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Atkin's-Friendly Dishes in LA?

Hi, I'm on Atkin's, and I'm wondering if anyone else is or was on Atkin's and has favorite spots for low-carb meals, or specific favorite low-carb dishes at a particular place. Thanks.

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  1. You can order a low-carb meal at pretty much any restaurant, just skip the starches! Any grilled entree, be it chicken steak or seafood should be fine. I was on South Beach for a year and usually had things like steamed mussels or clams, grilled meats, burgers with no bun etc etc that you can find absolutely anywhere, including your favorite places.

    Sashimi is a lifesaver when dining out, as are meat and cheese plates. Since South Beach is low in fat I wasn't able to have much cheese or fattier cuts of meat, but you can indulge to your heart's content!

    1. When I was on Atkins, I loved going to In N Out burger. Get their double double, "protein style," which meant that instead of a bun they wrapped it up in hand leafed lettuce. Sort of like a lettuce wrap with a double double in it.

      I had two of these for lunch about 3-4 times a week, and I lost 20 pounds that way.

      1. Thai beef salad (yum nua) is a tasty Atkins-friendly dish. My favorite version is at Green Papaya in Alhambra

        1. yes sashimi.
          at mexican places - you can get any of the cocteles - a campechana, a vuelve a la vida. Or stick to a chile colorado or such. As well, menudo with the hoof is very low in carbs.
          Lawry's prime rib - skip the potatoes. The creamed spinach has so much butter and cream that it obliterates the carb value.

          remember komatsu for the all tempura omakase. Skip the rice. in Torrance.

          Also korean bbq if you avoid the rice. The panchan like the kimchee and some of the marinated vegetables shouldn't be a problem.

          I think Indian would be the hardest. ANd the iranian places with all the rice dishes that are pretty much part and parcel of the food.

          Also, red lion on glendale blvd - you can get a plate of a sausage selection that's quite filling. You can ask them to hold the starches.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Jerome

            I eat Iranian food all the time, but get a side salad instead of rice. They're usually happy to substitute.

            And remember that tempura batter contains flour, which is an unfortunate no-no.

            1. re: Jerome

              Oooh. Yes, these are some great ideas. Keep 'em coming.

              Yeah, sashimi the protein In 'n Out burgers have been lifesavers.

              And I agree that Indian is the hardest... it's even harder than Italian. Because eating Indian without naan is like eating pizza without the crust.

              And what about desserts? I'm getting sick of sugar-free popsicles and Carbolite froyo. I'd do anything for a sugar-free Pinkberry.

              1. re: chowmominLA

                Tandoori chicken or salmon is great at Indian restaurants. I wish I could help you with dessert!

                1. re: chowmominLA

                  Actually, Fiore in Little Tokyo is sugar-free Pinkberry. I think they use stevia. It is quite good. I'm semi-addicted to Pinkberry, but sometimes all the sugar gives me a headache. I've been wishing that Fiore was closer lately. Yogurt and milk aren't technically allowed on Atkins, if you are being psycho strict, but Fiore wouldn't be too carby with the sugar out of the equation.

                  1. re: pasadena_girl

                    Are you serious????? I am a HUGE Pinkberry addict and while I don't think Fiore is as good, it certainly comes in the ballpark, and it's ONE BLOCK from my office. WOW. Thanks so much for the tip!

                    Thanks to everyone, I knew I could count on you for some great tips. I'm tired of just ordering a steak and veggies.

                    1. re: chowmominLA

                      While it's not frozen yogurt, the sugar-free Ice Blended Mochas at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf were a staple for me when I was doing Weight Watchers. They are delicious, and I believe they are less than half the calories and around half the carbs of the ones with sugar (plus, they counted for a milk serving). You can check the website for more details. (All of the ice blended drinks give the calories for both the regular and the "No Sugar Added" varieties.)

                      Ice Blended Mocha:


                      All Drinks:


                    2. re: pasadena_girl

                      I actually went to Fiore (now called "If") today and asked the woman behind the counter if the yogurt was sugar-free. She said while the tea and smoothies use stevia, stevia is not used in the yogurt and there is sugar (albeit a small amount) in all four flavors of the yogurt (which makes no sense because smoothies are made from their yogurt, but anyway...) No nutritional chart available but she says the yogurt has about 22 calories per ounce. So a small is still under 100 calories. Not bad. I got a small "sour" flavor and broke my low-carb diet. Not as good as Pinkberry but in the same ballpark.

