Urban Plates

3972 Barranca Parkway
Irvine, CA 92606


  • $$
  • Dinner, Lunch, Snack Food
Since this yuppie-version of Boston Market opened in Irvine, the line forms early and quick. It offers hot meals cooked in an actual stoves behind the servers, and sold for a reasonable price point of $10. The concept is the same as Lemonade at Fashion Island and Tender Greens at the Spectrum. Urban Plates self-describes itself as a "farm-to-table" cafeteria. The original is from the Del Mar neighborhood of San Diego. The turkey meatloaf is wonderful and even better when you get it with the sides. The sautéed broccolini is usually still hot from the pan and the mashed potato is almost as good as Tender Greens over at the Irvine Spectrum. Perhaps the single best reason to queue up with the yuppies at Urban Plates is the mango tart - a pastry that sells for a slightly exorbitant $5 a slice, but is still kind of worth it. The crust is a shortbread-like, dense and crumbly thing about twice the thickness of what you'd find in a pumpkin pie. This is slathered with a layer of smooth custard, then mangoes arranged like petals on a flower. Together it forms an amazing dessert.

Related Stories (3)

  • Battle Bougey Cafeterias: Urban Plates vs. Tender Greens
    Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 7:33 a.m. by Courtney Hamilton

    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...

  • 10 Great Desserts in OC and Long Beach
    Friday, November 1, 2013 at 8 a.m. by Edwin Goei

    You know the feeling: when they come around after you've demolished your meal, asking if you have room for dessert. You want something sweet to round off the night, but the dessert menu is the same tired list of cheesecakes and molt...

  • Eat This Now: Mango Tart at Urban Plates
    Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 6 a.m. by Edwin Goei

    Urban Plates, the self-described "farm-to-table" cafeteria from the Del Mar neighborhood of San Diego, serves a very respectable turkey meatloaf. It's even better when you get it with a side of sautéed broccolini while it's s...

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