Photo by Courtney Hamilton Will Tender Greens be the winner?
Conceptually, Urban Plates and Tender Greens are the same place: your middle school cafeteria line meets farm-to-fork food. Their menus are nearly the same: entrees, salads, and sandwiches assembled around lean proteins or vegetable preparations. (Though Urban Plates does distinguish itself by offering braises and "pizzettes," or flatbread pizzas.) Each also offers a display case at the end of the food assembly line brimming with beautiful pastries and cakes--the vegan and gluten free options marked, of course. Pricey fresh fruit beverages, highbrow soda, teas, coffee, beer and wine account for the remaining refreshments.
Both eateries even attract the same patron mix: moneyed businessmen, ladies who lunch, and college foodies. They're even close to each other--the University Town Center Tender Greens and Urban Plates are a five-minute-drive apart. So, if you're lunching in Irvine and have a hankering for upscale, home-style food, which do you choose? We've pitted the two against each other in three categories: ambiance, price, and most importantly, food.More »