• lunch at true food kitchen in santa monica

    July 7th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, true food kitchen

    i am very much a hollywood creature, and it isn’t often that i venture to the west side. when i do make the trek to santa monica though, it usually isn’t for the cool breeze or sandy beach—instead, it’s almost always to either visit friends or nosh on vegan eats. last week’s visit was a combination of both, when chloe coscarelli invited me for lunch at the newly-opened true food kitchen.

    the restaurant occupies an absolutely massive and elegant space in the recently refurbbed santa monica place, and i was pretty wowed with the atmosphere. there’s a gigantic seating area indoors with comfy booths and an open kitchen, as well as a large patio area outside to take advantage of the never-ending LA sunshine. the service is at true food is excellent, from the complimentary valet on 2nd street to the overly attentive waitstaff.

    the menu is very “california” style—local and healthy for the most part, with a huge focus on “sustainable” meat (grrr!). if you can look past that, they have lots of great vegan items which are clearly marked on the menu. i absolutely love it when restaurants have a separate vegan symbol…it takes all the guess work out of ordering!

    to start, we split an order of the shiitake tofu lettuce cups from the appetizer menu, and they were absolutely wonderful.

    shiitake and tofu lettuce cups: ginger, cashew and toasted garlic. $9

    what made these things so great was the crispy marinated tofu. it tasted like it had been soaking in that sauce for days—fantastic! the cashews added a nice bit of flavorful crunch, and the lettuce leaves made such perfect edible scoops.

    avery white rascal. $5.25

    drink-wise, true food has it all—non-alcoholic elixirs, wine, cocktails, and craft beer by the bottle. i settled in with an avery white rascal, a refreshing beer for a hot summer’s day.

    teriyaki brown rice bowl: asian vegetables, sesame and avocado with tofu. $12

    for the main course chloe ordered the teriyaki brown rice bowl, a huge mound of rice piled high with asian vegetables, tofu, sesame and avocado. she was kind enough to share it with me, and i was impressed. it tasted like the same marinated tofu from the lettuce cups, except this time it was all mixed up with stir-fried vegetables and a cool hunk of avocado. i’m of the opinion that avocado makes ANYTHING better, and this tofu was no exception! this bowl gets an a+.

    organic tomato and roasted vegetable pizza: broccoli, onion, pasilla chili and artichoke. $12

    for my meal, i went with the vegan pizza option: a cheese-less pie topped with tomato sauce and roasted vegetables including broccoli, onion, pasilla chilies and artichokes. amazing! i didn’t even miss the cheese. the crust was paper-thin in the middle then thick and bubbly on the outside, and all scattered with slightly burned crispy bits—just the way i like it!

    the portions were pretty large; we both ate until we were stuffed and still had leftovers. it’s a shame we didn’t save room for dessert though, because i hear that the vegan pistachio ice cream and chocolate pudding are both awesome. oh well, i guess it just gives us an excuse to go back. 🙂

    overall, i’m huge fan of true food and i’m so happy it opened in santa monica. this would the perfect place to dine with health-conscious omnivores, have a fancy-ish date, or bring anyone who may be weirded out by eating at an all veg restaurant. the space is absolutely beautiful, it’s in a prime location, the service is friendly, and the food is delicious. what more could you possibly want?!

    true food kitchen
    395 Santa Monica Place, Suite 172
    Santa Monica, CA 90401
    P: 310.593.8300
    Monday – Thursday: 11:30 am to 10 pm
    Friday: 11:30 am to 11 pm
    Saturday: 10 am to 11 pm; Brunch served until 4 pm
    Sunday: 10 am to 9 pm; Brunch served until 4 pm
    free valet parking on 2nd street

    check out their website for more locations!

    PS: bonus points for true food kitchen! they have the best hand dryer ever, the dyson airblade in the bathroom. our friends at vegan brew (scroll to the bottom) think the xlerator is better…but they’re crazy! what’s YOUR favorite hand dryer? i’m dying to know!

    bow down

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17 responses to “lunch at true food kitchen in santa monica” RSS icon

  • I fucking love those hand dryers.

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    These dishes look fantastic.

  • Rumor has it that a True Food Kitchen moved to my mom’s neighborhood- and after this review – I’ll be venturing over there quite soon! Everything looks delish – especially those shiitake and tofu lettuce cups. Mm-mm!

  • Lets set the record straight here – only half of vegan brew prefers the xlerator. I’m for Dyson all the way!

  • DYSON DYSON DYSON. Simple as that.

  • Ha ha. The part about the Dyson dryer cracked me up. When I was at a Universal Studio theme park last November, we all got wet on the Jaws ride. I ended up drying some of our clothes in one. Too funny.

    BTW, the food looks delicious!

  • dyson. no contest.

  • I bought one of those Dyson hand vac’s. Those things are a bit expensive but it actually sucks dog hair off the couch so I don’t have to drag the massive vac out everyday. Dyson rules!

  • I dare you to try to stick your hands in a dyson airblade without touching the sides (gross!) when a little on the tipsy side. Impossible! Its like a game of Operation.

  • While the food looks good, I wouldn’t say the restaurant has many options for us. You guys got the only three vegan items on the menu lol.

  • I think everyone on QG hates RFD (not me), but True Food Kitchen totally stole their name from Real Food Daily

  • They should have called it True Meals Nightly to maximize the synonyms

  • Gotta love Chloe though – I met her at a COK event


  • On the other hand Real Food Daily stole everything except the name from Angelica’s Kitchen in NYC http://www.angelicakitchen.com/

  • Erica, I ate at the Newport Beach location for my birthday last December and I inquired about several non-vegan items on the menu and if said items could be made vegan to order. The wait staff was very friendly and responded that yes, they absolutely could do that with several of their dishes, including swapping spicy mustard for mayo on the tempeh blt (which I ended up eating-so good!) and making the panang curry with tofu as well, just to name a couple. So, they really have more dishes than just those that are labeled vegan. 🙂

  • Ah, good to know. Thanks!

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