Native Foods

Hi friends! The new year is off to a great start and I am way past due for a post! I started school last week and have been non-stop since, sadly with little time for exciting cooking or eating adventures. And so, I bring to you another flash back review of a restaurant I haven’t eaten at in a while but have been to many a time and as a result know exactly what to order. This time around its Culver City’s very own Native Foods!

Native Foods

9343 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
Neighborhood: Culver City

(310) 559-3601

Native Foods is an entirely vegan restaurant with several locations in California.  The chain has recently expanded to Chicago which is huge news for vegan mainstream dining.

A peek inside NF in Culver City (photo credit: quarrygirl)

The Culver City location was formerly an M Cafe, but Native Foods took over the space in late 2010 and it has been poppin’ ever since. Native Foods has a Westwood location as well, but the Culver City restaurant is so so much better. The space is big, bright and casual, with an “order at the counter and take a number” system that we all know and love. There are a few large communal tables but mostly regular seating and a huge outdoor patio perfect for the warmer weather afternoons we have been having lately here in LA!
I want to start with a little disclaimer: I don’t eat at Native Foods that much anymore. Since I try to avoid gluten, and almost all of their fake meat and delicious burgers are made with seitan (aka satan since I have a hellish reaction) and/or wheat products, the options for me are extremely limited. That being said there are a few gluten-less gems on the menu and I can absolutely attest to the deliciousness of the menu items I can no longer enjoy, because back in the day I used to get diggity down with several of their gluten-filled burgers. So for those of you who don’t have any issues with wheat NF is absolutely awesome!
Here are my favorite menu items and recommendations that you gotta order on your next Native Foods trip!
Let’s start with the first stop you need to make on your Native Foods journey. The drink machines:

Agua Fresca, Iced Tea, Lavender Lemonade

The drinks here are off the chain amazing. The lavender lemonade is the biggest must order I have on the menu, no joke, so do not miss it on your next visit! A lot of people go bonkers for their agua fresca too, so make sure you sneak a taste before you fill up with the lemonade.
My top menu picks are as follows.
Chilli Cheese Fries:

Chili Cheese Fries - Seasoned potato fries smothered in homemade Native Chili. Topped with Native Cheese and diced red onions.

My excitement about these fries follows a pretty simple a + b = c model. I absolutely love french fries. I also love vegan cheesy chilli. Ergo, I love this app, and ergo you will too. I do wish they would add more cheese though… Can’t have enough vegan cheese!
Taco Salad:

Yo Amigo Taco Salad - A blend of romaine, cabbage, Native Taco Meat, and salsa fresca. Topped with corn, green onion, cilantro, and tortilla chip croutons. Served with original creamy chipotle dressing on the side. Yo, good with avocado (duh).

Love the chipotle ranch dressing on this salad!!! This larger than life salad is seriously good, and the “optional” avocado addition is the icing on a crunchy Mexican fiesta party … in my pants. I mean … in my bowl. Seriously, order this.
Chicken Run The Ranch Burger:

Chicken Run Ranch Burger - Crispy battered Native Chicken, ranch dressing, romaine, carrots, and onions. What everyone would eat if chickens ran the ranch!

Fried chicken and ranch dressing. On a bun. And it’s vegan. Nuff’ said. Make sure to upgrade this with a side of their sweet potato fries.
Gluten-Free option slash my fav thing on the menu:

Sesame Kale Macro Bowl - Chef Tanya’s Tempeh atop steamed kale, brown rice, creamy ginger sesame sauce, tangy sauerkraut, gomasio and toasted sesame seeds. Green onion garnish and crunchy cucumber seaweed salad on the side.

Simple and straightforward, well cooked, well seasoned food. That’s what I’m talkin’ about bay-beeee. I LOVE the saurkraut on top and the creamy tahini sauce is to die for.This bowl just makes my heart sing.
Not a huge list but those are my favorite Native Foods items and one safe for the wheat free meat free friends too! I still feel like if I want to do the whole fake meat burger thing I would head to The Veggie Grill, but Native Foods is a great all vegan creative and affordable restaurant doin’ big things in the plant-based world, and for that I applaud them. I just wish Chef Tanya would add some more gluten-free options and/or a couple of dishes that aren’t trying to imitate meat products. Just a thought. Regardless, Native Foods is a great vegan option on the Westside and especially great to bring your meat loving friends to since so many hearty and delicious entrées are on the menu. If you’ve never been, go!
Your Vegan Girlfriend

7 thoughts on “Native Foods

  1. You know how I feel about the taco salad with added avocado… their chipotle dressing is on par with Veggie Grill’s, aka a tie for my favorite condiment of all time.

    I also LOVE the watermelon agua fresca and their sandwiches!

  2. The Native Foods Staff will custom make you what ever you want from their ingredients. We get the “healthy vegan tacos”, custom bowls, etc all the time! They are very accommodating, unlike veggiegrill where I can only get a quinoa salad that hasn’t been covered in fat or meat analogues.

  3. Pingback: The Sesame Kale Macro Bowl at Native Foods Café

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