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ALL THE HEALTHIEST RESTAURANTS IN ATLANTA RIGHT NOW

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SAMANTHA DIMAURO

JUL 8, 2019

Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean chicken and salad for lunch every day (even though some of Atlanta’s healthiest restaurants toss together some BOMB chicken salads). When it comes to choosing good food to fuel your day, it’s more about how it’s sourced, sustained, and cooked.

If you know where to look, you can find juicy burgers topped with the (organic) works and made from hormone-free, grass-fed beef, and Indian street food featuring sustainably-sourced fried catfish sandwiches.

Whatever you’re craving, Atlanta’s restaurant scene has more than a few menus that allow you to pile food on your plate without piling on the guilt.

This sophisticated Southern-style eatery practically defined farm-to-table in Atlanta. Their menus are constantly changing, are strictly seasonal (no tomatoes here in the winter), and are completely made in-house and from scratch. With a cast of rockstar chefs in the kitchen, you can expect the wonders like a Smoked Trout Burger with sprouts, Karl's Collards with kimchi, Crawfish & Artichokes with Thai basil, and an unbelievably hearty Sunday brunch from 11:30am to 3pm.

You won’t find any GMOs, artificial sweeteners, or high-fructose corn syrup on this menu. Coming from the same masterminds behind YEAH! BURGER, this healthy fast food joint is a true gem in West Midtown. We’re talking organic salads piled high with the goods, grain and smoothie bowls, fresh-pressed juice, toast topped with avocado or almond butter, and even superfood lattes. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Magic Mushroom latte. Served hot or cold, it’s made with chaga mushroom, peppermint, rose hips, agave, vanilla, and almond milk.

Cafe Sunflower

Restaurant

Cafe Sunflower offers a 100% vegan menu that’s loved by carnivores and herbivores alike. Each location has slightly different items (with the flagship in Sandy Springs boasting fresh-pressed juice and Buckhead serving brunch), so consider your cravings before heading to either one. However, both have their own versions of baked stuffed acorn squash, as well as spring rolls, steamed dumplings, and spicy pad Thai noodles.

Farm Burger

Restaurant

Finally, a good old-fashioned meat-and-bread meal that won’t leave you feeling guilty. The burgers at Farm Burger are made with meat that is grass-fed, locally raised, made in-house, and ground fresh before being put on the griddle (and you can substitute chicken or a veggie quinoa patty). Build your own and choose from toppings like oxtail marmalade, gruyere, and roasted bone marrow. FB is popping up all over Atlanta (including at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the new Midtown Whole Foods), but also look for them around the Southeast (and as far as California).

Founder Kameel Srouji opened Aviva by Kameel downtown to bring Mediterranean dishes made with quality local produce to Atlanta. Leaving the butter behind, they exclusively use olive oil for their cooking — and the cleaner, fresher flavor is noticeable. Indulge in delicacies like lamb shawarma or rosemary chicken, and don’t leave without devouring a side of falafel… or a falafel sandwich.

Having a salad for lunch is far from boring when you’re at Wildleaf in Buckhead. Choose from their own salad and grain bowl recipes and mixes, or opt to make your own from dozens of ingredients. All of their proteins are proudly hormone-free and antibiotic-free, meant to be paired with locally-sourced produce and over 20 house-made dressings. Fitt Tip: this spot is to-go only, so plan to grab your greens (and biodegradable utensils!) and head to the nearby Tower Place Park for a picnic lunch.

Kale Me Crazy

Restaurant

This spot is much loved for its array of fresh-pressed juices, but don’t overlook their more filling menu options. Acai bowls, tuna wraps, and avocado toast are just a few of the shining stars alongside a long list of salads, hummus, and grain bowls. Try the beet salad — a mix of raw beets, arugula, sunflower sprouts, walnuts, goat cheese, and other healthy ingredients. And you’ll likely be seeing them often — KMC is quickly growing, with locations all over Atlanta, and as far away as Denver, CO.

