty but very expensive, in an unattractive space with little to no privacy, I’ll just go to RFD. At least it’s much closer, and the neighborhood seems relatively safe and civilized.

  • Just curious – what’s wrong with gardein? Would love to know, since I do like it. : )

  • don’t get me wrong, i really like gardein! i just think at fancy restaurants that are charging $20 per plate, they should make their own meat substitute.

    i am a huge gardein fan though. wish chipotle still carried it. 🙁

  • We went to Millenium in April and did the tasting menu (with wine pairings) and it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. SO, who is omni, also considered it one of his best meals. Maybe we have different tastes, but the food there was truly fine dining and phenomenal. Our plans to return to SF center around a trip back to Millenium.

    Finally, although I do agree about the location being not quite ideal, we managed to find a cute hotel just around the corner and so it wasn’t bad. In addition, I think it’s really awesome that a reasonably sized, somewhat well-known hotel has as its only restaurant a totally vegan place! Next time, we may stay there, just to support them, despite the price!

  • i went in 2001 and it was incredible.
    i went back in 2004 and it was pretty exceptional still.

    but from things I keep hearing it’s really gone down hill, almost like every place in SF i used to love.

    maybe this is the antitheses of RFD’s problem:
    RFD has had the same uninspiring menu since 2000. very little has changed over the years there and the quality and innovation of the food has languished.
    Millenium on the other hand has NOTHING that resembles some of their original masterpieces. I still, 11 years later remember my first dish there: seitan marsala (seitan medallions with a stunning mushroom red wine marsala sauce). It was probably like $16 and was very large portion wise.

    I guess you should be suspicious of any vegan restaurant that offers real cream with their coffee, so as not to upset and offend the patronage with soy milk.

  • Pretty entertaining! I was grossed out at the picture of the patrons. Would it kill people to dress up when going out for dinner?? My, my have things changed! I was bummed that you needed to” google” anything at a dinner table! Here are a few suggestions:
    Go during the week and make reservations with request for window table or dark and sexy bar table area, sit at the bar, go for the affordable prix-fix dinner and pick non-fried items and check out their website for upcoming special events like Southern Comfort Night(if you like fried foods and Juleups! Also a set price of less than 40 bucks) They also offer “convert a carnivor”e discount! If you do sit at the bar, you can watch the kitchen! Eat more veggies so you learn what their names are….

  • Is the photo of a smiling black man supposed to make us feel like it’s in a bad neighborhood? Lovely. Not just a classist post (oh no! homeless people! run for your life!) but racist too.

    And holy shit, if you want more bread ask for more fucking bread.

  • I agree, it her personal blog and she is free to her own opinions. But quarrygirl is no longer just a blog, but a dominating force in LA vegan culture. She have a huge followers and major influence. I’m fan of her but I wish sometimes she was a little fair in her opinion.

  • I think we vegans WANT so much to like Millennium that we forgive it hugely for its transgressions. Although this review is full of hyperbola in typical Mr Meaner style, the core is sound: Millennium is in a shitty part of town, over priced, uninspiring menus and the staff are very un-attentive.

    Also, it is way too crowded to be comfortable. The small tables are very uncomfortable to sit at, and the bar has too many seats so it also gets crowded.

    I don’t care if the place is vegan, vegan owned or organic and CFC-free! Fact is that it just isn’t that great, and has far too much positive attention than it deserves.

    Enough said.

  • I’m a pretty big fan of Millennium (and of this blog, sometimes!) but still would’ve been interested in this review had you not spent so many words shitting on the Tenderloin and its residents. It’s a relatively safe neighborhood even though it’s full of all those grody homeless that disturb your, uh, cosmopolitan sensibilities. Maybe this is why most everyone I know thinks all vegans are bougie snobs.

  • This is exactly how I felt when I ate at Candle 79. Meh.

  • greg, i thought the writer was very nice about the homeless man. maybe they should have posted a picture of the vomit and excrement all around the Geary/O’Farrell intersections instead. oh, but that would offend also.

  • Well said, sir.

  • I’ve never been to Millenium, but it’s been high on my “must-try” destination dining spots list…now it’s crossed off. I’m sorry that you had such a crap experience there, but I’m kind of happy at the same time, because this review was hilarious & entertaining to read!

  • Wow you just cross off experience because of one blog!!! what happen to judging by yourself?

