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True Food Kitchen is like a spring garden set indoors, with sunlight pouring in from holes in the ceiling and plants at every turn. What wasn't colored bright lemon yellow was bright lime green. The word "refreshing" applies to almost every aspect of your experience here-especially the food. The chopped chicken salad is a crunchy, bright-as-summer, well-put-together mix of mango, manchego cheese, avocado, apple, shatteringly crisp marcona almonds, lettuce and chicken.
Local Vegetable Crudites served with Two Dips of Tzatziki and Black Olive. The colorful presentation of vegetables were fresh and crisp. The sweet peppers were crunchy and sweet. The green beans had a nice snap and were vibrant in color and flavor. The cucumbers were just as crisp and refreshing. The tzatziki sauce was reminiscent of a ranch dressing dip and complemented the vegetable medley.
Thai Shrimp Dumplings with basil, mint, & jalapeno. These little dumplings were awesome! The shrimp was perfectly cooked, crisp and flavorful. The basil, mint, and jalapeno played nicely with the palate yet let the shrimp flavor shine through. These would be great in the winter time as part of an Asian noodle soup.
Asparagus & Artichoke Pizza topped with smoked mozzarella, sweet onion, and oregano. This was not my favorite. There was something a little too sweet on it, not sure if it was a sauce on the pizza or just the sweet onion. The asparagus was not cooked enough and was a bit too crunchy for me, almost like raw broccoli. The crust was pretty good - chewy interior with a slight crispy exterior.
Tuscan Kale Salad tossed with lemon, parmesan, and bread crumb. This was absolutely fabulous! You'll definitely have an OMG moment or two! The vibrant, mineral-rich, green flavor of the fresh kale is tamed by the tartness of lemon, and balanced with the saltiness of parmesan. I could have eaten a whole plate of this delectable salad all by myself. I would definitely order this again!
All Natural Steak Tacos topped with avocado, cotija cheese, tomatillo salsa, red onion, cabbage and tomatoes. The steak was tender like a good carne asada. The toppings worked well making it a flavor packed, yet healthy taco. I believe the tortillas were whole wheat which added another layer of flavor to this dish.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp topped with vanilla ice cream. The rhubarb was a bit overbearing on this dessert, a little sour for my taste, but appealing to those who love rhubarb. The crisp topping helped tone down the sourness a little. The ice cream was a little disappointing perhaps because it had melted a bit much before serving.
Organic yet tastefully orgasmic. There are few restaurants that can entice the environmentalists and the average patron. Not to mention that eating organic, fresh food does seem more appealing these days. While it can often seem like a step away from putting on patchouli oil, it IS incredibly refreshing when you find a restaurant that satisfies both your need to eat chemically unaltered food and pays attention to your craving for delicious food. So imagine my surprise when I heard about True Food Kitchen. While there is a very successful True Food Kitchen in Arizona, when I first heard this organic (mostly), vegetarian AND vegan friendly restaurant was opening next to Fleming's at Fashion Island, I was a skeptic to say the least. However, this has turned out to be my go-to restaurant in Orange County. Rarely do I mention too much about a restaurant's concept or mission statement but this particular restaurant is very unique. Not only is the food fresh and not chemically treated, it is also purchased from local farmers and ranchers. Even the coffee is part of the Fair Trade Act which supports neighboring plantations. The menu is based off of Dr. Wells' food pyramid which focus' on clean eating. All of this I learned from the servers I've had each visit. It is worth mentioning that most of their servers are highly versed in their menu items as well as in preparation and allergy-conscience substitutions. (Something more restaurants could take a note in.) So back to the restaurant. At the entrance are gardening tubs filled with natural herbs and spices. As you walk in, you know you are in a "green-friendly", yet high-end restaurant. The lighting is primarily natural, the bar is made of butcher's block, the colors are bright and airy, and the kitchen is open so you can actually see what's going on. Each table is adorned with succulents and everything has a very clean and maintained feel. And now for the food... I am a tough one to please in terms of tasty "healthy" food that doesn't taste like cardboard or condensed protein powder. The very first time at True Food, I looked around the room to see what everyone else was eating. I'd point to someone's meal or drink and ask the server what it was and without fail, they knew. That was impressive (take notes neighboring restaurants). My first menu item: The crudité which is accompanied by two dips: Tzatziki and Black Olive Moments later out comes this huge glass bowl filled with ice and some of the most tasty fresh vegetables I've ever eaten. Now, I can't lie - sometimes there is a little dirt but it adds to the whole "straight from the ground" idea (though my guest spent a good 10 minutes wiping the "ground" off of it). Crudité=check. And let's just say my experiences thereafter have been entirely positive. I have enjoyed much of their food. Here is the official list: Steak tacos, gluten-free Panang Curry (though I ditch the chicken and add tempeh and ask for it EXTRA spicy -- that translates into enormous flavor), I indulge in the Quinoa Tabbouleh, the hummus, their Immunity soup is amazingly clean tasting and oddly refreshing, I have attempted their fresh fish appetizer (served sashimi style) and wasn't truly impressed, pizza, flourless chocolate cake, my favorite dessert: the lemon ginger lowfat frozen yogurt served with pomegranates and a sprig of mint - AND they have brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Their brunch is really worth the "green". Their fritatta is, well - one word: YUM. As for drinks, I have not been disappointed. Their cappuccino is frothy fantastic, coffee is rich and bold and yet subtle enough to need more; Medicine Man (while hippy, is addictive), the Cucumber Refresher is like none other, and then you get to their alcoholic drinks and there is something to be said about it: 1) Plentiful in alcohol, 2) Abundant in flavor. Their Bloody Mary is one to be rivaled and their Cucumber-Kumquat Skinny Margarita is bold and unique. I have not ventured into their wine and beer selection but I imagine I soon will. The gist: True Food tastes like true food ought to. It is prepared with thoughtfulness and fresh ingredients, and the thoughtfulness expands into presentation and the overall dining experience. In addition, their decor is so Mod-Retro, it is equally inviting. They offer private parties to celebrate in their wine room (and it looks like the place to be). Their patio has generous seating and multiple fire pits that allot for an ambiance worth partaking and all in all, True Food is a breath of fresh, easily breathable air (literally) in the Newport Beach area. Give it a try. It's nice to go eat and not feel like your insides are about to revolt.
When dining out is considered one's national pastime, we sometimes occasionally feel the need to eat somewhere health-conscious. Call it our alternative to that nasty cleansing diet when folks chug at... More »
When True Food Kitchen was announced, I had my doubts about the concept and rolled my eyes when I heard one of the people involved was a doctor. "This was a line I had hoped would never be crossed," I... More »
What will someone do for free? Stand in line; print a coupon; make a purchase; dress like a duck. The well-balanced souls over at Fashion Island's True Food Kitchen are banking that diners will take i... More »
For our final part of On The Line with Nathan Coulon of True Food Kitchen, the executive chef shares a recipe. If you missed the first or second part of our Q&A, click here and here. Otherwise c... More »
Should a bee ever make it inside True Food Kitchen, it would be thoroughly confused. Here is a restaurant that could be the Newport Beach outpost of the Secret Garden. The hostess' podium is a sculpted topiary. The fresh fruits aren't just decoration; they're also functional, ending up as blender fodder for smoothies. As in a greenhouse, sunlight floods in, nourishing both the plants and the customers. Lemon-striped seats flow into lime-hued walls. Though dining inside the place might call... More »
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