Review: Royal Greens Vegetarian Restaurant, San Jose

I love trying new vegetarian restaurants, but the Royal Greens Vegetarian Restaurant in San Jose (on De Anza, very close to the Cupertino border) did not rock my world. My wife and I tried three dishes:

* kung pao chicken

* a “hot plate” sizzling chicken dish

* a noodle soup with vegetables

They also brought out a complimentary pot of tea. Brown rice was $1.25 a serving.

The kung pao chicken was just OK. It was mock chicken (passable but not the best I’ve had), celery, peanuts and dried chilis. It was a little spicy for my wife but not too bad. The flavor was good but not great.

The sizzling dish had mock chicken, green peppers, mushrooms, carrots, ginger chunks, basil and some other stuff. This sounded better than it was. Surprisingly, the flavors didn’t really blend together. The green peppers tasted mostly green peppery, and neither the basil nor the ginger influenced the dish’s overall flavor. The hunks of ginger weren’t really edible, either. This wasn’t a bad dish but it was forgettable.

The noodle soup had the long, thick Chinese noodles plus large chunks of veggies. My wife and I both thought it was bland. The soup included some strange white balls that did not taste great.

In addition to being relatively bland, we thought the food was pretty greasy. Perhaps not greasier than most Chinese restaurants, but more greasy than I prefer.

We arrived at about 7:45 on Sunday night. The place was empty except for another patron group that left soon after we arrived. They closed the restaurant at about 8:10 (earlier than their posted 8:30 closing time). Service was limited by typical language barriers, but we got served quickly because we were the only people in the joint. Total price was less than $20/head for 3 entrees and rice. However, some of their dishes were in the mid-teens.

Their website is still “under construction,” so you can’t check out the menu online. It was filled with lots of strange mock meats: veggie squid, veggie eel, veggie kidney, veggie mutton. The menu clearly indicated which dishes were vegan vs. vegetarian.

If you like Taiwanese food and are looking for a vegetarian version, this may be a good choice. Otherwise, if you’re willing to make the drive (or if it’s more convenient), we definitely recommend Garden Fresh in Mountain View over this place for very similar food. Garden Fresh is slightly cheaper, less greasy, better tasting and all vegan.

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