Fellow Vegans- raise a glass of barnivore-approved wine in the air for a toast to Native Foods! The highlight of any trip to Encinitas is our nearly daily addiction to this Mecca of plant-based goodness. It's perfectly difficult to not gorge yourself sick on vegan chicken wings, vegan Rubens, soul bowls and salads. And that's before you even glance at the dessert case piled high with peanut butter chocolate parfaits, oatmeal cookies sandwiching a not-too-sweet creamy filling, and carrot cake cup cakes. Their seasonal offerings like ancho brisket keep things interesting, but I would venture to guess if I was stuck eating just the chicken wings alone it would do just fine. My only complaint is the five and a half hour commitment I have to make to drive there. Worth every bite!!!
OK, so I have to admit, I've been to Native Foods about a dozen times. There's only one thing on the menu that appeals to me, and that's because it's mostly vegetables with some "Thai" curry sauce.
The rest of the menu is mostly junk food -- Deep fried, breaded, smothered in dressing, lots of sugar, etc.
The corn and soy products they use (tortillas, tofu, corn meal, etc.) are not organic, and therefore are GMO.
It's a great place to take non-vegetarians as they'll be able to get something that approximates meat, and when smothered in dressing/sauce, might not be distinguishable from the slaughtered version. But, if you're serious about eating healthy, don't expect that eating at Native Foods will help.Pros: Good place to take carnivores, Kale, Chupa Cabra Sauce
Cons: Mostly junk food, GMO (non-organic soy and corn)
Being used to only having a few food choices, it was tough to choose an entree. My daughter with the casein allergy was THRILLED to see their desert case with things she could eat that usually have dairy. You order at the desk, and the server brings out the food when it's ready. The food was very tasty, although the OK burger was an odd flavor combination for me. The Portabello/"sausage" burger I thought was tastier. Big portions, good prices, busy place. If you're using your GPS to get to the restaurant, be careful! Ours had us get off the I-5 too early and took us all the back winding 2 land roads which took forever. Stay on the 5, get off on Encinitas blvd and it's in a big shopping plaza with Trader Joes, Ralph's and Sweet Tomatoes.Pros: Excellent variety of vegan options, Super yummy dessert case, Nut, wheat, and soy free menus available
Cons: Very busy place, Service was just ok, but nice people
I had been to another native foods, liked it and thought I'd give this one a try. I had ordered the sesame kale bowl and after a very long wait they brought me another table's order. It was the carribean jerk salad, with kale, so I spent some time picking through it trying to figure out what they had brought me. It was swimming in dressing, yuk, I wouldn't order it in the future. They did bring out the correct bowl later. I could hear that other people were getting the wrong order and also overheard someone complaining about too much dressing on the kale salad. I do think of native foods as a vegan junk food joint and they do a great job of making tasty items, but more low fat food options and more unsweetened beverages would be a great addition. They get kudos for being vegan for sure.Pros: tasty, large portions, varied selection
Cons: not enough healthy options, too much sauce, dressing on food
My kids and I ate at Native Foods. I must admit we are foodies and although Native Foods tries very hard to offer a variety of items, we found the food bland, under seasoned or coated in sauce or dressing. We tried the Scorpion Burger with chipotle sauce (I think they forget the chipotle), epplant caponata appetizer (cold and bland), gyro bowl (no seasoning the on the mushy, steamed veggies, 1 TB of hummus, flatbread was a tortilla) and the Caribbean salad, tasted like apples to us and DRENCHED in dressing, we wanted to wash off the kale. I appreciate restaurants where we can eat anything on the menu and the staff there is friendly, attentive and quick to remedy any issues. The prices are average and the amount of food was well portioned. The free refills on drinks such as lavender lemonade, watermelon fresca and iced tea were fun and yummy. Maybe we are picky foodies, and although we love the concept and amazing, friendly staff, we find the food sounds and looks appealing but we would rather eat at home.Pros: friendly staff, quick service, variety of healthy options
Cons: lack of flavor, too much dressing on salads
The food is amazing and not too expensive. The staff was friendly and knowledgable. I ordered the chicken sandwich and a side salad. The sandwich was amazing and would definitely pass the non-vegan test. Hope the east coast location opens soon!Pros: variety, price, friendly staff
Eating in Native Foods Cafe is a pure pleasure. Everything is fresh, delicious and prepared with utmost care. Native Foods, welcome to San Diego!!!Pros: Fresh , Great presentation on plate, Friendly and enthusiastic staff
We went twice in 3 days. Ordered a bunch of different things and everything was really good! The place is really clean and staff are nice.
Updated from previous review on Tuesday March 05, 2013
Was able to order our food via their website on my smartphone. Staff very friendly and efficient. Reuben sandwich was delicious, soy sage sandwich also great.
They offer a loyalty card if you're going to be a regular customer.
I have been going to other locations of this all vegan chain (Orange County and Palm Springs) for many years. It is refreshing to go somewhere that I do not have to worry about any cross contamination from non vegetarian foods.
This location opened to the public January 29, 2013. My wife and I were invited to the pre opening since we have been regular patrons at other locations. This location has more indoor seating than any other I have been to, and parking is better as well.
The food is consistent with other locations. I am thankful that they are now less than 20 minutes away, as we used to have to drive at least an hour to get to one. My wife loves their brownies saying they are moist and not at all "drywall-like" (her description of most vegan desserts she has tried). She also tried a polenta corn appetizer that is her new favorite. We both love the Native fries (thin potato french fries with a seasoned salt). I dip them in their chupacabra hot sauce (self serve). Every handheld sandwich I have tried I have enjoyed, and am particularly fond of the scorpion burger (tempeh) and the twister wrap ("chicken"). Now that they are closer I will be trying more menu items and look forward to their bowls and some of their appetizers.Pros: Location, All vegan, Variety
So excited that this wonderful Vegan chain restaurant is finally open in Encinitas! Terrific space, very attentiveand friendly staff. Only complaint- my fav Native Food choice-Gandhi Bowl was not on the menu:(
No matter- we'll be back often.
Cons: Limited Menu
We got to take part in the pre-opening tonight. It opens next week to the public. Every item is vegan. The native nachos is a meal! Saigon rolls were excellent. My omnivorous hubby had the Rueben and he said it was out of this world and he would never have suspected it was not real meat. Even the drinks are amazing!Pros: Excellent food, huge selection, great value
Cons: sugar in some items, white flour in bagette, some things fried
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