Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Vibrant Dinner At Vardo Cafe

On my dad's last night in LA, we journeyed to Venice Beach to dine at an adorable gypsy cafe called Vardo. The decor was very eclectic and so psychadellic. The spiritual vibe was very strong, which was reflected in the upbeat, friendly nature of the waitress. She even brought out water in a fish shaped jug, which was very fitting with the atmosphere and perfect for a restaurant that preaches love for all creatures.

The restaurant had a lovely mixture of Mediterranean and Indian cuisine and we opted to try both. We began the meal with the large Carnival Salad.

This salad was unlike any salad I've had before. I must say, I'm not a huge fan of salads and hate that people assume that just because I'm vegan, I'll eat any salad. The Carnival Salad was so flavorful and had such a great combination of textures. The tomatoes were so sweet and juicy and the lettuce was so crispy and delicate. The cheese was my favorite part and was soft, with a nutty flavor. It perfectly mimicked feta cheese. The salad was coated with a heavy spice, which left an intense heat in my mouth. Nevertheless, the tahini dressing was creamy and slightly cooling.

Next, we had The Falafel.

My dad described this as the best falafel wrap he's ever had and I completely agree. The falafel was so soft and luscious and had an amazing savory flavor. The hummus was very creamy and had a light tahini flavoring. The gypsy sauce was so delectable and added a slight sweetness to the dish, which contrasted the lovely spices. The accompanying salad was so fitting, and was almost a smaller version of the Carmen without the faux cheese. I was so glad it came with that, as I could not get enough of the tahini dressing.

Lastly, we had the Indian curry of the day, the Korma.

I was a little nervous to order an Indian dish, as Vardo's specialty seems to be Mediterranean food, but this dish was just as delicious and authentic. The stew was not as spicy as the previous dishes, but was still very flavorful. The taste of tomato was very strong and there was a slightly nutty flavor. There was a great mixture of creamy sauce and chunky vegetables.

Overall, I loved the meal. The food was so fitting with the environment and dining at Vardo is truly a unique experience. I highly recommend the dishes we ordered, although there are so many other menu items I am anxious to try. Since their Indian stews vary nightly, it's hard to plan what to order ahead of time. The restaurant was so small and cozy, but they also have a lovely outdoor patio, which is perfect for people watching on a fairly busy street. We used a $25 gift certificate and the meal came out to about $20 total with tax and tip. I cannot wait to return to try more of their fabulous food.

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