In a place far, far away called Belmar, there’s a little piece of veggie goodness called Kaya’s Kitchen. There, herbivores, carnivores and omnivores alike can enjoy some of the finest delicious vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Not only can they eat together, but they can enjoy each other’s company in an artistic, cultural environment that not only feeds the body, but also invigorates the mind.
Kaya’s Kitchen is located about an hour and 20 minutes south of New York City. We happened to learn about this place from one of Macaroon’s friends who recommended it about a year ago. Mac had casually mentioned wanting to visit, but we hadn’t had an opportunity to go “down the shore” to do so until now. It was well worth the wait.
Immediately upon entering, we got a warm, inviting vibe just from the decor and layout. There’s a great sense of culture and community in this place, which offers live entertainment and poetry. There are tables for local businesses and organizations to promote themselves and share events with everyone. The walls are adorn with some great pieces like masks and tapestries from different parts of the globe.
What about the food, you ask? Well, of course, that’s the best part. Kaya’s Kitchen has a vast menu with something for everyone, whether you’re a herbivore, carnivore or omnivore. From country nuggets to pierogies to pineapple curry, you can scan the globe in a matter of bites.
During our visit, we shared the following:
Kaya’s Combo: nuggets, wings, bbq ribs and potato salad
Chili: 3-bean chili
Sloppy Joe: Served with a side of onion rings
Kaya’s Combo was a plate of appetizer awesomeness. We had a hard time trying to decide what we liked the best. Mac had to vote for the Karma Wings (buffalo tofu strips). Artichoke went with the Mississippi Ribs (made from seitan). We also have to say that the potato salad was flat-out rockin’ and full of flavor.
The chili was delicious 3 types of beans and ground soy protein. This stuff was like the real deal with the “meat” texture being spot-on. It was good, but definitely need a stronger spice kick. However, that could have been on purpose as often some folks can’t handle too much heat. Nevertheless, it was darn good.
The Sloppy Joe was a mutha of a sandwich; a yummy monster. Having shared the first 2 dishes, when the Sloppy Joe came, our eyes fell out of our heads. You literally needed 4 hands to eat it! After getting through 1/4 of the sandwich and all of the onion rings, we had to sadly throw in the towel. It was really good, and we were glad to take the rest to go. In fact, since we returned home, the remainder of the sandwich had been devoured, tasting even better than it did than first served.
If you couldn’t tell, we really dig this spot! It actually rivals our favorite vegan spots like Foodswings in Brooklyn, Kate’s Joint and Red Bamboo in Manhattan and Veggie Heaven in Teaneck and New City. We plan on making another visit soon, as it’s worth the 1hr. 20 min. trip for deliciousness.