Cary >Food & Dining > Lotus Leaf Cafe
969 N Harrison Ave, Cary, NC | Directions 2751335.802000 -78.782968
Eclectic Romantic Restaurant with Vegetarian Options – Separate Vegetarian menu section. My favorite dish is Vegetarian Vermicelli. I also like the Fresh Summer Rolls appetizer. Live music sometimes. Great date spot. I met my future husband there on our first date!
Pho, French Food and More – We would like to say thanks to everyone who wrote an honest review, good or bad. For those who are truly interested to know about our Pho, here is the secret: it is cooked in the Northern style, "Pho Bac" (the only in the area). It is well praised by the News & Observer's food critic Greg Cox, You can read the complete review from our website or from the N&O. The secret to taste is a lot of meat stock, rock sugar and liquorice. The recipe can probably still be obtained at the William Sonoma at Crabtree where we held the last cooking class. For the reviewer who was wondering about our french infuenced menu (and identity), thank you for your honest observation. Vietnam was a French colony for almost a century until 1954. It is common to find French dishes on elite restaurant menus in Vietnam even today. There are also many notable Vietnamese restaurants in the US with that theme including Le Colonial in Chicago, Crustacean in Las Vagas, and LA. Our french-influenced dishes, when available, are usually well loved by our guests, including creme brulee, lobster bisque, Asian bouillabaisse. The "Grouper in Banana Leaf" dish you had was also found on a old Vietnamese-French menu. XO sauce was added by us to intensify the flavor. You can read more about this dish on our website's Recognitions page. For comments regarding our location and size, we apologize but a sidewalk cafe is what we are. We only have 26 seats and the sidewalk patio. :-)
Chuc ban an that ngon,
- The Lotus Leaf Cafe
Nothing to rave about – The Lotus Leaf really need to work on their foods and service if they want to stay in business. The restaurant is small, cleanliness alone would be a reason not to come back, and it is located in a strip mall pretty much next door to a Food Lion. Sorry, but this is not my type of restaurant. I expect great service and if I have a question, that my server knows exactly what he's talking about. This is defintely two thumbs down in my book. Pho Cali is more authentic and has better food. In actuality, fantastic food that is NOT laced with msg. Avoid Lotus Leaf, it's not worth it. The whole thing about hole in the wall restaurants are fantastic do not apply to this one. Do yourself a favor and just have KFC across the street.
Nothing Is Perfect – I've seen many mixed reviews about the Lotus Leaf Cafe. People go on and on about how they loved the place or how they hated it. Before you write a review for a restaurant, a bar, a pub or whatever it is; please bear in mind that NO place is capable of pleasing EVERYONE. Cleanliness, atmosphere, service, food,
drinks and etc. depends on individuals. Nothing is perfect.
Expectations of the great things a place can offer. Why would you want to do that? Shouldn't life be about taking things as they are and make the best out of it rather than just put on a pouty face and mumble about how things should be. If that's the case, shouldn't YOU be running an establishment and make the
perfect place to dine/drink?
I, for one have dined at the Lotus Leaf Cafe. Food was great, service was mediocre and yes, it's located at a strip mall. Will I come back to the Lotus Leaf Cafe again? YES! Let it be lousy service or it's not located at the high-end place where you'd be ashamed to take your posh friends to dine. But one thing that attracted me to the place is that people there do not treat you as customers. They treat you as a friend. Yes, there are times when the servers will get on your nerves. But have you had a friend where he/she does not make you mad at times?
No, Lotus Leaf Cafe is not a perfect place. I may be old and senile and I'm not perfect either. But then again... are you?
Identity crisis... – I went into Lotus Leaf tonight expecting a really great Vietnamese meal and I have to say I was a little disappointed. The food was not bad by any means, but I just felt the restaurant is suffering from a bit of an identity crisis. We arrived and found that they do have a nice large patio, but inside the restaurant is surprisingly small. It is the only place I've seen where the outside seating seems more spacious than the inside. A jazz band was playing in the corner, not really what you would expect for a Vietnamese restaurant. The menu included things like Lobster Bisque and Creme Brulee, not that these foods are bad, it just didn't seem to fit. The grouper that is served in a Banana Leaf, very neat concept, but it didn't live up to my expectations flavor wise since the menu describes it as being in a "spicy XO sauce". In fact all I could really pickup up in the dish was the ginger, and it was a little overpowering. The fish is served on rice noodles and with a few green beans on the side, and it wasn't very filling. My husband ordered the Curry Coconut Chicken, which the menu neglects to mention is actually dark meat chicken. Since he dislikes dark meat chicken or any meat on the bone, he had to send it back. He ordered the special stir fry that is served in a cored out pineapple, and it was the best part of the meal. The Fried Banana dessert, is actually bananas wrapped in a spring roll skin, and I felt they would have been much better in a light batter. Our server was clearly distracted by a large table he was waiting on outside, so he was absent for long periods of time and didn't once offer to refill our drinks which didn't help my overall impression. I'm happy I tried it but I don't see this restaurant becoming one of my regular haunts.
Vietnamese food as it worst – just another restaurant in a strip mall! The Vietnamese food it just bad and taste like Chinese restaurant. Pho taste alot of MSG
The service was poor.
A wonderful experience – Met some friends for a going away dinner (I'm moving). Our server, Chris, was outstanding. I ordered the Ginger Glazed Salmon and it was AMAZING. Best Salmon I have ever had. My friends both got a Tofu/Vermicelli dish and they enjoyed theirs as well. "Chris" told us that the Saki was on special so we appreciated that. It was a wonderful evening and very positive experience. My only regret is that I just found it and I'm moving! When you go ... be sure and ask for Chris. Enjoy! I rate them an 11.
Not recomended – The restaurant is look like a trailer through a hurrican, not o mention the cleanliness (where is the health departement?). The server had no idea what they are serving, the Vietnamese crepe is so none tradititional and greasy, the pho is taste alot of MSG make me fell sick in my stmach. Please, this is what Vietnamese food is all about, I am very disappointed.
WONDERFUL EVERYTHING – LOTUS LEAF WAS AMAZING!!! FOOD, SERVICE, PRICE: EXCELLENT.
WE HAVE TRIED OTHER VIETNAMESE RESTAURANTS IN THE AREA, AND LOTUS LEAF IS THE BEST.
OTHER PLACES HAVE NON-VIETNAMESES COOKING THEIR FOOD, WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT THE FOOD IS SUPPOSS TO TASTE LIKE, BUT AT LOTUS LEAF THE FOOD TASTE LIKE WHAT YOU WOULD GET IN THEIR MOTHERLAND.
KEEP IT UP.
I had Daffy. YUM! – My friends and I do an "Ethnic Dinner Night" every month. This month was Vietnamese. My friend Julie is Vietnamese, so she definitely made she she could go this this past month's ethnic dinner night. She said she hasn't had decent Vietnamese food in YEARS! Though I wouldn't recommend Lotus Leaf for large groups of people, they really made an effort to accomodate our group of 16! Make sure you call ahead if you have more than 4 people. Seating is limited.
I had the summer rolls - extremely good! And then had the duck as the main entree. Wow! Explosion of juicy flavor! Their bowls of soup are ridiculously huge and well worth the $9.00 price tag. They are a meal in themselves! Their cheesecake for dessert was quite good as well.
We didn't have any complaints among the group. Julie said it was fantastic and talked to the chef a bit afterwards. Very authentic, VERY good!
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