Let’s get one thing clear from the start: my wife is a snob for freshly-prepared salads that use freshly-harvested foods. She’ll eat many types of food (including meat, happily), but loves her fresh salads. We have bemoaned the lack of a quick-service fresh salad place in the attractions area for the past ten years, the whole time we’ve lived here. There just hasn’t been one! The wait is over. Freshii serves up the kind of delightful salads she wants, but also rice/salad bowls, wraps, and many types of meat as an add-on. We couldn’t be happier.
Freshii opened five months ago in the Doctor Phillips area. It’s a chain, already well established internationally, and originating from Canada. This was the first Florida venue; another opened last month in Miami.
Let’s start with salads. Look at the originality demonstrated in the composition of their signature items:
- Buffalo - spinach and romaine, tomatoes, aged cheddar, carrots, celery, blue cheese dressing, buffalo sauce
- Cobb - field greens and romaine, avocado, bacon, blue cheese, tomatoes, corn, honey dijon dressing
- Fiesta - field greens, black beans, avocado, aged cheddar, corn, pico de gallo, cilantro lime vinaigrette
- Metaboost - field greens and spinach, kale, mangoes, carrots, edamame, almonds, goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette
- Ninja - spinach and romaine, cabbage, edamame, carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, crispy wontons, asian sesame dressing
- Superbiotic - spinach and romaine, chickpeas, red onions, cucumbers, sundried tomatoes, corn, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, cucumber dill dressing
Naturally, you can add protein (tofu, falafel, chicken, steak or shrimp), or make the “base” out of quinoa. Or kale. Or get salads as a wrap. And there is an option to just build your own salad, via order cards and tiny little clipboards, if you’d rather do that.
There are “bowls” as well, with equally inventive ingredients:
- Buddha – rice noodles, crispy wontons, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, green onions, peanut sauce
- Teriyaki Twist – brown rice, broccoli, carrots, edamame, cucumber, green onions, sesame seeds, crispy wontons, teriyaki sauce
- Pangoa – brown rice, avocado, black beans, aged cheddar, corn, grape tomatoes, cilantro, lime wedge, hot sauce
- Mediterranean – half quinoa and half salad greens, kalamata olives, red onions, feta cheese, cucumbers, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, almonds, red pepper sauce
- Warrior – brown rice, corn, red onions, tomatoes, carrots, cajun spice, ranch dressing
You do NOT want to miss the Pangoa – it’s one we sampled (we added chicken), and everything was sumptuous, sharply defined, but also intermixing in pleasing contrasts. The freshness popped – you can tell a lot about the nature of a restaurant by the quality of the chicken they use, and the chicken here was first-rate, truly. The same was true of every single ingredient in this insanely flavorful dish. It’s apparently the top-seller.
Then there are burritos:
- Baja – quinoa, avocado, red onions, cilantro, green onions, cabbage, salsa, pico de gallo
- Bangkok – brown rice, spinach, cucumbers, mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, peanut sauce
- Smokehouse – brown rice, black beans, red onions, tomatoes, corn, aged cheddar, fiery barbeque
- Tex Mex – brown rice, black beans, corn, avocado, aged cheddar, pico de gallo
- Thai Lemongrass – quinoa, cabbage, carrots, cilantro, edamame, spicy lemongrass sauce
There also several soups. There are custom-made frozen yogurts. There are juices and smoothies. My wife just raved about the Freshii Smoothie (kale, spinach, pineapple, avocado, low-fat frozen yogurt), which despite all expectations did not taste “green” at all. She said out loud she wished the smoothie could last forever.
There’s a kids menu – our kids will probably get teriyaki chicken when they come – and they even offer juice cleanse multi-meal “plans” to be picked up all at once in the morning, taking care of all the juice/salad meals of the day ($30/day, multi-day options available).
Nestled in a busy shopping center called The Marketplace (and right next to a Publix), Freshii is high profile enough that it ought to have little trouble establishing itself for years to come. In our brief visit we saw more than one local / returning visitor, so it’s gathering fans quickly.
We were invited to our lunch as media, but we will be back frequently. In fact, it’s almost embarrassing to admit, but we had a conversation later in the afternoon about possibly returning that same evening for a second set of entrees. We will be happily paying our way here for years to come. Freshii costs a bit more than fast food, but only by an extra dollar or so per entree, and in the food business it’s absolutely true that you get what you pay for. Here you’re paying for freshness, inventiveness, and incredible flavor. $6-$8 entrees, seen in this light, seem more than reasonable.
Freshii: 7600 Dr Phillips Blvd #10 The Marketplace at Dr. Phillips Orlando, FL 32819, USA
Monday – Friday 7:00am 9:00pm
Saturday- Sunday 8:00am to 6:00pm