Photos by RICH SCHMITT
Santa Monica’s recently opened Flower Child health food café delivers on its mantra: “Healthy Food for a Happy World.”
The organic, made-from-scratch eatery is a solid choice for on-the-go mornings, leisurely lunches, laptop work sessions and even date nights, with simple and delicious menu options in controlled portions.
Flower Child has locations across the U.S.—including Del Mar and Santa Monica in California, with Newport Beach coming soon—offering salads, plates, soups, bowls, wraps and other treats, along with a selection of beverages, including seasonal lemonades, iced teas, loose-leaf hot teas, juices, on-tap kombuchas, on-tap cold brews, wine (including pinot grigio and pinot noir on tap) and California beers. For 50 cents, lemonade can be added to beer or wine to make a zingy spritz or shandy.
Patrons can choose to assemble their own plates, with choices of protein (chicken, salmon, steak or tofu) and one to three sides, like Indian Spiced Cauliflower, with turmeric, date and almond, or Roasted Butternut Squash, with black kale, toasted mulberry and maple chestnut vinaigrette.
The menu also boasts a selection of thoughtful dishes to choose from, like the Vegan Poke bowl, with marinated beet, avocado, pickled mushroom, cucumber, radish, wasabi pea, smoked dulse, brown rice and spicy ponzu, or the Mother Earth bowl, with ancient grains, sweet potato, Portobello mushroom, avocado, cucumber, broccoli pesto, charred onion, leafy greens, red pepper miso vinaigrette and hemp seed.
The Avocado Hummus, with sweet corn, radish, clementine and pumpkin seed, paired well with the gluten-free pita bread.
Colorful drinks like the Sugar-Free Strawberry Watermelon Fresca, Chaga Tea or Mango Sencha Green Tea are served in small mason jars, offering a pop of acrylic color to the table.
Other menu hits include the Sweet Corn & Quinoa with Greek yogurt and the Red Chili Glazed Sweet Potato with bok choy and sesame seed.
Kids will also love the inexpensive “Healthy Kids” menu options, with things they’ll actually eat, like Gluten-Free Mac & Cheese, Smashed Organic Potato and Broccoli with Parmesan.
The brightly lit, two-floor space on 2nd Street and Santa Monica Boulevard smartly blends bohemian eco-chic with industrial ceilings and exposed brick, knotted wood accents and seasonal, freshly cut flowers in small vases on the tabletops.
On the quieter upper level, plants dangling from shelves lined with stacked books, ceramics, growlers, mason jars and watering cans give the space a touch of rustic vibe.
Downstairs on the first level, a take-and-go counter offers busy customers a swift solution for their Monday lunches and a way to avoid the lines. The clean and busy stainless-steel kitchen, decked out with hanging pans, is warmly lit by the open flame of its natural gas-powered pizza oven, and is friendly and attentively staffed.
Flower Child puts itself a cut above similarly styled eateries by bringing the food to your table and bussing dishes after your meal—something many establishments now expect their patrons to do. It also lives up to its name by using eco-conscious packaging and recycled to-go containers, along with metal utensils and reusable plates for those dining in.
It’s the little touches at Flower Child that make the big difference, like the quirky (and Instagram-able) “Yoga Mat Parking” baskets for yogis getting done with their morning vinyasas or the seasonally rotating ingredients and beverages.
It’s a great place to finish an afternoon with the family by the Pier, or sip a lemonade on the sidewalk as you watch the businesspeople and the beachgoers walk by.
Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, paleo, sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free or just a free spirit with an empty stomach, Flower Child is here to nourish you, body and soul.