Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful evening and start to the new year. Now I know there are lots of people who made resolutions to exercise and eat better in 2014, it happens every year, but we all know it’s easier said than done. I’ve found some great Chicago restaurants that are trying to help you start 2014 off in a healthy way.
553 W. Diversey
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! 2 Sparrows is open seven days a week for breakfast, allowing plenty of time to start the day off right with a variety of dishes by Chef Gregory Ellis including market quiche, Old School eggs and house made sausage, yogurt & house-made granola and more.
1467 N. Milwaukee Ave
Wicker Park’s recently opened Azzurra serves Chicago locals and visitors alike classic Italian fare reflective of meals that can be found on dinner tables across Italy. Perfect for those looking to stick to their New Year’s resolutions, Azzurra offers a variety of light options including the Fennel Salad with oranges, olives, pomegranate and percorino ($7), Wild Mushrooms in Cartoccio and arugula pesto and Seared Scottish Salmon with cauliflower puree, roasted shallots and pinot noir reduction ($18).
1400 W Randolph
“Belly” might be in the name, but it doesn’t mean this restaurant doesn’t have plenty of healthy choices to offer its guests. bellyQ’s menu is full of dishes that are not only healthy, but also flavorful including Kale and Green Papaya Salad with grapes, smoked onion, and crispy rice ($8), Lemongrass Salmon with ginger and cucumber slaw ($21), Vegetarian Hot Pot with soft tofu, root vegetables and a poached egg ($17).
65 E. Kinzie
Since opening this fall, Blackfinn Ameripub has been serving craveable, recognizable food in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. The restaurant’s easy to navigate menu highlights items on the lighter side, including many favorites like the Seared Ahi Tuna with garlic and pepper-crusted sushi grade ahi seared rare, served with cucumber slices, pickled ginger, wasabi cream and soy spice ($12.49) and the Lime Seared Salmon served with rice pilaf and grilled asparagus ($18.99).
2954 N. Sheffield/2370 Fountain Square Dr. – Lombard
(773) 360-8686/(630) 705-9020
It’s no surprise that when January rolls around, people start focusing on making health-conscious eating decisions. While burgers typically do not symbolize a healthy menu choice, there are several options at DMK Burger Bar that will help those watching their diets to stay on track. For diners looking for a lean burger for lunch or dinner, the Turkey Burger, Veggie & Grain Burger, Portobello Burger, Salmon Burger or Bison Burger are all responsible choices, with less fat and fewer calories than a traditional beef patty. Burgers no longer have to be synonymous with unhealthy eating, which is perfect for New Year’s Resolution time!
151 W. Adams
Pizza and pasta are not the only choices when it comes to dining at this Italian restaurant in Chicago’s Loop. Chef Chris Macchia’s seasonal Italian cuisine offers a variety of choices for diners looking to lighten up in the New Year. Lighter options include starters like the Polpo alla Luciana: stewed baby octopus, escarole, pomodorini, capers, olives ($12) and entrées such as the Branzino: roasted whole sea bass, roasted cauliflower, calabrian chili, mint ($39) or Pollo: grilled cornish hen, delicata squash, lemon, sage ($28). Sides like the Braised Tuscan Kale with chili oil ($7) and Sautéed Brussel Sprouts with cipollini onions ($7) help keep the entire meal in calorie check.
24 S. Michigan
(312) 372 – 4243
Although known for its famous Scotch Egg and Fish Chips, The Gage has an array of delicious and healthy options for those looking to be healthy while dining out. The Roasted Farm Chicken with Charred Broccoli, sultanas, toasted almonds and sauce supreme ($23) is tasty and high in protein – perfect for those watching their carbs.
505 N. Michigan Avenue
Guests can take a swim in the hotel’s gorgeous indoor and heated Junior Olympic swimming pool, which features a classic, ornate design restored from its days as Medinah Men’s Athletic Club. Travelers looking to rejuvenate will feel refreshed after a reflexology treatment, the latest in aromatherapy, or one of the spa’s variety of massages. From Hot Stone to a Sugar Honey Polish Massage, guests can knead away the day’s stress.
