Gratitude (noun): the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Food brings us together, nourishes our bodies and feeds our minds. But seldom can you find it all wrapped up into one menu. That’s why I’m grateful for Gratitude restaurant.
Those who know me are well aware that I’m far from vegan. I’m a professional chef, a food writer, a cookbook author—but I am not vegan. I like vegetables and celebrate meatless Mondays, but I still happily sit down to a steak and savor it. Yet I have delighted in the pleasure of dining at Gratitude in Newport Beach of late, and this thoughtful, plant-based, soul-nurturing food has gotten under my skin.
This is not your average veggiecentric chain. This is a renaissance restaurant, Berkeley-esque, with a bit of Boulder, Colo., and a pinch of Portland, Ore., and darn delicious food. From the beer, wine and cocktails to the faux ceviche, the creativity is overflowing.
The team here is led by the dynamic duo of chef Dreux Ellis and Beverage Director Jason Eisner, and together they’re shaking things up on our shores. Relish in the friendly, relaxed vibe when you enter off the patio, and take in the soft colors of the open-air, spa-like restaurant. Embrace the “I am” affirmations that the menu offers because you are brilliant, inspired and dynamic—or at least you will be when you start ordering!
Consider beginning your meal with a cold-pressed juice or a wellness elixir. Whether you choose to be Brave (with immune-boosting lemon, turmeric and ginger) or Beaming (packed with carrot, orange and goji for a vitamin C boost), you’ll start your experience off right. My suggestion: Order the Opulent to sip throughout the meal. It’s made from sparkling water and essential oils to aid in digestion. Then segue to cocktails because the mixology practice at Gratitude is serious stuff. The Lemon Drop snow cone is topped with a scoop of lemon ginger-basil granita, and the Gratitude caipirinha boasts organic Brazilian rum, citrus oils and a rock candy stick. The wine and beer lists comprise mainly Central Coast offerings, and the selections are impressive—crafted for purity and all-natural in form.