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12 Chicago Restaurants To Eat Something Kind Of Healthy For Dinner

PHOTO: Christina Slaton

Maybe you’re coming off an aggressive weekend filled with too much food and booze. Maybe Gene from accounting brought donuts for the office this morning and you had one too many. Or maybe you’re trying to fit into that pair of pants you intentionally bought one size too small. Whatever the reason, you decided you’d like to eat something “kind of healthy” for dinner tonight.

There’s no need to embark on a sudden 365 day juice cleanse. What we’re talking about is potentially eating some greens and maybe a nice piece of fish, rather than a burger and fries. Here’s where to eat something kind of healthy for dinner.

Check out the rest of our Guide To Being A Little Healthier.

the spots

Ema

River North
74 W. Illinois St.
7.7
MAP

Ema is a self-described California take on Mediterranean small plates. And we’re pretty sure there’s a California state law that says you have to eat kind of healthy. Ema won’t make you go full kale detox, but most things on the menu like a feta and olives appetizer, hummus and pita, or grilled octopus are on the lighter side. Even the protein options like kebabs are reasonably portioned without too much meat. Ease into being a slightly healthier you at Ema. And if you’re looking for similar kind of food specifically for an on-the-go lunch, hit the attached counter, Rotisserie Ema.

7.7
MAP

Blue Door Kitchen used to be Table 52, a Southern restaurant that focused on things like fried chicken, mac & cheese, and collard greens. And we have a little good news and a little bad news for you. The newer Blue Door pushes to serve lighter, healthier, and more seasonal dishes like spaghetti squash and hazelnuts or celery root and apple stew. But they still serve a couple Southern favorites like fried chicken and mac & cheese. We’ll let you decide which part of that is the good news and the bad news.

7.8
MAP

If you’re looking for a quick and casual Korean-inspired dinner, En Hakkore is the spot. The menu is small, but two options in particular have everything you need. Get either their take on bibimbap that’s lighter than usual with 16 different veggies, rice, and your choice of protein, or the sashimi-bap, which is five different kinds of sashimi over a veggie-filled salad. It tastes great, and you’ll feel good about yourself.

The Allis

West Loop
113-125 N Green St
7.8
MAP

The Allis, which is on the ground floor of Soho House and open to the public, has a few things going for it. Not only is it a great place to grab a sensible meal, but the people watching is exceptionally good. And a recent expansion means there are plenty of tables and comfy couches for you to post up for a while. Grab a salad or a whole roasted fish and enjoy a glass of wine while you judge all the people coming in and out.

Doc B's Fresh Kitchen

Magnificent Mile / River North
The Shops at North Bridge, 55 E Grand Ave
7.7
MAP

A staple in the “let’s go out to dinner but not be totally gross” department. Doc B’s has a lot of good healthy options like awesome salads, our favorite being the #1 tuna salad, or a wok bowl full of veggies and quinoa for something more substantive. Consider starting with the baked polenta fries which aren’t that healthy but definitely taste really good.

7.6
MAP

California may have fooled the rest of the country into thinking kale tastes good, and that’s exactly why Summer House Santa Monica can exist. The (kale) salads here are certainly enjoyable, but so are the seafood dishes and food from the “Things We Love” section of the menu, like the quinoa and forbidden black rice bowl with green curry and veggies.

Uncommon Ground has been a leader in the sustainable, farm-to-table, grow-your-own-stuff-on-your-rooftop movement since 1991. They even have solar panels on their rooftop for energy use, so that has to mean healthy-ish things are going on inside.

8.2
MAP

Shaw’s is basically a seafood version of a steakhouse, and there are all kinds of excellent routes you can go in the fish department here. The place is great for a lot of occasions, and that includes eating kind of healthy as long as you don’t get distracted by a side of macaroni and cheese or desserts. Instead, stick to basic seafood options like plain shellfish or the fresh fish section of the menu that’s full of things like sautéed whitefish or grilled yellowfin tuna. Shaw’s will let you have a great dinner without totally ruining that diet you’re pretending to be on.

Handlebar

Wicker Park
2311 W. North Ave.

Handlebar is a great, mostly vegetarian restaurant, so you are automatically kept in check from being too unhealthy. They also serve great fish entrees, including some excellent grilled fish tacos, and nothing says “kind of healthy” like a fish taco. Eat them at Handlebar and enjoy success.

Lula Cafe

Logan Square
2537 N Kedzie Ave
8.1
MAP

Lula might not immediately strike you as a place to go for a semi-healthy dinner, but we’ll tell you why it is. The ever-changing menu always has a strong selection of new and different veggie options. Go heavy on the veggies, mix in a salad and light protein, and you’ll be on your way to those abs you’ve always wanted in no time.

Il Pesce

River North
43 E Ohio St

Eataly is like a carnival funhouse where you constantly walk into mirrors, but instead of mirrors, you walk into some of the many strangers roaming around. Despite the whirlwind going on in here on a regular basis, we remain big fans. We love the pizza and pasta when carbs are in order, but hit up the seafood counter, Il Pesce, if you want to keep things a little healthier. Grilled swordfish with spaghetti squash and a side of daily vegetables isn’t pizza, but it is tasty.

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