True Food Kitchen truly worth a try

True Food's Kale Salad

Waitress Vinessa Serving Up The Tuscan Kale Salad


By Sandi Masori

SAN DIEGO – Near the entrance to Fashion Valley mall, you might see what, judging by the “True Food” name, could be a grocery store.  Then you might notice the spacious outdoor seating area and a herb garden. Inside you would see spacious restaurant seating along with an open kitchen concept, affording diners the opportunity to watch the chefs cutting fresh pasta dough to become lasagna, or prepping the spaghetti squash for the casserole.

The concept of True Food Kitchen is healthy, sustainable, mostly organic food with both vegetarian and vegan options. The meat (for those who don’t keep kosher) is all free-range or grass fed. The produce is all purchased locally from – Susie’s Farm, Crows Pass or Griffen’s Farms. The style is “fine casual” and menu items range from $8- $24.

The open kitchen concept invites you to inspect the food, and when I asked “what’s that?” I was invited to get up and take a closer look. I was also told that it is not uncommon for people to get up and watch. As the manager, David Gonzalez explained to me, the reason for the open kitchen concept is that “what you see is what you get. There’s nothing to hide”.

True Food Kitchen opened in July in the Fashion Valley mall and is one of six in the chain. There are two others in California, two in Arizona and one in Colorado. Several more will be opening around the country this year. One of the reasons that San Diego was chosen is because in addition to matching the target demographics, the city is one of 10 top “obese” cities, according to Gonzalez, where healthy foods should be a welcome change.

The concept is the brain child of Arizona-based owner Sam Fox of the Fox restaurant group, and Dr. Andrew Weil. The foods are based on an anti-inflammatory diet and are very nutrient dense. The menu changes four times a year to reflect the offerings of the season. The staff is friendly and upbeat, and the policy on substitutions is to make it the way the customer would like it. They are very understanding about food allergies, and menu items are clearly marked if they are vegan, vegetarian, or gluten free.

Everything in the restaurant reflects the concept of “green” and recycling- even the chairs are made from recycled plastic.

Regular menu items range from the popular Tuscan Kale Salad to Butternut Squash Pizza to Shirataki Noodles and Pan Seared Sea Bass. I had been there before and was craving a “Kale Aid” drink, (consisting of kale, apple, cucumber, celery, lemon and ginger) and some of their Albacore Escabeche appetizer (seared albacore with citrus, avocado, cilantro, chili and scallions).

I went there with my two children, Shor age 11 and Sky age 5. The children’s menu does not have the usual fried junk food on it. Instead it features such items as turkey sloppy joe, grilled chicken, chicken teriyaki bowl, mozzarella & organic tomato pizza and almond butter, apple & banana sandwiches.

To my surprise, Sky was really happy with his grilled chicken, which came with a side of steamed broccoli, apples and grapes. Shor ordered Grass Fed Bison Burger and he was quite pleased. He also  enjoyed the Tuscan Kale salad that I had ordered (kale, lemon, parmesan and bread crumbs).

Even if you’re not into “everything kale” and organic food, you should give this restaurant a try, because the food just plain tastes good. And if it also happens to be good for you, well that’s an extra bonus.



True Food Kitchen's Kale Aid

Kale Aid Drink – (Kale, Apple, Cucumber, Celery, Lemon & Ginger)


Shor Relaxes At The Juice Bar

Shor Relaxes At The Juice Bar


Masori is a restaurant reviewer for San Diego Jewish World.   She may be contacted at [email protected]

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