fresh & healthy eats at Z Cafe

When I am shopping at South Coast Plaza, the last thing I want is to waste time by going to a sit down restaurant. I want to zip in, zip out, have something delicious, quick and fresh, but without paying too much, or waiting too long. Here’s where Z Cafe comes in. Located where CPK used to be on the 3rd floor of Crystal Court, this casual dining spot has a little something for everyone.

Let’s start with the Fresh Hummus ($5.95), a perfect vegetarian selection with Greek olives, roasted peppers, cucumber slices, and Z bread (pita). The portion is rather generous and if you’re not sharing with anyone, this alone will fill you up — that is, if you’ll even be able to finish it on your own.

I was particularly fond of the Quinoa Taboulleh with Chicken ($9.95) with lots of healthy quinoa, cilantro, parsley, golden raisins, slivered almonds and caramelized onions. Grilled chicken is served alongside for even more protein. This is great when I’m trying to go low-carb and is so tasty I couldn’t stop eating it.

Another notable salad was the Pear & Gorgonzola ($7.95). Sweet grilled pears sit amidst organic mixed greens with gorgonzola crumble, candied walnuts and tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. I loved the walnuts which provided a great crunch to the salad. I didn’t even mind the pears — not a fan of pectin fruits — which married well with the gorgonzola.

I love soup and Roasted Tomato Soup ($2.95 cup/$4.95 bowl) was quite delicious! The tomatoes are first oven-roasted which gave the soup more depth in flavor and then finished with basil and cream.

Always ask what the Soup du Jour is. On the day of our visit, it was tortilla soup and boy oh boy was it good! I loved the aromas and strong flavors which meant a heartier soup. This is a winner!

My son loves their pizzas and Margherita Pizza ($9.95 flatbread size) is a sure winner every time. The roasted garlic sauce, mozzarella, tomato, basil, parmesan combine to create a really nice vegetarian option.

I was so surprised to find that Curry Chicken and Yam ($9.95/$16.95 whole) pizza to my liking. I like mozzarella, fire roasted curry chicken, roasted yams, mango chutney, golden raisins and fresh cilantro — all the ingredients on this pizza — although I never thought I’d like them TOGETHER. In fact, I think this was my favorite pizza out of the ones we tried.

If you’re a traditionalist, then Tuscan ($9.95/$16.95) pizza will not fail you. Roasted garlic sauce, mozzarella, a blend of crimini and shiitake mushrooms with caramelized onions, feta and truffle oil make for a heady aromatic mouthful.

Those looking for a sandwich should look no further than the Grilled Asada Sandwich ($10.95). The lime chipotle grilled steak is bursting with flavor and topped with a sweet corn salsa, chipotle aioli, tomato, pickled red onion, mixed greens between wheat ciabatta — just outstanding!

I am not vegetarian, but the Roasted Veggie Sandwich ($8.95) is even appealing to my carnivorous palate. Roasted seasonal vegetables, provolone cheese,  caramelized onions, tomato, mixed greens, artichoke hearts, balsamic vinaigrette on ciabatta will not leave you going away feeling like you’re missing something.

Yes, it’s a fast, casual environment, but the staff are friendly and courteous and extremely helpful. I like to sit at the newly renovated patio with comfortable sofa-style seating. It feels more relaxing than at the tables and I can take a load off to enjoy my meal before resuming my shopping again.

Z Cafe has generously donated TWO $25 giftcards for me to giveaway. Leave me a comment telling me what your ideal salad should include with your FULL name. Entries close on Sunday, April 22nd and winners will be announced on Monday, April 23rd

3333 Bear Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Tel: 714-545-5500

Zcafe on Urbanspoon


  1. Hamilton Le says

    My ideal salad has to be refreshing and leave an impression on my palate. I’m normally a carnivore so salad is rare. My ideal salad would have to have some kind of protein such as chicken or salmon that is flavorful, with some kind of nuts for textural contrast within the salad and while constantly wanting me to return for more with some kind of greens that is unexpected rather than the typical lettuce, now that is my ideal salad, but yet still have yet to be found for me.

  2. Selene Sillapa says

    mixed greens with a cheese (can’t decide what kind right now) crumble, candied walnuts, artichoke hearts, random veggies, and chicken tossed w a vinaigrette

  3. sean solomon says

    my ideal salad would be springtime salad… mixed greens cheese roasted walnuts carrots apples mango and strawberries all tossed in a mango dressing…

  4. Duderello K says

    Feta, Spanish olives, pepperoncini, avocado, tandoori chicken, all on a medley of butter lettuce, romaine, red cabbage, and cilantro with dollop of Korean pepper paste on top. Served with a smile! =]

  5. says

    The ideal salad has to have arugula. Some spring mix greens to fill out the salad, a bit of Gorgonzola, and then something sweet to balance the bite of the arugula. Candied walnuts work for sweetness, and I like a simple dressing of olive oil and sweet aged balsamic vinegar. And you can’t skimp on the quality of the vinegar.

  6. Stacie Mayer says

    Love the combination of mixed greens and arugula with beets, garbonzo beans, raw walnuts, artichoke hearts and light feta cheese, gentley tossed with balsmic vinegarette. Delish!

  7. Debbie Matlow says

    My ideal salad has NO iceburg lettuce, nuts or sweet stuff. Just lots of fresh greens and veggies with a light vinaigrette dressing.

  8. Rachel Hann says

    My ideal salad would include mixed greens, tomatoes, avocado, grilled chicken, and a light cilantro dressing! And I’d follow it up with a yummy dessert. 😉

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