Ah, 2013: a fresh year, a fresh start, a freshly-renewed hatred of cooking all your own healthy meals from scratch. But now it’s that time of year, about a month in, when the smug superiority of carrying your own meals around and ordering only dry salad and grilled fish when out with friends has waned. Fear not, fitness friend. Los Angeles has nearly as many restaurants to help you keep your new year’s resolutions as it does beautiful people. Here are five of the best.
True Food Kitchen
451 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
395 Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Developed in conjunction with Dr. Andrew Weil, you can get your two degrees from Oprah connection and one of the healthiest meals around at either of their fabulously-situated locations in beachside malls. With the slogan, “You don’t have to be a die-hard Yogi to eat at True Food Kitchen,” you don’t even need to show up in yoga pants. This is clean eating at its finest and most beautifully presented with options from gluten-free pasta (that doesn’t taste like it), farmers market fresh picks, a full, freshly-pressed juice menu and an almost sculptural bowl of crudités and dip.
Hopefully you’re not too hungry walking into Lemonade, because the sheer number of choices require some serious brain power. With seasonally changing menus that are served in “portions,” ranging from one to six and doled out old-school cafeteria style, you can choose from offerings like pineapple chicken, watermelon radish, feta cauliflower and apple jerk dressing. There is also a wide range of meat options such as Moroccan chicken or red miso beef short rib, available alone or with greens or rice. Soups, sandwiches, salads with land or sea protein and, of course, a full menu of seven or more lemonades (including a daily sugar free version) promises to make this an afternoon delight you won’t have to feel guilty about.
“Big Salads,” with ingredients like green papaya, golden pea sprouts and quail eggs will assure you you’re definitely not channeling Elaine in an old “Seinfeld” episode. This is a thoroughly modern take that also includes “Simple Salads,” which are smaller in their size and shorter in their ingredient list. “Hot Stuff,” (which is what you’ll be if you keep eating here) offers a variety of grilled meats, fish and veggies available in a sandwich, as a hot plate or either size salad. Round out your meal with a choice of soups including a daily special and start feeling tender again towards eating healthy and keeping your resolutions.
11938 West Washington Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90066
Admit it. You’re curious. The vegans and raw foodies are hip and hot but somehow not cooking your food seems even harder than cooking it. Fear not, Leaf Organics will break you in gently. From easy-to-eat salads and raw detox drinks to more exotic fare, such as kelp noodles and living algae shots, this is the perfect place to dabble in healthy eating with an edge. A raw smoothies menu and a full dessert menu (hello, raw soft serve!) will leave you feeling full, refreshed and ready to round out your resolutions with some rawness.
Fresh Corn Grill
1510 Westwood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90024
8714 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Fresh corn chowder, butternut squash soup, specialty plates and bowls featuring grilled veggies, chicken, salmon, shrimp or skirt steak over brown rice or in a taco and with Asian BBQ or ginger curry sauce. No, really, it’s good for you. There’s also an extensive salad menu and daily specials. Basic but super tasty bites with a healthy balance keep these locations busy but worth the wait.
Susanna Morgan, a native Los Angeleno, blogs about being a parenting non-expert, single mom of two boys, picket fence-less and June Cleaver’s nemesis over at NotJune.com. She’s on Twitter too. The pearls are off…