Oftentimes in college, it can be difficult to grab a meal that is healthy, easy, delicious, and of course, moderately priced. Gourmet salad shops can get pricy, fast food is a no-go for health conscious students, and we typically don’t have the time to wait around at a sit-down restaurant. This is where Cava comes in; it is decently priced and quick, while also focused on local, sustainable ingredients that don't sacrifice taste.
If you are a hummus addict like I am, Cava will become your saving grace. Based in the Maryland/Virginia/Washington D.C. region, and expanding to cities like Los Angeles, New York, Austin, and more, this fast-casual chain will ignite your love for Mediterranean-style food. Cava works like your typical Chipotle/Sweetgreen style restaurant, starting with your base and adding on veggies, proteins, and other fun toppings at the end.
To start, customers can choose from a variety of bases like lettuce mixes, white or brown rice, lentils, or a combination of two. After laying the groundwork for your bowl of Mediterranean goodness, you can add up to three scoops of their signature dips: Tzatziki, Crazy Feta, Classic Hummus, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Harissa, and my personal favorite, Eggplant and Red Pepper Dip. The next step is to pile on the protein. Whether you go for beef or lamb meatballs, chicken, braised beef or lamb, falafel, forgo protein all together and choose the roasted (to perfection, may I add) seasonal vegetables, or again, a combination of two, you can’t go wrong. My go-to is a mix of seasonal vegetables and the perfectly seasoned chicken as my attempt to consume all of the amazing flavor possible. The next step is arguably the most important: adding your favorite toppings. You are able to add an unlimited amount of extra veggies like pickled onions and banana peppers, Israeli salads like tomato/onion and cucumber, or if you’re super excited about the Mediterranean-style menu, tabbouleh. Although there are a number of different dressings to top off your bowl (I recommend the lemon herb tahini), it’s truly not necessary since your bowl is already bursting with flavors.
The food at Cava tastes is so fresh and wholesome, not to mention it all comes from local farmers who are providing high-quality, seasonal ingredients. I quite literally dream about my never-ending craving for Cava, so I’m not sure what you’re waiting for.