True Food.

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 in and all in all, True Food is a breath of fresh, easily healthful 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.

Written by Dawn Garcia