Cafe Sunflower is one of the best gems in Atlanta, a city of a select few vegetarian restaurants that mostly focus on soul food. Every year we take a trip to the city and this restaurant has become one of our required stops... it's that good.
They have locations in Sandy Springs and Buckhead, but I've only been to the latter. The restaurant itself is located in a strip mall and non-assuming from the outside but chic and elegant on the inside.
Over the years since they opened in 1994, other reviewers agree that it's the best place for sit-down vegetarian food in the city. Cafe Sunflower has been featured in Zagat numerous times, in magazines all over Atlanta, and won a Dining Out award from Vegetarian Times.
Want to know what food is the best? Let's dive in...
As vegans, dumplings and spring rolls are often our go-to items on many menus, so it's easy to overlook those two Cafe Sunflower appetizers when you have so many other options, but you shouldn't. Their spring rolls are more heartily stuffed with vegetables and glass noodles than others, and I love the mushrooms in the dumplings. Plus, the dipping sauces are delicious, so it's well worth giving them a taste.
Much of their menu remains the same at dinner, but there are a few changes. For lunch we've had their Portabella Mushroom Melt, which can be made vegan. It's filled with mushrooms, fresh spinach, tomatoes, caramelized onions, and tahini sauce and served with sweet potato fries.
Some of the most recent entrees we've tried include their Handmade Ravioli and Orzo Eggplant Lasagna. The ravioli came in two flavors- a green spinach and a regular semolina pasta. Inside was kabocha squash, spinach, grilled vegetables, tofu ricotta, mushrooms, tomatoes, and green beans. It was covered in a really nice roasted shallot marinara.
The lasagna is made with the same marinara sauce, the layers of orzo are layered with baked portabella mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, roasted red pepper, and tofu ricotta. Grilled asparagus adorns the top of the dish. My husband usually stays away from anything with eggplant in it, but he loved this lasagna.
One of the best parts of Cafe Sunflower is their amazing vegan dessert selection. I think most of their desserts are made out of the restaurant, but I'm not sure who makes them. Years ago my mom had the chocolate peanut-butter mousse and said it was the best dessert she'd ever had. She tried to replicate it at home but the mousse wasn't quite right. Sorry mom!
Recently we tried their carrot spice cake and I absolutely loved it. I love carrot cake that tastes like eating a big, sweet muffin, and the spice and moisture made it delicious. I also don't like a really heavy frosting on my desserts, so I loved their lighter cream cheese style frosting.
They have a few other vegan cakes I haven't tried that sound amazing, like the coconut layer cake, the chocolate raspberry mousse cake, and the flat out old fashioned chocolate cake.
To wash everything down you can also check out their extensive wine list that features quite a few organic selections.
Owner Lin Sun has a cookbook of Cafe Sunflower recipes that you can pick up on Amazon if you're inclined to replicate some of their best vegan dishes. And if you don't cook, get yourself down to the dirty south and try this restaurant!