I continue to work on the balance between being social and healthy. New York restaurant options are endless, my love of food and drink can be obsessive and I truly enjoy going out with friends/family to experience new cuisines/dishes/cocktails.
I know the extremes of being 100% healthy – no carbs, no dairy, no sugar, no booze, etc. I also know the other side of this pendulum – just go after it… and then I feel awful. I have struggled to find that middle ground. Experts say that 80% of the fitness and health battle is your diet.
Enter Lara Shriftman – a PR icon/influencer, mentor and friend. In LA, she introduced me to Real Food Daily. I couldn’t believe how tasty, satisfying and healthy the food was. I returned to NY on a mission to find and try as many ‘healthy’ NY restaurants as possible. After 2 years, here is my top 20 list – enjoy and #stayinspired
- ReViVer: The original location is in Columbus Circle. A Flatiron one just opened! Every item on the menu is backed by a nutrient score (think vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and good fatty acids). I am all over the Lemon Chicken, Moroccan Tofu and Steak and Veggies Hot Dishes. The soups are also outstanding. Shout out to Yao-Hsuan Huang for introducing me to this place!
- Hu Kitchen: Paleo at it’s best. It’s a casual, clean eatery with a changing seasonal menu. The organic pot pie at the bowl station is outstanding and if you like desserts, all of their paleo-approved versions could fool you. They also have the best crack coffee – fuel for the day! Shout out to Lorin Carlino for introducing me to this place!
- Nix: I will admit, I was skeptical. How could luxe vegetarian be that good? Well, it is! Dinner reservations are strongly recommended. The tandoor bread appetizer was sensational. So many flavor profiles going on. On the lighter side, the heirloom tomatoes were outstanding, and the cauliflower tempura, charred brussels sprouts and tofu-skin pockets rounded out the bolder portion of the meal nicely. Jonathan Libutti, thanks for taking a chance with me on this place!
- Ladybird: A ‘globally inspired vegan tapas bar’! The smoked cauliflower and baby beets are exquisite.
- Rouge Tomate Chelsea: With an extensive wine list and a Michelin-star, the nutrient packed food is sublime and guilt-free. The pumpkin hummus and anchovy are power-packed snacks. The carrot soup and cauliflower under small plates are stand outs. The cod, venison and chicken are exceptional pieces of protein. I love pear, and they have a roasted pear dessert which is sinfully good! Orit, you got me hooked on the original!
- Farmer & The Fish: Three quarters of the ingredients are sourced directly from the restaurant’s farm in North Salem, New York. True to it’s name, the seafood is superb marrying spicy flavors to mix things up. The surf and turf offerings are my favorite.
- Blossom: This was one of my earlier introductions to healthy restaurants. Lie to me! Buffalo risotto croquettes, a cheeseburger, southern seiten sandwich, lasagna, moroccan tagine. It covered all my culinary favorites! Brey and Keyla Pena, thank you for this intro. We even got Keith to eat it!
- Urban Vegan Kitchen: If you love the Blossom empire, this is the more rocking sister. DJ’s play from brunch to dinner to keep the atmosphere lively. All the small dishes are unbelievable, but given my love for comfort food, I adore the baked mac n cheese. As for the large plates, how can you go wrong with a BLT, seitan and gravy steak and chick-un and waffles? I didn’t have room for desert but will try next time!
- Bobo: Clean, light french food in a beautiful townhouse setting.
- Dig Inn: There are various locations in New York. Their goal is to build a community through food. It’s a no frills, shared table style, nurturing setting for a casual and healthy meal.
- Juice Generation: I have tried to get into juices but failed miserably. I never feel full or satisfied. Instead of viewing them as a meal, I now use them as the ‘snack’ portion of my day’s consumption. Juice Generation has an awesome charcoal juice that I find very cleansing. Thank you Dennis Pena for this recommendation.
- Westville: There are also multiple locations in NY. Where do I begin? For casual dining with a cozy restaurant feel, this is one of my favorites. I have been here so many times I should open my own in Jersey City! The entire menu is magnifcent. From classic comfort foods, to simply prepared dishes, to the most amazing vegetable assortment! This menu could work for anyone. There are not enough good things to say. Trish Mannion, this was one of the best dinner spots you ever recommended! I am addicted.
- Chalk Point: Seared octopus and truffled Jerusalem artichokes and burrata is a must to start. Their call out entree is the mustard crusted rack of lamb. As for veggies, you cannot go wrong with the Za’Atar spiced califlower steak and roasted carrots. Debbie Carlino, this was a gem of a find!
- Café Clover: Seasonal and local focused and located in the West Village, the simple ingredients in each dish simply stand out in their purest forms. All of the fishes are exceptional good, and the chickpea spaghetti was a pleasant surprise.
- Souen: Japanese macrobiotic food at it’s best, and one of the oldest ‘healthy’ restaurants in NY. I love all the soups and noodle entrees (Pad Thai!), but the seafood dishes are fantastic, too.
- Red Bamboo: This was my first vegetarian restaurant thanks to Tricia Kosnik Purdy. I was craving Chili’s buffalo wings and she suggested I try this place. All I thought was ‘Is she crazy? It’s vegetarian. There is NO way it could taste like a chicken wing.’ I take it all back. The bamboo nuggets, bbq wings and chicken parm could totally fool me. I love this place! It’s tiny and in a basement practically, but totally worth it.
- Quantum Leap: Outside of Hillstone (can I consider that healthy – what do you think John Santos and Trish Mannion?!), the veggie burger is outstanding. Like, crave worthy! I went 2 days in row cause I couldn’t get enough. It’s like a little natural food mecca in Greenwich Village.
- Eva’s on 8th: Another oldie but goodie. Serving since the 1970’s, this place has been an establishment for many. Simple preparations but a whole lot of variation and no frills atsmphere makes this place a great spot for a pre-post workout meal. Honestly, I love the entire menu and am working on trying everything.
- V Spot: Thanks again to Brey and Keyla Pena my two favorite vegan friends. This was one of the greatest finds this year. Latin vegan food – who knew? Again, we even got Keith to eat it! I didn’t know where to start with the menu. Nachos, avocado fries, buffalo strips, quesadillas – it can’t get better!
- By Chloe: Lorin Carlino, we might have given up our Soul Cycle once a week dates, BUT we always find new, healthy places to catch up. This was also recommended by the lovely Natalie Weeks – thank you! Love the grab and go option. The burger is delicious along with the air baked fries. And to add to that comfort, throw in the mac n’ cheese alongside the kale artichoke dip!
So there are all my tried and true recommendations for healthy places in NY! As we go into the holiday season and need places to eat & celebrate, I hope these are helpful!