Foods from Govinda's


2017 Feb 14
Isn't Govinda's a recruitment crucible for The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, using their 'Food for Life' program ?

2017 Feb 14

As a student at nearby University of Ottawa, Govinda's is truly a dream-come-true for me! $5 all-you-can-eat buffet, and it's delicious and filling to boot.

I highly highly recommend Govinda's Vegetarian Buffet for vegans, vegetarians, students, and anyone else trying to eat delicious meals on a budget.

Left a review here too :)

2013 Nov 25

I absolutely love Hinduism, Indian culture, and vegetarian food. But I have strongly mixed feelings about Govinda's restaurant. I used to eat there a lot, for years, but no longer do. At all.

During the years that I was a patron, I would notice a photo on the wall of a person called "Prabhupada", the founder of the group that runs the eatery. They also had a statue of him in a curtained-off room that served as a small temple. I'm all for religious pluralism, so this did not bother me in the slightest. In fact, I found it interesting. Even somewhat endearing. That it, until I learned a bit more about this person.

I'm not sure how familiar the visitors of this site are with this "Prabhupada" individual, so I wanted to share a link to an article by Palash R. Ghosh:

Please note that International Business Times is a respected publication. As far as I understand, it is now located in the financial district of NYC. Actually, right inside the old Newsweek office. Since they apparently bought out Newsweek in August of this year. It is also, supposedly, the fourth-most visited site, worldwide, when it comes to business newspapers.

I assume that many, perhaps most, of the visitors to the restaurant are not aware of the vicious, hard-hearted, unapologetic, glaring and blatant racism of this "Prabhupada" person. I certainly wasn't, when I first stumbled upon Govinda's. If I had been, I would have been reluctant to spend my money there. The seething racial hate that comes out of this man's mouth does not represent Hinduism, or Indian culture. It's deeply mean-spirited. No matter how seemingly friendly the server at the restaurant may be. Caveat emptor.

I have not mentioned the food, but that is not the only consideration when it comes to spending money ethically and mindfully. I'm not looking to tell people what to do, simply to inform.

Personally, I no longer frequent this restaurant. My conscience won't allow it. Sorry.

2012 Feb 27
Hubby and I ducked in out of the snow this afternoon to check this place out. We are so happy we did!

It's exactly as everyone described - shoes were left at the door, and the atmosphere was friendly. They had a split pea dhal, black eyed pea tomato curry, potato cabbage curry, brown rice, green salad, and vinegary/peppery pasta salad. Everything was simple, fresh, and lovely. My least favourite was the yellow pea dhal, but that is personal preference speaking. For dessert that had a lovely spiced apple cake - yum! Hubby and I each had two modest servings of dinner and a piece of cake. We were the kind of full you get when you have lots of wholesome easily-digestible food. Not stuffed, just happy and a little bit virtuous.

The total came to $10, but we left $15 and still feel like it was a total steal. It's pretty awesome to know there's food like this on campus.

2011 Dec 5
Love Govinda's! It's the perfect option for a cheap and hearty student meal and it's a non-profit! The restaurant is shared with temple space separated by a curtain, but be prepared to remove your shoes upon entry. Shankar is a lovely and generous man and his dishes are phenomenal every time :) The buffet never changes so I personally don't choose to go too often, but I visit at least three or four times a year. Also, be warned that the food is not spicy but it is flavourful in a delicate way.

Like ilikerealfood I am a big fan of the simple lemon-based dressing on the salad (I think it might be lemon, oil, salt and pepper?). The pasta salad is also one of my favourite things. The dhal is also very good. The meal rounds out with a lentil curry and a potato curry which I usually heap over rice. The homemade banana bread/cake is a fantastic and light dessert to a fairly heavy meal. For $5 (for a student or senior, $7 for an adult) what more can you ask for ? Delicious, nutritious, cheap food at it's finest :) Just make sure you're respectful of the food and service as ilikerealfood mentioned.

2011 Jul 20
I just returned from Govinda's. I haven't had the pleasure to eat at Govinda's for over a year.

As a formerly cash strapped university student, Govinda's saved the day countless times.

My review below goes into detail about the specific dishes, so I thought I would add some pictures of the food.

