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The Best Food at California Pizza Kitchen

Our list of the best food on the California Pizza Kitchen menu, from pizzas to salads and sides

California Pizza Kitchen has been a beloved pizza chain for decades. Between the California-style artisanal pizzas and the handcrafted cocktails, California Pizza Kitchen takes casual dining to a whole other level.

California Pizza Kitchen in the Ala Moana Center

This popular restaurant originated in Beverly Hills in 1985 and is a tasty blend of Italian American cuisine and Los Angeles innovation. Surprising and delicious meals like Thai chicken pizzas and avocado club egg rolls await when you dine at the California Pizza Kitchen. 

If it’s your first time visiting a California Pizza Kitchen, you may feel overwhelmed—the restaurant has a large menu with a plethora of appealing options. The options range from uniquely flavored pizzas to main entrees and pasta dishes. 

Best California Pizza Kitchen Menu Items 

To help, I’ve put together a guide on my absolute favorite California Pizza Kitchen menu items. Read on to learn about the best California Pizza Kitchen menu items. 

Banh Mi Bowl

The Banh Mi Bowl is a perfect meal if you want something fresh and healthy.

This protein bowl is inspired by the Vietnamese sandwich Banh Mi. The bowl features a quinoa base with baby kale and grilled spinach.

My favorite part of this dish is all the fresh vegetables: radishes, cucumbers, avocados, and more make the Banh Mi Bowl colorful and yummy.

This protein bowl may be healthy, but it still brings some powerful flavor.

Cilantro and mint are mixed in with the quinoa, and a house-made chili-lime vinaigrette makes the meal stand out as special.


Wild Mushroom Pizza

If you love mushrooms as much as I do, you can’t go wrong with the Wild Mushroom Pizza.

This California Pizza Kitchen classic does so much with just a few simple ingredients.

A blend of shitake, cremini, and portobello mushrooms is combined with Romano and mozzarella cheese and then topped with scallions, black pepper, and parmesan.

This pizza is an excellent choice if you crave an elevated version of your favorite comfort pizza toppings.

For anyone who wants to enhance their Wild Mushroom Pizza, I recommend ordering it with a drizzle of white truffle oil. 


Cedar Plank Salmon

You may not expect a chain restaurant to have such a high-end entree, but I encourage you to give the Cedar Plank Salmon a chance.

As the name implies, the salmon is oven-roasted on a piece of cedarwood, creating an incredibly rich and smoky flavor that you wouldn’t anticipate getting from such an affordable restaurant. 

The salmon is also seasoned with smoked paprika and lime, creating a well-balanced spicy and tangy taste.

It comes with a side of corn and spinach succotash topped with Feta cheese, which complements the cedar plank salmon perfectly. 


Szechwan Chicken Dumplings

California Pizza Kitchen pulls inspiration from various cuisines, and their Szechwan Chicken Dumplings are a great take on Asian fusion.

The chicken is delicious, the flavors are balanced, and the dumpling dough tastes fresh and nourishing. These savory chicken dumplings are served with sesame seeds, cilantro, and scallions.

The best part of the Szechwan Chicken Dumplings is the soy-ginger chili sauce that it comes with.

It brings just the right amount of spice and umami to the dish. For a light but satisfying meal, you have to try these chicken dumplings.


Crispy Mac ‘N’ Cheese

The mac ‘n’ cheese at California Pizza Kitchen is so good and so popular that they have an adult-sized portion on the menu.

And if you ever crave a cozy bowl of creamy cheese noodles, you need to head straight to your closest California Pizza Kitchen.

I love the California Pizza Kitchen mac ‘n’ cheese because of its wholesome freshness and rich flavor.

Unlike other chain restaurants that can serve mac ‘n’ cheese that tastes reheated or bland, the California Pizza Kitchen mac ‘n’ cheese is always made with extreme care and attention to quality.

So whether you are looking for a good meal for your child or just want a nostalgic snack for yourself, the California Pizza Kitchen mac ‘n’ cheese is a can’t-miss treat. 


Five Cheese + Fresh Tomato Pizza

The Five Cheese and Fresh Tomato Pizza is a traditionalist pizza.

For a restaurant known for its unusual and original flavors, California Pizza Kitchen’s Five Cheese and Fresh Tomato Pizza is a beautiful homage to the classic pizza flavors.

This pizza features all of the best cheeses: smoked gouda, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, and Romano.

