Chicago Restaurants That Make it Easy to Stick to New Year's Resolutions
New year, new attitude. Notably, an attitude mindful about eating healthier after a months-long spree filled with eggnog, gingerbread, and pie. But eating healthier doesn't have to mean bland tofu and Master Cleanses. Chicago restaurants are adept at crafting healthful, nourishing dishes without sacrificing flavor and comfort. Here's where to eat in Chicago to help retain those new year's resolutions this year:
Pizzerias probably aren't the first place that come to mind when you think of healthy eating. But thanks to Stella Barra, we can have our cake and eat it too. Or, you know, diet-friendly cake. The splashy Lincoln Park den pays dutiful homage to its California roots with wholesome bites that go well beyond the standard greasy pizza parlor. Think California almonds flecked with chiles and brown sugar; cauliflower hummus with arugula pesto; tomato-basil bisque; and heirloom spinach and purple kale salad. Additionally, all pizzas can be ordered on an extra thin Roman-style crust dubbed "thin sin," which minimizes starch and highlights the fresh toppings.
Despite its meaty moniker, TÊTE Charcuterie actually boasts some of the most inventive, satisfying vegetable dishes in town. One such dish is their produce-packed stunner, the aptly dubbed Garden Cocotte. Filled with more than forty vegetables (how is that even possible?!), the spotlight menu item changes regularly to showcase the very best in seasonality, brimming with fruits, vegetables, and herbs. All that fiber also happens to be quite filling and enriching, so you won't feel the need to round out your veggies with a boatload of meat.
Greek food, naturally high in olive oil, fresh seafood, and healthy fats and citrus, is a good bet for flavor-packed new year's dining. Head to Mecca in Greektown, where you can't go wrong with any of the neighborhood's herculean menus. One such spot is Athena, which boasts soulful starters like fish roe with potatoes, fresh beets with skordalia, marinated octopus with carrots and celery, and meatless grape leaves. For entrees, try the lemony chicken breast, the vegetarian moussaka, the broiled Norwegian salmon, or the succulent char-grilled quail.
The first monthly burger special at DMK Burger Bar fits nicely into one of the hottest diet trends around. The Paleo Burger is served between two portobello mushrooms in lieu of buns, minimizing the carbs in favor of a higher nutritional punch. It's also splashed with arugula pistou to add some greenery.
All day long, Beatrix peddles fresh and modern takes on eclectic cuisine, much of which skews healthier than their original inspirations. This means offbeat juices like cherry-chia coolers and pomegranate-acai shots; breakfast fare like poached eggs awash in spicy tomato sauce with feta and kale; and dinner items such as turkey-based meatloaf and chile- and chocolate-glazed salmon. Even dessert has some wholesome options, like Beatrix's famed chia seed pudding.
Fresh seafood is a nice way to amp up flavor without relying on excess fat and starch. Centro Ristorante knows the way to our hearts with its seafood-filled Rosebud Salad. This nautical delight contains a miscellany of aquatic goodies, including octopus, shrimp, calamari, scungilli, and mussels, all topped off with lemon, olives, and celery.
- Matt Kirouac