Eating right while dining out can be a challenge, especially for those with food allergies or special dietary demands. Blessed be January, when it seems everyone has made a New Year’s resolution. Here are our favorite dishes that regularly serve up superfood nutrition.
This inviting café, found on the back side of Capitol Hill (and owned by Seattle restaurant mogul Linda Derschang of King’s Hardware, Linda’s Tavern and Oddfellows fame), offers lean and clean meals in an upscale environment where healthy meets delicious. The menu notes which dishes are vegan or gluten free, and also highlights sustainable meat dishes, accommodating all sorts of diners. With a highly seasonal menu, things come and go quickly, but a few standouts are always available. We love the vegetable bowl ($15) for its flavors and textures. The veggies change based on what’s in season; a recent bowl combined toothsome roasted beets, a smooth squash purée and crunchy pickled fennel for a satisfying vegan meal. Add a small plate of quinoa salad ($6) with roasted cauliflower and eggplant for protein and you’re set. Capitol Hill, 550 19th Ave. E; 206.860.0077; aneighborhoodcafe.com
This casual organic café serves up a vegan menu (with some raw food options) and has several locations around Seattle, all offering healthful alternatives for the grab-and-go lunch crowd, though you’ll have to brave a long line of urban hippies to order. The raw enchilada plate (made with a tomato-flax tortilla, raw veggies and an herbed cashew cream) or one of several large salads makes for a light lunch packed with healthy fats and big flavor. Choose one of the gluten-free grain bowls, a hearty portion of quinoa or brown rice topped with savory vegetables. Our fave is the Thai peanut bowl ($7.90)—steamed brown rice topped with roasted cabbage tossed with sesame oil, spinach and fresh peanuts, and doused in an irresistible spicy-sweet peanut sauce that’s made in house from curry paste, coconut milk and organic peanut butter. West Seattle, 3770 SW Alaska St., 206.937.8732; University District, 4757 12th Ave. NE, 206.522.6966; Greenwood (limited menu), 8404 Greenwood Ave. N, 206.708.7418; chacocanyoncafe.com
In a corner stall of Pike Place Market, oak barrels overflow with handmade pickles waiting to be plucked from their brine, evoking an old-timey feel coupled with trendy health benefits. Sold by the pound (and by the pickle), these fermented foods introduce live cultures and probiotics into your gut, supporting intestinal health and aiding in digestion. The pickles are large enough to hold in your hand and nosh, and come in several flavor infusions. Standouts include the Half Sours, an East Coast–deli throwback, which taste only lightly of brine; the spicy pickles, macerated in a blend of chile peppers and white and pink peppercorns, which up the heat; and Britt’s caraway kraut, an excellent condiment on roasted meats or sausage. Pike Place Market, 1500 Pike Place, No. 15; 253.666.6686; brittsliveculturefoods.com
This airy enclave serves fresh, house-made Vietnamese food every day and is famous for its pho, with a mineral-rich, deeply flavorful and salty broth used as the base for this traditional Vietnamese soup. The beef pho stock (it cooks overnight!) is made with long-simmered oxtail and marrow bones, plus charred shallots and ginger. Order the pho ga ($9 breakfast, $10 lunch, $11 dinner), a large, satisfying bowl of steaming soup served with a perfect amount of thin rice noodles, along with shredded lean chicken breast and a soft-cooked egg. Bowls are served on platters with traditional fresh pho accompaniments—basil sprigs, lime quarters and sliced jalapeño, along with a squeeze of oyster sauce and Sriracha on the side—and can be ordered from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. most days, and until 4 a.m. on the weekends. We recommend adding plump and succulent shiitake mushrooms to the bowl for $3 extra. Capitol Hill, 550 12th Ave.; 206.328.2030; babarseattle.com
The vegetarian Silence-Heart-Nest in Fremont
Take care of your soul while tending to your body at this spiritually driven vegetarian restaurant in Fremont. The light blue walls and Picasso-esque bird murals are pleasing to the eye, and the meditative music is calming, if not somewhat unusual. Waitstaff in saris serve you breakfasts of eggs and veg with seed-studded whole grain toast. At lunch, opt for the generously portioned, regularly changing lunch special of the day ($8–$11); one of which is a vegetable-filled curry bowl, served with a cup of heavily spiced dal, a thick soup of fragrant red lentils that’s big on protein, along with a seasonal green with brown rice. Pair with a Ginger Blast—a pint glass of grated fresh ginger, lemon and cayenne steeped in water, served warm or chilled ($3.50), which will help kick-start digestion and calm winter congestion. Fremont, 3508 Fremont Place N; 206.633.5169; silenceheartnest.com
Fruit-forward juice bars are proliferating across the city, but this new South Seattle outpost—owned and run by former chef and California transplant Anthony Polizzi and his partner, Tiana Garrett—brings veggies to the forefront in every glass. Located in the heart of Columbia City, the small, bright café offers plenty of deli-like food options—soups, sandwiches, salads and vegan-friendly options—but juices and smoothies are where the menu shines. For juices, try the Green Gift of the Gods ($7.50), a blend of kale, parsley and green apple (read: less sugar) and ginger; or the Kicked Up Carrot ($7), which comes blended with spinach juice and a healthy dose of cayenne, working both as a digestive aid and to help alleviate cold symptoms. Smoothies, too, provide a hit of greens while tasting like a treat. The Holy Mole! ($6.50) combines arugula with rice milk, blueberries, banana, cocoa and spices, mimicking a Mexican mole in frozen, sweeter form. Keep your eye out for a name change and expansion coming in early 2016; same great juices, a new name plus an expanded cocktail program. Columbia City, 4908 Rainier Ave. S; 206.420.2535; jusbarseattle.com