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NYC Metro Area Vegan Restaurant Guide

Lan Café

Food: 4.884.88
Atmosphere: 3.193.19
Service: 3.693.69

(16 customer reviews. Leave your own!)

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342 East 6th Street
New York   NY 10003
(212) 228-8325

Veg level:

Vegetarian (mostly vegan)

Menu does not indicate vegan items

Price Range:

$$$$$ (Average entree cost: $5-$10)

Accepted Payments:

  • Cash Only

Hours:

Mon-Thurs: 11am-10pm, Fri & Sat: 12pm-12am, Sun: 12pm-10pm

Directions:

F train to 2nd Avenue. A couple storefronts west of 1st Avenue.

Delivery notes:

Lan Café delivers.

$10 minimum order for delivery.

Notes:

Everything is vegan except they have cow's milk for coffee.

Bookmark and Share The information on this page was last updated on July 31, 2008.

User Reviews of Lan Café

Averaged user ratings:

(1 star = lousy; 5 stars = great)
Food: 4.884.88
Atmosphere: 3.193.19
Service: 3.693.69
  • Review by alf-redo on June 12, 2009:

  • i just stopped in really quickly to get a sandwich- the lemongrass 'chicken' one - very large and good, though I wish a little more heavy on the veggies and they were a bit more pickled - alot of bites were quite a bit of bread and a little 'meat'. Cute environment though didn't stick around.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 33
  • Review by myfi on February 4, 2009:

  • Ordered the lemongrass seitan on vermicelli patties because of the recommendations on here and it was soooooooo good. Really. Also tried some pancake dish, and it was super greasy though. Service wasn't great, but that's just because of the language barrier i'm sure. Problems: I went in summer and it was way too airconditioned for someone in shorts and a teeshirt, plus it's not at all aesthetically pleasing and there was a very strange smell hanging around.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 11
    Service: 33
  • Review by Melissa Bastian on January 25, 2009:

  • Lan Cafe is truly a godsend for those of us who adore Vietnamese food, but fear the unidentifiable animal broths and bits that can pop up at standard Vietnamese restaurants. At Lan you can feast on all of your favorites without concern for the ingredients. You can also feel good about supporting a small, local, family run business.

    Pretty much no matter what else I'm ordering, I always start with the summer rolls - wrapped in rice paper and stuffed with rice vermicelli, tofu, thai basil, and bits of fried goodness and served with a side of just the right peanut sauce, they are simply the perfect appetizer. An order comes as two fat rolls each cut in half, so one order can be a nice taste for up to four people or half a meal for one.

    I almost always follow this up with either the number 26 or the number 36. Just reading the menu, these seem to be almost the same dish, and indeed they have many similarities: each boasts grilled lemongrass seitan on rice vermicelli. But the 26 is basically a large bowl of noodles with goodness piled on top, while the 36 is a plated entree featuring rice vermicelli patties. (If you've never had these patties, they're pretty great.) I truly enjoy both preparations; it just depends on what kind of meal you're looking for.

    Other good options include the noodle bowl topped with spring rolls, the baguette sandwiches (any of them), and the green papaya salad.

    Something not to miss: over in the side items is listed sticky rice with black mushrooms. If you're crazy for sticky rice like I am, don't skip it! It's divine, and comes in the perfect little portion too. The shakes are also wonderful - I always go for the avocado.

    This is a small restaurant, and I really wouldn't recommend going there with any more than four people; it's best for two. There are rarely more than two people working the whole establishment - that's both in the front as well as in the kitchen - so at times you'll wait a bit for your food. Just don't go in with a mood to rush - the food is worth the wait.

    The people that own and run the place are wonderful and friendly, if slightly lacking in English vocabulary, and prepare the food they do out of strong convictions. In the back righthand corner of the seating area you'll find a small alter, always being refreshed with offerings like tangerines and chrysanthemums.

    The only worry vegans may have at this fine establishment comes if you'd like to order coffee: make sure you specify soy milk. Other that that, your meal will be completely worry-free - and completely delectable!
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 44
  • Review by kerstycakes on January 22, 2009:

  • Very yummy!
    Some of the best spring rolls ever! I liked everything we got.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 44
  • Review by BankBank on November 12, 2008:

  • My favorite place in the city! Awesome, delicious, and cheap.

