Vegan Nirvana in Huntington Beach catches your attention from the moment you approach it. The storefront sign has “Vegan Nirvana” spelled out in neon green and blue, with an alien and a flying saucer on either side of it. Walk in and you’ll find yourself in one of the most unique, tasteful (both atmosphere and food!), and even enigmatic vegan eateries in OC. The walls are adorned with colorful and psychedelic art ranging from aliens to jellyfish to a hand-drawn yin and yang mural.
The staff (on my visit just one girl working the front) greeted me and was happy to recommend the house favorites. The three I tried: the “Ultimate Liberation”, the “Enlightened One,” and the “Divine Eternity. As if the alien theme wasn’t mysterious enough. Is there a spiritual message being relayed here? Is the place owned by aliens? Honestly, whatever the reasoning behind it, I don’t mind – because this food is amazing.
I started off with the jackfruit limeade (great flavor, who else even makes this?) and the Divine Eternity – 4 lettuce cups with sauteed chickenless chicken, mushrooms, bellpepper, topped with alfafa sprouts and sliced almonds. Great appetizer to start off with. In my opinion, could have used a little something (more sauce?) but very fresh nonetheless.
Then came the Ultimate Liberation – four fish or shrimp tacos (I tried half and half), and the Enlightened One – a pesto chicken sandwich on a massive whole wheat roll. Both really shined. The tacos made me remember how good fish tacos could be (pre-vegan days). Good, crispy texture with the right amount of spicy seasoning and “omnipotent” chipotle sauce. Spicy, creamy, crunchy, and served with lime. The sandwich, aside from being huge (seriously, they do not skimp on portions) was very flavorful. Buttery pan-fried chicken, fresh greens and tomato, and a great pesto to top it off.
As for dessert, there’s a rather limited selection. Only one item is listed – the “Blissful Ambrosia,” in your choice of chocolate or blackberry. I went with chocolate. While rather small for the pricing, it was very rich and tasty, topped with whole cacao nibs. Aside from the portion, I wasn’t disappointed. It was a nice way to end the meal.
With its unique appeal, Vegan Nirvana is somewhere you could take your friends just to get a kick out of the decorations (did I mention the light up waterfall and fireplace installations?), let alone the massive and delicious plates you can order to share. While some might find the rather spiritual motif strange or off-putting, I actually found it quite welcoming. It’s good to stand out. I’ll certainly be back, and you shouldn’t hesitate to give it a try.