Fast Casual, Fine Dining 5

Some of our neighborhood eateries offer healthy options for family dining – high quality ingredients, creatively used for a fresh take on menu staples. Take a look at who is on our list, and do visit them soon for fall and winter offerings!

Urban Plates

Contemporary fast-casual combining the freshness and variety of a food marketplace with fine-dining culinary integrity.

Founders and industry veterans Saad Nadhir and John Zagara opened the first Urban Plates in San Diego in 2011 behind a fundamental philosophy to invest in food quality and thoughtful sourcing while maintaining accessibility and affordability.

Thinking with their own families in mind, Urban Plates presents a transparent culinary experience that empowers guests to “choose good” – good about what you ate, good about what you’ve provided your family.

With a unique line-style layout and open kitchen, the chefs play a critical role in the guests’ dining experience. A “seeing is believing” approach is enhanced by passionate, knowledgeable chefs preparing meals to order while engaging personally with each guest’s food journey.

Menu Faves:

  • Panko-Crusted Idaho Trout with Chimichurri Sauce
  • Miso Mushroom Sweet Potato Sauté
  • A hearty, yet light Quinoa Tabbouleh made with house-made lemon vinaigrette, fresh herbs, feta and tomatoes
  • A vegan Sweet Potato, Carrot and Red Curry Soup with great heat, still easy on the palette
  • Orange Cherry Habanero Mint and Passion Fruit Coconut Lime organic natural juice Replenishers
  • Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Buttercream

Luna Grill

A cross between a fast casual and full service sit-down restaurant, Luna Grill combines the best of both worlds to create the concept of “Luxe Casual.”

Founded in 2004 by CEO Sean Pourteymor, Luna Grill is headquartered in San Diego, California with 38 locations throughout Southern California and the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas metropolitan area.

All foods, marinades and sauces are crafted with care daily from scratch and meals are made fresh to order and served to the table with genuine cutlery and tableware.

Wholesome Mediterranean cuisine such as signature kabob plates, gourmet salads, appetizers including hummus and falafel, wraps, desserts, craft beer and wine served in a contemporary setting.

Menu Faves:

  • Flat cut chicken
  • Mediterranean Chicken Salad
  • Appetizer Sampler

Mendocino Farms 

Bringing people, passion and purpose together to enrich the lives of guests, partners and team members, continually and proactively thinking on how to better serve, and pushing the limits of what a simple sandwich or salad could be.

Co-founders Ellen Chen and Mario Del Pero opened their first Mendocino Farms location on Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles in 2005. Since then, their restaurants have opened in 12 additional locations in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Mendocino Farms is preparing to grow to 25 units by 2018, with their vision of an elevated dining experience offering much more than just good food.

All meats are smoked at the Mendocino Farms smokehouse in Downtown Los Angeles. Partnerships with regional farmers and food artisans ensure they provide the tastiest food around while supporting the local food economy.

Menu Faves:

  • ‘Flat Top’ Smoked Brisket Club Sandwich
  • ‘Low and Slow’ Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich
  • Fair Hills Farm Fuji Apple Salad
  • Rescued Vegetable Burger, in collaboration with Pressed Juicery.
  • Watch out for a special initiative for National Sandwich Day on November 3rd.
  • Also in the works – a charity sandwich collaboration with Cassia’s Chef Bryant Ng, available November.