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rating star

Lyfe Kitchen was heralded as some kind of antidote to McDonald's and the US's fast food obsession (ironically, some ex-McDonald's executive started Lyfe). But I don't get the hype and I don't think the food is good enough to justify a recommendation.

Let's start off with the not-so-good. The menu is a nightmare of data and symbols (calorie counts, sodium levels, vegan, gluten-free, biodynamic, nut-free, etc.) and excessive amounts of text. It's hard to decipher and people can't easily figure out what to order. Then backups form at the two cash registers up front.

Next, and most important, the food just isn't that good. On my first visit I had the crispy Gardein chicken sandwich ($9), which sounded like it would be delicious (it comes with shishito relish!). In reality it was lukewarm, bland and felt about as boring as a McDonald's chicken sandwich. The sandwich was also small and neither filled me up nor hit the spot.

On my second visit, the vegan farmer's market salad with agave-lime tofu ($11) was drenched in vinegary sauce and had zero appeal. The spinach leaves literally fell flat under the weight of so much sauce. We gave up eating this after a few bites.

The corn chowder ($7 for a large bowl) came to us lukewarm and had little flavor. Worst of all, they hadn't thoroughly cooked the potatoes in the soup, so every bite would have raw potato in the mix. Great job, Lyfe.

Lastly, we had Tal's ancient grain bowl ($12). This dish consisted of quinoa and farro, buried underneath a bunch of vegetables and some vegan beef pieces, covered in a sweet-ish sauce. The dish was, once again, lukewarm in temperature and tasted more like a bunch of sauteed vegetables in watery ketchup. It had no zing, no life (lyfe?).

In short, all of the food here was sloppily prepared, lukewarm and hard to eat.

Lyfe has but three positive attributes, which sadly don't make up for the horrible food: the restaurant itself looks really nice with a cozy retro-mod look and feel. It's upscale without being pretentious. The service is fast and friendly. They have a ton of vegan options, including a separate vegan menu that's readily accessible next to the cash registers where you place your order.

All told, I will not be returning to Lyfe. The food is, at best, mediocre. And that's on a good day. It gets two stars for being vegan-friendly, but otherwise it would get one-star.


rating star

First off the food tastes fantastic, they have a lot of vegan/vegetarian choices, especially for folks who've never tried it before. The crispy Gardein Chicken sandwich is unreal, and the dairy-free corn chowder tasted too good to be true. Overall the service is great, prices are affordable, and the food was extremely tasty. Can't wait to be back!

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