Cafe Gratitude Newport Beach Restaurant Review

Last month the popular plant-based restaurant, Cafe Gratitude, opened it’s doors on Westcliff Ave in Newport Beach, California. This is their 5th Cali location with other locations in Los Angeles, San Diego and Venice. With 100% organic, mostly vegan options (some of the items contain honey and bee pollen as noted on the menu), and dishes named after positive affirmations like “I Am Magical,” “I Am Humble,” and “I Am Vivacious,” it’s no surprise that Erika and I had to visit on her recent trip to Orange County. 


Prices are typical of “gourmet” vegan food, ranging anywhere from $10 - $20 per dish, similar to other establishments in the same category (if you’re on a budget home-cooking is definitely more economical), but if you want to eat out, Cafe Gratitude is a great option. 

Upon first glance the place is absolutely stunning. Light and airy with massive ceilings, marble tabletops dotted with small candles and succulents, rustic wood floors, gorgeous wall hangings, a beautifully tiled bar, and a lovely outdoor covered patio, Cafe Gratitude gets an A+ for atmosphere. 



We went for dinner on a Saturday night. (Cafe Gratitude also serves breakfast offered weekdays from 8am-11am and weekends 8am-1pm, and lunch from 10am-5pm daily.) We made reservations a few days prior via Open Table so there was no wait but honestly, I don’t think we would have needed them (though towards the end of our meal the restaurant did seem to be filling up). 

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Let me preface the rest of this post with a bit of a disclaimer. I visited Cafe Gratitude’s Venice location last Fall and was rather, actually very, unimpressed. While I won’t go into details (please don’t ever give me onions when I kindly ask for no onions or sub a spoonful of guac for my avocado), let’s just say I stuck to the Wholefoods salad bar for the rest of my trip. (Which is bomb, btw.) However, in the spirit of forgiveness, love for my sister, knowing a Pressed Juicery Freeze location is right down the street, and a quick glance at the menu beforehand, I agreed to give it another chance. 


Our server was incredibly friendly and attentive and our food came out super fast (like less than 10 minutes fast). After a quick spiel about what they stand for (plant-based cuisine, organic produce, quality ingredients), brief instructions on how to “affirm” your orders, and their signature question of the night: how are you evolving?, it seemed like our food was already on the table. 

My (non-vegan) boyfriend ordered the “I Am Resolved” southern soul food sampler as pictured below — red beans and dirty rice, blackened jerk tempeh, smashed maple yams, spiced collards, and a coleslaw gluten-free jalapeño cheddar biscuit. He loved it which kind of surprised me since this was his first time ever eating tempeh. 

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Both Erika and our mom got the “I Am Whole” macrobiotic medley as pictured below — braised butternut squash, adzuki beans, sea vegetables, sautéed greens, kim chee, and garlic tahini. Erika also topped her’s with avocado. They both enjoyed their food and raved about the sautéed greens. (My mom claimed she would have been happy with just a bowl full of those.) 

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In an attempt to keep things honest but not sound too crazy, as part of a self-experiment guided by my herbalist, I’m currently avoiding all sugar (fruit included) and all spices, so finding something on the menu in accordance was a bit difficult (especially with the words “substitutions graciously declined” inscribed at the top of the menu). 

I was planning on ordering the “I Am Local” chef’s seasonal salad, but it turned out to be a citrus salad that evening therefore I opted for a cold-pressed green juice and an extra large post-dinner Freeze (because even though it’s sweetened with dates [aka naturally occurring sugar] ice cream always gets a pass). The juice was a combo of cucumber, spinach, escarole, and a few other ingredients I can’t remember. It was good, though not my favorite green juice, I did enjoy it and I absolutely loved the paper straw. 

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We decided to forgo dessert and head to Pressed Juicery for ice cream instead. 

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So would we go back? Yes! All four of us would. But, I’d try breakfast or lunch before I went back for dinner. 

To check out the full menus (breakfast looks really good), click here and stay tuned for our full review of Cafe Gratitude’s sister restaurant, Gracias Madre. (It’s Insta-famous.) 

Now we want to hear from you! Have you ever been to Cafe Gratitude? We want to know. And in the spirit of their question of the day, how are you evolving? Share your response in the comment section below. We read and respond to every single one.

Know someone that would benefit from this post? Spread the love and share it! 

Stay yummy, 
Erika & Jess 

PS. Like this? You’ll also like this: 5 tips on dining out, navigating menus & choosing options that are totally delicious (even when substitutions are graciously declined).


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