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.
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.
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.
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.
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 vegan cafeTags: burger, cake, kale, panini, portobello, santa monica, soba
1028 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401