>>NOTE: The Irvine Spectrum location has closed, but there are still several other LYFE Kitchen restaurants to choose from if you find yourself hungry in places like Playa Vista or Valencia or Palo Alto... and more outside of California, too.
LYFE Kitchen restaurant is about healthier eating with sustainability in mind. LYFE is an acronym for Love Your Food Everyday. When you walk into the restaurant you feel you are in a good place. They have a large multi-tiered planter filled with herbs and greens and there are positive affirmations on the walls. I’m already feeling good and I haven’t even taken a bite yet.
There are fifteen locations nationwide with six in California including one in Irvine at the Spectrum. This restaurant chain is the dream of two former McDonald’s business executives who wanted to build a healthier fast food chain. With the help of Art Smith and Tal Ronnen, both former personal chefs to Oprah and other celebrities, they created a delicious menu. All menu items are below 600 calories and cost between $8 and $15 a plate.
I love that they have options for vegan, gluten-free and omnivore diners as well. Have you ever felt stressed out while dining with a friend or relative who was on a strict diet, whether they were vegan, gluten-free or just health conscious? No more guesswork. It is all neatly organized in the menu or you can pick up a separate menu for vegan and gluten-free options. If you are allergic to nuts have no fear, items with nuts are identified on the menu as well.
So, this is all really wonderful, but how does the food taste? My favorite menu item so far is Art’s Unfried Chicken, served with roasted brussel sprouts and butternut squash. A few other things I have tried and enjoyed are the Farmer’s Market Salad and the Quinoa Crunch Bowl. I still have yet to try their breakfast, but the choices on the menu look fantastic. There are a few smoothies and juices available as well as beer and wine, but I usually go for their complimentary sparkling water.
The protein options are all organic including the chicken, eggs and tofu as well as the grass-fed beef. The fish is sustainably caught, but not necessarily wild. Gardein meat-free products are used for some of the vegetarian and vegan dishes. Click here more info on Gardein products. Most but not all of the vegetables are local and organic. The restaurant claims, “locally and sustainably sourced whenever possible,” but there is no way to actually measure that. At least it’s a start to a good LYFE.