2018 is aggressively underway, and for the large percentage of you that committed to being healthier on January 1st, we are telling you not to give up. For the other percent, this guide will make you reconsider. "Healthy" and "delicious" do not have to be considered enemies, in fact, here in Laguna, they come together in a beautiful harmony that will simultaneously spoil and inspire you. So, whether you resolved to be healthier this year or not, Laguna Beach is crawling with fantastic, health-conscious and vegetarian-focused culinary options.
1. Zéytoon Café
Many people swear by the "Mediterranean Diet," but at Zéytoon, it's not a diet but a lifestyle that commits to providing rich and authentic food with beneficial health properties. Zéytoon directly translates to "olive", which comes through in their culture and cuisine. As a symbol of peace, Zéytoon embodies this through the cozy and welcoming atmosphere. As a central flavor in Mediterranean cooking, the owners of Zéytoon incorporate this along with other fresh, quality ingredients to produce food you'll love to eat. Order their Mezza Platter with comfortingly warm pita bread, some of the best hummus we've had, and lebni, which, although tastes creamy and decadent, has tons of healthy probiotics.
Two great bonuses: Zéytoon has their own parking lot AND a vibrant and colorful outdoor patio space upstairs with gorgeous views. What more do you need?
2. Urth Caffé
You may already know of Urth Caffé, which has garnered great admiration and a loyal following in Southern California. What you may not know, however, is that owners, Hilla and Shallom Berkman, were originally invested solely in producing coffee and tea. When visiting this ever-popular spot, do not miss out on their organic, creative, and excellent drinks. The Honey Vanilla Latte is wonderfully luscious and can be made even healthier when you substitute regular milk for almond milk. Their Rising Sun Boba will taste like an indulgent dessert, but this matcha green tea, espresso and dark chocolate based drink is a healthy energy drink, packed with three powerful antioxidants. The food menu is extensive, ensuring you will find what your heart and stomach desire. When eating here, feel confident knowing they use 100% natural ingredients and locally source sustainable products.
Tired of eating the same stereotypical "health foods"? Starfish Laguna breaks the mold, delivering unique Asian-Fusion dishes, highlighting ingredients and flavors from various Asian cultures. From vegetarian dishes like the light and refreshing Singapore Bamboo Roll and the tangy and savory Sichuan Japanese Eggplant, to pescatarian dishes like their tropical Lobster Macadamia Roll and near perfect Chilean Seabass with Thai Green Curry, you will 100% keep coming back for more. Furthermore, Starfish has a truly impressive and sizeable Opium Happy Hour Menu (3-6PM daily), making it an ideal spot for a date or group gathering.
Pro Tip: Order their Wok Fried Edamame to start. Not only is edamame packed with protein and good for you, but Starfish takes theirs to the next level with an addictive togarashi, garlic, and sesame seasoning.
The Stand is the one spot on this guide that is 100% vegan, and it's so good, you may not miss meat. The place itself emanates and encapsulates 1970s vibes, from when the restaurant was originally established. They have a plethora of acai bowls, like the Thalia Surfer Bowl, making for a perfect morning meal. Craving something savory? The Avocado Sandwich is creamy yet crisp and light. For sharing, their Bean Rice and Guacamole Dip has great depth of flavor with layers of corn chips, brown rice, pinto beans, and salsa, then topped with guacamole. For dessert, The Stand has all-natural and super refreshing fruit soft serves that will be all satisfaction and zero guilt. Head over there and trust their slogan, "Don't worry. Everything is going to be groovy and amazing."
As both a natural foods café and frozen yogurt bar, Active Culture is another great grab and go spot. This family-owned spot truly has the local community in mind by serving conscious, affordable food. The portions are generous and filling, and all the options are creative. Active Culture is also the ideal spot when you have a sweet craving needing to be satisfied. With delicious frozen yogurt flavors that change each month and a myriad of options at their toppings bar, you can always try something new.
Zinc's Café & Market is a favorite neighborhood gem, housing various options for people in need of quality and healthy food. You can walk into their café, order from their all-vegetarian menu, grab a seat in their relaxing outdoor patio space, and feel at ease. You can also head straight to their market and grab gourmet food to-go. In addition, the Market houses specialty goods and various items that Zinc vets and supports, making it easy to stay healthy at home.