901 South Coast Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
More than 100 locations Nationwide
Cosi is a little sandwich cafe that reminds me of Panera. You order at the counter and then wait at a cozy table for your food. They also offer free wi-fi. In many ways though, I think Cosi is much better than Panera. I kind of wish there was a Cosi on every corner around me, instead of Panera.
Cosi is modeled after a small Parisian cafe. This is not to be confused with a small Persian cafe like someone I know thought. It's Parisian, as in Paris, France. The menu at Cosi consists of salads, soups, hot and cold sandwiches and flatbread pizzas. In the evening, they also serve hearth baked dinners like grilled salmon and chicken in alfredo sauce.
I went to the counter to place my order. I decided to get a dinner sized flatbread pizza ($9.99) that I could customize with my own toppings ($1.49 each). I asked the cashier if they had fresh garlic and cilantro available as toppings. She looked at me and said, "Ummmmm....how fresh?" I laughed and said that I just wanted garlic on my pizza that wasn't roasted or cooked in any way. She had no idea and yelled back to the cooks, "Do we have fresh garlic?!?" They responded with a quick "No." I asked if they had any kind of garlic. The answer again was no. "Ok, what about the cilantro?" She yelled back again, "Is our cilantro fresh?!?!?" The cook yelled back "Uhhh....yeah...." So in the end, I ended up ordering a pizza with pepperoni and fresh cilantro.
As a side note, if you have never tried this combination on a pizza, you are really missing out. Pepperoni and Cilantro pizza is probably one of the best kinds of pizza you can get. The only thing that would make it better is fresh garlic. If you haven't tried these toppings together on a pizza, stop reading this article, go out and find a pizza place that offers these toppings and go get it. You can come back and read this article later. But I digress....
T went up to the counter and ordered the Wasabi Roast Beef sandwich ($7.39) and a cup of Tortilla Soup, which was advertised as the soup of the day. The cashier told him that they didn't have Tortilla soup. She said that it was coming soon, but not yet available. He ended up getting a cup of the Tomato Soup ($2.19 with purchase of entree) instead.
V decided to get the T.B.M sandwich ($6.39) that had tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese. The cashier asked if she wanted it grilled or cold. V decided on grilled (which makes the sandwich $6.59). The cashier then asked if she wanted chicken in the sandwich. V responded with, "No....No Chicken....No meat of any kind." "Ok" responded the cashier.
A fourth was dining with us, "I", but to be honest I forgot what she ordered. I also forgot to take a picture of her food, so shame on me....Sorry.
Cosi also has a unique dessert that we decided to try. They offer "do it yourself" S'mores. The menu says that you have your choice of graham crackers or giant Oreo cookies to make your S'mores with. An order for two people costs $7.79 and an order for four people costs $13.59. We all just wanted to try it, so we decided that all four of us would share the order for two. We tried to order our S'mores with the Oreo cookies, but the cashier looked confused and again yelled into the kitchen, "Do we have Oreos?" Of course, their response was "No."
They handed us our number and we sat down at a table. The atmosphere is really nice. The decor reminds me of Panera as well. It seems more like you're in a cozy coffee shop than a restaurant. We didn't have to wait long for our food at all. My pizza was the first to arrive.
I received a pretty large pizza that was rectangular in shape and 15 inches long. The pizza was made on the same flatbread that everything here seems to be made with. I took a bite of pizza and was pleasantly surprised. It was quite good! The sauce had a nice bold tomato flavor and the pizza overall had a nice fresh taste to it. The amount of pepperoni wasn't bad and I liked that they gave me plenty of fresh cilantro. I was only able to eat about half of this pizza since it was so big.
Next they brought V's sandwich. "Chicken TBM Sandwich?" they said. "Um....no" V replied. "I was very clear that I did not want any meat in my sandwich." They apologized and took the sandwich away. I'm wondering if we actually got charged for the chicken sandwich. I have no idea though because we were never provided with a receipt for our dinner, just a number.
They then brought T's sandwich and soup. All of the sandwiches here seem to be served on the same flatbread that is split in half. It kind of reminds me of having a sandwich in a pita pocket. T thought the soup was ok but was very disappointed in his sandwich. The menu was not really clear on whether the sandwich was hot or cold. T was expecting a hot roast beef sandwich, but it was ice cold. He also thought that the sandwich was really, really sweet. He couldn't stop talking about how sweet it was. He said he could barely force himself to eat the sandwich because it was so sweet.
A few minutes later they returned with V's correct sandwich. Her sandwich contained three slices of mozzarella, three slices of tomato and three leaves of basil. She thought the sandwich was just average. V thinks she would prefer to have a sandwich from Panera. I think they could have put a little more into the sandwich. Her sandwich seemed like it barely had any filling at all.
When we finished our dinner, we went up to the counter and told them we were ready for our S'mores. They brought us out a large round platter with a mini fire pit in the middle of it. On the platter was one Hershey bar, eight marshmallows and four graham crackers broken in half. It was pretty fun making s'mores at the dinner table over this tiny fire pit. V thought that since they charge almost $8.00 for this dessert, which is more than any of their sandwiches, that they should have given us more marshmallows. V is a marshmallow addict though.
I really like the environment at Cosi. It is exactly as the name implies, cozy. I think that this is a great place to go get a casual inexpensive dinner. I will definitely get the pizza when I return. I will also probably order the S'mores again because it was really fun. I just hope that they have the giant Oreo cookies next time.