I have been to Sunlight Cafe about a dozen times in the past year since moving back to Seattle. I've known of its existence for much longer, but previously had never tried it. I remember being in high school and passing the hippie hangout thinking it probably was a mecca for wheat grass shots, alfalfa sprouts and rubbery tofu. I was not the eater then that I am now. When I moved back to Seattle, I found a list and sought out all of the vegetarian/vegan specific restaurants in town. Living in Ravenna at the time, I hit up Sunlight Cafe and quickly found that it became my go-to restaurant for a quick lunch or dinner or even brunch with friends and family. When I moved to West Seattle, and subsequently stopped being vegan, I frequented it less and began exploring the Seattle food scene and taking every opportunity to try new, different and tasty restaurants. I tried whenever I could, not to duplicate. Sunlight Cafe slithered off into the nether realm of my food world, cast out of the nearest orbit but not exiled completely. And then I went even further away to Atlanta and it, like all of my Seattle life, was temporarily forgotten or paused. When I came back, something unpaused quickly, some did not. I hadn't thought about Sunlight since I was back and then it hit me, no it struck me: I was craving Sunlight Cafe.
I yearned for a crisp, hearty, perfectly dressed with Herbal dressing Blushing Lettuce Salad. I wanted nothing more than their Savory sauteed tofu. With the holidays and the snow, all I wanted was my "comfort food" aka incredibly healthy, clean, wholesome food. That comforts me, uplifts me. I was dreaming of that salad and made it my mission to get my mouth on it. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to find a partner in crime for lunch and we headed over to Sunlight. My friend Colin got the sweet potato cakes, which have an awesome curry kick to them not for the faint of taste bud as well as the steamed vegetables with brown rice, tofu and peanut sauce. He was impressed, satisfied and delighted. Sunlight makes delicious, simple and healthy foods. Whether you are looking for a vegetarian burger or a helping of veggies with hummus so large it takes 4 people to finish it, Sunlight is the perfect go-to, low key, down home, vegetarian food restaurant. This is the kind of place to go in your Seattlite uniform of jeans and Patagonia/Columbia/Northface coat and snuggle down in a cozy booth and linger for a while, unstressed over whether or not the food is coming slowly, as it is prone to. The menu is extensive and not only offers said savory sauteed tofu, but also options for organic greens and things such as a heel of their homemade bread. While you will find nothing profound or moving about the food at Sunlight Cafe, it is consistent, comforting (if you are comforted by healthy foods like I am), hearty and delicious. I highly recommend not making the error I did for all those years I passed this place by under the auspice of "I'm not vegetarian" and try it out.