  • Much better bet in the same neighborhood is Golden Era for a bit of the Supreme Master (early incarnation) Vegan Vietnamese yummyness. I loved Millenium way, way back in 2002. Since it moved to a sorta-less shitty part of town (It used to be on O’Farrel near City Hall). It was the primary reason we moved up to SF. Now with so many other options they need to figure out where they stand as a restaurant. They are always packed though so any changes may come slowly.

    Someone else mentioned to go on their prix-fixe nights as the cooking is inspired and there is a consistency to the meal you don’t get by their regular menu.

    Golden Era is the bomb though and was pretty much the only Vegan Vietnamese place of any substance until Vin Loi opened up.


  • Kind of surprised to hear a poor review of a restaurant that has consistently high praise from what I can tell on other blogs… I was even planning to visit the next time in the Bay Area due to that.

    Then again, your blog seems to focus on pizza, burgers and more so comfort food than fine dining… and you did have to google remoulade…

  • Mr. Meaner cracks me up. The attitude here at QG is exaclty why it’s a dominating force on the LA vegan scene. Huge followers and major influence come from the honest albeit sometiems snarky reviews.

    Thanking my lucky stars that I don’t have enough money for $100 for two dinner just to be disappointed. I’ll save my appetite for Candle 79 when I can convince my parents to treat me in exchange for my visiting them.

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    I disagree. I think this blog focuses on both high-end and low-end vegan options, which is a good thing. It’s just that there are obviously way more pizza/burger/comfort-food places than there are upscale restaurants. So if she covers all the vegan bases for those of us who read her reviews, of course it’s going to seem tilted that way. But it’s not, if you go back and actually read through the archives.

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    Ahh shucks, my comment saying “I disagree” was not directed toward the post above mine by AJ, it was directed more towards the other (inaccurate) posts that are saying this blog only covers comfort food and pizza type stuff [not true.]

  • Everyone has their own particular tastes, and every restaurant will have better nights and worse nights. But as a long time fan of Millennium, there’s no escaping those horrible tiny tables. Ugh. That is ridiculous.

    I’m willing to step over poop and pay too much money, but I’d like to be seated comfortably for $100 pp.

    My experience there has always been that the appetizers and salads are stellar, the entrees meh, and dessert pretty good. I highly recommend the Southern Comfort dinner (went last year, will try and make it this year again!) which is ~$40 pp for 4-5 courses. I left uncomfortably full and happy. But again, the entrees were definitely the weak point.

    I think it’s at least worth trying if you want something special, especially if you like mushrooms (which they seem to put in all the entrees – I’m not a huge fan, so maybe that’s part of my issue). But make a reservation, go on a weeknight when it’s less crowded, get a booth and load up on the small plates/apps.

    Or go across the bay and eat at Encuentro (Eric’s other restaurant) for 2/3 the price and none of the poop.

  • I was just drooling over their menu the other day but yeah, I wouldn’t know what the hell I was ordering. I want to come to San Fran, but now I’m kind of glad I’m going east again instead(hopefully to DC) because this place sounds like it took a divebomb. I loved Candle 79 but the food there, though tasty, was in retrospect VERY greasy. And it was kind of cramped in there too (perhaps this is true for all fancy restaurants? exxcept for Madeleine Bistro. Hee). We were next to a table of really annoying younger women at C79 when we were trying to have a nice romantic dinner. And the onion rings made me have tummy trouble for a good hour.
    I still cannot believe that dessert didn’t taste good. Talk about pleasing to the eye bbut not to the tummy.

  • This. Exactly. I really appreciate everything the site has done for letting people know about the plethora of vegan options in LA, but the negativity is often overwhelming. This post could have been much more professional if it were more along the lines of “I didn’t enjoy the meal, here’s why” instead of spending paragraph after paragraph bashing the restaurant. The song lyrics are unnecessary and crude.
    Be more positive! Having an attitude doesn’t give people a good impression of vegans.

  • I think you guys are both overreacting. This looks like it was meant to be a funny post and let’s face it, Millennium is in a shit area. Look it up on Wikipedia. Everything this post says about the Tenderloin is true. Then you have to turn it into some generalization about vegans? Stupid.

  • Millenn1um is as awful as the reviewer described. Spot on from the overcrowded dining room to the egomaniacal menu. I’ve been there four times and every time just got worse and worse. Their biggest problem is they throw everything but the kitchen sink into a dish. Any dish with more than four or five QUALITY ingredients is way too much. If you want a true high-end vegan dining experience, you’ll have to fly to Philly and try HORIZONS restaurant. Hands down, one of the best high-end restaurants around.