    The 'meatball' tofu baguette sandwich rockkkkksssssssssss. It is slathered with spicy sauce and it is scrumptious. The pho is delicious, although it's pretty different from the traditional Vietnamese soup. All the stir-fry noodle dishes strike me as basically the same, but that's okay, cus they're all FOOKIN DELICIOUS. They come out in a piping metal skillet which is convenient if you are looking for a good first degree burn.

    The female waitresses are attentive and friendly, but the guy is realllllllllyyy slow and his english, on a scale of 0 to 5, is a -3.

    The atmosphere is low-key, with a couple shrines, faint chanting music, and bright lights. I like well-lit restaurants.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 33
  • Review by jelie on October 7, 2008:

  • I am so happy to have found Lan Cafe, it tastes just like my mom's cooking and it doesn't even use meat. Since choosing a vegetarian diet, I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that there is no true Vietnamese cuisine that could replace my mom's cooking. But I am happily, blissfully wrong. Lan delivers.

    The pho is a northern style pho, very fragrant. The ginger-seitan casserole (kho) is strong and saturated like it's original chicken counterpart. The lemongrass-seitan is crunchy and lightly flavored. The 'salads' are nice and complex and fresh like their fishy counterparts. I'm in love with the grilled seitan banh mi sandwich, I only wish the pickled vegetables were a little more pickly with more cilantro and that they'd add hot thai chilis. The rice crepes (banh cuon) are amazing, beautifully thin rice wraps as with the summer rolls. My favorite always is the lemongrass seitan over noodles with peanuts and fresh veggies, I also add springrolls to this mix (the springrolls are a little bland to my taste but are perfectly sized and crisp). And the mango shake is true, simply pureed.

    The service is slow, often it's only the husband and wife team running the cooking, the hosting, the waiting, and the delivering. The decor is random Buddhist knick-knacks and asian-grocery store calendars. If you're lucky, you'll get to hear the wife singing Buddhist chants as she cooks.

    The food is always prepared fresh and per meal, thus if you go during a less crowded time, it takes longer to prepare everything and cook it.

    Among my absolute favorite haunts in NYC.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 33
  • Review by veggie_chick on August 15, 2008:

  • Dined here last night with 6 vegan friends (so 7 vegans in all). Food is delicious. Our waiter was very sweet but didn't really understand or speak much English. If you order by number and don't ask a lot of questions, then it's not a problem.

    I had the lemongrass seitan over rice vermicelli noodles (after my recent positive experience with seitan at Candle 79 I thought I'd try other places' seitan) and it was great. Wasn't expecting it to be slightly cooler than room temperature but it was still excellent. The rice crepe appetizer was also really good.

    The friends who recommended this restaurant and have eaten here many times ordered their favorite dish, the seitan lemongrass curry in casserole. The avocado salad with mock ham was also very good. Mock ham wasn't too hammy in taste or texture, thankfully, and the sauce was great.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 44
  • Review by ariela on July 31, 2008:

  • I really like the food at Lan! I’ve never gotten something there that I didn’t like. Favorites are the Baguette with Seitan, the Pad Thai(which I get with a side of peanut sauce to add some more flavoring),the yellow noodles with tofu and ham and the ham and tofu dish sauteed with a bunch of vegetables..(I'm usually not a fan of soy ham but it's really good here) Not a fan of the Pho..the broth is too sweet. Their shakes are really good too(I’ve tried the strawberry and the mango & they were both yummy.) The prices & portion sizes are really good too.

    The service is a bit strange here, I think this is mostly due to the workers not knowing much English, so communication can be a little hard at times. Also, they used to have this strange Bean Cake on all the tables(when you’d get there they were already at the table) but then they’d charge you if you ate it, it was like a Chinese restaurant charging for fortune cookies haha but luckily they stopped putting them on the table. (I think because everyone complained when they'd see it on the bill!)

    Also, last time I went, my friend & I waited for the bill for 15 minutes before we decided to ask for it, so the service isn't the best, but I definitely recommend it for the food!
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 33
  • Review by tgw on May 23, 2008:

  • I love this place!

    Great service, incredible prices, and amazing food.

