Naturally grown arugula, peppery dark greens, slightly bitter frisee, brightly colored radicchio and romaine all have something in common; they make up the foundation of great salads.

From shopping at the farmer’s market, washing the greens, blanching and chopping, all the way to making a well-balanced salad dressing, that magical salad you envisioned can turn into a lot of work if you try and make it yourself, so we say just leave it to the professionals. Chefs experiment with whimsical ingredients, showing off bright colors, as well as impressive knife skills, ultimately creating these edible works of art that we can’t get enough of.

We could go on and on about all of the health benefits of salads, like how they can boost immunity or help digestion and intestine health, but we’d much rather talk about the bold flavors, the variety of texture, and downright sexiness of salad. With farm-to-table reinventing the fork-to-mouth experience, salads have received an upgrade in more ways than one. After trying any of these salads from this list we guarantee you’ll never look at a bowl of lettuce the same again.

Top Salads Orange County

Top Salads Orange County Andrea

22701 Pelican Hill Rd S
Newport Coast, CA 92657
844.445.2183 |

Considered The Resort at Pelican Hill’s signature restaurant, Andrea creates Tuscan-influenced Northern Italian cuisine that will transport you to Italy faster than your private jet. During this trip to your favorite restaurant, skip the table-side risotto and opt for something a little lighter and healthier — a salad. Andrea does not skimp on details when it comes to their seasonal dishes, like the Pea Tendril Salad and the Fennel Salad. The Pea Tendril Salad features shaved baby radish, lemon, Caprino cheese crema, grilled Porchetta and Pizzuta Italian almonds. And if you’re looking for something without meat, choose the Fennel Salad, featuring shaved fennel, orange, grapefruit, mint, dill, pine nuts and citrus dressing. You won’t regret your decision, these salads are just as beautiful as the view from the terrace.

Top Salads Orange County

Top Salads Orange County Oak Grill

Oak Grill
690 Newport Center Dr
Newport Beach, CA 926609
949.760.4920 |

Dine on contemporary cuisine with classic influences at Oak Grill as Chef combines flavors from the American South with inspiration from around the globe. Subtle and inviting elegance fills the interiors and extends to their lush and extensive deck. The large Ficus trees provide just the right amount of shade and intimacy, providing a whimsical backdrop to your al fresco dining. To balance the heat of dining outdoors, the Maine Lobster Chopped Salad and the Watermelon & Beet Salad are perfect options for staying cool. The Maine Lobster Chopped Salad, featuring corn, red onions, celery hearts, Rocket Arugula and tarragon vinaigrette hits every note on why we love lobster so much. And for your friend who thinks salads are all about those leafy greens, we surprise her with the option of enjoying the Watermelon & Beet Salad for lunch.

Top Salads Orange County

Photography by: Akins Parker Creative

Summer House
2744 East Coast Hwy
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
949.612.7700 |

Summer House makes you feel like it’s your second home, your summer beach house if you will. The contemporary American-style cuisine makes you feel just as cozy and welcome as the interior and is the perfect place to escape the heat and cool off with a hand-crafted cocktail and refreshing summer salad. Rather appropriately, we suggest the Grilled Chicken Summer Salad, featuring mixed greens, sliced chicken breast, strawberries, candied walnuts, feta cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. The sweetness of the strawberries pairs perfectly with the acidity of the dressing. The tartness of the feta cheese brings it all together and has us coming back the following week and ordering this salad again. Simply delicious!

Top Salads Orange County

Top Orange County Salads Lemonade
Photography by: Vanessa Stump

Multiple Locations

Keep it cool this season with light and refreshing fare from Lemonade. Their seasonal menu is loaded with fun, inventive salad creations that you never thought possible. Their version of potato salad puts your grandmother’s to shame — just don’t tell her we said that! Their salad featuring smoked salmon and fingerling potatoes with pickled red onions and tarragon salsa verde is simply to die for! And for all of you foodies who love snapping photos of your lunch, you have to try their salad featuring Honey Kiss melon & Chioggia candy cane beets with Bloomsburg spinach, blue cheese and hazelnut vinaigrette. Those candy cane beets are mesmerizing.

Top Salads Orange County

Top Orange County Salads True Food

True Food Kitchen
Multiple Locations

If you’re looking for a lifetime of optimal health, then you might want to consider working True Food Kitchen in your daily routine. This concept was created by Sam Fox, who is inspired by the principles of Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet. If you’re vegan, vegetarian, all organic or gluten-free, you can take a sigh of relief, because they have something for everyone. The Summer Ingredient Salad, composed of broccolini, cauliflower and grilled asparagus stems is absolutely amazing. The salad features an abundance of charred veggies with torn mint leaves and a medley of wax and garbanzo beans, pistachios and Manchego. We are obsessed with the Sicilian vinaigrette that the salad is tossed in and recommend that True Food Kitchen considers bottling it for retail. Pair your salad with one of their Natural Refreshers, like the Honey Lemonade or Kale-Aid for a completely well-balanced meal.

Top Salads Orange County

Top Salads Orange County Cucina Enoteca

Cucina Enoteca
Multiple Locations

If you’ve never been to any of the Urban Kitchen Group concepts before, you are in for a real treat. Each one of their restaurants highlights the importance of taking care of every single detail that goes into creating an enjoyable restaurant experience and, Cucina Enoteca located in Newport Beach, is no exception. This unique concept couples California-inspired Italian cuisine with a wine shop/rustic farmhouse vibe. Think organic, local and sustainable. Needless to say, their salads are on point. We can’t get enough of their Farro + Quinoa + Pecan salad, exclusive to the Newport Beach location. This grain focused salad features beets, spinach, frisee, currant and mustard, tossed with a leek vinaigrette. If you’re dining with your girlfriends, opt for the family style because everyone is going to want a bite of this beauty.

Top Salads Orange County

Top Orange County Salads Greenleaf

Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop
Multiple Locations

For those who are constantly on the go from one destination to the next, Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop may become your lifesaver. With this fast-casual concept, you don’t have to sacrifice quality for convenience. Here, you can have both. Established in Beverly Hills, Greenleaf has made it’s way to Orange County and we couldn’t be happier. From building your own salads (with nine different greens and grains to choose from) to tacos and protein shakes, there is literally something for everyone. For those who live the healthy lifestyle, you usually only have a few options to choose from on a typical menu, but don’t be overwhelmed by all of these exciting options. Just start with the Grilled Peach Salad and then work your way around the menu. Ignite your taste buds with this salad that features fresh grilled peaches, greens, pecans and goat cheese. If you’re looking to add some heartiness to this meal, pair with some pomegranate quinoa or their baked sweet potato fries.

Top Salads Orange County

Top Orange County Salads Shuck Oyster Bar
Photography by: Michelle Slieff, Courtesy of 100eats

Shuck Oyster Bar
3313 Hyland Ave
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
949.420.0478 |

Get the dish on what makes fresh seafood the raw deal when you dine at Shuck Oyster Bar. Located at the OC Mix in Costa Mesa’s SOCO, Shuck Oyster Bar delivers with their fresh seafood flown in daily. Their oysters are hand selected from over sixty farms, bringing the largest variety to your palate in one sitting. Enjoy a glass of wine at the bar while they shuck the oysters right in front of you. Expect friendly service, a great atmosphere and a strong understanding of sourcing and preparing freshly caught seafood. Yes, the Lobster Mac may try and tempt you, but remember, you came for the salad. After one bite of their Crab Louie, that’s loaded with crab, shrimp and avocado, and everything else you expect in a Crab Louie (and then some) you will be very happy with your decision.

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