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Back on my diet. grrrr. HEALTHY RESTAURANTS?

Any recommendations for restaurants serving healthy meals that actually taste good? I am trying to incorporate more fish and chicken into my diet and cut down on calories and fat.

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  1. Hey missmodular, I can relate, ths little (alright not so little, LOL) chowhound needs to go on a diet herself...and this has got to not be unfamiliar territory to hounds, right??? Rather than try to find specific restaurants I've been trying to make it my mission to at least find a couple of dishes at a variety of restaurants that help me survive these all too bleak periods in life....here are some of my finds:

    - Blue Marlin - on Sawtelle in West L.A. - sea urchin and spinach
    - Bizou in the WaterGarden on Colorado in Santa Monica - Seafood salad - this is a real deal...an large salad with a nice chunk of grilled salmon, scallops, shrimp in a nice light lemony dressing over dark greens. And fairly reasonably priced at 15.95
    Le Chine Wok - Beverly Glen Market - Beverly Glen & near Mullholland Drive - steamed shrimp and veggies, sauce on the side and Pho Ga soup, hold the noodles or I get the noodles on the side and just put a few into the soup. You got to move fast before they get too gluey on the side....my husband scoops up the rest for his own consumption...
    Also, teh restaurant "something" Saigon on Santa Monica Blvd. in West/LA also has a nice Pho Ga, same deal on the noodles.
    Pane E Vino - Beverly Blvd. - this is the heaviest of my suggestions...but when you needs that "meat" and (in my case) stuffed artichoke fix, so while not really low cal, this is one of those "better choice" options that a more calorie laden steak dinner...
    Stuffed artichoke (instead of bread crumbs it's stuffed with Panzanella which is a lot of chopped tomato and garlic, also chunks of cheese and some bread, but much less than you'd expect, and it's Tuscany on a plate...very satisfying and not a diet killer. And then follow that with the grilled veal chop, one of the best in the city and very reasonably priced around $23 or $24...skip the roasted redskin potatoes (although they are wonderful) and get all veggies on the side.) A very satisfying meal and you don't feel like you're suffering at all!!
    And my latest diet survival discovery is going over to the Japanese groceries on Sawtelle, and getting their prepared sashimi that's wrapped and ready to go. Yesterday for lunch I had a sweaweed salad, albacore and mackerel which I brought back to the office and it was less than ten bucks! What a diet feast! And I also make my own steak tartar getting their ground rib eye, adding raw quail eggs and chopped onion. Also not too deadly on the diet meter but satisfying.
    So those are ideas, hey hounds, help us out with some more!!! Please don't let us suffer like this!!!!

    1. You can almost eat anywhere, yet still eat healthy. It comes down to making good choices and regulating portion size.

      That being said, Sushi is usually a good choice. Just don't order the mayonaise and fried stuff.

      1. Newsroom cafe on Robertson is notorious for super-low cal food. I think the menu is pretty hit-or-miss, most things sound better than they taste, but if you're looking to eat out while on a diet, it's okay. Personally, I prefer M Cafe de Chaya on Melrose and La Brea. The menu is macrobiotic, so it has lots of healthy options (no meats, only fish, brown-rise sushi, wonderful side veggies and salads) but there are also less healthy options if you choose (ie french fries) so you have to be a little bit more careful. Also, Jack Sprat in west LA (can't remember exactly where) is absolutely delicious and geared towards the health-conscious.

        1 Reply
        1. re: danikm

          I've got a couple of strategies that work pretty well. Firstly, cimero's sushi/sashimi and seaweed salad option is a classic! Also, Japanese salads in general do not have oily dressings, so they're very low in calories.
          I'm lucky enough to live near a Mexican restaurant (Enrique's in Long Beach) that actually has vegetable options. I can substitute sauteed spinach and broccoli or zucchini for the rice and beans, saving a lot of calories. Also, ceviche is dependable, corn tortillas are better than flour, and a soft chicken taco with just salsa and cabbage/lettuce/salsa is a great diet lunch. If your local Mexican place doesn't do green veggies, frijoles de olla are better than refried, and grilled fish tacos are better and fried.
          Vietnamese food can be really good, also: spring rolls - the ones with translucent rice paper, veggies, and shrimp. Also, pho is great, with its broth and herbs.
          Chinese and Thai can both be very tricky for me. I tend to eat too much, so I try to stay away. Fried rice and noodle dishes are especially dangerous for me.
          Middle Eastern restaurants are good as long as I avoid the dips and pita that often come as appetizers. If I can stick to some Tabbouleh and a kabob, then I'm usualy ok.

          Hope that helps.


          1. Tip one: stop dieting. Instead, jut eat balanced small meals five times a day (three small meals, two snacks) exercise, and watch portions. eat less of the food you know you shouldn't have a lot of. ask for no noodles and lots of sprouts in ramen/noodle dishes (they'll look at you funny, but most will do it if you insist) Use spaghetti squash instead of pasta at home Eat a rainbow of fruit and veggies every day. eat beans and lentils for protein as much as possible. its how I lost over 70lbs 4 years ago and kept it off.

