Review | Urth Caffe brings lively atmosphere to Orange Plaza

Urth Caffe’s offers an assortment of sandwiches, salads, pizzas, side dishes and other entrees for customers to purchase. I tried the panini caprese. Photo by Dory Ann Carter

As a non-native Californian, Urth Caffe, a popular Orange and Los Angeles County restaurant chain, has always been trendy in my eyes. Growing up, I would read about my favorite celebrities frequenting Urth for their green juices and salads. Since freshman year of college, I’ve only been to Urth a few times because the closest location used to be half an hour away, in Laguna Beach, California.

Now that the restaurant’s location in the Orange Plaza has opened up this semester right in between campus and my apartment, I’ve been twice and definitely plan on stopping by more. Even though some of the excitement from my high school perception of Urth has worn off, I was still happy to swing by and use this review as an excuse to get lunch.

The day I decided to review Urth happened to be the same day that Chapman’s University Program Board was handing out $5 coupons for the restaurant. I happily took one and got my place in line, which wrapped around the corner of the building.

After waiting for a solid 15 minutes, I was finally able to order and chose the panini caprese. The panini alone was about $14, so I didn’t want to spend extra money on a drink. Thankfully with my coupon, I got a discount. While the wait was a little excessive, I was able to easily find a spot to sit at a high countertop, next to a fireplace feature in the seating area.

The wait for my food to arrive wasn’t long, and I was surprised at the nicely sized side salad that came with my panini. The contents of the sandwich was flavorful, because it had mozzarella, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, basil and an olive spread.

I’m not a huge fan of peppers, so it definitely didn’t have the classic caprese taste, as caprese is usually made with fresh tomatoes. The bread seemed to be just wheat, which was disappointing, as Urth’s regular sandwiches come on really good rustic bread. The panini was yummy, but I wasn’t in love with the bread and the peppers that seemed to overpower the caprese aspect of the sandwich.

Even though I wasn’t in love with my meal, I enjoyed Urth’s lively atmosphere – I even decided to continue doing my homework at the counter because the environment was inviting, modern and comforting. The friendly staff were buzzing around making sure everyone was taken care of, so I felt very attended to and welcome.

It was also fun to run into a few friends from some of my classes, giving this Urth more of a community-centered and homey feeling. I’ll try something else off the menu the next time I’m here, or maybe I’ll just come for one of the yummy desserts I saw in the display case. Since this location is so close to campus, and I love the cozy atmosphere, I’ll probably be back within a week.