If you’ve ever been on East Carson Street in the South Side of Pittsburgh, you are well aware of the seemingly unlimited number of bars, diners, restaurants, vape-shops (what’s up with those, anyway?), hookah lounges, tattoo parlors.. and more bars. The Amazing Cafe on 15th Street and East Carson appeared to me like a mirage in an endless, barren (nutritionless) desert, and it was everything I hoped it would be, and more.
I started attending Amazing Yoga’s hot yoga classes when I lived in the South Side in college. And they were truly life, mind and body changing. So, being a huge fan of their overall lifestyle messaging and mantras, I couldn’t contain my excitement when I learned they would be opening Amazing Cafe below their South Side studio: a lovely, welcoming cafe promising to serve the freshest, most nourishing, local ingredients and REAL foods they possibly can. And this Tuesday (they’re closed Mondays) I found out how true they are to their mission statement. Tim and I got there around 6 after work, and I was immediately smitten with their bright, cheerful interior and menus. Smoothies! Juices! Salads! Soups! Savory Dishes! Desserts!!! All it took was a few minutes of talking to the friendly, helpful lady behind the counter to realize how passionate this place is about delivering vitality, happiness and health to their customers.
After contemplating what to order for way too long (everything sounded so wonderful) I took the honest recommendation of the Zesty Zoodles ($11): Zucchini Noodles, Celery, Carrot, Walnut, Tomato Sauce, Pesto, and Vegan Parmesan, and Tim went with the Buddha Burger ($12): Veggie Burger with House Made Slaw and House Made Fries. Ahhh I can’t even believe how good these noodles were. I know veggie noodles are definitely a trend at the mo’, and you’re probably sick of hearing about them.. but I strongly urge you to come here and try these zoodles. They will CONVERT you. I love pasta as much as the next gal, and I swear I didn’t even miss the carbs as I was devouring every last bite of this savory, crunchy, saucy, filling dish.
A small warning, this dish is served cold (in case that freaks you out).. but it is TRULY delicious. The sauce is so fresh and flavorful with the crunch of carrot and celery, and savory from the tomatoes and walnuts. The touches of pesto are a perfect addition – adding the zesty saucy pasta flavor we all crave. And the zucchinis were delicious and crisp. (Noteworthy: as we were eating, the kitchen ran out of a couple ingredients, so a staff member left the store, and made her way to the Farmer’s Market a few blocks down for Zucchini. THAT’S how fresh their food is.) I also took a bite (or a few) of Tim’s veggie burger. WOW. I feel like so many veggie burgers on restaurant menus these days consist mostly of rice and cheese, which obv aren’t veggies, but this was a veggie burger to put all others to shame. Filling, packed with flavor, savory. The house-made fries were lightly cooked and seasoned, and the slaw was a great acidic pairing.
I really couldn’t have asked for more. BUT OH YES I CAN – AND I DID. I asked for the RAW VEGAN CARROT CAKE. I had been seeing jaw-droppingly beautiful photos of this dessert on Amazing Cafe’s Instagram for weeks and weeks now, and knowing that it quickly runs out as soon as it is artfully created, I nervously ordered a slice. THEY HAD IT! And it truly was amazing.
The Raw Vegan Carrot Cake ($9): Carrot, Almonds, All Spice, Turmeric, Lemon, Lime, Vanilla, and Citrus Cashew Butter Cream, was the perfect end to our meal. I tend to always crave ice cream post-dinner, but this carrot cake was not too sweet, very citrusy, and truly delectable. The consistency was perfect, and the chopped walnuts gave it the perfect added crunch. (Note: Amazing Cafe ALSO offers a Chocolate Bliss Cake, made up of Cacao, Almond Milk, Sprouted Whole Wheat Flour and other amazing, good for you ingredients, that I CANNOT WAIT to go back and try.)
I loved Amazing Cafe so much, and I wish I could eat these Zesty Zoodles every single night for dinner. We ate an early meal, and they kept me full and satisfied for the remainder of the night. And it truly is perfect for any time and any day; I stopped in for a quick smoothie last weekend, and went with the Blue Zone ($5): Blueberries, Almond Butter, Banana, Help Milk and Dates, and it was so fresh and delicious. I will probably return there like tomorrow, because I just can’t wait to try more items on their menu (Vegan Pad Thai anyone??).
Overall Experience: 5
A few nuggets of advice:
- They have brunch now! (Saturday & Sunday only) Includes items like The Smile: French Toast with fresh fruit and Maple Cashew Cream, as well as vegan tacos!
- All of their ingredients are fresh and locally sourced, so their menu changes often – if you have your heart set on a menu item, just call ahead and ask if it’s available!
- Like I warned, their cakes fly off the counter – the early bird gets the worm.
- No reservations needed – but it can get busy after an upstairs yoga class lets out!
- Their menu is extensive and I swear there is something for everyone.
I am willing to visit East Carson street over and over again if it means sampling Amazing Cafe’s latest and greatest healthy eats. So next time you are in the neighborhood, forego the wings/pizza/burgers/beers you set out for, and visit this healthy oasis of vitality and happiness.
1506 East Carson Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203