  • haha! new reader?

  • Growing up in Palm Beach Fl. and having many upper dining experiences before becoming Vegan, I’m very shocked that so many people are criticizing QuarryGirl and her blog for not having many upper dining experiences therefore not knowing how to review one. Good food is good food, no matter how much you pay for it. I on many occasions had to send my food and/or wine back at $150 PER person restaurants and I sure as well wouldn’t want some homeless guy standing outside the restaurant, which does not mean I feel too high and mighty not to see them somewhere that I would actually expect them to be…

  • sure as ‘well’ haha, I’m so polite.

  • No. Not at all. I’ve always been bothered by the negativity, but there’s no comparable blog that features so many restaurants.

  • I don’t have to look it up on Wikipedia, because I lived there for a year and a half.

  • Oh, thanks for explaining yourself. Now it makes sense why you were being overly sensitive to a lighthearted review. Taking things personally.

  • I wanted to go here over the Thankgiving weekend, but after reading some sketchy reviews (not on QG’s site…there are plenty of bad reviews of this place elsewhere) I decided I didn’t want to be cramped and get indifferent service.

    I had no idea the food wouldn’t be worth it, though.

    Thanks for your honest review, Mr. Meaner.

  • What a compelling argument.

  • You are ridiculous, carolina. Almost every post on this blog is positive. Stop whining about someone giving you an account of their own experience for free. You make vegans look bad and ungrateful.

  • I disagree with you. I am always polite with my comments, but Quarrygirl posts often make unfair accusations and overdo criticism. The problem I have is with the attitude. When the whole Mani’s thing was going down, anyone who defended them and said they had a good experience there was accused of working for Mani’s.
    Don’t get me wrong, I like quarrygirl’s site. Because of her, I now frequent many restaurants I wouldn’t otherwise have known about. I credited her for that in my original comment. However, there is a clear attitude that her/Mr. Meaner’s opinions are the only ones that matter, which is demeaning to readers and other vegans.

  • It seems you’re taking this far more seriously than I am, Bea. I was just trying to explain what the neighborhood is actually like minus the sensational “oh my god, it’s a brown man, on the streets!” tone employed here. This review doesn’t read as “lighthearted” to me. Either way, “it was a joke” doesn’t give someone a pass for being a jackass.

  • what are you even talking about? you are calling me out (as well as mr. meaner) saying i think only my opinion matters?!

    first off, i didn’t even write this post. and i RARELY write mean posts. so you are wrong there.

    secondly, mani’s has nothing to do with this. you are taking an idea and running with it. we blogged about a bad experience and that’s IT. this isn’t some big conspiracy.

    thirdly, this is a PERSONAL blog. meaning, it’s a hobby…we do it for fun. we eat at places, then say whatever the hell we want about them. isn’t free speech awesome?

  • Anybody who thinks this post is racist probably has some personal issues to deal with.
    Sorry, some areas aren’t that great. It’s a fact of life. If you want to have a high class restaurant and charge $100 per head for vegetarian food, you should really think about what neighborhood you are in.
    Don’t get mad at some blogger for stating the obvious.

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    Be more positive?
    I’m not sure why you would think QG has to be more positive for you or anyone else.
    People are totally different and unique in their personalities and their approach to things, which makes life interesting.
    This blog would truly be the most boring site ever if it was dry, dull, careful and polite. Who needs that.
    At any rate, I’m not trying to make you feel bad, we can agree to disagree.
    There are tons of vegan blogs online, surely you can find one that suits you a bit more in tone and content? Just a suggestion.

  • I have been to Millennium 3 times and 2 of 3 were very disappointing. I admit the first time was wonderful, but after that I just felt completely jipped.

  • It is your blog, you can say whatever you want. And I can comment on how I feel about it as well. My comment was in regards to how far you go and how your readers are treated. There’s no conspiracy here, just an attitude and disregard for other people’s opinions and comments. I thought Mr. Meaner’s review of Millennium was overly insulting. I thought the treatment of anyone who had something good to say about Mani’s was insulting. I don’t appreciate the tone that sometimes accompanies this blog, end of story.

  • It certainly is, and it’s one of the main reasons I enjoy your blog SO much! In my opinion, there is NO other blog or website that even EQUALS it, much less tops it.

