The simple act of going out for dinner can be a total resolution-buster. Even if you think you’re ordering wisely, that virtuous-sounding fish entrée might be bathed in butter and loaded with more calories than you should consume in an entire day. So where can you go to be sure they’re not finishing every dish with a generous dose of cream or butter back there in the kitchen?
While many chefs admittedly adore their butter and bacon, some restaurants, like New York’s Rouge Tomate, make a point of being nutritionally conscious. This Michelin-starred spot uses local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients and refuses to weigh them down with too much added fat. The wild mushroom fettuccine below gets its richness from concentrated mushroom flavor, not butter or cream.
We sought out some dining options across the country that might come in handy when you’re in the mood for a relaxing restaurant meal, but don’t want to throw your eat-healthy New Year’s resolution out the window. After all, it’s still only January.
We gathered recommendations from colleagues (i.e. fellow food people) and Healthy Eats Facebook fans, but we know we’ve only scratched the surface. What are your favorite healthy (but entirely delicious) restaurants in your area? Read on for our list.
Ames, IA: The Café
This college town favorite is devoted to everything that’s fresh, local and organic.
Asheville, NC: Laughing Seed Cafe
A laid-back vegetarian spot with International flair. Think sprouted chickpea falafel and Indian pakoras with organic yogurt for dipping.
Austin, TX: Koriente
“We don’t fake at being healthy,” proclaims this cute Asian-inspired restaurant and tea house. “Have a peek in our kitchen. You won’t find a fryer or microwave.”
Bethesda, MD: Rock Creek Restaurant
Want to know how healthy that (creamless) bowl of Maryland crab soup really is? Just flip to the back of the menu, where you’ll find the nutrition facts for every dish.
Chicago, IL: Mana Food Bar
Mana serves all vegetarian food, without any “fake meat” proteins. It’s all about the produce here!
Kansas City, MO: Blue Bird Bistro
Healthy options abound on this all-natural, organic menu: You could order a ribeye steak here, but there are also bison burgers and hearty vegetarian stews.
Knoxville, TN: Veg-O-Rama
Forgive the cheesy name; Locals love this sunny vegetarian spot where the menu changes based on whatever organic produce is available.
London, UK: Blah Blah Blah
International bonus pick: This 20-year-old West London mainstay prides itself on “vegetarian food that stuns even the most determined carnivore.”
Los Angeles, CA: Tender Greens
With locations throughout California, this isn’t your typical grab-and-go salad spot. It’s a cozy place to sit down for a meal, too— and you can get all your meal’s nutrition stats easily with their online nutrition calculator.
New York, NY: Rouge Tomate, Candle 79
Rouge Tomate is worthy of a special occasion; upon walking into the swanky space, you’d never guess that it is health-conscious enough to employ a nutritionist. Candle 79 is a vegan favorite serving satisfying, organic dishes like seitan picatta and stuffed manicotti that is amazingly dairy-free.
Minneapolis, MN: Birchwood Cafe
A funky cafe with lots of vegan and vegetarian options as well as consciously-sourced meat and fish dishes.
Omaha, NE: Blue Planet Natural Grill
For when you just need a burger fix, there’s something for everyone here. In addition to hormone-free, grass-fed beef, you’ll find vegetarian black bean burgers, portobello burgers and lean chicken burgers.
Puerto Rico: Alive Eatery
After finding great success with their healthy boxed lunches, the Alive team expanded with a full-service restaurant.
San Francisco, CA: Greens, Millennium
Open since 1979, Greens led the way for upscale vegetarian restaurants, proving that fine dining could be meatless. Millennium is a much newer gourmet vegetarian spot where you’ll find constantly evolving seasonal menus as well as a raw tasting menu.
Various locations: Seasons 52
This health-conscious chain started in Florida and now has locations in seven states (and counting). Unlike most chains, the menus change seasonally and the desserts come in portion-controlled miniatures.
For healthy home cooking, find dozens of flavorful, good-for-you recipes and healthy how-to videos in our Healthy Eating package.