Restaurant Review: Living Kitchen

As promised, I have some restaurant reviews to show you now that I'm finished with my trip to Raleigh! Raleigh is a remarkably vegan-friendly town. I'm starting with the place I ate most often, Living Kitchen. (I ate there a lot because it was directly across the street from my hotel and it was totally vegan--not many restaurants are completely vegan in Raleigh, though many are very friendly to vegans.)

Breakfast #1:

This hot chocolate, made with their homemade coconut milk, was delightful. I don't often get hot chocolate these days (I used to make it a lot with those just-add-water packets in my omnivore days, and now more often than not I just have hot herbal tea), so this was a real treat.

They call this the "Biblical Breakfast": local bread spread with three different nut butters (almond, peanut, and coconut) and topped with fresh fruit, fig preserves, and maple syrup. There was some sort of microgreen garnish. This was every bit as good as it looked.

Dinner #1:

This ginger ale was not carbonated and it was extremely spicy. I had a hard time finishing it.

This was the pimento cheese sandwich with a side of roasted sweet potatoes. Honestly, this was just depressing, and nothing like pimento cheese (a southern staple, and something I once deeply loved--I still need to try veganizing my own pimento cheese). It, like the ginger ale, was really spicy, and so together it was rough going. So after this somewhat sad meal, I decided I needed dessert. Fortunately, it did not disappoint.
They call this turtle "cake," but it's really a caramel-chocolate pie with a nut crust. It's pretty amazing. I suspect it involves tofu and melted chocolate for the filling, but just because something is simple doesn't mean it isn't decadent! The dessert rescued my hopes for this place.

Breakfast #2:

Avocado toast. This is hard to mess up; I would have preferred sliced tomato to halved grape tomatoes but this was fine. And they get several points for presentation! So pretty!

Dinner #2:

This was kale lemonade, and I hated it. It was a very weird flavor and not at all sweet or really even lemony.

After the kale lemonade, I was pretty unhappy to get this manicotti. Put bluntly, this just wasn't enough calories to count as more than a snack. It was also cold, which was a shock to me--I wasn't expecting that. But the cashew ricotta filling was nice, and would have been amazing if served warm with pasta.

So I needed dessert again.

This carrot "cake" (again, pie, I don't know why they keep calling these things cake) was pretty great, except that all of a sudden toward the end I ran into a clump of raisins. Raisins were unadvertised on the menu for this item. I'm glad they clumped themselves up where they were easy to avoid--I'm afraid I never made easy peace with raisins, but especially not in dessert--but I think someone hoping for raisins would be less thrilled about that.

General thoughts: The food was hit or miss at the Living Kitchen, but if you are going to eat there, I recommend sticking to hot drinks, dessert, and stuff on toast for breakfast, especially the Biblical Breakfast. This is a place that seems to embrace a "health" food idea of veganism, often with bewildering results. Beyond the food itself, service was incredibly slow and servers showed absolutely no inclination to hurry; in one case I saw the server stop at another table unbidden, while holding my breakfast, and have a long chat while I started hungrily at it. I wanted this place to be so much more than it was and I gave it a lot of chances, but in the end, it only gets 3/5.


  1. Thanks for such a thorough review, I hope that you had a nice trip to Raleigh. It sounds like they have it together for breakfast but then just fall off for dinner. Both breakfasts look delicious and I'm all about that hot chocolate, yum!!! The turtle pie does look pretty delicious as well. Also a shame about the service although I suspect may we have been accustomed a certain speed based on where we are from (I have a picture in my mind that you are from a city in the Northeast which would probably come with a quicker pace to most things - I have these same expectations). It sounds like a great breakfast spot though!

    1. I'm originally from Oklahoma, but I do live in the northeast (where I often feel rushed). I found the other restaurants in Raleigh had better/faster service, so it's not purely regional--although, yes, things move slower down there in general!

    2. Oh wow! Yeah, the northeast definitely has a fast pace (heck, I feel rushed at times too and this has been my pace my whole life!). I like the idea of enjoying a nice leisurely meal but sometimes it is just too much (and especially annoying when you see your food is being held hostage during a leisurely conversation).

  2. I love ginger stuff that is spicy enough to explode my throat, so I kind of really want to try that ginger ale.
    Sad about some of the rest of it though. I did actually make some zucchini manicotti the other night (though I roasted the zucchini slices as raw zucchini doesn't suit me), and it was fun but definitely not a full meal!

  3. Your first breakfast looks perfect, especially with that hot chocolate! It's a shame about the drinks and dinners, but at least the desserts were good!

  4. Hmmm, sounds like they need to adjust menu descriptions for the drinks so people know the ginger one is flat and intense- definitely not what i would have expected!
    That first breakfast seems like the real winner, and certainly handy it was so near your hotel.


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