  • Word of advice to QG, don’t listen to carolina.

  • i treat my readers very well, and i think most of them appreciate the tone of this blog.

    almost all of the fighting is done in the comments section, and usually i’m not even involved.

    anyways, thanks for chiming in!

  • To each his/her own. I love the place, and can’t go to San Francisco without stopping there for dinner.

    I always find everything delicious (with the exception of the hit-or-miss desserts that are always pretty experimental), and I’m always eating at least one thing I’ve never even heard of (they had fiddle-head ferns once, that’s some Dr. Seuss shit right there).

    Always ordering at least one item per section (appetizer, salad, entree, dessert, drink), I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $50 per person. And for $50, it’s a hell of a special meal.

    The waitstaff has always been impeccable when I’m there, and I’m not a regular or anything. I go once a year, twice if I’m lucky.

    We’ve taken about 10-15 omni friends there over the years and even they love it and can’t wait to go back. To anyone who’s never been, I still recommend giving it a try despite QG’s dislike for it because you may end up loving it.

    But yes, the neighborhood is horrible. I’ll pay any hiked-up San Francisco parking garage rate to not have to walk more than a block to the restaurant.

  • I went to Millennium once and it was a real let-down. We sat at one of the tiny two-tops and were constantly moving the table sideways to allow people in/out of their booth seats.

    The food was pretty but the flavors were nothing close to Madeline Bistro which I consider to be one of the best “fancy vegan” restaurants on the warm coast. Neither has amazing decor, but Madeline has a warmth that Millennium lacks.

    The owner’s are supposed to be very kind and innovative, but the food did not taste as good as their cookbook described.

    Maybe we hit it on a bad night, but our underground dinner with the SF (underground) Brassica Supper Club was much better than our dinner at Millennium.

    I wouldn’t go back, I think I’d try eating the $100 worth of the great baked goods I’ve seen coming out of SF recently.

  • The tasting menu and Millennium was wonderful when I had it. What people needs to understand that in San Francisco lots of nice places have kinda iffy surroundings. That’s part of the charm (?)

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    “This blog would truly be the most boring site ever if it was dry, dull, careful and polite. Who needs that.”

    Shucks, this is so poorly worded, sounds like I am insulting this blog.
    What I was trying to say (badly) is that this site has charm and character precisely because the reviews are set forth honestly with a personal viewpoint. A fact which many of us appreciate.

  • I know that this is a little off-topic, but I’m very surprised at all of the negative comments above about Madeleine Bistro. To me it’s by far the best Vegan restaurant in Los Angeles and the 2nd best one that I’ve been to ever (Karyn’s on Green in Chicago being the best).

    As for Millennium, I went there about two years ago after been told by a friend that it had been called “The best Vegan restaurant in American” (by whom I don’t know) and I was very disappointed. I thought it was decent, but not the experience I was expecting.

  • The tendy is way mellow.

  • I do wonder if there’s a big difference between the booth experience and the 2-seater table experience at Millennium. I’ve only gone there with a group of less than 5 or 6 people once.

  • I agree. I’ve eaten at Millenium maybe half a dozen times and it’s always been disappointing, and not because of the neighborhood or the staff but because of the food, which always struck me as trying too hard to be fancy-shmancy and not succeeding.
    That said, this is one of those rare instances where I actually agree with Quarry Girl’s (or Mr. Meaner’s) reviews. Usually, I think their reviews are far too complementary. In my estimation, there is a lot to criticize in the vegan food scene, in Los Angeles and beyond. To be blunt about it, just because it’s vegan and pretty to look at doesn’t mean it’s particularly healthy. I know- healthy food is not the focus of this blog but shouldn’t it be just a wee bit of a factor when evaluating a restaurant? And no, I’m not a raw food fanatic.

  • I have not eaten at Millenium for many years (used to live in the Bay Area). Thought the food was good – although it sounds like it has gotten worse, but a little pricey. The tables are WAY too close together, but I remember that from many other restaurants in SF as well.

    Love Madeleine’s in LA – the only knock is service is a little slow (but friendly). Decoration is plain, but I go to a restaurant primarily for good food, not a lesson in interior decorating.

    Went to Sublime in FL once. A bit out of the way, food was decent (not great) – seemed like more money was put into decorating the space instead of the men.

    Can’t wait to try Candle 79, but have not been able to add NY to my travels. I will likely be going to Philly this month, and need to add Horizons to my hit list — any other comments about this place would be appreciated.

