Phoenix Garden Vegetarian Restaurant, Richmond, VA

7103 Brook Rd
Richmond, VA 23227
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804 266-8100
Tue-Thu 11am - 9pm
Fri-Sat 11am - 10pm

by Danielle Bussone

We discovered a real treasure in Richmond, Virginia. Phoenix Garden Vegetarian Restaurant offers Vietnamese cuisine and is the only completely vegan and completely organic restaurant in the city. The food was as gorgeous to look at as it was delicious. We were traveling late at night en-route to Washington, D.C. and only had time to review one restaurant during this mad dash through Richmond. We used a particularly ingenious and sophisticated method to determine which restaurant we would review. One of our monsters is a beautiful dog named Phoenix so we decided to grace Phoenix Garden Vegetarian Restaurant with our first review of the area’s cuisine. As it turns out, it was meant to be!

Phoenix is chef and co-owner with her husband, Vi Trinh. Phoenix became a vegan three years ago. She wanted to experience the foods she enjoyed as a child in Vietnam so she began preparing vegan Vietnamese food. They opened their Phoenix Garden Vegetarian Restaurant a year ago. The food is so flavorful it is no wonder it attracts visitors from as far away as Boston and Miami. It is a perfect stop when traveling I-95, accessible easily from the interstate.

We arrived near closing time, which explains why the restaurant was nearly empty. While we were there one of the locals, LaNell Gardener, arrived for a late night bowl of Pho, a savory bowl of rice noodles and fresh vegetables with a side of fresh basil leaves, bean sprouts and lime to stir in just before eating. LaNell is a regular customer and was effusive about the freshness and quality of the food. LaNell is one of the organizers of the annual Richmond Vegetarian Festival taking place on June 15 at Bryan Park from 12-6pm in Richmond.

I ordered the Pho as well and I have to say it found its way to the top of my list as the best Pho ever. The broth is a homemade of a selection of fresh vegetables and herbs simmered slowly for 8 hours to achieve a complex flavor which is original and elegant.

Rich ordered the vegan Vietnamese sandwich, called Banh Mi, a type of po-boy, which could easily be renamed Oh Boy! it was so good. This is made of several soy meats resembling cold cuts with long slices of fresh cucumber and other crispy vegetables. The sandwich is huge and can easily be shared. It came with a compliment of french fries and sweet potato fries plus a gorgeously delicious side plate of vegan coleslaw with fried onions toasted cashews. ($12.95)

We had the yin-yang dessert which were two sesame red bean balls sat atop  swirls of  chocolate and coconut creme sauces which resemble the yin and yang symbol. I’ve never eaten anything like them.

The prices for dinner range from $3 to $12.95 for appetizers, the most expensive is the crispy fried vegan shrimp and marinated drumsticks served on a bed of vegetables with lemon grass sauce. Pho is served for lunch ($7.95). The dinner entrees range from $8.95 for the Vegetable Pho to their signature entree, which is the weekly special including dessert ($14.95). All the desserts are $3.95.

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