                  2. re: lfickess

                    Atkins allows 50 grams of carbs/day. (Ever since he watered down his diet for the "new" edition, 'Atkins' isn't anywhere near as strict as it used to be.) But if you're going ultra-low-carb and sweating the batter (hardly heavy at Komatsu), try Shinsengumi for yakitori 18517 Western in Gardena. There may be some molasses, etc. in some sauces, but you can stuff your gob with meat, meat, meat while downing <5 grams.

                  3. Phillip's BBQ. Sauce on the side (extra).

                    1. Goto JAR and order ...

                      Fried Ipswich clams to start;
                      The Porterhouse steak with a side of creamed corn; and
                      The baked pear in puff pastry to finish.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Neither creamed corn, puff pastry nor pears are low-carb. If the clams are breaded then they aren't either. Now a porterhouse...yum!!

                        1. At the Wat Thai in North Hollywood have:
                          a) grilled chicken and pork skewers
                          b) grilled garlicky sausages
                          c) fiery green papaya salad
                          d) kanom krok custard cups (don't know if they contain carbs?)

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: silence9

                            Yes, I'm afraid Thai desserts like kanom krok are packed full of sugar, fat, a variety of starchy flours, and pretty much everything else that's bad for you. Too bad, because they sure are good!And some of those sausages have rice in them, if you're super strict.

                            1. re: Chowpatty

                              Also, a lot of the marinades for chicken and meat contain sugar or honey too. Same goes for Vietnamese.

                          2. Most restaurants (for an added fee of course) will substitute vegetables (the non-starchy ones) for pasta. Not the best example, but I know CPK does it, as does Fritto Misto in Santa Monica.

                            Ruth's Chris obviously does steak, fish, and poultry, and they offer creamed spinach (but I'd check on the flour content), as well as yummy sauteed mushrooms, and steamed broccoli.

                            Many sushi bars (I know sashimi has been suggested) will do rolls sans the rice. I order tuna and cucumber in soy paper. I also like crab, spicy scallop, and shrimp in soy paper, though it's carbier, and it's definitely necessary to watch for the sugar content of sauces.

                            Mongolian barbecue is very safe because you can absolutely contol what goes in. Tweak meat and veggies with spicy chili or garlic oil.

                            There's also a restaurant in Encino called Uncle Chen's, that's not the "best" Chinese, but they will do dishes without sugar, cornstarch, oil, or salt, or whatever combo you want to avoid. Their chop suey is very good, as is their chicken with garlic eggplant. Egg drop soup is another safe option.

                            If you're at a later stage, where you're watching your tomato count less, chicken cacciatore is good, sans the pasta, subbing in veggies.

                            I hesitate to point out the obvious options like omelettes and burgers without buns, as are I'm sure painfully obvious and somewhat tiresome at this point.

                            1. the counter, in santa monica will be happy to serve your burger in a bowl of lettuce instead of on a bun.

                              also the mongolian barbeque place, big wok, in manhattan beach, will let you go back as many times as you like and get meat/chicken/lamb stir fry with all the vegetables you want. i would guess that their 'barbeque' sauces are not carb free, but they offer other sauces which are: ginger, garlic, soy, chili oil, etc.

                              1. fried tetilla at AOC, as long as you don't have too much of the membrillo that accompanies it

                                1. I am surprised no one has yet mentioned an Argentinian restaurant.
                                  Whether it is the pricey, all you can stuff in your gaping maw Fogo de Chao meat-fest or Mercado Buenos Aires - Argentinian cuisine is a meat lovers delight.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: bodie

                                    Fogo is Brazilian, and you make an excellent point. An Atkins-friendly feast!

                                  2. Much easier to be on atkins then do to low sodium while dining out. Had been on Atkins, and still watching my carbs (except for dishes that are truly worth the carbs).

