Casual dining

Irvine: Cava Grill (@cavagrill)

Cava Grill is a Mediterranean / Middle Eastern inspired restaurant located in Irvine, off Barranca and Culver, in the spot where Veggie Grill used to be. It’s in the same outdoor complex with many other popular places like Urban Plates, Doner G, Capital Noodles.

Cava is a build-your-own bowl concept, similar to Chipotle (ironically, located across the street). You start off by choosing a base:
– Grains only (ie: rice, lentils)
– Grains and salad
– Just salad
– Pita
– Small pita with soup
Meals that comes with a salad also get a small pita added

The next station gives you dips and spreads, and you get to select 3
Choice were: Tzatziki, Eggplant + Red Pepper, Hummus, Rosted Red Pepper Hummus, Crazy Feta or Harissa. The latter 2 were deemed “spicy”.

Third step: add your protein. Chose if 1 full serving or 2 half serving.
Choices were: Chicken, Falafel, Beef Meatballs, Vegetables. For an extra fee, you can also get Lamb or Lamb Meatballs, or just more protein.

I chose the 1/2 chicken and 1/2 meatballs (which they gave 2).

Finally, the unlimited toppings, choose as many as you like.
The toppings ranted from tomatoes and cucumber, slaw, picked onions, banana peppers, olives, quinoa tabbouleh, crumbled feta, fresh mint, pita crisps.

Depending on your bowl, the average price is about $9, before tax or a drink. Our 2 bowls with a fountain drink came to just over $26.

I really liked the concept and the meal. It’s definitely vegetarian friendly, and I was full all day. The only reason I cannot give it the 5 stars (it should) deserve is their beverage bar.

If you’re a diabetic or looking to cut calories on the sugary drinks, you may want to BYO drink. They have a plethora of unique drinks like a Blueberry Rosemary, Green Apple Fennel, and Pineapple Apple Mint, all made with Agave. They also have drinks by Maine Root, which offers natural sodas. Again, non diet option. They did offer ONE non sweetened tea, but provided pure cane sugar to sweeten the drink, no equal or splenda. Aside from water, there’s no other drink choices for those looking for non sugary drinks.

Aside from the lack of non sugary selection, the choice for food is very good. Service could have been a bit more helpful (especially if its your first time). Maybe the staff felt everyone has been to a Chipotle type place (don’t laugh, but I have never been inside a Chipotle)? It’s a good place to go if you’re looking for a healthy option of fresh food, and vegetarian (and possibly vegan) friendly.

Cava Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato