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Restaurant Review: Good Karma Cafe

Katie Lemon |
April 20, 2011 | 12:51 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Good Karma Café, which is nestled in the leafy outdoor courtyard of a church on the USC campus, serves a delicious all you can eat and completely vegetarian lunch for just $7.

Photo Courtesy of Katie Lemon
Photo Courtesy of Katie Lemon

Good Karma operates from noon to 2 p.m. every Wednesday and Thursday during the fall and spring semesters. The café attracts a very diverse crowd. It is the only venue where faculty, staff, undergrads, grads, post-grads and L.A. residents mingle, sit together, and befriend each other!

On Wednesday they serve Kicchari, a rice dish from north India. It is a blend of basmati rice, mung beans, fresh ginger, cilantro, and lots of vegetables like kale, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, yucca, zucchini, and tomatoes.

Each Thursday, the café alternates between organic marinara pasta and pesto pasta. The generous amount of vegetables in the marinara pasta adds to the flavor and nutrition, so you won’t feel guilty if you go in for seconds. The pesto pasta is equally wonderful and fresh tasting.

Every week, the main dish is served with salad, halava, and fresh juice.

Ask any regular at Good Karma and they will tell you about the amazing salad dressing. It is a vegan almond dressing that is indescribable and goes well with the kicchari and pastas.

Halava, an Indian dessert pudding made from semolina wheat, is served in many different flavors like butterscotch, chocolate, roasted pecan, vanilla hazelnut, and apple cinnamon. This warm dessert is perfectly sweet and nicely complements the salad and main dish.

The juices are fresh and textured with small pieces of fruit. Some flavors include orange-strawberry, lemon-tamarind, grapefruit-orange, pineapple-passion fruit, pineapple-guava, and mint-ginger. They also serve iced teas like mint-ginger and lemongrass-ginger.

While you eat this fresh and filling meal, you may find yourself in a conversation with a complete stranger. But everyone is so friendly at Good Karma that you’ll feel right at home. Some weeks even feature live music.

“There’s no other cheap, all you can eat, healthy, quick, vegetarian place that also includes a peaceful environment and nice people to talk to,” said one unnamed diner.

The friendly and welcoming chef, Sarvatma Das, started Good Karma Café and said that he cooks the food with love and devotion. He sees cooking as a way to bring people together. To Das, the café is more than just a dining experience. It’s about sharing a peaceful atmosphere and a sense of community. 

Good Karma Café is located at 835 West 34th Street in Los Angeles on the USC campus.


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