            Second, food:


            Follow Your Heart

            Madeline's Bistro

            The Dressing Room for salads

            Non theme rolled sushi, niigri and sashimi in moderation- try Asanebo, 4 on 6, Sushi gen, tama and such

            gelson's salad bar

            Mrs Winston's for th best salad ever

            M Cafe De Chaya

            Natural Foods

            Real Food Daily

            The Natural Cafe in Westlake Village

            Vegan table


            Rahel Veggie Ethipoian

            Fish Grill

            Inn of the Seventh Ray

            Providence for special meals

            Vegetable Delight for vegetarian chinese

            Healthy dishes can be found at
            Marmalade-the grilled veggie salad, the egg white omlettes and dishes, stacy's breakfast

            Bizou- the sashimi salad and more

            and lots of places also offer healthier options if you look. I find that many paces ill comply to use less oil and bring you sides of roast/steamed veggies if you ask.

            When the bread basket comes-send it back with an order for a leafy salad! (no cheese!0 and use olive oil and balsamic for dressing (ask for it"olive oil ad vinegar, NOt a vinegarette, please")

            9 Replies
            1. re: Diana

              Good list.

              Be careful w/ Ethiopian; it ain't all low cal, low fat, or low anything.

              A Votre Sante in Brentwood is totally health centric

              Chili My Soul has chilis without beans and with lean meats

              Fritto Misto does pasta dishes subbing out veggies for the pasta

              Jerry's Deli (heresy I know) does great egg white omelettes.

              Salad bars at Whole Foods, Gelson's and Ralph's are all great, but be careful with the premade concoctions...

              King's for seafood done broiled or steamed w/o butter or oil

              Jack'n'Jill's for good salads and egg white omelettes

              Kate Mantilini does a great egg white omelette

              California Chicken Cafe

              Eduardo's for charbroiled chicken mixed with their salsas

              The Palm or Ruth's Chris for a steamed lobster (no butter) w/ a head of broccoli and a lettuce wedge

              Mongolian BBQ if you forgo the noodles, forgo the chili oils and other oil laden sauce options and go for soy; just load up on protein and veggies... don't go too heavy on the puffy bread or rice

              Shima for brown rice sushi

              Pho, but go easy on the noodles

              Sisley Italian Kitchen -- chopped salad w/ chicken, no cheese, add grilled eggplant and hearts of palm, dressing o/s; grilled veggie appetizer no oil (which gets charred w/ balsamic vinegar instead... yum)

              Argue all you want but Uncle Chen's will cook all dishes with no oil, no sugar, no cornstarch, no salt or any combination thereof, and damnit, the Chicken and/or Scallop and/or Shrimp w/ Eggplant is damn good... whatever is in that sauce, man I would like to know.

              Delmonico's for blackened jumpo shrimp and steamed garlic spinach. The puree of vegetables soup is good too and cream free.

              Knock it too, but I like Koo Koo Roo for a quick breast of chicken, couple of sides of steamed veggies, and a bowl or cup of veggie soup, no lavash.

              Eat Well in WeHo on SM Blvd does good salads and egg white omelettes

              Cha Cha Cha for the grilled veggie salad w/ chicken or shrimp, or their jerk chicken is really good too

              Grilled veggie salad w/ shrimp at the Ivy (pricey but damn good)

              FYI, many sushi bars will do cut rolls without rice if you ask nicely; I love a good tuna, cucumber and soy paper roll; or, shrimp, spicy scallop (no mayo), and crab wrapped in soy paper. As noted by others, you can't beat sashimi. And most sushi restaurants will also do a special side of steamed vegetables for you, to add some fibrous bulk to your meal to fill you up.

              1. re: Emme

                I prefer the health menu at Hong Kong 88 to UNcle Chen's faux chinese

                1. re: Diana

                  Good to know.. never been, will definitely check it out... though I do stand by my garlic eggplant :-)

                  1. re: Emme

                    Some other ideas:
                    Gazpacho at the Grill and the Daily Grill is healthy if they don't put too much avocado-it's mostly tomatoes and cucumber and very satisfying. Most italian restaurants have simply grilled fish brushed with a little olive oil. I like getting branzino (sea bass) with steamed vegetables and checca instead of potatoes at places like Toscana and Trattoria Amici. Korean BBQ can be healthy-just get the chicken breast and some veggies to grill, and it comes with so many healthy vegetables-bean sprouts, broccoli, salad and kimchee. I sometimes even go to the Sarabol Korean place in Century City mall where you can get grilled salmon with all those korean veggies.
                    Fresh Corn Grill on Westwood has grilled vegetable salad with chicken, shrimp or salmon-just hold the avocado. They also have great veggie bowls.
                    Chin Chin will make lots of dishes "lite style" with no oil. Steamed vegetable potstickers and "lite" mushi with no rice is tasty. The chinese chicken salad with lite dressing and no crunchies also works.
                    Cheesecake Factory has an appetizer called chicken lettuce wraps which is pretty good. Consists of chicken breast and cabbage, carrot, bean sprouts and noodles that you wrap up in lettuce leaves with a few different sauces.
                    Bloom Cafe on Pico and Fairfax has a delicious whole wheat pasta with veggies and a thai flavor as well as a few healthy salads.

