Food for Thought: A Complexity of Flavors

True Food Kitchen, 5375 Tamiami Trail, Naples, (239) 431-4580,















WHY WE LOVE IT: Pushing convenience aside (a prime perch at the Waterside Shops on U.S. 41), this independent chain has made a big splash with nearly everyone in town—courtesy of a veggie- and whole-grains-heavy menu based on Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet. What keeps people returning is the complexity of flavors delivered in every bite that can make converts out of the staunchest contrarians (not to mention there are super-juicy grass-fed burgers and crispy spelt-flour pizzas for good measure).

IDEAL MEAL: Appetizers are the best place to test how bright and flavorful these foods can be. Cauliflower florets brushed in creamy tahini mingle with slivered dates, pistachios and mint. A bruléed avocado is perked up by bold citrus notes and balanced by refreshing cucumber “noodles.” Even the guacamole gets creative, with bittersweet segments of grapefruit and sunflower seeds. Entrées veer more toward greens- or grain-based power bowls and generous cuts of sustainably raised meat and fish, including a rich steelhead salmon atop an astoundingly good cilantro-pumpkin seed pesto. The full bar goes beyond kale tonics and cranberry kombucha, as bartenders pour skinny margaritas with organic tequila as well as martinis spiked with basil. Biodynamic wines and a vegan dessert list round out the offerings. This style of eating is perhaps not for everyone—but it should be.

VIBE: Ceilings as high as a big top create sunny, open spaces lined with herb planters that double as nourishment and décor both inside and out. “I need my vitamin sea,” along with other graphic installation art, enlivens walls, and servers sporting tees of their choice, like “fresh,” “honest,” “true,” and “shine on,” spread the restaurant’s message, which is encouragement for us all.