Restaurant Review: San Diego's Native Foods Cafe

Category: , , , , / 6/03/2013
Soul Bowl
Several years ago, I had an internship at a company near UCLA in the Westwood area of Los Angeles. One of the best parts was being within walking distance of a restaurant called Native Foods, which, at that time, had the first vegetarian French dip sandwich I'd ever tasted. Being on a college student's budget, I couldn't afford to eat there often, so I was thrilled to hear about the restaurant's expansion into multiple cities in recent years. One of their newest locations is in Encinitas, CA (near San Diego), which happened to be very close to my mother's house.

Pros:
  • All vegan
  • Priced for casual dining
  • Many gluten-free options
  • Generous portions
  • A large variety of menu items
  • Multiple locations in different states
Cons:
  • Some locations can get very busy
Rockin' Moroccan Bowl
Summary:
I really enjoyed my visit to Native Foods in Encinitas. It is so much fun to have a full-sized menu full of vegan choices. My mother and I ordered two different entrees (pictured) and both were delicious. The portions were very generous and the leftovers provided each of us with a second large meal.

I did find it interesting how much the menu has changed in the past few years. The French dip that brought me in initially was no longer on the menu. Instead, the variety of ingredients appears to have been simplified to a few meats, such as their tofu, Native chicken, Native Tempeh, and Native taco meat. My guess is that, in order to keep up with the pace of a fast-casual restaurant and make a menu that would be easily replicated across so many locations, the chefs had to streamline their process to include fewer ingredients that could be mixed together in dozens of creative ways, with the addition of interesting sauces and sides. It's a clever business model, and one that I hope will allow Native Foods to bring fast casual vegan dining to the masses.

The location in Encinitas was very busy, so we timed our visit to avoid the busiest times. I am always glad to see a vegan place packed with hungry customers, but I hope they can perhaps open another restaurant in the San Diego area to keep up with the demand. On another note, my mother is mostly vegetarian, but she tries to avoid soy and wheat. Most of the adult entree options could be either soy-free or gluten-free, but there were more limited choices if you wanted to avoid both ingredients.

Overall, I really enjoyed my visit to Native Foods. I really hope to see them expand to other cities and states (especially my home city of Austin, TX). In the meantime, I'll just have to stop by whenever I'm near one of their other locations.

Product Ratings (out of 5)

Performance (taste)
Presentation
Purity
Value


Disclosure notice: This restaurant visit was paid for by the reviewer. No compensation was accepted and the opinions are my own. Please verify any claims with the manufacturer, especially if you have any allergies or concerns.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, why not sign up for our email list and get posts by email? Or if that's not your style, stay in the loop with an occasional newsletter instead.
Thanks for sharing!

0 comments

Affiliate/Compensation Disclosure

This blog accepts forms of advertising, sponsorship, or other forms of compensation.

The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content.

The owner(s) of this blog may be compensated or given a product free to provide an opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation or free products for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products.

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.

Amazon Associate Disclosure:
Kaylin's Kit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, endless.com, smallparts.com or myhabit.com.

For questions about this blog, please click here to contact me.