The City of Brotherly Eats might be best known for cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, and Italian hoagies, but when your stomach rumbles and the clock strikes noon, greasy, cheesy, and carb-y can only go so far. Knowing that, you need to ditch your usual lunchtime routine and hit the city streets for some much needed healthy chow.
We know the variety can be overwhelming, so we’ve narrowed the search – just for you. Here you have it: a guide to the healthiest, out-of-the-(lunch)box spots in Philly.
Snag a seat or grab-n-go in this cozy café, offering seasonal farm-to-table options all afternoon long. Choose from a variety of homemade and creative prepared meals, salads, sandwiches, and soups. Whatever you desire, you can’t go wrong with Talula’s, conveniently tucked away across the street from Washington Square Park (just in case you want to enjoy your meal while people-watching outdoors). And did we mention the café features a full coffee bar, just in time for your afternoon caffeine fix?
What if we told you that just down Walnut Street, there’s a burger joint that will actually satisfy your greasy cravings while still meeting your fresh, nutritional needs? At this rare – burger pun intended – spot, choose from a seemingly endless menu of organic proteins, buns, and fresh toppings, all finished off with your choice of homemade sauce to make one incredible meal. Whether you’re a carnivore or veghead, gluten-free or carbo-loading, this place offers something for everyone. Oh, and treat yourself to one of their famous milkshakes while you’re there. We won’t tell.
This newer addition to Northern Liberties takes traditional Mediterranean food and transforms it into a dining experience your taste buds won’t forget. Built off of generations’ worth of household recipes, Apricot Stone is a charming family-owned restaurant that cooks up Middle Eastern-inspired cuisine like eggplant salad, stuffed grape leaves, and lamb skewers. Delicious and nutritious, this place puts the ‘abs’ in kebabs.
The guys and gals behind Real Food Eatery know that ‘healthy’ means something different to everyone. That’s why they want each person who walks through their Rittenhouse door to take charge by constructing their own meal. Start by picking between a variety of salad and rice bowls. Feeling extra hangry? Design a full plate by choosing an entrée over a green or grain with two unique sides — like sweet potato hummus or warm roasted beets. With their all-natural, 100% gluten-free options, there’s no doubt that this place is the real deal.
Founded right here in town, the honeygrow fast-casual dining experience is one for the Philly books. Choose from one of their suggested stir-fry or salad bowls, or opt to customize your own. And if you can’t resist the temptation, check out the honeybar where you can create a delicious snack or dessert using fresh fruit, local honey, a variety of garnishes, and house-made whipped cream. We don’t know about you, but our mouths are watering just thinking about it.
Two words: Sushi. Burrito. We know; your jaw just hit the floor. In this unique Japanese quick-serve in Rittenhouse, you can roll all of your sushi favorites into one gigantic cylinder (of amazing). Hai Street Kitchen knows what’s up, offering mouth-watering main ingredients like Spicy Tuna Tartare and Tataki Salmon. Add to the flavor with specialty, house-made sauces, and throw in some fresh toppings like pickled Jicama, papaya salad, and wasabi guacamole. You can even skip the roll and enjoy them in a rice bowl or over greens instead. Either way, you’ll never look at sushi the same way again.
Walk by this Old City bistro and bottle shop in the early morning and you’ll smell their bakers hard at work before High Street even opens their doors. By lunchtime, twists on classic sandwiches, original salads, and heaps of fresh vegetables make their way onto the plate. Let us introduce you to the Mushroom Melt, graced with kale, swiss, apples, and black trumpet mayo on a house-made semolina roll. No need to thank us; just pull up a chair or take it to-go.
The future of lunch is in your hands when you walk into this quaint Rittenhouse eatery. A fresh approach to Mediterranean cuisine, all of their options are prepared, marinated, and grilled in-house daily. Create your own masterpiece by choosing a salad, wrap, or rice base, then pairing with protein ranging from lamb meatballs to falafel. Hit it with some toppings like quinoa tabouli and roasted chickpeas with spinach, and add your choice flavorful sauce to top it all off. Mix it all together, add a soup or side, and that’s what it’s all about, folks.
