This speedy, healthy, and fully plant based restaurant may be my newest weeknight mainstay. Recently opened in Lakeview with another location in Wicker Park and one more on the way in the Loop, Native Foods Café’s menu appeals to vegans and carnivores alike. All orders are placed and paid for at a counter staffed by a friendly hostess, and then meals are brought out once ready – about 5 to 10 minutes.
Particularly hungry after a 5-hour road trip, my husband and I began our meal with the Saigon Roll appetizer. While not the type of spring roll I expected, the braised lemongrass tofu packed in a whole-wheat wrap along with daikon, carrots, cucumber, and fragrant basil was a delicious and hearty appetizer. I also loved the peanut dipping sauce that came along side.
For dinner, I tried the Rockin’ Moroccan Earth Bowl. Although I liked the combination of grilled tofu, veggies, and toasted almond topped quinoa, the Moroccan sauce it came in was too tangy for my taste. Fortunately, I had saved the leftover peanut dipping sauce from the Saigon Roll, which was spectacular paired with the Rockin’ Moroccan. Next time I’ll swap out sauces from the get-go…or try the wheat crusted Mama Mia Pizza.
My hubsand ordered the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger, which didn’t exactly taste like its real meat counterpart but was quite good. And while it is served on a whole grain bun, the dish requires slight modifications to keep it healthy – order the ranch dressing on the side, or skip it altogether, and limit the number of dill pickle chips you eat. Keep in mind – natural and homemade doesn’t always mean low cal!
Try Native Foods Café at 1023 W. Belmont Ave.