  • I would think that someone would want to support any all vegan upscale restaurant like Millennium instead of tear it down and try and convince people not to try it. We are lucky to have a place like this! It is one of my all time favorite restaurants in the entire US and I’ve been a patron for more than 7 years, and I have honestly had amazing experiences every time. The food is spectacular, the servers are pleasant and knowledgeable and always answer questions about the menu and also make excellent recommendations when needed. Tables are close together but I have never felt like I was sitting too close to other diners. I have NEVER waited longer than 10 minutes to be seated for a reservation.
    As far as being in the tenderloin goes, yes- the tenderloin is awful, but there are quite a few nice establishments in the area as well- art galleries, high end boutiques, fancy salons and spas- just because it happens to be in a crappy area doesn’t make the food crap.
    As far as I am concerned, the pricing fits perfectly with the quality of food one is getting. If you’re trying to eat a nice dinner, its going to run you over $100 for 2 people, vegan or not. And the portion sizes are also appropriate for the type of restaurant this is.

    I typically enjoy your little blog, but this review is just tasteless. Show some tact. Just because a restaurant doesn’t cover their food in daiya and sauerkraut or have dozens of “vegan beer” on tap, doesn’t make it bad. If thats what you prefer, just stay out of nice restaurants and stick to your beer guzzling, pizza face stuffing, bar food reviews, because clearly its the only thing you are good at.

  • I really don’t understand why people are so upset by reading YOUR reviews on YOUR blog. If you don’t like quarrygirl’s blog, start your own.

  • I had to chime in here. Certainly everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I wanted to add mine to the voices defending Millennium.

    I just ate at Millennium for the first time a few months ago. We were a party of four, one vegan, one vegetarian, and two pescatarians. I think between us we ate about 10 dishes that we shared, including one complimentary dessert. Everything we ate was fantastic and everybody in our group was raving about the food. I enjoyed the ambience and our server was also incredibly nice and gave us other SF recommendations after our meal.

    I have eaten in many hundreds of vegetarian and vegan restaurants now around the world, and this is one of the best meals I have ever had. Maybe the reviewer was there on an off night, or maybe it’s just completely subjective, but for those of you put off by this review who have never actually eaten there, I encourage you to give it a try and at least decide for yourselves.

  • Hear hear! SO true!

  • Your little rant is invalid, in my opinion. This blog does cover pizza, but it has also reviewed nice restaurants like Candle 79, Sublime, and fancy places in Europe. All positive reviews until this one.

    You don’t need to get all dramatic and say this blog only reviews pizza and beer, because that’s not true.

    I happen to agree with this review for the most part.

  • Funny how so many of you are hating on this blog. Fact is that they DO review PLENTY of high-end establishments and seem to like all of them, with only this exception. Their first trip to Candle 79 was a blowout, but they loved it the second time.

    It’s not all about vegan pizza and beer, but frankly there are a million more places like that than Milennium. Thank god.


    the one time i went to millenium it was alright… not amazing or worth the prices. the company was fantastic though so i remember a good time… i don’t remember what i ate though… not like a Shojin experience, when you can describe your meal two years later it was so ridiculously good. 😉

  • BUT…. this was a little mean… could have just said prices were high for food being okay…. etc.

  • Wow…

    this review was really harsh. I mean, showing pictures of homeless people and comparing a popular vegan restaurant to a Robbie Williams song? I wished you’d focused more on the food, your negativity was pretty tacky.

    I’ve only been to Millenium once, but it was a great experience. I don’t think a lot of restaurants would have given you free cookies for your troubles. It was nice of them to do that.

    Everything we ordered on the menu tasted great. My husband cooks a lot, and we didn’t feel there was anything we could have easily recreated at home and thought it was worth the price.

