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Lyfe Kitchen Chicago Review (Streeterville Opening)

I am sorry to be so behind on comments. You know how much it bothers me! Apparently, be careful what you ask for–>I am hair on fire busy!

hair on fire

Interested in healthy, gluten free, natural, and freaking delicious food and snacks?

  • Don’t miss out on my Jessica’s Natural Foods Gluten Free Granola and Organic GF Syrup Giveaway (2 winners) as well as use the code SUZLYFE now through 4/15 for $5 off your purchase!
  • Check out my post from yesterday introducing Daily Serving! Dietitian developed snacks and juices that check all the boxes, including taste!
  • And then read this post a) BECAUSE DUH and b) because it is full of more fantastic healthy (and not so healthy) dishes!

 As I shared yesterday, Alex’s bday didn’t go to plan, but to be honest, we both still ended up eating pretty darn well that night, even if we ate 2 hours apart! He didn’t get out of the hospital until 8:45, and by then the majority of our options (and the things that he was gunning for) were closed/closing/would’ve killed us if we had gone in there. But he (fine, AND I, you know I helped myself!) still enjoyed a fabulous burger (Irish cheddar, onion straws, lettuce, tomato, pretzel bun) and sweet potato fries (with that cucumber chipotle aioli) and a Two Brother’s Brewing Ebel’s Weiss at D4, one of our go-tos

d4 irish pub burger chicago

Definitely one of our favorite burgers in Chicago, if not period.

 My dinner was COMPLETELY different and absolutely delicious!

lyfe kitchen

Last year, I wrote a post about my favorite healthy and affordable places to eat in Chicago, and Lyfe Kitchen was one of the restaurants in that post. I would say that they stole the name from me, but I’m just going to say they (and I) have good taste 😀 At the time, Lyfe Kitchen was brand new to the downtown Chicago market and only had that one location in River North, but as of today, it has officially touched down with its second location in Streeterville! A bit about Lyfe, taken from my previous post:

lyfe kitchen river north

Executive chefs Art Smith (Oprah’s old personal chef, and a food celeb known for scrumptious home cookin’) and Tal Ronnen  (The Conscious Cook) created a menu that is seasonally driven with ingredients that are organic and local when possible, responsibly produced, and focused on flavor and nutrition. In fact, all dishes on the menu are under 600 calories! It just goes to show you that delicious food DOESN’T NEED ALL THAT EXTRA SH*T. When you use quality ingredients, you needn’t do anything to hide it. Quality and craftsmanship begets flavor, which is my food philosophy. Art’s Unfried Chicken accompanies baby kale salads and chocolate chip cookies (served warm)–so fear not, there are plenty of options for everyone!

BTW, totally vintage Suz post–at that point I’d been blogging for all of a month and some change! I was still a waitress and the Polar Vortex hadn’t even happened, lol. Check it (and some of the neighboring posts, too!)

Anyways, I still stand behind what I wrote then, and Lyfe Kitchen still stands behind that mission: to deliver food outstanding in mission, quality, and taste in an fast casual environment that treats you as if you are in a real restaurant, or even at home! Or, in their words: Modern, casual chain serving health-minded, globally inspired food made with local ingredients.

Well, if your home is a tastefully decorated testament to clean, contemporary, and almost zen-like design, you have a complimentary filtered still water (“ambient” or “chilled”) and chilled sparkling water on tap, people who clean up after you, and at the center of it all is a gorgeous indoor herb garden that puts many outdoor gardens to shame! 

 lyfe kitchen streeterville suzlyfe review herb garden

Seriously, who wouldn’t want that!

I experienced Lyfe Kitchen Streeterville as part of their “soft” opening. Essentially, they were making sure that machine was working and that staff was trained properly. But to be sure, I would have thought that they had been doing this for years! Each employee, or “Lyfer,” was incredibly friendly, highly knowledgeable, and absolutely professional. It took me some time to work through the menu as I hadn’t been to a Lyfe location in over a year and I just couldn’t decide! But one a few of the employees asked if I needed any help, were happy to offer up some of their favorite dishes, and knew the menu quite well. I made my decision, ordered at the counter, got my locater (so that they know where you are sitting and don’t just wander around!), picked up some sparkling water, chose my seat, and settled in to wait.

Love that their is a second floor that is also open to the first floor — the room feels airy, clean, and fresh, there is no feeling of being overcrowded, and there is a great variety of places to sit or work or what have you. I can’t wait to get a coffee and a Carrot-Zucchini-Walnut muffin (I used to get them at the River North location and OMG) and work, if I ever have the opportunity!

Now, more about the food! Here’s a glance at the menu. They actually provide 3 different menus: Everything, Gluten Free, and Vegan/Vegetarian. “Max” calories and sodium are listed subtly listed beneath the dishes as well. Dishes that can be made gluten free, vegan, or vegetarian are well marked in all menus. Even I want the garlic lime tofu!

barramundi soba noodle bowl lyfe kitchen review suzlyfe

I chose the Barramundi Noodle Bowl (sustainably raised seabass with soba noodles, mushrooms, scallions, edamame, in kimchi broth) and a simple greens side salad (which turned out to be anything but simple! Tomatoes, zucchini shreds, chives, carrots, lemon vinaigrette). Even though I had already had fish that day, one dish in particular caught my eye. I guess you could say it lured me in. heheh. And one bite and I was hooked. heheh. (I can’t help it)

 My dishes ended up being a little bit more expensive than I had originally planned on spending (I left some tip, and my meal was $20 exactly), but as I said on Instagram, it was worth the price, and I MUST note that I chose a more expensive item (the Barramundi), you are paying for quality and service as well!

Before long, I received my meal:

barramundi soba noodle bowl lyfe kitchen review suzlyfe

Remember that Panera Broth Bowl Review? Save the money, make my copycat version, and spend your hard earned deniros on this dish. All of my gripes from the Panera bowl were taken care of here: appropriately portioned noodles, a GIANT piece of nicely cooked fish, LOVED the kimchi, well balanced spices and heat level…. Goodness me. Fast casual restaurants should quake in their boots. Add to the fact that proteins can be subbed for Gluten free and vegan versions…. CHYEAH.

Now, I want to say that I have heard and have had mixed results with Lyfe Kitchen. There are some dishes there that are absolutely exceptional (the Barramundi Bowl, the Carrot Zucchini Walnut Muffin, the Egg and Turkey Sausage Sandwich from breakfast, and the Chicken and Kale soup (seasonal) are a few that come to mind), and there are some dishes that I have been “meh” about. But I think that is the nature of restaurants and food in general.

If you enjoy seasonal food where the ingredients are the star and the nonsense is taken out, if you have dietary restrictions but don’t want to be just a side thought, and if you want to have an exceptional experience in with out the frivolities, Lyfe Kitchen might fast become one of your favorite places.

Would you be interested in a restaurant like Lyfe? Is eating seasonally important to you?

If you are Gluten Free/Vegan/Vegetarian, is it difficult to find restaurants where you aren’t just an afterthought?

What looks good to you on the menu? I’m eyeing the BBQ Chicken and seasonal Flatbreads, the Gardein Burger and Grass-Fed Burgers, Art’s Unfried Chicken (a signature dish of the restaurant), the Thai Red Curry Bowl, and the Sweet Potato Fries. To name a few, lol)

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