Cava Grill Invades Irvine

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to preview Cava Grill’s newest location. With locations scattered around the east coast, their Irvine location is now the third in Southern California. I was looking forward to my trip simply based on the menu options and pictures on Instagram. The concept was started by three childhood friends who wanted to present their families’ Greek and Mediterranean culture and cuisine in an approachable fast casual setting; and that is exactly what they have done.

img_0048

The menu is a build-your-own style with options ranging from pita, to grain bowls, to salads. From there, you add in your dips/spreads of choice, protein, endless toppings, and a dressing. I was overwhelmed with choices in the best way possible. As you can see, there are endless combinations, but ultimately we chose to go with: Grain Bowl with Tzatziki, Hummus, Crazy Feta, Chicken, Seasonal Vegetables, Diced Cucumbers, Tomato+Cucumbers, Kalamata Olives, Cauliflower Quinoa Tabbouleh, Lemon Wedge, and the Lemon Herb Tahini. I imagine you can accomplish the same goal with a different combination, but this was literally heaven in a bowl. There were so many different flavors going on, but somehow they all worked together harmoniously. I have no doubt that the freshness of the ingredients contributes to this. A few standouts from the bowl include their Crazy Feta, which was crazy delicious. The chicken was also some of the best chicken I have ever had in a fast casual restaurant. It was perfectly cooked and seasoned and was the best protein mixed in with their seasonal offering of squash and brussels sprouts. And just when I thought I was satisfied…

img_0074

We also ordered the Pita with Crazy Feta, Braised Lamb, Spicy Lamb Meatballs, Green Harissa, Cabbage Slaw, Diced Cucumbers, and Kalamata Olives. Between the meatballs, Crazy Feta, and Green Harissa, this was on the spicier side, but not at all overpowering. The lamb was juicy, flavorful, and of great quality; it definitely exceed my expectations of what a fast casual restaurant would offer. All of the ingredients packed a punch and the pita was a very hearty meal in it of itself. And I mean, look at it. Just look at it.

I was very impressed with my experience, from the customer service, to the drink offerings (oh yeah, they have seasonal juices and teas), to the ahhhhh-mazing food. I will definitely drive the extra 10 minutes on the 405 on my lunch break to come here instead of my closer options. I would definitely recommend checking this place out, and keeping an eye on more locations opening up throughout SoCal. This is a great healthy option for a quick bite, and the perfect place to take your pickier friends or those with diet restrictions since the menu is so flexible.

Oh, and did I mention that you can find their most popular dips and spreads at various Whole Foods locations? Yup! They have 8 different flavors of Hummus along with their famous Crazy Feta available to purchase. They will be invading Orange County Whole Foods locations very soon! For more information, visit cavagrill.com.