                                    Favorite was and still is In-N-Out protein style burgers - you just can't get any ketsup/spread with the burger. Entree dinner salad is also usually a good bet, but have to watch the dressing (chinese chicken salad is a no-no). I like to get the caesar chicken without the croutons. It's probably a heart attack on a plate, but it's filling and low carb.

                                    Easiest to make good choices at American restaurants. While on Atkins I avoided Vietnamese, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Persian, Korean and Mexican. You can get dishes that are low carb there, but it's like dodging landmines and the temptation is just too great. BBQ have to be avoided because they tend to put on tons of BBQ sauce that's way too sweet. If you can get BBQ items dry that's another story.

                                    Chinese food can be OK if you get entrees like roast duck, beef with broccoli, etc, nothing sweet (like orange chicken). Even dimsum is OK if you get the beef balls, pork ribs, deep fried shrimp/crab ball, veggie with oyster sauce and just eat the filling of the hargow, etc.

                                    Have to watch all the soup and sauces at all restaurants since they use cornstarch or flour to thicken them.

                                    Dessert out was tough, as about the only thing I could get was strawberries with cream.

                                    1. I have been doing a similar program, and have lost 20 pounds. I eat sushi at Nagao all the time. I get their "moonlight" rolls, which are made with no rice, and wrapped in cucumber, as well as the spicy chopped tuna salad, which is made with tuna, burdock root, sprouts and asparagus. TO DIE FOR.
                                      I also swear by the Counter's Burger in a Bowl. You can get a large burger atop tons of veggies.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: cupcake

                                        and there's all that sashimi too!

                                        The ankimo at Nagao (and Kiriko) is awesome.

                                      2. Wow... I am LOVING all these suggestions. I should be able to stay on Atkin's for a few more months now before starting to get bored again.

                                        By the way, I went to Uzen (Santa Monica Blvd., east of Bundy) on Saturday night and had a delicious low-carb feast of yellowtail belly sashimi, chawanmushi, gomae, dynamite and tofu. One of the best low-carb meals I've ever had!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: chowmominLA

                                          Big fan of U-Zen. Masasan is a local hero.

                                        2. Order the protein platter at Islands. Its off the menu now but still available.One chicken breast,one hamburger with bacon,cheese,sliced tomatoes, & avocado on burger..or u can get 2 burgers..Also comes with a stack of lettuce to use as a bun. Best deal in town: $10.95

                                          1. Nanbankan and Yakitoriya are low carb DREAMS...
                                            just about everything is fresh and grilled. just ask for no sauce, for the ones that have sauce on them, and opt for salt and pepper instead. we found that we liked the latter even better than the sauce!

                                            1. I fell off the Atkin's wagon, gained a few pounds so now have to get back on... please keep these excellent suggestions coming. I'm gonna have to google a lot of these terms but they sound delicious. Thanks!

                                              1. Mandarin Express in agoura hills has a very extensive Atkins menu.


                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                  That menu looks great, thanks. And it's on Kanan... I can watch the snow fall out the window!

                                                  1. re: chowmominLA

                                                    Mandarin Express is one of my local faves. Not true Chinese food by any stretch of the imagination, I've always been pleased with the food there, especially the soups and tofus.

                                                    Kim and Dan seem to have elephantine memory as well, and are able to recall the names of their myriad regulars.

                                                2. I'm not sure where you live, but our favorite local pizza joint, Rocco's (on Wilshire at Crescent Heights) makes a dish called Leo's Carbless Ziti. It's layers of sausages, pepperoni, tomato sauce, and cheese. Now, technically, tomato sauce has carbs, so the name is misleading, but it's an excellent way to get some Italian food without the pasta element.

                                                  I've been watching my carbs for two years now, and I almost never have a problem eating out. A protein plus a vegetable is available at nearly any place you go.

                                                  As for desserts, I'm a big fan of No Sugar Added ice creams by Dreyer's and Breyer's, sugar-free Dove candies (available at Target), sugar-free Reese's, and sugar-free chocolates at chocolate shops like Rocky Mountain Chocolates (be careful not to eat too much sugar-free candy at once...those warnings on the label are there for a reason!). I haven't had it in awhile, so I'm not sure it's still being served, but the low-carb/sugar-free cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory is/was excellent.