Lemonade is a popular fast casual, cafeteria-style restaurant chain originally from Los Angeles which opened its first San Diego location recently in Hillcrest (a second one is set to open inside UTC mall soon).

My brother and his girlfriend have been raving about Lemonade to me for years and so I was very excited to hear the news that they would be opening a location in San Diego. I have to confess, when my brother first told me it was a cafeteria-like setting, this made me wary. I don’t have many fond memories of cafeteria food. Once we stepped in though and saw all the offerings, I wanted to try nearly everything.

Once you enter, you stand in line and grab a tray, working your way through the prepared foods and ordering items as you move your way along the line. You’re first hit with the “Marketplace” which consists of dozens of salads and other cold dishes. This is one of their signature stations and definitely the most visually stunning. I rarely get excited about salads, but I found myself choosing 6 different ones.

Mr. K, of course, chose zero. Instead, he was focusing on sandwiches and hot prepared items.

I couldn’t resist dessert. They had macarons the size of my palm and giant chewy cookies.

Of course, we had to try their lemonade. They had several flavors and we chose the seasonal watermelon rosemary.

Here is my heaping plate of marketplace sides. I really enjoyed all of them and it’s hard to choose a favorite. I probably slightly favored the curry cauliflower.

Mr. K chose a turkey and jalapeno sandwich which was made to order. He seemed to enjoy it.

White Truffle Mac & Cheese

The pasta sauce was super creamy and we enjoyed this.

Mashed Potatoes

I did find the potatoes a little bland. I don’t necessarily need gravy with my mashed potatoes, but felt it was needed here.

Pistachio Macaron

This macaron was huge, covering nearly my entire hand. I put a spoon for reference. I wish the shell wasn’t cracked though.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Warm, chewy and chocolatey. It’s everything I expected and the cookie did not disappoint.

Watermelon Rosemary Lemonade

This was sweet and refreshing. I didn’t really taste the watermelon flavor though.

Overall, we had a pretty good time here. The food felt light and fresh and the service was super friendly. Despite the large crowds and it being opening week, everything went very smoothly. Street parking is hard to find since it’s on such a busy street. They do have parking lots but Mr. K hates paying for parking. I’m looking forward to the UTC location opening so I can try more dishes.

Full menu:

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8 comments on “Lemonade”

  1. Great post – seems overwhelming, all those choices. Funny that Mr. K didn’t choose a salad. I think my husband would have done the same thing. Looking forward to trying this place out (or the one in UTC with better parking) in the near future.

    • yes there’s so many options! When I was first handed a menu, it just seemed like a zillion words jumbled together. the line did move a little slowly because people were trying to decide what they wanted and some were trying out samples (you can get a small sample of most of the items there if you want to try before adding it), but I didn’t mind too much since it gave me a lot of time to decide and I was definitely having a hard time not ordering everything.

  2. Oh I’m so glad you posted about this place. I saw the signs at UTC for them (are they in front of See’s Candy?). Do we know when the UTC location is opening? 

    It seems Lemonade has the same cafeteria concept as Tender Greens, Urban, and Bushfire? 

    • Hi Faye, not sure about UTC, I just know it’s sometime this month and very soon. And yes, it’s similar to the other ones you mentioned, though I think this setting is much more cafeteria-like than some of the others.

  3. blood orange lemonade!! edemames and butternut squash! all winners. never tried sandwiches, but the ahi tuna not bad

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