FOODIE FAVE OPENS BIG IN STUDIO CITY
For fans of healthy eating, the tiny SunCafe storefront in Studio City is familiar territory, but that original location is now gone and instead a new, much larger and elegant space is open just down the road on Ventura Boulevard.
Offering fine plant-based cuisine, the new space, a one-time 1920s-era ranch-style house, holds more than triple the capacity including a multi-level outdoor patio, a brand-new kitchen, an eclectic vegan beer and wine bar, and an expanded menu of meatless wonders. Celebrity regulars include Anne Hathaway, Megan Fox, and Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher—go for good food that’s good for you and do some fun people watching.
“I focus a lot on International comfort food,” says Chef de Cuisine Roy Elam, “favorites people think they can’t eat at a vegan place.” These include a raw Pad Thai made with golden beet noodles, a BLT Sandwich containing tempeh bacon and walnut mayo, and a decadently creamy Mac & Cheese.”
During our recent visit for Sunday brunch, we started with some tried and true smoothie favorites, including the very popular Sweet Kale Shake—a divine mix of kale, banana, cashew and agave. The Vanilla Bean Shake, made with Tahitian vanilla beans, banana, cashew, agave, and goji, is a spectacular cool concoction. It is reason enough to make a trip to SunCafe. The Coffee Shake, Cacao Superfood Shake, and Blueberry Kale Smoothie are solid shakes, but start with the Sweet Kale Shake and Vanilla Bean Shake as they’re two true standouts.
And nothing says brunch better than cocktails and you have your choice of mimosa, seasonal mimosa (with organic seasonal fruit juice), and Bellini with fresh squeezed, organic peach puree. A personal favorite of mine is the Michelada made with organic tomato juice, fresh lime juice and organic lager. Good stuff!
For our brunch selections, we started with the delicious Breakfast Parfait—layers of buckwheat granola and coconut cream with fresh seasonal berries. This dish is so tasty and is perfect to share; otherwise it can actually be a great and light breakfast option on its own.
We also split the fine Marinated Beet & Quinoa Salad, a fresh mix of apple, raisin, olive, onion, cilantro, beet salad over quinoa and mixed greens with lemon basil dressing. I would also recommend the Buckwheat & Cornmeal Pancakes—served with agave-maple syrup—other the French Toast, which is on the small side.
The Farmers Market Fritta—an actual tofu frittata with seasonal farmers market vegetables—was extremely delightful. Light and fluffy, this one was an unexpected savory surprise. If you want something hearty, you can’t go wrong with the Farmer’s Market Pizza with fresh figs, white sauce, tempeh bacon, arugula, Meyer lemon vin, and balsamic reduction. Personally, I’m a huge fan of figs so ordering this healthy bad boy was a no-brainer, and it was absolutely delectable. The Mac & Cheese was good but I’ve never been won over by vegan mac & cheese. I’ve just never found that authentic taste to make it worth my while. Likewise, I’m not a fan of raw, undercooked (at least temperature wise) noodles and pasta, but luckily there was plenty on the menu to tempt and delight.
Speaking of delightful, there are also cocktails available and I highly recommend the Abbey Float, a boozy blend of St. Bernardus Belgian Abbey Ale, cherry cola, and vanilla cashew ice cream. Damn this was a solid drink and I’m not a fan of cherry cola or even beer—although I am partial to St. Bernardus.
The expanded menu also offers six other pizzas, including the classic Supreme with marinara, bell peppers and house-made vegan chorizo and cashew cheese. Most items are made from scratch, including several different vegan cheeses, a meatless chorizo and an all-raw burger. Whether you’re vegan or vegetarian or a carnivore, there are numerous options to please any palette.
SunCafe Organic is located at 10820 Ventura Blvd in Studio City. Hours: Monday through Wednesday from 11am to 10pm; Thursday and Friday from 11am to 11pm; Saturday from 10am to 11pm, and Sunday from 10am to 10pm. Call 818-927-4100.
Story by Jose Martinez
Photos courtesy of Mark Duttweiler