The Best Places to Eat Healthyish in Chicago
Sure, we aspire to eat healthier. But we’ll settle for healthyish. These ten restaurants occupy that hard-to-define sweet spot between good for you and just plain good.
If Beatrix were a person, she’d be someone we’d want to have lunch with all the time… at one of her namesake restaurants, of course. The laid-back, friendly spot serves tasty dishes that focus on fresh produce, lean proteins and the occasional giant chocolate-chip cookie. Beatrix just gets us.
Multiple locations; beatrixrestaurants.com
TRUE FOOD KITCHEN
We could eat every meal at True Food and never get bored (or bloated). From ancient grain bowls to grass-fed steak tacos to chicken sausage pizza (yes, pizza), the menu includes all of our favorites but with an emphasis on plant-based, anti-inflammatory ingredients.
1 W. Erie St.; truefoodkitchen.com
Think of Left Coast as a little slice of California in Chicago. It’s not just the grain bowls and salads (piled high with ingredients like avocado, kale and kimchi), it’s the open-air environs you’ll enjoy at both its Lakeview and River North outposts. (So what if half the year you have to huddle inside?)
Multiple locations; leftcoastfood.com
Whether it’s gluten, dairy or meat, these days it seems like everyone is free of something. Lyfe Kitchen accommodates all. Gluten-free and vegan dishes like the buffalo cauliflower tacos are clearly labeled, and substitutions are more than OK.
Multiple locations; lyfekitchen.com
Chicago is historically known for its meat-centric fare, but eating a plant-based diet has gotten easier around here thanks to Veggie Grill. The vegetarian and vegan chain has opened three locations across the city and won over locals with menu items like faux-meat tacos and tortas. Take that, Italian beef.
Multiple locations; veggiegrill.com
Think of this homegrown chain as the Sweetgreen for Asian-inspired food. The menu has a few rotating items, such as the sweet umami mushroom bowl with steak and teriyaki noodles, but you’re free to customize your own meal with grains, proteins, veggies and sauces. We hope they keep expanding.
Multiple locations; brightwok.com
SUMMER HOUSE SANTA MONICA
When the word healthyish is added to the dictionary, it will include a picture of avocado toast, specifically the version dished out at this Lincoln Park favorite. Served on a soft, chewy homemade English muffin with scallion mascarpone and poached eggs, it’s the perfect intersection of decadent and wholesome.
1954 N. Halstead St.; summerhousesm.com
The term vegetable forward takes on new meaning at this hip Ukrainian Village spot. You’ll experience it in entrees such as savoy cabbage with baked clam, spaghetti squash and oyster mushroom, as well as in cocktails like the carrot margarita with Corazon Reposado. Clever, indeed.
2015 W. Division St.; cleverrabbitchicago.com
See, be seen, eat something green. This might as well be the slogan of the Allis, Soho House’s ground-floor public restaurant. Its menu includes a range of light and delectable dishes like tender octopus with romesco and roasted cauliflower with yogurt and lemon. How chic.
113-125 N. Green St.; theallis.com
PROTEIN BAR & KITCHEN
Way back in 2008, Protein Bar basically invented the healthyish restaurant genre. The fast-casual chain has been keeping busy Chicagoans satisfied ever since with its fast, customizable and, yes, protein-packed smoothies, wraps and salads.
Multiple locations; theproteinbar.com