In Edmonton on a Saturday night, if you're going out on the spur of the moment and haven't made a reservation, I'd recommend a trip to Veggie Garden. As a fairly new restaurant (less than 2 years old, located where Oriental Veggie House used to be), they could always use the business, and they are rarely very busy. On times when we have gone there for lunch, we have often been the only customers there, or one of very few tables. I was quite happy to see that there were at least a good dozen tables filled in this small restaurant when we went there on Saturday night.
Despite being located in a terrible neighbourhood (south end of Chinatown, right across from the Hope Mission), Veggie Garden is actually a fairly nice restaurant. The decor is simple, but the restaurant is always clean and the family which runs the place are incredibly friendly and eager to serve. The free parking right out front is often full, but there are meters around each corner which are free (for now) after 6 PM and on Sundays. Veggie Garden is open seven days a week, and has an absolutely enormous menu, making for a good selection of lunch and dinner dishes.
And now, on to the food! (forgive the photos, I took them with my cellphone camera so they're a bit lower quality than usual).
|Happiness in a bowl|
|Presentation a bit sad here.|
|Suspiciously good chicken...|
Although I neglected to photograph them, we also enjoyed two of the restaurant's smoothies ($3.99 each). While they offer exotic flavors like jackfruit and durian, the DH and I were not very brave on this account and opted for strawberry and mango. The smoothies can be made vegan with soy milk upon request. Both smoothies were delicious, they are almost pallet-cleansing like a sorbet. I found them well worth the $3.99, especially as the restaurant does not offer alcoholic beverages (food follows Buddhist tradition).
Aside from the sweet and sour pork, all of the items were enjoyed at Veggie Garden were fabulous. What was even better was the bill! We enjoyed four items and two drinks for a grand total of $36! The prices are ridiculously low here, which I think helps Veggie Garden to hold it's own against the popular Padmanadi, which is located just down the street. For those of you planning to visit Veggie Garden for the first time, I would definitely recommend the lemon chicken and any of the vermicelli bowls as a great way to get and idea of what kind of food the restaurant has. And, my own personal favorite happens to be the soft chowmein (#34, $6.99), which features tofu if faux meat is not your thing.
Despite it's location, I give Veggie Garden my highest recommendation. Overall, a great restaurant with great staff that is really deserving of our business. And with their very low prices, I won't be surprised if they continue to get busier, so get your lemon chicken while you can!