Just a note*, Govinda's is an extension of the Hare Krishna temple. That being said, Hare Krishna practitioners offer all food to Krishna first! The food then becomes prasadam (in other words "endowed with the mercy of the Lord" - to quote ISKCON literature). In this way, out of respect, don't over load your plates and waste food. My eyes have been too wide for my stomach in the past, and I somehow forced myself to finish the plate.

Pictured is the salad (with amazingly simple lemon based dressing), dhal and the simple vinegar based, chili pasta salad.

2011 Jul 20
Pictured here is the Yellow Curry and a chili - vegetable curry on a bed of rice. With my second bowl of the amazing Dhal and a bit of salad.

Every-time I have gone to Govinda's there is a man - I'd say in his fifties/sixties - who takes a heaping plate of salad (so much so that there is none left for other people) and then he goes and takes another ridiculously heaping pile of food. I know it's a buffet, but there is certainly a spiritual character to this place, in which case I think this guy is taking advantage of a 5 dollar (seniors price) meal.

Shankar (the overseer/cook/manager/ and perhaps he has some sort of spiritual role for the temple?) is extremely welcoming and nice.

I should make Govinda's a weekly staple, since its so affordable, really healthy and I just love supporting this place.

2010 May 1
What can I say about Govinda's, if you are a student and do not eat here at least once a week you are wasting your money elsewhere. 5 Dollars, all you can eat for students, 7 bucks for everybody else. It is run by the Hare Krishna Temple - a strand of Hinduism known to the western world to be a cult. I would concur that there has been lots of controversy surrounding ISKN (international society for Krishna Consciousness) however, this particular buffet, and the man (I believe his name is Shankar) is exceptionally kind, never (i mean never!) proselytizes, is willing to answer any questions you may have, and last but not least - makes simple yet delicious food.

I have eaten here at least 50 times over the last few years so I know exactly what is on the menu. Let me break it down - To start there is a nice fresh bowl of mixed greens salad. (please do not be a greedy SOB and take a full plate worth, as the salad is limited at govinda's.) As a dressing, there is a little bowl filled with a lemon juice/olive oil sauce - it sounds simple but its delicious. Next there is a simple pasta salad made with small shells of pasta with an olive oil type dressing and pieces of hot pepper in between. It's not very spicy, some people would consider it bland, but it's not bad - especially when I top it up with the lemon/oil dressing.

Govinda's has 4 hot plates one with brown rice, another with some kind of soup - it's usually a nice runny split pea dhal. It's to die for - so much flavor, and tons of fresh coriander. Sometimes he adds in other vegetables if you are lucky. To top the rice, there are two types of very mild curry, one yellow (potato and green bean), and a mixed bean, vegetable and sometimes textured protein chili type dish. I usually skip this one. It's actually really good, but by the time I have had my salad, pasta salad, yellow curry, and like 6 bowls of soup, there is no room. and for desert, Shankar bakes up some nice vegan cake usually carrot or cinnamon. *note*, Govinda's is only open during the week from 5 until 8.

All in all, Govinda's is a staple for student life, with copious amounts of freshly prepared healthy food and service with a smile (and not a cult like smile). to further the sentiments of other foodies, Govinda's does not have a cult-ish feel like Garden of Light has. Be weary of Sri Chinmoy's crowd, although they also serve up decent vegetarian food, its three or four times the price and it carries with it an odd, controlling like atmosphere.

2009 Feb 17
The only thing I HATE about Govinda's is that Shankar never has the time to make his amazing puri bread.

I have gone to this restaurant a hundred times by now over the years I am sure and it's one of the few definite upsides to moving back to Ottawa.

The food is almost universally the same but it is delicious, filling and practically free.

The first time I went I was a little hesitant over the Hare Krishna thing too but it's suitably less cult feeling than a certain 'other' vegetarian place located not that far from it.

2008 Apr 15
I went here the other night with some friends for the first time after studying all day in the library. I was a little hesitant about the whole Hare Krishna aspect, but was pleasantly surprised.

It was exactly what I needed! I ate my fill (and more) for $5.00.

They had the same stuff that foodlover described below and it was all delicious. We got there right when they opened so the food was extremely fresh when it came out. I definitely had thirds (slightly embarrassing!)

The chef who was there was extremely friendly and spoke with my friend about his upcoming trip to the Caribbean.

I liked taking my shoes off, it made the whole experience feel very cozy, like I was eating at home.