505 N. Michigan
Who says you can’t eat healthy at a steak house? Michael Jordan’s Steak House has a variety of seasonal salads including their the Roasted Beet Salad, la clare goat cheese and candied peas ($11) and Arugula & Fennel Salad, blood orange vinaigrette and pecorino romano ($10).
456 N. Clark
At this stylish steak and sushi restaurant, Executive Chef Brett Vibber lets the high quality of its ingredients shine. Featuring the freshest fish flown in daily and a robata grill that cooks meat, seafood and vegetables to perfection, guests can enjoy a delicious meal while still eating healthy. The Roasted Beet and Tako Salad with Jalapeño Miso Vinaigrette ($12) makes for a colorful starter with red, gold and chioga beets and purple spinach. With sashimi being one of their specialties, the healthy options for seafood lovers are a plenty with choices like the Hamachi ($8), Salmon ($6.50), Striped Bass ($6.50), Fluke ($8.50) and more. If you’re looking for something on the cooked side of the menu, the Roasted Shellfish Platter is grilled to perfection on the Robata charcoal grill and includes mussels, clams, king crab and other fresh shellfish, not to mention a killer presentation (market price).
116 W Hubbard St
Think noodles can’t be healthy? Slurping Turtle gives guests healthy options when they want to get their ramen fix including Slurping Noodle made with wheat-free ride noodles, clear shio broth, black tiger shrimp, fried tofu, napa cabbage and cilantro ($13) or Tofu Mushroom Ramen with whole wheat ramen, Japanese mushrooms, broccolini and bean sprouts ($14). The restaurant also offers guests a variety of healthy sides including Homemade Silky Tofu ($9), Ceviche ($11), and Saikyo Eggplant ($9).
1952 N Damen Ave
At Takashi, Chef Takashi Yagihashi incorporates aspects of healthy Japanese cooking in the cuisine he serves. Some of the restaurant’s healthy options include Crudo of Baby Octopus with Hokkaido Scallop, Maine Cuttle Fish Crispy Japanese Cucumber and topped with Tobanjan Vinaigrette ($15) and Chicken in a Clay Pot with Amish Chicken, Shimeji Mushrooms, Eggplant, Haricot Vert and Yuzu Juice ($27).
151 W Erie 312-274-1111
Tavernita’s global menu offerings infuse the best of the season’s ingredients into a variety of menu options, including vegetarian and lighter dishes for those seeking healthy alternatives, such as the Artichoke and Beet Salad with Arugula and Blue Cheese ($12.50), Charred Fennel Salad with Frisée, Quinoa, Olives, Oranges, Fresh Goat Cheese and Orange-Sherry Vinaigrette ($12.50), or Wild Striped Bass with Fennel Puree, Crispy Shallots, Avocado, and Grapefruit Salsa ($24.50).
350 N. State
The classic, American comfort fare at Tortoise Club isn’t just about the decadent Pheasant Pie (although highly recommended for those looking to splurge instead of save) as the menu offers a variety of options for healthy resolution keepers this year. Chef Gray McNally features a nice selection of salads for both lunch and dinner, including the Brussels Sprout Salad with Purple Kale, Sunflower Seeds and Apple Cider Vinaigrette ($11.95) and the Quinoa and Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Arugula and Red Wine Vinaigrette ($12) or choose from their Simply Prepared section featuring Grilled Amish Chicken with Seasonal Vegetables ($21.95), Sautéed Skuna Bay Salmon with Winter Citrus ($28.95), Grilled Swordfish Steak ($29.95) and Grilled Whitefish ($19.95) both served with seasonal vegetables.
1400 W Randolph
Now availably for delivery, Urbanbelly’s menu offers guests a variety of healthy, flavorful alternatives to hearty ramen from Chef Bill Kim. Gluten-free options are plentiful on the menu including Mushroom Pho, which is also vegan, ($12) and Pad Thai ($14). The sides at Urbanbelly are also perfect ways to sneak more vegetables into your diet. Sides include Spiced Edamame with Szechuan Peppercorns, Ground Coriander & Fennel Seeds ($4), Marinated Chinese Eggplant with Thai basil and crispy shallot ($6), and Kimchi made with Napa cabbage, cucumber and sesame ($4).