One of Seattle’s most iconic vegetarian restaurants, Cafe Flora, is turning 25 in October. Located in Madison Valley, Cafe Flora began as a pioneer in local farm-to-table vegetarian dining in 1991. They worked closely with small farms before it was common practice among restaurants. Since then they have been recognized nationally for their award-winning, creative vegetarian dishes in Bon Appetit, The Food Network, Vegetarian Times, Travel + Leisure and more.
Cafe Flora is celebrating its 25th anniversary October 2-6 with a greatest hits menu featuring dishes from past chefs’ like founding chef Jim Watkins, and roll back 1991 prices, as well as donating a percentage of drink sales for the month of October to Bailey-Boushay House.
Cafe Flora is a staple in the Seattle community and a beloved gathering place for Madison Valley residents. It was founded by three friends who wanted to create a place for locals to gather and also support the opening of the Bailey-Boushay House which provides care for HIV, AIDS, and other terminal diseases. In 1991, this was not accepted by most of the neighborhood.
The restaurant took off, enticing diners with flavorful and hearty vegetarian dishes with international flavors and farm-to-table produce. They have been a leader in local, sustainable, vegetarian and vegan dining ever since, growing to include an extensive and excellent selection of gluten-free offerings.
Current owner Nat Stratton-Clarke began working at Cafe Flora in 2005 and purchased the restaurant in 2008 when the owners were retired. He shops three to four farmers markets every week to buy produce and goods for their changing seasonal menus and to meet new, up-and-coming farmers and purveyors.
A few notable tidbits:
- Cafe Flora partnered with Full Circle Farms as the first pick up location for its CSA program, that went on to be a huge part of who Full Circle Farms is today.
- Chef Janine Doran has been at Cafe Flora since 1994 and continues to reinvent their menus, playing with new flavors, ingredients and produce, some of which is grown just for them at local farms like Whistling Train in Kent
- The Oaxaca Tacos were so popular that they once tried to take them off the menu and customers started a petition to get them back on!
Sunday, October 2nd – Roll back to 1991 pricing!
To kick off the celebration on Sunday, October 2nd at 5:00 pm, prices will roll back to 1991 pricing for one night only! This evening only, 50% of the sales for Otis Kenyon wines and the Madison Cocktail will be donated to Bailey-Boushay House.
Greatest Hits Dinner Menu: A la carte or as a $25 four-course tasting menu
Appetizer: Crispy Butternut Wontons $4.75
Created by Chef Janine Doran (Cafe Flora’s current head chef): Butternut pate, arugula, avocado, chili aioli, truffle aioli, cilantro rice vinaigrette.
Salad: Harvest Salad $6.50
Created by Chef Sarah Wong (former Cafe Flora sous chef): Charred romaine, corn-buttermilk dressing, scarlet runner beans tomato squash “succotash” with crispy okra.
Entrée: Oaxaca Tacos $9.75
Created by Chef Jim Watkins (Cafe Flora’s founding chef): Corn tortillas filled with cheesy mashed potatoes, with black bean stew, smoky braised greens, fire roasted salsa, lime creme fraiche.
Dessert: Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding $4.75
Created by Chef Leslie Pettigrew (former Cafe Flora pastry chef): Pumpkin chocolate bread pudding with bourbon anglaise.
Photos by Cafe Flora.