I'd been eyeing Cava on my regular 17th street commute for quite some time. The thought of a new Greek-inspired, Mediterranean cafe in town, definitely piqued my taste buds, as there's not too many of these options in the area. What I didn't realize is the "soft-open" I had already experienced months ago at my local Whole Foods Market.
Located in the refrigerator section next to my regular Organic Cedar's Hummus, I spotted some sleek new products with a black label, bold white font, and signature golden 'V' in the word "Cava". There were Dips like spicy Harissa, Tzatziki, and Organic Traditional Hummus – all vegetarian without any preservatives.
Fast forward to mid summer and enter Cava in Costa Mesa. It's located in a complex on the corner of Raymond St. with brand new construction, including 2 more cafes opening soon. The exterior is comprised of light gray wood and black metal, while the inside is modern industrial with stainless steel, white subway tiles, light woods, and black accents.
The Menu is "Build Your Own" style with 5 easy steps:
1.) Start with a Base: Salad Greens, Grains, Greens + Grains, Large Pita, or Mini Pita & Soup
2.) Choose up to 3 Spreads: Eggplant + Red Pepper Dip, Tzatziki, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Hummus, Harissa, or Crazy Feta
3.) Pick a Protein: Falafel, Spicy Lamb Meatballs, Braised Beef, Roasted Seasonal Vegetables, Grilled Chicken, Grilled Meatballs, or Braised Lamb
4.) Choose a Topping: too many to list them all, but highlights include Tomato + Cucumber Salad, Pickled Banana Peppers, Kalamata Olives, Cauliflower Quinoa Tabbouleh, or Crumbled Feta
5.) Drizzle on a Dressing: Sriracha Greek Yogurt, Lemon Herb Tahini, Green Harissa, Greek Herb Vinaigrette, Yogurt Dill, or Spicy Apricot Dressing
And, let's not forget about their All-Natural Fountain Sodas, House-made Seasonal Juices & Teas like Watermelon Mint, and a variety of Spindrift flavored Sparkling Waters.
- tender garlic & herb Braised Lamb Bowl with Super Greens & Grains, spicy Harissa, cool Tzatziki, original Hummus, Crumbled Feta, Pickled Onions, and spicy Green Harissa Dressing
The hand model and I got basically the same thing because we just couldn't resist. The bowls were so large and in charge that we definitely could've split one, but the Mediterranean mix of Herbs & Spices kept us digging in for more. The side order of warm Pita was great for scooping, too.
So, next time your taste buds want to take a trip to the Mediterranean, try Cava at one of their 70+ locations from coast to coast.