    We often feel like vegetarian restaurants rely too heavily on fake meats and cheeses. Millenium focused on vegetables and did it in a truly innovative way. I hope we get to go there again soon. Maybe our food styles are different, but yikes, as a fellow vegan I wish you were more supportive of successful vegan restaurants. =/

  • Give Peace A Chance

    I’m a bit flummoxed by this review, and this blog alltogether. Essentially, what this blog is indicating, is that “Quarrygirl” and her husband “Mr. Meaner” would rather eat at ‘The Veggie Grill’, or ‘Madeline’s Bistro’ than ‘Millennium’?!?!  It’s not even fathomable to compare these restaurants. Millenium caters to those looking for a deliciously, high-end, artfully presented, unique, dining experience; not fried faux meats with a side of fried sweet potatoes (boring and soooo passe). I like how Mr. Meaner pads his review by stating that he helped the homeless man up so that he could take his picture. Yes, Mr. Meaner, you’re a real saint. What penance Mr. Meaner! LoL! I can’t believe that Quarrygirl.com stooped to such a level. The picture of a crowded dinning room indicates one thing, and only thing only: that they are busy because the food is delicious! If you were smarter, you would’ve taken a picture of the dinning room when it was empty. Oh, but that would be difficult to do since Millennium fills up really quick with all those people iching for lousy pricy food, right? Comical.      

    I want to make one thing clear. We (and I’m refering to the Vegan community on this planet, not just the one’s residing in the LA basin) are a very small minority. VERY small. We are clearly a fraction of one percent of the entire population. So, one has to beg the question: “Why is there such disharmony within our small community?” The Quarrygirl blog has many followers, true. And so does the Jerry Springer Show. I really think that people follow this blog not because it’s a Vegan blog. But because it’s sensationalism and entertainment. The brashness of Quarrygirl’s vulgar tone and inmaturity padded only by Mr. Meaner’s hubris and pomposity is what the readers crave. Like those faithfull Jerry Springer T.V. Show viewers that can’t miss an episode for nothin’!    

    The stabbing tone of Mr. Meaner’s diatribe of Vegan restaurants in particular is very un-atractive. His much younger wife Quarrygirl (with even less maturity) pretty much offers the same rhetoric padded by photographs edited by her photoshop program (yawn).

    It’s a shame that so many of you guys kiss both Quarrygirl’s and Mr. Meaner’s ass.   

  • I love this blog. Fucking incredible and constantly updated.

  • EXCUSE ME!!!!!!! how DARE YOU? i edit ALL the pictures on this blog in photoshop….NOT JUST MR. MEANER’s. give credit where credit is due…okay?

  • xo <3

  • Hold onto your seat now…. Remember ‘Operation Pancake’? Well, Green Leaves (West Hollywood location) is my FAVORITE restaurant, yet even I love Quarry Girl’s blog! There is just NOTHING like it as far as I’m concerned, and each morning I can hardly wait to read the latest post(s). It doesn’t bother me that I disagree with some of them, the blog is THAT wonderful!

  • quarrygirl, love your reviews, but mr. meaner’s are THE WORST. ugh. so holier-than-thou and he can’t even spell “dessert” right half the time.

  • I enjoy reading both Quarry Girl AND Mr. Meaner’s reviews, even when I disagree on some points with them. Some of my favorite Mr. Meaner reviews are the ones in which he critiques overpriced restaurants such as Millenium and RFD. There is no other blog or website that I like as much as theirs.

  • I last visited Millennium about a year ago. My partner and I thoroughly enjoyed the two meals we had on that trip. One was a seven course chef’s tasting and the other was a five course special for Valentine’s. The chef’s tasting was the superior of the two meals, but we enjoyed ourselves tremendously both times and consider that chef’s tasting to be one of the best meals we’ve ever had, with foodgasms on almost every course. The tables are close together, but the attentive, friendly service and delicious food more than made up for that in our books. We stayed about four blocks away and walked to the restaurant with no trouble or fear. Perhaps I have a higher tolerance for gritty neighborhoods than most.

    All of that is to say that I firmly believe that Millennium is worth a try if you have never been and you don’t mind spending some money on what you may ultimately think is one of your favorite restaurants. You may assess it “meh” as the reviewer and many commenters do, just as I feel underwhelmed by Madeleine Bistro. The only thing that ever blew me away there were the beignets and some cheese that was part of an appetizer, and the rest (from at least four visits) has been good but not amazing to me. Nonetheless, I’m glad to have eaten there and will probably return because it’s the closest we have in LA to an all-vegan gourmet experience.

    We all have different tastes, and isn’t it wonderful that we have so many opportunities to explore them and form opinions?

  • To bad- my husband and I went to Millennium several times and loved it. We went on our honeymoon and got great service- complimentary champagne and desert. That was several years ago so I am sad to see that they may have gone downhill.

  • Horizons in Philly, of course.

  • The grilled seitan is amazing at Horizons. Bummer that it is not summer time, they have outdoor seating and a “happy hour” menu were you can get small samples of things very cheap.