    The spring rolls and the ginger and scallion seitan are especially recommended.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 55
  • Review by ramones on May 17, 2008:

  • I should start by saying thay I have never had Vietnamese food before. I thought Lan Cafe was alright, but I don't think there was anything there that would make me want to go back. We got the spring rolls and BBQ Seitan, which were both good. The pho was ok, but I got the lemongrass seitan, and I was expecting it to be warmer and tastier. I was really excited to come here because I rarely eat out, and considering the great reviews I was a bit let down.
  • Food: 44
    Atmosphere: 22
    Service: 33
  • Review by keramel on January 27, 2008:

  • Last night was my first visit. I'm vegan, Dinner Companions 1 and 2 are vegetarian and omni, respectively.
    You should know the restaurant is very small. When we arrived (on a busy saturday), every table was full. We only had to wait about 10 minutes though (inside, too) and the server apologized for the wait (which was unnecessary, but kind). The wait was short because the service is out of this world.
    I thought they served beer/wine, but they don't. It's bring your own. That was fine with us, though. We were there for the food. And we FEASTED!
    First: the green papaya salad. Amazing. Do not miss. The veg shrimp was tasty and the salad itself was fresh and yummy. Then we got a lemongrass seitan curry, a tofu pancake with rice paper wrap, bowl of pho, grilled lemongrass seitan on vermicelli noodles, and an order of sticky rice. The food was amazing. I don't know how they make the vegan "fish" sauce, but I want the recipe.
    Everything was traditional, but totally delicious in its vegan form. I don't think you can go wrong on this menu. I saw other diners ordering other yummy things. I want to go back for sure. Get the Vietnamese coffee with soymilk (why they serve sweetened condensed milk, I don't know, since it's not vegan. . .but that's the only negative comment I'd have. . .if that's negative).
    I recommend Cafe Lan highly. Just don't bring a big party there when I'm planning on coming (unless I can join you!). ;) (jk)
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 55
  • Review by JBMvegan on December 19, 2007:

  • I cannot believe how delicious the food was at Lan. Based on the reviews, I expected it would be good, but I had no idea what I was in for. Everything we had was scrumptious. We started with the spring rolls, which my husband and I decided were the best spring rolls we've ever had. After that we had Pho, which was even more flavorful and delicious than I could have dreamed. The soup was followed by the Baguette with veggie ham. Again, delicious! The bread was soft and crusty at the same time, and the veggies were crisp and delicious. Our final dish was the string bean curry. Even after we had finished all the beans and tofu, we scraped the sauce into our rice bowl so we could get every last drop. We can't wait to go back.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 44
  • Review by beep on April 16, 2007:

  • Lan Cafe is fantastic. One of the better vegetarian places in Manhattan. The produce is always fresh, the soy/seitan is grilled and sauteed to be desired by vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. The vietnamese flavors and spice are on par with any other eatery; not to mention the sanwiches are far better than most banh mi in Chinatown.

    My favorite dishes:
    Shredded green papaya Salad
    Baguette sandwich with seitan
    Grilled Lemongrass Seitan over Steamed Angel Hair
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 44
  • Review by Red Lurcher on January 9, 2007:

  • The sandwiches are truly wonderful. The other food that I've tried is fine, but not worth going out of your way for. But the sandwiches? Wonderful.
  • Food: 44
    Atmosphere: 33
    Service: 44
  • Review by sewster on December 12, 2006:

  • I have been to Lan Cafe three times now and I LOVE it. The veg versions of Bahn Mi (usually pork based sandwiches) are excellent, as are the eggplant appetizer and veg shrimp salad. The other night I had their Pho, which I've never had before, since it always has beef, and it was incredible: fresh noodles, lots of vegies, fried tofu and veg beef with a delicious broth. I almost licked the bowl!

    The restaurant is small, and a little chilly in the winter, but well worth it. Go!
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 44
  • Review by frank language on November 4, 2006:

  • I went into Lan today for the second time; the first time, I had had an excellent bowl of pho. Today I got their grilled asparagus appetizer (with hoisin sauce) and "lightly fried" seitan on a bed of rice vermicelli. All the things I've had so far are consistently excellent--fresh, delicious, well-prepared.

    The space is small (10 tables) and clean; I was pleased to see it gets packed on a Saturday night. Next time I'll try the lunch specials.

    They apologize for not being able to accept credit cards; the restaurant and its restroom are accessible.
  • Food: 55
    Atmosphere: 44
    Service: 33

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