so my wife and i have put off going to the Veggie and Tea House in Irvine for over a year. We read a good review in the LA Times and being lazy just kept putting it off. I could just shoot myself. We found ourselves nearby today while going to the Irvine Animal Shelter and said, "why not?"
1. Easily the best looking (on the inside) vegetarian restaurant in Orange County. It's located in this huge industrial tin covered farm/warehouse, but inside it's semi-elegant. Great dark wooden tables and chairs, a large supply of the round tables with the rotating tops we felt comfortable during the day in jeans, but you could go here for a date to impress easily.
2. the food comes in these really cool laquered boats. with the main course in the middle and two different sides (salads or egg rolls or wontons) in the front and back. the rice comes in individual wooden boxes that you can bring home (our two year old will love them. he also liked waiting for the trains to pass by right behind the restaurant.
3. The food. Really good. I'm not going to say great, because i like my food really spicy and it was more of the chinese/vietnamese variety than the thai style of cooking. We got the sauteed tofu which comes on a great bed of teriyaki onions and bell peppers. We also ordered the banana almond rolls which weren't sweet, and were a bit heavy. The Potato cakes were good, very crispy on the outside and filled with mashed potatoes, cheese, and some veggies on the inside. I wanted to order the Bird Nest, Cabbage Rolls, and Teriyaki Potatoes. (next time)
4. when you first come in all the dishes are presented to you in a glass case so it's easier to choose. the servers were really nice and attentive. Most of their produce comes from their own farm and it's organic.
It's on Sand Canyon in Irvine between the 405 and the 5 (right next to the 5 on the East side of Sand Canyon.)
There are also locations in Palm Desert, San Dimas, and Pasadena.
don't be lazy! go.