Friday, November 22, 2013


Usually, I try to avoid chain restaurants. I prefer to support local mom and pop restaurants because the money stays in the local economy and they seem to be more appreciative, when you come back to visit. Not really being a fan of salad bar buffets, my friend Chris and I ventured over to get our fill of the leafy greens and soup. Needless to say, I was very impressed with this restaurant.

The place was a bit crowded for my taste, but the food was very fresh and the staff seemed friendly and were glad to see me. I actually felt like they wanted me to be there, as opposed to some of the snide comments or vibes I get at other Pasadena spots.

Since this is my first proper review, I thought I would break things down in report card fashion. The categories I've chosen are : Cleanliness, Food Quality, Friendliness, Atmosphere, Validation and Affordability. Thanks for reading!

Cleanliness : A-
All of the buffet sections were perfect. The place was packed with customers on a Friday night and all of the individual containers were nice and neat. If there was a downside, it would be that they didn't have enough bussers on duty to hit the tables.

Food Quality : B+

I've been to several soup and salad buffet style restaurants over the years. This was hands down the best place for me. My only regret was trying a bit of their "Chocolate Lava" dessert. Other than that, I thought the quality was solid and the toppings and other options for the salad were amazing. Was it the best salad in town? Definitely not. But if you have several mouths to feed and you want something healthy, put Souplantation at the top of your list.

I enjoyed a nice full romaine salad with crispy noodles, black olives, a smattering of cheese, cauliflower, broccoli and tomatoes with lemons, since I avoid dressing. The food was very fresh and hit the spot. Besides the lava dessert, I also had a bit of their soft-serve pumpkin ice cream and a small portion of tapioca pudding with a few grapes. Zero complaints for the evening, which was great.

Friendliness : A+
Every person that worked at Souplantation was busy cleaning and making sure everything was in its proper place. I experienced 3 interactions for the evening and all of them made me feel like they were glad I stopped by and hope I would come back. Very warm and friendly, the experience made my meal even more enjoyable.

Atmosphere : B+
If you are single and enjoy a quiet evening for a date or solo, I do not recommend this place. On this evening, the place was full and there were lots of small children. I like small children and there's always a time and place for them, but if you want a nice, quiet meal, this won't be the spot for you. Souplantation is great for a healthy meal, something after a workout or a weekday spot. If you have hungry mouths to feed, this is a great alternative to Cici's Pizza or other buffet-type places.

Validation : Yes
If you park in the garage behind Souplantation, you can present your parking voucher for free validation.

Affordability : $10
If you get an all-you-can-eat soup and salad, plus a drink, the total per person would clock in around $10. If you go for water, instead of a soda or tea, you'll save a few pennies.

201 South Lake Avenue 

Pasadena, CA 91101 

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