This isn’t your typical burrito bar. To prove it, Animo — a Spanish word that means energy, spirit, and vitality — vows to only serve never-processed, high-quality organic ingredients. Whether it’s their soups made from scratch, prepared to order salads, or one of their notorious burritos, you can feel good about what you’re putting down. Do yourself a favor and order a large “Gimme a Beet” juice, fresh-pressed with beets, carrots, greens, lemon, and lime. Trust us on this one.
Did you know you could get everything you’ve ever wanted out of a meal, all for less than 500 calories? That’s Fuel’s promise. Whether it’s the strawberry spinach salad, eggplant and goat cheese wrap, or ginger chicken rice bowl, this energized menu is jam-packed with fresh, 100% organic ingredients. Bonus: Ask to have any of their low-cal meals made entirely gluten-free. Then, vamp up your meal with a freshly squeezed juice for the ultimate experience.
You might be surprised to find chicken, burgers, and even Philly steak on a 100% vegan menu. It’s crazy, we know. But HipCityVeg loves plants. Like, a lot. By sourcing local, using only organic, non-GMO soy ingredients, and even composting every last kitchen scrap, your taste buds (and the Earth) will thank you for choosing this Philly “phavorite.” Check out menu items like the Classic Ziggy Burger or Jerk Chick’n Caesar Salad and rejoice, meat- and veggie-lovers alike, because in here, you just can’t tell the difference.
When it comes to healthy eats, sweetgreen is kale-ing the game. From grain bowls to customizable salads and their use of seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, it doesn’t get much sweeter than this. Fans say you just can’t beet their Spicy Sabzi and you’ll definitely swoon over the Shroomami, chock-full of warm portobellos. With four locations in Philly, from Center City to University City, you can get your sweetgreen fix all over town.
Let’s face it — sometimes you just don’t have time to meal prep. Luckily, Snap Kitchen’s here to save the day. This healthy convenience store (nine of ’em in Philly) is a one-stop shop for everything you’d ever want to eat: meals, snacks, juices, and sweets! Vegan? Gluten-free? Paleo? Snap Kitchen takes the guesswork out of shopping, sorting and labeling all dishes by ingredients and dietary restrictions. Just further proof that not all heroes wear capes.
Contrary to their name, this place is so much more than just salad. Salads? Sure, they got ’em in spades. But that’s just the tip of this incredibly healthy iceberg… and we’re not talking lettuce. Soups, juices, smoothies, their infamous “toast boxes” (think elevated avo-toast atop salad greens), hearty grain bowls — whatever you’re craving, chances are Just Salad has just what you need. Fitt tip: Buy one of their reusable bowls for $1 and get free toppings every time you bring it back! Sustainable & savvy.
Whoever thought such deliciousness would come from the humble chickpea? Well, because of their brilliance, there’s some hummus among us and hummusology is ready to fill your bellies with the good stuff. hummusology’s general formula is simple: creamy hummus + toppings (like sautéed mushrooms, hard-boiled eggs, or fava beans) + pita and a small bowl pickled veggies on the side. If you’re in the mood to mix it up, try their Shakshuka, signature salad, or sabich (a pita pocket to go!)
Fast food that doesn’t slow you down? That’s Noon for you! Noon (formerly VERTS) is a Mediterranean take on fast-casual, and fully customizable. Choose your base, pick your protein, load it up with as many fresh and pickled veggies, feta, and tabbouleh as you’d like, and finish off with something saucy. And skip the street meat because Noon’s beef & lamb or chicken promises to be the fresh, hearty protein you crave. Or forgo the meat altogether and get the flavorful falafel. Customizable and quick? Noon, FTW.
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