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Apr 28, 2011 08:34 AM

favorite healthy/fresh food in Philly?

I eat so well in Philly but I often feel like the best things are heavy meaty things - especially thinking of the better gastropubs with their admittedly delicious fried chicken, pork belly, updates of cheesesteak, etc. With the whole meat/butcher craze going on among many up and coming chefs, sometimes i feel like all I eat is bacon and brisket (though I definitely admit I have some say in the matter!).

I feel like I need a little boost of my vegetable eating now that spring is upon us. What are your favorite places for lighter, healthy eating - not necessarily vegetarian but maybe more "mediterranean" in terms of meat/veg balance? I am generally talking about the low to mid-range - small plates or entrees that come out to 15-20/person without drinks, but open to all suggestions... even if it's just specific dishes at certain places.

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  1. I suppose I may not have specific restaurants or dishes, but I can try to provide a general idea of what you can get at certain types of places.

    Surprisingly, The Roast Pork sandwich that Philly is so famous for is somewhat healthy depending on how they make it. This is contingent upon the existence of broccoli rabe on the sandwich, though. Broccoli rabe is one of the best foods you can have. The pork isn't too plentiful, and generally not all that fatty.

    Philly is also well-known for it's traditional Italian restaurants. The seafood dishes with pasta can be rather healthy as long as they are not served with a cream-based sauce. For instance, LInguine Pescatore, a popular Italian dish featuring multiple seafoods is healthy as long as it's served with a white-wine based sauce. Italian appetizers featuring tomatoes or roasted peppers with a little olive oil are also good for you, the key is to make sure the olive oil isn't excessive.

    Otherwise, Greek restaurants are well-known for higher vegetable to meat ratios, though you probably already know that.

    Hope that helps!

    1. South Philly Tap Room has amazing fried chicken, boar tacos, etc., but their salads are actually very good, especially the roasted beet and fresh ricotta. It sounds like one of those played out concepts, but it's so well executed it makes you remember why it got popular in the first place. There are always seasonal veggies on special (sometimes cooked with a lot of butter or oil, ask if that is a problem). The vegan hoagie is good, too; it's probably pretty calorie dense, but it's big and filling, so you can eat half of it no problem.

      Not really a restaurant, but I recently checked out the new Pure Fare on 21st near Sansom; I've tried a couple salads and they were really good. They post all the calorie and nutrition info for their foods, I think everything is 500 calories or less, and so far I am really impressed.

      1 Reply
      1. re: barryg

        Based on this post, I ate at Pure Fare today for lunch - I had the gazpacho and the beet\feta\arugula salad. The soup was just OK, but the salad was pretty good. I work down the street in Commerce Square and there's not a lot of healthy options nearby, so it's nice to have them around. I intend to try breakfast there next week.

      2. I will also reply to myself here and say that I tried the new take-out place on Passyunk, Plenty, last night and it was great. Not healthy by specialty or anything, but had a lot of good-looking sides and salads. I had a portobello sandwich and it was great, my friend had the tasso ham which was also excellent (if not particularly light). Bread was perfectly crusty.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bess

          Just another quick tip: If you're thinking about a salad, ask which type of lettuce they use. Iceberg has little to no nutritional value, whereas romaine is a great choice, loaded with nutrients.