                    1. re: holleygolitely

                      the sauces for that Cheesecake factory dish can often make up for any calories saved elsewhere.

                      all those options sound good, though!

                      1. re: Diana

                        Those sauces are sooo calorie-laden, you are absolutely right! Something like2 tbsp (which is more than used on one leaf wrap, right?) are at least 100 cals. Also, they stir-fry the chicken and the accompanying veggies in oil, so just because it's wrapped in lettuce does not indicate a healthy meal... it's not even low carb due to the sauce.

                        Another FYI, I believe, that both of those gazpachos use bread in the blending puree process, or at least they definitely used to... I'd ask on that one.

                    2. re: Emme

                      somehow i knew diana & emme would give you all the same recommendations & pointers i would, and they beat me to it :)

                      however, they did leave out a couple of possibilities...

                      coral tree cafe & literati cafe, both in brentwood.

                2. re: Diana

                  Hear hear. No dieting. Just eat properly. Small meals, no or very little added fat. Exercise. When you look at your plate of food, make sure you see that rainbow of colors.

                  My first thought for restaurants: Tender Greens.

                  1. re: Diana

                    great list, but i'd delete madeline's bistro.
                    i think the op implied that there was a weight-loss goal, and at madelines' bistro just a very small minority of the dishes there would work for a weight-loss diet.

                  2. m cafe de chaya on melrose just west of la brea
                    the spot in hermosa beach
                    big wok (mongolian barbeque on sepulveda in manhattan beach--stick to the tofu as your protein source).
                    26 beach (any of their salads, ask for tofu as protein source).

                    i lost 24 lb. 4 years ago and have KEPT IT OFF.
                    my advice:
                    1) use soy or other legume products for protein as much as you can (as opposed to animal protein).
                    2) don't hope that 'portion control' will work; i found it to leave me so hungry that i ended up overeating at the end of every day. instead, be sure to have TONS of greens/beans/ and other high volume/low calorie foods and be sure to have enough protein to keep you truly satisfied all day long.

                    1. Juan Pollo is great for rotisserie chicken and healthy fiber rich beans. For pics...


                      1. I second California Chicken Cafe and also 26 Beach (except it may be hard to not cave in and order their delicious pastas).

                        Tender Greens has great huge salads and little else, so it's more difficult than most other places to be tempted off track.

                        I'll also recommend Jamba Juice or any smoothie place really. I often get a regular size smoothie as a lunch and the ones at Jamba Juice are especially very filling. Yes there is a lot of sugar in them, but it's from fruit, not empty calories like soda. You get a ton of antioxidants and a good amount of fiber along with them. Fiber is key in helping you feel full so you consume less.

                        Koo Koo Roo for great roasted chicken and tons of great veggie sides

                        If you're on the run, Starbucks & 7-11 both have great premade sandwiches that generally don't come with all the high-calorie toppings like globs of yucky mayonnaise :) I'm addicted to Starbucks' Turkey Pesto/Cranberry sandwich.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: LisaStitch

                          Have you ever looked at the calorie counts for smoothies? You might as well have a burger.

                          I agree about Koo Koo Roo and don't forget good old Pollo Loco chicken breasts, without the skin.

                        2. I forgot a couple of our faves for *clean eating*

                          Catch 21 Grill for healthy and accommodating seafood in Encino

                          McCormick and Schmick's will broil or blacken or steam (lobster) and serve w/ steamed veggies or dry baked potato

                          Lulu's on Beverly

                          Literati Cafe will also accommodate happily healthy requests

                          Shabu Shabu (either in Koreatown or even Yoshi's) so long as you minimize noodles and rice and focus on protein and extra veggies

                          Neptune's Net and Gladstone's (not it's *not* the best but easy to do healthfully)


                          Oliver (part of the Sports ClubLA on Wilshire... great ceviche)

                          Sante La Brea

                          Tony P's Dockside Grill

                          Musha/Japanese can be done healthfully if you avoid heavy sauces

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Emme

                            Is the Encino Catch 21 still open? I thought they'd moved to Porter Ranch.

                            1. re: Diana

                              They're still there and going strong.

                          2. I recently tried Cru, which is a raw, vegan and organic restaurant in Silverlake. I know, I know, you're thinking it couldn't possibly be good. But, take it from a meateater, it's actually quite tasty and super healthy.

                            Real Food Daily has two locations (west LA and Santa Monica) and also offers vegan fare, but it's all cooked. Be wary; it's not all low-fat, but they do have a wide variety of great veggie sandwiches and salads - and all are very creative and taste good.

                            I eat a lot of sushi, and either go easy on the rice or just do straight sashimi with a seaweed or cucumber salad.

                            Clare K.