As children, we loved Recess. As adults, we love Recess. But for us, it's less about kickball and more about eating your vegetables. Recess, a limited-seat food stall at Krog Street Market, pushes a veggie-forward agenda, serving an ultra-healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner. From the My Farro Lady bowl with farro, kale pesto, and charred broccolini over a spaghetti squash salad to a roasted chicken sandwich with beet hummus, everything you eat here is unique, delicious, and good for you.

Head Chef Wendy Chang serves up super-healthy, vegan pan-Asian fusion cuisine out of this upscale Midtown hot spot. She came to Atlanta at age 17, relocating from Taiwan, and operated multiple successful restaurant ventures before dedicating her skill to a green and healthy movement at Herban Fix. Dress to the nines when you show up to sift through a menu of creative, flavorful dishes like coconut soup with veggies and shallots, or seared pom pom mushroom steak.

You’ll find outposts of this chain in many major cities across the US, but the one here in Lenox Square is worth a shoutout. Their menu options cater to an anti-inflammatory diet, meaning all the noms encourage simple changes in eating habits to avoid chronic inflammation, the cause of health problems like heart disease and cancer. So what does that mean? They minimize tropical fruits, load up on all the veggies, use spices like ginger and turmeric, and even have a place for dark chocolate.

As the only Ayurvedic restaurant on this list, and possibly all of Atlanta, you should get to know {SAMA} Food For Balance. This Buckhead counter-service cafe doubles as a meditation studio, and the food is just as mindful of your diet as the 45-minute sessions are for your stress level. The whole menu is based around the principles of Ayurveda, catering to your "entire physiological structure and function to achieve balance, longevity, and good health in the mind, body, and spirit." But you don't have to be an Ayurvedic expert to see that their juices, smoothies, coffees and teas, salads, acai bowls, and savory "Balance Bowls" are good for paleos/ketos, vegetarians/vegans, and gluten-free eaters, too!

Found just steps away from Piedmont Park, this is the place to go on a warm summer day when you’re looking for some feel-good eats. Their menus change as often as the seasons, and they’re dedicated to making food with the freshest, most local ingredients possible. On any day, you’ll find their self-proclaimed “kickassandwiches”, freshly-made biscuits, salads, soups and wraps, fruit smoothies, and all-day breakfast.

Calling all oyster-lovers! This “Fish Camp” in Westside Atlanta brings oysters straight from the Alabama coast to your plate. Like chef/owner Ford Fry’s other trendsetting restaurants, The Optimist is supremely focused on sustainable seafood and seasonal ingredients. Head here for Happy Hour (Monday-Friday, 5pm to 6pm/Saturday-Sunday, 3pm to 5pm) to indulge in $1 oysters, swordfish crudo, pork belly, and wood-roasted calamari.

Flower Child

Restaurant

Serving up flavorful dishes packed full of fresh ingredients created to help you radiate from the inside out, it’s not hard to love Flower Child’s colorful and inviting spaces in Buckhead and Sandy Springs. And they’ve got every type of dieter in mind — gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free included. Nosh on their Avocado Hummus while you wait for your Mother Earth or Vegan Ramen Bowl. And for sides, the Red Chili Glazed Sweet Potatoes and Yuzu Brussel Sprouts will not disappoint. When you have a little extra time, take a moment to relax and dine in, just don’t forget to park your yoga mat in their designated mat resting areas.

While Chopt already has locations all over the country, they’ve also established themselves in Atlanta with locations in Toco Hills and Buckhead. And, as the name indicates, you can expect to see salads, wraps, and warm bowls full of fresh ingredients on the menu. You’ll always find signature selections like the Kale Caesar, Chicken Tinga, and Kebab Cobb, but they also frequently feature unique specials that are packing some serious flavor. Oh, and they have craft every craveable creation right in front of you, so you can watch the skilled staff chop your salad into perfectly portioned bites before your eyes.

**Updated April 2019.

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