The Lotus Pond is a healthy 100% vegan restaurant that uses a variety of vegetables, mock meats, seafood and protein fibres to create an exotic menu based on Buddhist principles.
We spend the day in Victoria and wanted to have dinner at Lotus Pond before catching the 7:00 p.m. ferry. Waited for the restaurant to open at 5. We chose the combo dinner. I had the mock pineapple chicken, diced veggies with cashew, springroll, wonton soup and brown rice. It was delicious, I even drank the soup broth which had no MSG. My hubby hesitated to come here for dinner as he wanted his meat, but changed his mind when his food arrived. He had hot & sour soup, springroll, deep fried spicy salt tofu, beancurd roll with spinach and mushroom with brown rice. He loved it!! The food was not oily, we had no bad reaction from MSG nor extreme thirst afterwards, so we know for sure there was no MSG in the food.
Busy evening for Lotus Pond on a Wed. evening which is a good sign and phones was ringing off the hook for delivery orders.
I just thought it was strange that I was the only asian here tonite eating authentic chinese food. My hubby's belly was so content that he didn't even bother to get a burger at the ferry.
Lotus pond by far serves some of the best chinese food in the city. Meat eaters and vegetarians alike enjoy the fabulous lunch buffet which is out of this world. Dinners can run a little pricey like all Chinese food restaurants however the combo plates which offer soup, a springroll, rice, and a set selection of two other dishes are affordable at around $10.00. The ambiance leaves a little to be desired. However the place is always spotless and the staff are incredibly well organized and you are always served quickley even when it becomes very busy.
I love the Lotus Pond. My favorite dish is the sizzling mock chicken with black bean sauce. I also like to get the chow mein. Their food is simply the BEST!
I am a vegetarian, so it is a real treat to go somewhere where you can order ANYTHING off the menu and you don't have to ask whether they used bacon to start the soup and that sort of thing...
One problem with being vegetarian is that some vegetarian restaurants serve bland food. I hate that. Lotus pond serves wonderful, flavourful food with a Chinese style to it.
I have taken many non-vegetarians to this restaurant and one like it in Edmonton (called Padmanadi's) and most of them LOVE it! The mock meat is made from texturized vegetable (or soy) protein and it soaks up surrounding flavours and when they cook it, it really has a very meat-like flavour and texture. However, it is not so meat-like as to be gross to those of us who haven't eaten meat in just under a decade.
The restaurant, like most wonderful Chinese restaurants, is not all about the decor. However, it is nice. It is plain, but clean and they sell the mock meat so that you can make some mock meat dishes of your own at home.
The prices are reasonable -- really, about what I would expect to pay at just about any good Chinese restaurant. I think someone said something about a deal for $6.95 -- well, you get what you pay for. I remember when I was a meat eater, there was westernized chinese food in the mall that was really cheap, but it was basically just greasy balls of deep fried dough over top of chunks of low quality meat.
What you are getting at Lotus Pond is high quality and very healthy. I am fairly sure they do not even use MSG.
Anyhow, it is my boyfriend and my favorite restaurant. I only wish I had a little more spending money so that I could go more often. :)
Prospective diners should note that the Lotus Pond offers a Chinese buffet at lunch every day they're open (Tuesday through Sunday). Some dishes appear every day (hot and sour soup, egg rolls, turnip cakes (not made with what Westerners call turnip, and simply delicious), potstickers, brown rice), but there is a range of other dishes that vary from day to day. Some dishes are a bit greasy, but overall the quality is good. You pay by weight. Members of VIVA (Victoria Island Vegetarian Association) get a 10% discount.
And at 2:30, all uneaten food is sold for half price. Often they even replenish the dishes that run out. Very good value.
I first encountered The Lotus Pond a few weeks back. I was walking downtown and looking at different restaurants throught the windows. The Lotus Pond had its menu in the window and it looked really good and very extensive for a vegan restaurant. The exterior of the restaurant was kind of shabby looking, but when I tasted the food last week it made up for it!
