I'm always excited when a new vegan restaurant opens in Atlanta. Like every restaurant, you go in praying it will be good but brace for anything. The grand opening of Healthful Essence Caribbean Vegan restaurant (875 York Ave, Atlanta, GA) was October 18 and my first visit to the restaurant was the 22nd. I've been to several restaurants in their first week of business and its always usually a bit scattered and manic but the opposite was true for Healthful Essence.
When I walked in I was immediately greeted by several members of their helpful staff and was elated to see that the food was served in a "hot bar" style where all the food was already prepared, piping hot and just waiting for me. Meals ranged from $2-$10 (choice of 1 item to 4 items respectively). And the serving sizes are very generous. For my first meal I went conservative with brown rice, barbeque tofu and plantains ($8 and enough for two meals). The brown rice is not your typical brown rice it was beautifully seasoned and mixed with a variety of different color bell peppers. The bbq tofu was the perfect texture and the sauce was amazing! Definitely homemade, I've never tasted sauce that good coming out of a bottle. Of course the plantains were perfect, it takes a lot of effort to mess up plantains.
For my second trip I moved away from my comfort zone and into unknown territory. There was something on the menu I thought I'd never hear of at a vegan restaurant - curry goat. I never had this dish in my omnivore days and two out of my 6 companion animals are goats (one of which is named Curry) so the thought of eating anything that might even closely resemble the taste of my beloved goat just grossed me out. But...with much hesitation I tried it. It wasn’t bad and if there wasn’t a goat named Curry in my backyard right now I probably would have liked it.
Other must try items on the menu are the Jerk UnChicken, Fried UnFish Cakes, Curried Vegetables and Collard Greens. The only thing that Healthful essence is missing is my all time favorite, the Jamaican Veggie Patty. But the rest of the food is so delicious that I will forgive them on this one point.
Update!!! After taking a brief hiatus I found myself back at Healthful Essence and the food is better than ever! With some delicious additions to the menu including...drum roll please...Veggy Patties! Not only that but you simply must try their raw foods bar as well. The Spicy Kale Salad and Nori Rolls are worth every penny and will literally make you want to lick your plate clean. And don't get me strated on the Chickpea Patties. I dreamt of them last night and woke up craving them this morning. If a dish is able to make it into my dreams then it truly holds a special place in my heart.
They also now take credit and debit cards for orders over $10 so no need to run to the ATM before venturing down to Healthful Essence.
Hours of Operation:
Monday 2pm - 7pm
Tuesday 11am - 7pm
Wednesday 11am - 7pm
Thursday 11am - 7pm
Friday 12pm - 8 pm
Saturday 12pm - 8pm
Sunday 12pm - 6pm