Though the restaurants and cafes along Palo Alto’s University Avenue offer a variety of healthy choices, few can match Lemonade and its customizable, mix-and-match menu with options for carnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike. With a seasonal food and drink menu tailored to the tastebuds of Silicon Valley, this SoCal-based chain is flipping scripts on satisfying staples like soups, salads and sandwiches.

Lemonade’s signature is its cafeteria-style setup, which encourages diners to order a-la-carte from its 50-plus item menu of marketplace sides, greens, “land and sea” proteins, sandwiches and hot dishes. As I walked down the cafeteria line reading menu items, I was encouraged to sample anything behind the glass, which I found not only helpful in narrowing down my favorite sides, but also a great way to explore otherwise-unknown flavor combinations, like the beluga lentil and beet salad with fava beans, grapes, goat cheese and yuzu truffle orange dressing ($2.95).

In an attempt to try as many flavor combinations as possible without confusing my taste buds, I opted for six marketplace sides ($2.95 each), two “land and sea” proteins ($6.95 each) and a bowl of classic mac ’n cheese ($4.50) for good measure. The proteins—avocado and ahi tuna poke and curry apple chicken salad—were packed full of flavor with each bite. Generous portions of fresh fish complimented the juicy, tangy slices of mandarin and creamy wedges of avocado in the poke. Tart green apple chunks balanced the sweet and spicy curry chicken that wasn’t overloaded with mayo. Regrettably, the mac ‘n cheese was a little overcooked and lacking in flavor.

The marketplace sides were by far the standout, each with their own carefully balanced flavor pairings and textures. The sesame marinated lo mein noodles with Honshimeji mushrooms were anything but bland, thanks to a sprinkling of fermented carrots and edamame; roasted broccoli with ricotta cheese was tangy and creamy, drizzled with a light vinaigrette. On the heartier side, the fig and black tuscan kale chopped salad was tossed with whole hazelnuts, giving it a satisfying and crunchy kick. A refreshingly crisp edamame and snap pea salad came sprinkled with sesame seeds and slivers of radish. And the sweet and savory summer corn and peach salad was good to the last kernel.

And, of course, the lemonade—the eponymous restaurant offers more than six varieties, including an exotic guava limeade, a cool and refreshing cucumber mint lemonade and a lip-smacking blood orange variety ($3.50 each). Made fresh, they exemplify what Lemonade aims to do with all their dishes: provide unique flavor combinations for every palate.

151 University Ave, Palo Alto.