Native Foods is a fast casual restaurant serving vegan cuisine. It’s the perfect spot to grab lunch when you’re on the go and want something healthy that’s different from the usual boring salad. Native Foods emphasizes the use of soy-based proteins like seitan and tempeh in most of their dishes and makes vegan food tasty and enjoyable. Ingredients such as these are used to mimic non-vegan meals, creating filling and creative dishes that cater to more than just the stereotypical vegan/health conscious crowd…
Native Foods is very allergen friendly; gluten-free menu items are clearly labeled, and nut and soy-free menus are available upon request. My only vice with this chain is that it’s hard to be both soy AND gluten free; the prominent use of soy will have you running into some major issues. Most dishes comprise at least one of these 2 ingredients, which makes me wish there was more of an emphasis on non-processed, holistic ingredients. With that being said, Native Foods has some exciting and creative dishes for the NOBREAD crowd. To start, you HAVE to order the pesto-baked polenta topped with roasted butternut squash, balsamic caramelized onions and toasted pumpkin seeds over arugula. You can’t miss out on this dish– it’s incredible! Native Foods is best known for their bowls, and for my main it was a tough decision between the Bangkok Curry, Sesame Kale Macro, and the Rockin’ Moroccan. I went with the Rockin’ Moroccan which consisted of grilled vegetables and quinoa in a Moroccan sauce, topped with raisins and almonds, and for a soy-free substitute, I subbed beans in place of the tofu. This dish included many nourishing ingredients that were all in their natural form, and it was incredibly satisfying. Native had a ton of sandwiches and desserts that looked amazing, but unfortunately the restaurant didn’t have gluten-free bread or flour, so the NOBREAD crowd would have to sit those out.
Native Foods is quick, easy, and affordable, and for all of the vegans out there, trying one of Native’s four Chicago locations is a must. The atmosphere is casual and low-key, but you can tell that this restaurant is passionate about healthy living. If you are allergic or just not a fan of soy-based products like tofu and tempeh, this might not be your favorite spot, but the restaurant staff is super friendly and happy to accommodate your dietary restrictions and preferences as best as possible!