Elf Cafe – Vegetarian in Echo Park

I’m excited to finally try Elf Cafe in Echo Park for dinner.  I’ve been hearing about this upscale vegetarian restaurant for years – people rave about the food, but complain about their long waits. Elf recently changed their no-reservation policy, so it was a pleasure to walk in at 7pm last night and have a table waiting for us.



It kinda reminded me of The Green Goddess in New Orleans, especially with the kitchen right in the dining area, behind the bar.



While looking over the menu, we munched on pita chips with chickpea/red pepper dip.


A lot of reviews mention their kale salad, but there are 2 listed. I consulted with our friendly waitress, and she recommended the Spicy Moroccan one.  The four of us split this as a starter – it was creamy and definitely had a kick…


…along with one of the specials, a baked mushroom appetizer.


Both were terrific (especially the shrooms) and complemented one another really well. We each ordered our own entrees and shared bites with one another.  I got the Moroccan Vegetable Tangine, served over red quinoa with a spicy harissa sauce.

It was just okay.  I love that it was huge (took half of it home) and filled with fresh farmers market veggies (including brussels sprouts!) but this didn’t taste very different from any stew I could throw together myself by improvising in the kitchen.

Here’s Abe’s Baked Tart, with Roasted Tomato/Potato/Caramelized Onions.


The problem with this dish? The tomatoes weren’t fully roasted, neither were the potatoes, and the onions were soft and white.


Michelle Krusiec also had a tart, and her husband Matt ordered the Baked Portobello Mushroom.


This was the tastiest of all the main courses – thanks to the goat cheese risotto and port reduction.


Overall, I really liked Elf Cafe and its cozy vibe – although the food seems to be hit or miss, there is A LOT on their menu we want to try, so we’ll be back. Hopefully with Matt and Michelle!


17 thoughts on “Elf Cafe – Vegetarian in Echo Park

  1. Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen)

    The tagine looks good. Too bad the flavor wasn’t really there. I love baked mushrooms…that bowl looks so good!

  2. Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg

    I love fancy schmancy vegetarian restaurants 🙂

    Those baked mushrooms look like the bomb!

  3. Monet

    So many good restaurants…the tarts looked super yummy…too bad some of the vegetables still needed some love. Thank you for sharing your fun eats with me. I hope you are having a happy and warm Monday. It is cold here in Austin!

  4. MarathonVal

    The Moroccan food sounds amazing!! My parents lived in Morocco for two years in the Peace Corps so I grew up eating Moroccan food, which used to be obscure and unheard of but thankfully it’s become more trendy in food circles… I remember when I was the only person in town that ate cous cous haha, but now it’s the norm!

  5. Walking E

    What – no pictures of the beautiful Michelle? Well, color me disappointed!! By the way, the food looks really good.

  6. lowandbhold

    Looks great! Except one of my greatest food pet peeves is when different elements of a dish are cooked differently. It’s off putting.

  7. Nelle @ Living Cliche

    We were going to go to Elf Cafe for my birthday a couple years ago and were completely foiled by their no-reservation policy. We ended up at CRU instead. Glad to hear they’ve changed it. I will have to try some of their other dishes when I go sometime, I’ll let you know if they have more flavor!

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