The Lotus Pond is a very small restaurant, seating only about 20-30 people. Also, because it is based on Buddha's doctrine, they don't use garlic, onion, chives, leeks or shallots in their food. They have an extensive menu with over 90 choices. A large selection of their menu, such as their Sauteed Golden Mushroom & Spinach on Bean Curd Skin Layers is wheat free. Their combos are an even better deal. Combos for one are $9.95 and include partial portions of two dishes, with a Spring Roll, choice of two kinds of soup and white or brown rice. Bigger combos can be chosen from 20 items for about $10 per tiem if you do the math. We ordered a two dish combo and split it between three, all leaving full and satisfied.
The Lotus Pond also does take out and delivery.
We ordered the combo with the Buddha's Feast and Mushroom Tofu Delight. The Buddha's Feast was full at different vegetables in bean curd paste sauce. It was great. The Mushroom Tofu Delight was amazing as well. About 8-10 rounds of tofu were served with a breading of some sort. The breading was very flavourful and the tofu inside was very soft and creamy. The brown rice we ordered was a bit mushy, which would be my only complaint. The soup and spring rolls were great as well.
The friends I went with were not vegetarian or vegan and they were amazed at how good the food was as well. I would recommend this restaurant to vegetarians/vegans who would like something different. I would recommend this restaurant to the average consumer who would just like a change.
I gave this restaurant another shot after a few years' break. This really isn't my sort of place, in every sense. It has an odd smell inside and the decor is extremely dated/faded, which I guess isn't atypical for a little hole-in-the-wall spot like this. When our server eventually got around to taking our order, she was polite and friendly, but the tea we ordered never did arrive! As a meat and veggie eater, the food here was capital-D Disappointing. I found the textures in the "mock meats" extremely unappetizing. Slimy, squirmy and oddly-coloured is how I would describe some of the gluten masses and soy "product". That said, the real food (aka vegetables) were fresh.
Years ago I had tried the "buffet," unaware that this place calculates price by the food's weight! I occasionally run across restaurants that use this sytem, and always steer clear.
All in all, this place might be good for vegans (small market segment) and vegetarians but as an omnivore, give it a miss.
Walking in I did not realize the buffet was pay by weight and it so happpens I chose heavier items. The potstickers were great as was the deep fried tofu. However all the denser items cost significantly more. The hot and sour soup is 1.50 for a small bowl as well. I would definitely take my sister (vegetarian) or a lunch date who was vegetarian but you can do better for value in Victoria. At the entrance to Chinatown, for example, you can get a 6.95 combo which is excellent. Also won-ton soup is superior and of greater value. So, if your a student or value-conscious person scratch this joint or skip the buffet.
if i was ordering my 'last supper' i would go to lotus pond for the shitake mushroom delight, a zillion turnip cakes (weird name i know, but wow) and perhaps the mock seafood bowl. its simply the best vegan eats i have had in bc.
the half price lunch buffet is beyond a good deal.
them fake chicken balls take me way back without the food colouring and rubbery cruelty.
the service is attentive and kind, they somehow alwyas recognize us on the phone or in person even tho we cant afford to go out for dinner very often.
we moved to vancouver recently and so many evenings we say - wouldnt it be great to go to lotus pond?
missing it very much. go as soon as you get the chance.
(and yup, the ambiance isnt all that, but thats not why i eat there)
It's a great place to come for some healthier Chinese-style food. Their mock meats are delicious, I haven't had an item that I didn't enjoy and I've tried quite a few! The Buddha's feast being one of my favorites and the turnip cake is a must for a starter. The food is always hot and fresh, the service is always great and the food doesn't take too long to arrive even when it's busy (and it does get busy often). It's a small spot so it gets loud quite easily and the tables and chairs aren't anything fancy, but it's always clean. The 2:30 1/2 price deal is amazing but be sure to go early as things go quickly!