Active Culture Cafe




Active Culture, Natural Foods Café and Yogurt, is a  family owned restaurant with two locations.  Both restaurants are in south-orange county beach communities with the first location being in Laguna Beach and the newest location in San Clemente.  Active Culture believes you can live healthier and happier by putting better food into your body, which is their mission statement on their welcome board.  They embrace their community of beach goers, yogis, outdoor enthusiasts, families, and on-the-go people, with a relaxing environment that offers simple, organic food that tastes great.  

This is an informal, counter order establishment.  Menu items include breakfast and lunch bowls, bagels, (including a sprouted bagel option), salads, wraps,  soup, smoothies and shakes.  When you first walk in, you feel like you are in a frozen yogurt shop. They have a self-serve frozen yogurt bar with many of the typical sugar-laden toppings.  However, the food they serve is really delicious and organic.  Even the frozen yogurt is certified organic.  Just a note, not all the yogurt flavors are organic so be sure to ask which flavors are not.  

My favorite menu item, besides the delicious homemade raw and organic almond milk smoothies are, hands-down, the bowls.  They have several to choose from, but the wholesome bowl is my favorite, a blend of organic ingredients including black and red beans, cheddar cheese, cabbage and their famous vegan OG sauce. The OG stands for organic goodness, made with olive oil, lemon and a secret spice blend.  I crave this bowl and I will happily drive from San Juan Capistrano to either location to get my fix.  

If you have a sweet tooth and want something cold but can’t eat dairy, then you have come to the right place.  The shakes are not made with ice cream, but instead made with their frozen coconut base, which is vegan, gluten-free and soy-free.  The moonlight mint shake’s fresh mint perfectly complements the dark chocolate and frozen coconut base and it is amazing!

I usually indulge in their very popular naked coconut shake.   It is to die for. It is  like you are drinking “nothin’ but coconut” because, really, their coconut base is the star of this one.

The San Clemente location has more of a restaurant feel than the Laguna Beach location, with better seating and a nicer ambiance.  San Clemente also offers a few extra menu items than the Laguna Beach location such as  organic fresh juices, egg dishes and lentil burgers.   Both locations have options for vegans and gluten-free folks as well, which is clearly marked on the menu.  It is a mostly vegetarian restaurant.  The only meat item I saw on the menu was prosciutto.  They have a wonderful kids menu with several healthy items to choose from.  

Active Culture is environmentally friendly and they work toward reducing their carbon footprint.  From the utensils you use to the plates you eat off of, you can be assured it’s all 100% biodegradable and BPA free. Support for local vendors who share their values of keeping things organic and sustainable is part of their philosophy, too.

Just a heads up, parking can be a challenge especially in the Laguna Beach location.  Be patient though, it’s worth it.