    But yea. Grilled seitan all the way.

  • I’ve been to Millennium probaly 6-7 times. It is one of my favorite restaurants. I was last there over the summer. We went early on a Saturday around 7:00pm. It was not crowded. We were seated at a booth. We were probably there for over two hours of a supremely relaxing meal and conversation with friends. I think it was about $300 all in for starters, meals, drinks/wine and a dessert or two. We didn’t step over any homeless people but I’ll concede there are homeless people in San Francisco, shocking! While I haven’t enjoyed every entree I’ve ever had at Millennium the meals I’ve eaten there have been consistently good. They do a god job of changing the menu. I don’t remember ever having anything but excellent service there either.

    If you haven’t been, try it next time you’re in SF. Judge for yourself. I try to go once every 2 or 3 times I’m in SF.

    Veg cred: I started eating vegetarian in 1985 and vegan by around 1996. I’ve traveled throughout the US and much of the world. I’ve eaten at a lot of vegetarian and vegan joints.

  • oh no, sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience. i haven’t been to the place in abt two years now. last i went, i enjoyed the food, appetizers and desserts mostly. i used to go about once a quarter (pricey place!!) and toward the end of my time living in the city they stopped offering the bread/hummus. we had to ask for it!! if you want a wonderful meal, you should walk up the street about three blocks and head into Canteen. it’s also attached to a funky (i.e. ick) hotel. but the food is to die for and the chef was always good about accomodating my eggless & vegetarian diet 😉

  • took my vegan husband here for our anniversary and really enjoyed it. i dunno – diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks. i think it’s definitely worth anyone’s time to try this place at least once: there aren’t a lot of high-end vegan options out there, it’s really nice to be able to go somewhere and get served a fancy-ass meal that you (i) probably couldn’t come close to replicating at home.

    the menu changes pretty frequently, too, so bear that in mind.

    the chickpea flour and thyme dredged oyster mushrooms are truly fantastic – go for an after-work cocktail and try a couple of their appetizers.

  • I was surprised to read such a negative review of Millennium! I’m truly sorry you did not enjoy your meal there but I did feel a need to speak up in defense of the restaurant. First off, I’ve only been to the restaurant twice and had the same waitress and busser both times (both of who were really attentive) and ordered the same meal both times. Every time our water cups became close to empty they would fill them up promptly. So although my perspective may be a bit limited, I genuinely enjoyed eating here! Both times I ordered the 5 course tasting menu with the wine pairing and it blew my mind. I have worked in a fine dining restaurant before but have only eaten at a few. Also, I am by no means a wine connoisseur but I enjoyed all of the wines with the exception of the dessert wine which is far too sweet for my tastes. The first time I went with just my boyfriend but the second time we went with a group of 8 people and we all ordered the tasting menu and every single person was beyond delighted with the food and I think it’s important to mention that only two people in our party were actually vegan. Yes, our server would tell us the different components of our food and it would sound like gibberish or an entire other language to me but it was DELICIOUS. Also, one person in our group was under 21 and therefore was unable to enjoy the wine pairing so our server (without us asking) brought out special variations of grape juice and cider for them along with our wine. On the house. They also served us two bonus mini courses on the house. I definitely like to dine on a budget so it’s only on a special occasion that we venture to Millennium but I think it is a delightful splurge every now and then…and yes, it is definitely in a sketchy neighborhood. Walk there when it’s light out and take a taxi home if it’s night! Also, the interior decor didn’t bother me at all. I can’t say I noticed all the details that quarrygirl did but it definitely did not immediately strike me as poorly decorated. Additionally, I found the entrance through the hotel rather charming. Also, if you do have to wait for to be seated you are waiting in a hotel lobby complete with plush leather armchairs. (Another) Also, we arrived almost thirty minutes late to our reservation on our first visit to the restaurant and we were still seated right away. Also, you can ask the person at the front desk in the lobby to call a cab for you after you are done eating which is great if it’s cold outside or late at night and you don’t want to flag down cabs amidst the crazies. I can only speak to the five course menu and my two times at the restaurant but I did feel like this review was a little unfair considering what a great experience I had there. I guess a lot of it is simply a difference in opinion but I hope this doesn’t scare away people from trying out Millennium. I really like this place because although it markets itself as an upper scale vegan restaurant it is by no means stuffy and you can dress up if you’d like but there is no formal dress code and many people are dressed very casually there. Yes, the food descriptions may be a little pretentious (or just beyond my food knowledge) the quality was really great in my humble opinion.

