CAFÉ VIDA CULVER CITY
GREAT FOOD THAT’S GOOD FOR YOU
There’s something really special about eating and enjoying good food, especially when it’s good for you. Well, the folks at Café Vida Culver City have made it their mission to serve delicious farm-fresh Cali-Latin fare that bursts with flavor and is sourced from natural ingredients.
Sporting its own in-house juice bar, Café Vida is one of the bright spots along the trendy Restaurant Row on Culver Boulevard in downtown Culver City. Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner as well as weekend brunch, Chef/Partner Francisco Cornejo has created very memorable dishes that can pair with wine, beer or Soju cocktails.
The first Café Vida opened in Palisades Village in May 2002 and a second location inside the Spectrum Club in El Segundo opened soon thereafter. Partners Luis Castaneda, a former ad exec from Mexico City, Marcelo Marolla, a restaurant-industry veteran from Argentina, and Chef Francisco all share a passion for healthy living, creativity and good food. In fact, Café Vida insists upon hormone-and-antibiotic-free chicken and meat; zero trans-fat oils; no processed foods; filtration for water and drinks; organic coffee and espresso drinks; and even real maple syrup.
“Food not only provides nutrition but it help brings people together,” Chef Francisco says. “It’s all about enjoying life.”
During our recent visit for dinner, we started with a delicious bowl of Guacamole and Chips, made with fresh guacamole and served with warmed tortilla chips with sea salt and lime. This is a definite great starter item to share.
Likewise, the Organic Kale & Apple Salad is a fine mix of organic kale, quinoa, apples, roasted almonds, orange segments, Parmesan cheese and cherry lemon vinaigrette. This is one of those dishes that is good to the taste and good for you. The Chicken Mango and Avocado Salad, with grilled herb chicken breast, sliced mango, jicama, avocado, roasted almonds, red onion, mint, flax seeds, chia seeds, organic greens and mango-chutney vinaigrette is also a hearty and tasty bowl of greens that does the body good.
Home of Taco Tuesdays, where you can enjoy half off drafts beers or California wines when paired with one or more of the Taco Tuesday Specials, we tried the Chile Rojo Short Rib Tacos prepared with all-natural prime short rib in a red smoky tomatillo sauce, chopped onion, cilantro, lime and guacamole. This one is a winner.
Fine entrees choices include the Striped Sea Bass with Shallot Wine Sauce, prepared with grilled striped sea bass with shallot wine sauce, served with sautéed organic quinoa and spinach with poblano corn succotash. I’m a huge fan of sea bass and this is a solid dish, especially when paired with a nice glass of white wine. This manages to be a tasty yet guilt-free option.
If you’re looking for heartier fare and you’re a meat-eater, go for the Braised Short Rib in “Chile Rojo” as it’s a delectable mix of all natural short ribs braised in a smoky tomatillo sauce served with golden Yukon mashed potatoes and poblano corn succotash. Pair with a good glass of red wine and a great dish just got even better.
Sporting an extensive menu loaded with great options, there’s plenty to choose from at Café Vida to keep regulars from getting bored. Eating good was never so easy.
Café Vida Culver City is located at 9755 Culver Blvd. Hours: Sun-Wed 8am to 9pm; Thurs-Sat 8am to 10pm. Call 310-287-0140. Reservations are taken for dinner only.
Story by Jose Martinez
Photography courtesy of Café Vida Culver City