I heard about The Veggie Grill restaurants when the company started following me on Twitter. Turns out they are a vegan, health-oriented restaurant. I looked more into them to find their nearest locations. The closest location to me was not local. I wasn’t too surprised. Although, I kept them in mind for if I ever was in one of the locations but I had no plans to make a special trip just for them. That is until one day I received a coupon in the mail, for my birthday, for a free entrée of my choice at any of their locations.
I love free. It is my favorite price and the price I can afford most often. The coupon was to be used within my birthday month. I thought a free meal gave me a good excuse to go down and try them out and taking my mom making it a mom and daughter day we don’t get often enough.
They currently have 5 southern California locations Los Angeles, El Segundo, Santa Monica and 2 in Irvine and more planned to open soon. We chose one of the 2 Irvine, California locations. We chose The Veggie Grill located in the Irvine Spectrum Center. The Irvine Spectrum Center is a really nice outdoor shopping center, with popular stores, like Forever 21 and Barnes and Noble, among many others. There is also a large Ferris Wheel and Carousal to ride. All very clean with a nice atmosphere and outside in the sunny, beautiful California weather.
With all the stores and our first time being there, we had to look at the directory to find The Veggie Grill. It ended up easy to find. The first thing when we approached the restaurant I noticed is the option to sit outside with several tables nicely scattered in the front and many Veggie Grill customers taking advantage of the beautiful weather while enjoying their meals outside. My mom and I chose to eat inside.
The Veggie Grill is a casual style restaurant where you go up to order in the front and they bring you your order when it is ready. They serve a variety of foods but mostly burgers and sandwiches with a side of slaw or chili or a substitute side for a small extra charge. We ordered their Papa’s Portabello, a portabello mushroom sandwich with tomatoes, lettuce, caramelized onions and several sauces, and also their V-burger, a veggie burger with a veggie steak, pickles, lettuce and chipotle ranch sauce. We also ordered sides of their sweet potato fries and I also ordered an extra side of their vegan macaroni and cheese(made with gluten-free rice noodles,) to see if is was any good being a favorite in my non-veg days.
My mom and I split both burgers between the 2 of us so we each got to try each one. Both were full of flavor with the perfect balance of sauce, vegetables, bun and “meat.” They were a little on the messy side, especially the portabello sandwich but often anything yummy is. Out of the 2 we both liked the Papa’s Portabello best. We also loved the sweet potato fries. They were softer than normal potato fries and I wish they were more crispier but either way I will be ordering them again. The macaroni and cheese, what I was looking forward to most, was not as exciting as I hoped. It was a little cheesy but not as cheesy and flavorful as I was expecting. I think it needed more “cheese.”
I really love that one of The Veggie Grill’s side options, among macaroni and cheese, buffalo wings and sweet potato fries was kale. I love that they offered that very healthy option, which most do not. It is my favorite green. I ended up not ordering it because when you don’t go to a true vegan restaurant that often you want to try the other things that aren’t easily made at home. But, if I lived more local to one of The Veggie Grills I would definitely be ordering kale all the time.
The prices are pretty average from $6.95 to $9.95 for a burger/sandwich or entrée salad. They also offer soup or chili for $2.50 or $4.50. Their dessert selection is really limited with only 3 things: carrot cake, chocolate pudding or a chocolate chip cookie. We opted for the large chocolate chip cookie to share, to go. It was really good but I discovered it was more of a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie. Still good but my taste bud were expecting a normal, non-oatmeal, chocolate chip cookie.
The whole day was really nice and getting one of our meals free made it even better. After finally trying The Veggie Grill I can say I no longer need a free entrée coupon to coax me to go, but I will still happily welcome one whenever they are feeling generous. A visit to The Veggie grill will make you wonder why anyone even eats meat when there is food this good and animal-friendly.