Tomatoes and basil top this yummy cheesy pizza. If you want to add an extra kick to your cheese and tomato pizza, I suggest trying it with the spicy pepperoni.

And if you’re looking for a healthy element to offset all that cheese, I love this pizza on a chickpea crust. 


Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza

The Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza is a savory and indulgent flatbread dish.

This pizza features roasted garlic chicken sitting atop a melted blend of fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Scallions, cracked black pepper, and sweet caramelized onions serve as the finishing touches. 

This dish is ideal if you are in the mood for a deluxe cheese pizza but want to mix it up with some new and exciting flavors.

I especially like ordering the roasted garlic chicken pizza for dinner, as the chicken provides plenty of filling protein. For a healthier and even tastier version, try it with a cauliflower crust.  


Thai Chicken Pizza

The Thai Chicken Pizza is a truly unique and innovative pizza option at California Pizza Kitchen.

It’s served on the classic hand-tossed dough crust, but all of the toppings are inspired by Thai cuisine. In this pizza, mozzarella cheese is blended with Thai peanut sauce and then topped with cilantro, bean sprouts, carrots, and scallions. 

This pizza exceeds expectations when it comes to the standard veggie pizza.

The freshness of the vegetables mixes with the warm, salty cheese and peanut sauce combination to create a memorable and satisfying flatbread dish.

Once you try it, you will keep coming back to California Pizza Kitchen for more. 


The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza

The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza is California Pizza Kitchen’s prized menu item.

If you are a fan of barbecue chicken on pizza, you can thank California Pizza Kitchen for popularizing it.

At California Pizza Kitchen, the Original BBQ Chicken Pizza is made with their signature barbecue sauce. The smoked gouda and red onions pair perfectly with the pulled chicken.

If you only have one chance to eat at California Pizza Kitchen, this is the pizza to try. It’s an iconic pizza, and no one does it better than the original.

And for the pizza enthusiasts looking for a funky twist, I suggest trying it with some pineapple added. 


Lettuce Wraps

If pizza isn’t your scene, don’t worry—California Pizza Kitchen has many other dishes to offer.

One of my favorite light and healthy menu items at California Pizza Kitchen are the Lettuce Wraps.

Lettuce Wraps come with a delicious vegetarian protein blend of shiitake mushrooms, scallions, and water chestnuts, mixed in a ginger soy sauce.

I love that this meal is spicy and savory without being unhealthy or sitting heavy in my stomach.

The crispy crunch of the lettuce and scallions go quite nicely with the texture of the mushrooms, and the ginger soy sauce adds the perfect amount of salty flavor.

Although the original version is vegetarian, you can also get it with chicken or shrimp. 


Caesar Salad

When it comes to chain restaurant Caesar salads, the Caesar salad at California Pizza Kitchen is one of the best in the industry.

Fresh, crisp Romaine lettuce is topped with large shaved strips of salty Parmesan cheese and garlic butter croutons. The Caesar dressing is creamy and delicious and surprisingly low in calories.

Depending on your appetite, I would say even the half-sized order is filling enough for a lunchtime meal if you get the salad with chicken or salmon.

Honestly, just the garlic butter croutons paired with the salad dressing will have you stopping by California Pizza kitchen daily. 


Best California Pizza Kitchen Menu Items 

  1. Banh Mi Bowl 
  2. Wild Mushroom Pizza
  3. Cedar Plank Salmon
  4. Szechwan Chicken Dumplings
  5. Crispy Mac ‘N’ Cheese
  6. Five Cheese + Fresh Tomato Pizza
  7. Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza 
  8. Thai Chicken Pizza
  9. The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza 
  10. Lettuce Wraps
  11. Caesar Salad 

Final Thoughts

Eating at casual chain restaurants doesn’t mean you have to settle for mediocre food. California Pizza Kitchen has a consistent record of quality food that is both tasty and healthy. Whether it’s the Original BBQ Chicken Pizza or the Cedar Plank Salmon, you are sure to have a satisfying meal when you visit California Pizza Kitchen.

Although the items listed here are some of the best California Pizza Kitchen menu items, there are plenty of other pizzas and yummy appetizers worth trying, not to mention their fancy specialty cocktails.

For more information on quality casual dining, check out this article on the best menu items at Panera

Did I miss any of your favorite California Pizza Kitchen menu items? Let me know, and I’ll be sure to check them out! 

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.