The uninformed think that being vegan means lettuce for dinner and carrots for dessert1. Although this is an obvious mischaracterization of vegan food, going out for brunch in South Florida can sometimes make it feel that way. Enter Full Bloom.

I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing Full Bloom is one of the few (if not only) vegan restaurants that requires walking through a condominium lobby to get to. It’s like Florida’s version of a speakeasy: Instead of a special knock, the valet at the front points you in the right direction2.

Full Bloom is located on the Venetian Causeway – Belle Isle, to be specific – so as you might expect, the restaurant offers views worth going for.  Its location situates it for a panoramic perspective, with Miami Beach to the east, downtown Miami to the west, and luxury homes, cruise ships, and the intracoastal filling in the rest.

On the menu are vegan versions many of the things that come to mind when you think of brunch (e.g., bacon, tuna), and many that don’t (e.g., AÇAI bowl, “power” salad). It’s the latter that clues you into the type of restaurant Full Bloom is: If you’re looking for a brunch where you can stuff your face with large portions of gluttonous, vegan food, look elsewhere. If you’re looking for an upscale, unique, and enjoyable vegan brunch with a view, keep reading.

My wife and I went on a November afternoon when the weather was just cool enough (or rather, not too hot) to sit outside. We started with the Whole Grain Croissant with Belgian dark chocolate. The croissant wasn’t delicious for being vegan, it was delicious and happened to be vegan. My recommendation: It’s not for sharing, get your own.

For our main courses we shared the Full Bloom Omelette and the Mix Fruits Pancakes [sic]. There are countless dishes in which, made the right way, the vegan version can be just as delicious as and even confused with the non-vegan version. Eggs are not one of them. There are, though, tricks to giving vegan food an eggy flavor, and this is not meant as criticism, but Full Bloom didn’t incorporate them. The omelette, however, was good in it’s own right, and not the type of meal you could quickly whip up on a Sunday morning. Recycling my croissant recommendation here supports that assessment: It’s not for sharing, get your own.

Unlike eggs, vegan pancakes, properly done,  do rival the traditional, non-vegan version.  While tasty, Full Bloom’s fell short of that standard. Strangely, my menu (and the online version) said the pancakes were mixed fruit, but my wife’s said they were peach. We ordered the mixed fruit, open to whichever version came it (spoiler, it was the peach).

Side note. Here’s a tip for restaurants serving pancakes: On the menu, specify if the chocolate, or fruit, or whatever it comes with is inside the pancakes or on the top of the pancakes. I’m not saying one’s better than the other, but it matters for customers’ expectations. 

The few slices of peach served on top of the pancakes were more of a garnish, and didn’t warrant mention in the item’s name on the menu. The pancakes themselves were tasty, and although the menu didn’t mention it, my hunch is that they were gluten-free. You know when foods are meant to have gluten but don’t, they have that kind of mealy texture? That should give you a sense of what Full Bloom’s pancakes are like.

We’ve been to Full Bloom for dinner as well, and my generic review is that their best is great and their worst is good. If you are a vegan in the area you are missing out if you haven’t been there. And if you are not a vegan, go for a drink and the view, and maybe even something to eat too. My guess is you’ll leave pleasantly surprised.

1. Many of these people probably also think that veganism is synonymous with health. To those, I ask, have you ever heard of french fries, Oreo Cookies, or a pound of pasta with margarine?

2. For parking, give your license plate number to a Full Bloom employee and for $3.50 they can get you an electronic visitor parking pass. Just make sure you park in a spot that’s OK for visitor passes.