Many vow to eat better in the early months of a new year. Especially since those New Year’s resolutions were abandoned somewhere around January 15, and the day after delicious and wonderfully unhealthy Super Bowl fare. But it’s easy to get back on track in Southern California.
Because LA makes use of locally-grown produce, quality meats, and seafood, there’s no reason to believe that sacrifice has to be part of being healthy. Long gone are the days of juice cleanses, small portions, and bland food. Innovation occurs throughout many LA kitchens, where chefs make creative use of its bounty.
For your clean-eating convenience, here are 16 sit-down restaurants with delicious food that just happens to be healthy, presented in no particular order.
Added: Botanica, Butcher’s Daughter, Crossroads, Coni’ Seafood, Forage, Kismet, Seabirds Kitchen, Tocaya Organica
Removed: Baroo, Cafe Gratitude, Everytable, Evo Kitchen, The Springs, M Cafe, Mainland Poke Shop
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
1. Sqirl Kitchen
720 N Virgil Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Ok, so don’t order that brioche toast (although there’s always cheat day), but there are plenty of delicious, healthy ways to indulge at Sqirl in Virgil Village. Take the sorrel pesto rice bowl with poached egg. Are there blended up greens in the pesto? Protein? Metabolism-stimulating lactofermented hot sauce? Check, check, and check.
2. M Café
7119 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
M Café touts macrobiotic cuisine, translating to food without refined sugars, eggs, dairy, red meat, or poultry. That means fish is still on the table, with plenty of delicious options from sushi to grain bowls to please many a clean eater.
3. Kitchen Mouse
5904 N Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90042
Is there a cuter café than Highland Park’s Kitchen Mouse? This is the kind of place where everyone can have their Gomasio brown rice cakes with crispy oyster mushrooms, and be very happy to eat them too.
4. California Chicken Cafe
15601 Ventura Blvd
Encino, CA 91436
Whether one prefers rotisserie chicken on a plate, in a tasty wrap, or on a bed of crunchy greens, California Chicken Café has endless ways to create a low-calorie meal.
5. Han Bat Sul Lung Tang
4163 W 5th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Koreans were eating bone broth before it was ever cool, as is evidenced by suhlung tang. With very little carbs, the restorative properties of the nutrient-rich broth, lean slices of meat, and a side of probiotic-laden kimchi, the soup is a tasty way to do your body some good.
6. SunCafe Organic
10820 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604
With patio seating, fire pits, and a bar, Studio City’s beloved SunCafe Organic doesn’t feel like your typical granola-loving establishment. Don’t be fooled though, you can still sip kale shakes and nosh on tempeh burgers to your heart’s content.
7. Flower Child
1332 2nd St
Santa Monica, CA 90401
The work of True Food Kitchen’s Sam Fox, Flower Child boasts naturally raised proteins and local produce in farmer's market-inspired digs. The expansive space offers plenty of salads, bowls, plates, and wraps with such proteins as grass-fed steak, sustainable salmon, and organic tofu.
8. Green Temple Vegetarian Restaurant
1700 S Catalina Ave
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Holding it down for the South Bay is the much beloved Green Temple. Nestled in a hidden courtyard in Riviera Village, the quaint patio offers plenty of feel-good vibes along with its insanely delicious tofu sauce, white lasagna, and pies.
9. Botanica Restaurant and Market
1620 Silver Lake Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
After almost two years, Botanica cemented itself into an all-day Silver Lake fixture, as part celebrity magnet, and part healthy dining destination. The rotating menu clearly wants vegans to feel comfortable with a meatless casoulet, but meat eaters as well by offering grilled proteins like za’atar chicken, and grilled lamb chops.
10. The Butcher's Daughter
1205 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
Originating in New York, Butcher’s Daughter found a spot on Abbot Kinney, and built a menu that locals favor. They start early, where wellness lattes, juices, smoothies, and pancakes are available. Then head to burgers, stone oven pizzas, and a solid wine list for later.
11. Coni' Seafood
3544 W Imperial Hwy
Inglewood, CA 90303
It’s been quite the year for Inglewood’s longtime staple Coni’ Seafood. They’ve expanded their footprint to the LAFC stadium, and opened in Del Rey in January. So more of the city can sample the mostly healthy Coni’s mariscos menu, including fresh grilled fish, ceviches, and aguachiles.
3823 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Take a tray and choose from the many healthy options at Forage, including its signature market lettuce salad with radish and shallot. Or go for the salmon bowl with brown rice, pickled radish, egg, and garlic.
4648 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
It’s a vegetable-focused Mediterranean feast at Kismet, where daytime meals range from sesame walnut granola, to kabocha squash with peanut, citrus, and aleppo pepper. Chefs Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson made sure everything is full in flavor, and the menu happens to be healthy.
14. Seabirds Kitchen
975 E 4th St
Long Beach, CA 90802
Just about everything at Seabirds Kitchen in Long Beach or Costa Mesa has a good-for-you touch, with a cauliflower ceviche, hearty grilled mushroom taco, or a jackfruit bibimbap bowl. It’s all served in Seabirds’ beach-inspired dining room, with a pleasantness for those looking to watch their caloric intake.
15. Tocaya Organica
6550 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
If it seems like there’s a Tocaya Organica everywhere, that’s because the company’s been expanding at a rapid rate throughout the Southland. The chain hit a comfortable stride by serving organic tacos, burritos, bowls, and salads, which are also quite light on the calorie count.