Now Open: LYFE Kitchen at Irvine Spectrum Center
LYFE Kitchen recently opened its first Orange County location at Irvine Spectrum Center! It’s a gleaming and immaculately modern space, with white tiles, polished concrete floors and pops of orange. Love the boxes of live herbs at the front, too.
Looks like it’s already a hit with the local lunch crowd from all the nearby offices. LYFE Kitchen’s main draw is that all dishes clock in at under 600 calories with an emphasis on healthy, good-for-you ingredients that also happen to taste great. The concept hails from a team of acclaimed chefs, including Art Smith (who was Oprah’s personal chef and a fan-favorite on Top Chef Masters), renowned vegan chef Tal Ronnen and executive chef Jeffrey Bringardner.
In typical fast-casual style, you head to the counter and place your order. If you have certain dietary needs, there are four separate menus to help you navigate the offerings, from an everything menu, to a vegan + vegetarian menu and also a gluten-free menu.
We were greeted by a rainbow selection of fresh made libations, like the banilla (banana + vanilla) shake, mango cucumber lime smoothie, kale-banana smoothie, orange ginger chia water and their most popular signature beverage, the hibiscus beet water: hibiscus tea infused with beet, apple, lemon and ginger.
Top photo, above: Art’s Unfried Chicken, with chicken (you can also opt for Gardein Chick’N) that’s soaked in buttermilk and hot sauce and then grilled. It’s served on a bed of roasted brussels sprouts, butternut squash, dried cranberries and a cashew cream dijon vinaigrette. The chicken is perfectly cooked, moist and juicy. It’s definitely a clean-tasting, healthy dish. We also loved Lyfe’s signature “pizzadillawich” – which is exactly what it sounds like, a pizza-meets-quesadilla-meets-sandwich. It’s stuffed with eggplant, peppers, onions, goat cheese, mozzarella, basil and served with a side of pomodoro dipping sauce. The flavors were bright and fresh, a satisfying meal.
For dessert, we tried the Banana Budino, which was really a chia seed pudding with fresh sliced bananas, coconut milk and crunchy nutmeg granola clusters. Again, it definitely tasted healthy but thankfully, wasn’t boring and hit the sweet spot. Just minus the guilt.
LYFE Kitchen is located at Irvine Spectrum Center, near Barnes and Noble, across from Chipotle. Check out their menu at lyfekitchen.com!