  • oh and one final note: It seems like the small tables are a big deterrent in many of the comments. The first time I went with just my boyfriend we were seating in a very comfortable and spacious booth. This was probably due to the time of our reservations. We had reservations for 9 in the evening and the restaurant was far from crowded. So I recommend trying to eat there a little later on in the evening. Yes, 9 is a very late dinner but it could be nice alternative to going out bar hopping one Friday or Saturday night!

  • I would have to agree with this on the food choices (I know nothing about how you expect to be treated in restaurants – haven’t heard that before), but many of the places glowingly reviewed do seem to be kind of comfort foot, pizza, sandwich type places and usually a bit too greasy for my tastes. I too have found Madeleine Bistro lacking and had probably the best vegan meal I’ve ever had at Millennium. The service was fantastic with wine paired with amazing food. And as far as the price went, we found it less expensive than Madeleine with an ambiance far better. Love your blog – great finds for the down and dirty vegan food joints. I just hope people don’t skip this amazing place when in SF because of your review.

  • Without even touching on how grossly inaccurate this review is, I had to discount it when I saw the level to which you stooped of posting photos of a homeless person. I don’t give a shit what you compensated him with ( but since you’re a ‘cosmopolitan European’, I’m sure it was an insulting pittance), this just makes you look tacky, trite, and snobbish. Not that your holy vegan ass would deign to dine at the likes of Michael Mina, Gary Danko, or Coi, but if you were to explore the one-block zones extending from those fine-dining establishments, you would find a plethora of junkies and feces as well. It’s San Francisco, you douche…..No restaurant I patronize promises me a rainbow-filled stroll to my table. Just because you are a food blogger does not guarantee the turds will be brushed off the sidewalk for you en route.

    I am a regular customer at Millennium, and am treated like gold every time I’m there. Yes, I’ve been asked for spare change, and I’ve seen some dookie in the surrounding area on my way there, but I don’t fault Millennium for transients or litter. I just let them cook me bad ass food. When there’s a word on a menu I don’t get,,,and yes, there are many-that’s the bonus of living in a city with amazing heirloom and local produce- I ASK. Instead of acting like a pretentious puke and breaking every etiquette rule in the book by trolling my Smartphone for an answer, I ask my server, the person who has thus far made my evening splendid. And because I’m not busy wrapping my meal around a Backstreet Boys song, I listen, I learn, and I enjoy my meal that much more.
    Please stick with the Madeline Bistro or whatever places you inflict yourself upon. I think if I see you at Millennium, pissing on my fine dining experience with your whiny bitch-ness, I’ll be forced to come take a solid, noisy shit right on your small, ass-in-the-face two-top.

  • It looks like the staff at Millennium finally woke up and found this post! Can spot their fake comments from a mile away.

  • after reading this review and the comments that follow, i have a few things to say…

    in my experience, the food at casual “hole-in-the-wall” restaurants far outweighs the food at fancy-schmancy places ESPECIALLY where vegan food is concerned. i’ve been to candle 79 and while it was decent, it wasn’t any better than native foods. i don’t care if the chef graduated with honors from one of the top culinary schools and spent hours creating some extravagant work of art. if it tastes like crap, it tastes like crap.

    i love my vegan junk food just as much as quarrygirl but i don’t eat it all the time and i doubt she does either. doesn’t mean i’m not going to rave about it when i get my hands on it…

    if you view someone who is witty and sarcastic as immature, then you probably just don’t get it. i find quarrygirl’s posts hilarious. i avoid showing them to my mother but that’s just because she doesn’t get it. she is trapped in the 50’s and doesn’t like that kind of language…

    did someone actually make a dig at the age difference between quarrygirl and her husband? really? what does that even have to do with anything?

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  • […] Despite reviews to the contrary, I found all of the food to be quite tasty, if rather overpriced (my omnivorous family didn’t complain, and actually seemed to enjoy their meals too, but I felt terrible for requesting to go somewhere so expensive). The menu is on par with Plum’s, for $6-$12 more per entree (i.e., about $25 a pop). However, the space is quite lovely (a high ceiling, artsy photos of vegetables on the walls, an old-school wooden bar), the wait staff attentive, and the water quite pure (the Natura Tap Water Filtration System seems to be a selling point). […]

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