Generally speaking, you enjoy eating healthy things. Theoretically, you like vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and legumes. That being said, just because you want a salad for dinner doesn’t mean you won’t feel like following it up with skillet cookie for dessert. Or maybe having a couple of french fries on the side. Or not even getting the salad after all, and going straight for a burger instead. When you want to have healthy options (but reserve the right to change your mind), here are 14 places that work.


Based on what we’ve seen on The CW, California seems like a pretty healthy place. And since Ema does a Californian version of Mediterranean small plates, it’s a perfect dinner option. The menu has options like hummus with crudites, grilled octopus, and kebabs that are reasonably portioned. But if you’d prefer to focus most of your attention on halloumi and the housemade pita, you can do that, too. This spot is great for groups, so the fact that it caters to a variety of tastes is helpful.


Aba is the bigger, trendier sister restaurant to Ema, and it’s where to go if you want a sceney dinner in the West Loop. The menu is largely the same as Ema’s – except with more meat and seafood options. More importantly, it’s also possible (and advised) to order the bone marrow, just in case all the hummus and vegetables start to get on your nerves.


Sushi-san is a very good place to get some raw fish in River North. It’s a fun and upbeat spot that plays loud rap music, is good for groups, and has a menu with a mix of traditional and contemporary Japanese dishes, including excellent nigiri and sashimi. But we also like the tempura and the sizzling rice bowls (like the very rich king crab, or the beef with egg). The important thing is that somebody orders the Japanese pancakes for dessert.

Summer House Santa Monica

California’s healthy reign of terror continues, this time in Lincoln Park. The name and the light-filled atrium alone will make you feel like Summer House is healthy. And much of the food here is – with dishes like roasted chicken, kale salad, and wood-grilled mahi-mahi. But they also have pastas and a pastry case full of cookies and brown butter rice Krispy treats.