Gaia's Garden is an international vegetarian buffet, serving delicious curries, soups, home-made breads, fresh salads, desserts, chai & more. Rotating dinner entrees include lasagna, quiche, enchiladas, coconut tofu, stuffed cabbage and eggplant parmesan. Dine with us or take food to go. Go Local Rewards! Visa, MasterCard, Discover and IMS scrip happily accepted. Art exhibits and music, authors' nights and community events in a beautiful, conveniently located venue.
Simplified, Expanded hours! We are now open from 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. every day!
You can park! In the Community Market Parking lot (behind the restaurant)
About Gaia's Garden (formerly Govinda's)
The restaurant was established by Agni and Carolyn Marsden, devotees of Krishna, who developed recipes using the satvig style of Indian cooking. Believed to promote goodness and enlightenment, the food is all vegetarian. Specific to satvig, no onions or garlic are used; instead, we use hing (asafoetida) which gives a similar flavor but does not overpower the tastes of the vegetables. A variety of Indian spices, as well as those more familiar to western cooks, transforms simple vegetables into delicious, complex and satisfying fare.
Susan Church and Ari Camarota took over ownership and management in May of 2009. We re-named the restaurant "Gaia's Garden," to make it our own and to avoid confusion with Hare Krishna-centered restaurants throughout the country. While we have made some changes (more coconut milk, less dairy; less salt and sugar; no soy sauce added to the rice; vegan dessert; sea salt; extensive condiment selection; more organics), the buffet items are similar to those at Govinda's, and we have continued to employ the satvig style. We offer an international buffet, and are not an Indian restaurant. In addition to a daily curry and our very popular dahl soup, you might find marinara sauce, minestrone, eggplant parmesan or lasagna; or perhaps Thai basil sauce for the pasta and a nice coconut tapioca. Or enchiladas.
While Krishna is particularly fond of dairy, we have found that many of our customers prefer their food without animal products. Since taking over the restaurant, we have substituted coconut milk for the dairy in the cream soups and the curry, and now offer a dairy-free pudding for desert - in addition to the very popular halavah, which still contains butter. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, everything except the halavah is dairy-free (with the exception of one salad dressing and cheeses offered on the salad bar).
Krishna also likes sugar, but again, many of our customers prefer to do without it, so we have eliminated it from all of the soups except for the dahl (which contains a small amount of organic sugar) and from all of the curries.
Who we are:
Susan has had a varied career which has included being an economic consultant for community banks, a mortgage broker, a masseuse, a research assistant, a mobile notary, an editorial assistant and years of waitressing. Since 1999, she has owned and operated It's Your Party Mobile DJ with Ari, performing at weddings and parties as DJ Mama, the Mixtress. Running Gaia's Garden is a new adventure where all of this diverse experience becomes relevant.
Ari has been a performing musician for over 40 years and is a senior staff instructor at Stanroy Music, where he teaches saxophone and clarinet. He led the immensely popular "Burning Tie Review" at the Old Vic, played locally with the Harvest Band, Sister Hayes, the Mixx and "the legendary" Stupid White People and was a featured guest with Hedzoleh Sounds. He was leader of Sax Fifth Avenue, which received honorable mention as Sonoma County's best band in the Bohemian's "Best of" poll back in the 90's.
We met in a club, where Ari was performing with Diane Swann, and share love of music, dancing, art and good healthy food, as well as progressive politics and activism. Having our own venue is the realization of lifelong ideals, hopes and
daydreams - both in our separate lives and as dear friends and business partners.
Here is our mission statement:
To provide delicious, healthy, reasonably-priced, sustainable meals and to be a venue for music, art, spoken word and community events.
We hope you will join with us. Come for a meal, enjoy the music and the art, make it your own!
Location and Directions
Gaia's Garden is located in Santa Rosa at 1899 Mendocino Avenue, one block south of Steele Lane, in front of Community Market, next to The Last Record Store, and just south of the Redwood Plaza Shopping Center (Big Lots). Parking is available behind the restaurant by Community Market.
Take the Steele Lane exit and head east on Steele Lane. Go right on Mendocino Avenue. Turn right onto Clement Avenue to find parking. Our customers are welcome to park in the Community Market lot.
Come join us at Gaia's Garden. Food Music Art Community.
1899 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Open every day from 11:30 am - 9 pm