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Restaurant of the Week: Urban Plates

When you want a five-star meal without the long wait and high prices, it’s time to go to Urban Plates. A local favorite for casual dining, Urban Plates has two locations in Northern California and 14 in Southern California.

Whereas some restaurants say its ingredients are “organic when possible,” Urban Plates says “organic always” to more than 30 ingredients every day. With a quintessential California menu based on sandwiches, salads, plates and bowls, Urban Plates aims to deliver a delicious and nutritious experience for every taste and lifestyle.

Previously, Urban Plates provided cafeteria-style service, but in Long Beach, one of its newest locations, the restaurant is designed for casual dining. When you walk in, friendly employees greet you ready to take your order. Once your order is in, you have your choice of plush booths, comfy chairs or community tables indoors and an outdoor patio.

Selecting a beverage is your first task when ordering at Urban Plates. In line with its better-for-you theme, Urban Plates offers Stubborn Sodas, made with premium ingredients, and a variety of Refreshers made daily. We tried the Cantaloupe Pineapple Mango Refresher, and it was incredible how much the cantaloupe flavor was present. Cantaloupe can be a finicky fruit, but Urban Plates knows how to treat it right. For those looking for something a little stronger, Urban Plates offers beer and wine; many of the latter that are made right here in California.

Both salads and sandwiches are hearty and full of fresh ingredients (dairy-free and vegetarian options are available); the Chicken Cobb and the Grilled Grass Fed Steak Sandwich are both standouts. Plates have the option of a protein, two sides and grilled rustic bread. During this particular visit, the steak with chimichurri sauce was prepared absolutely perfectly, and we paired it with macaroni and cheese and roasted Brussels sprouts with turkey bacon.

There’s no way you can pass by the dessert case without mentally reminding yourself to save room for something sweet. Everything is made from scratch every day—and it makes a huge difference. The signature Hummingbird Cake is moist, with just the amount of sweet. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s made with pineapple-banana cake and layered vanilla-orange cream cheese frosting, fresh pineapple, walnuts and rum. On this visit, we had the Mango Tart as well, which is as gorgeous as it is delightful. Plus, mangos are low in calories but high in vitamin c, vitamin a, copper and folate—we’ll eat to that!

If you want to frequent Urban Plates several times a month, the restaurant has created a special program called Plate Pass available on the Urban Plates App. For $10 a month, every entrée is $11 and, according to Urban Plates, that equates to an average savings of $42 per month.

For more information about Urban Plates and Plate Pass, visit www.urbanplates.com.

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