UPDATED JAN 16, 2020
In DC, there are more than enough healthy eats to go around. For the weekdays when you forgot to meal prep or for the weekends when you’re trying really, really hard to stay on track, we’ve compiled all the healthiest restaurants in the city.
With purely vegan ingredients, any option at HipCityVeg on 7th St. NW or Connecticut Ave. NW is a choice you can feel good about. Even better, they use 100% organic non-GMO ingredients to create sammies, burgers, salads, and sides even your meat-eating friends will want to get in on. Don't believe us? We think one look at their Philly Steak sub stuffed with grilled onions and mushrooms, topped with organic ketchup will do the trick. Pair either with sweet potato fries or one of their awesome salads for meal that's both healthy and delicious.
Has Sweetgreen expanded to nearly half the country? Yes. Will we ever stop bragging that it’s a DC brand (with locations all over the city)? No. We don’t need to tell you how awesome this place's salads are, you fell in love with their Kale Caesar and Guacamole Greens eons ago. But by now, you’ve likely concocted your own signature creation—one your co-workers are always immediately jealous of—that practically deserves to be on the billboard. And hey, with the menu changing seasonally, maybe one day it will.
Yet another DC brand making the rounds across the US (cheers to that), CAVA is a go-to choice when you've got a craving for Mediterranean food. From the lamb meatballs and the falafel to the hummus, harissa, and their homemade dressings (has anyone been able to recreate the Sriracha greek yogurt yet?), it’s hard to name a single thing we don’t like on the menu. And with storefronts all over and in prime locations like Dupont, Chinatown, Shaw, and Navy Yard, you have ample opportunity to come in for a quick bite.
One of our all-time favorite lunch spots in Rosslyn and Pentagon City Mall, The Little Beet won our hearts with their 100% gluten-free menu. Whether you’re paleo, vegan, or following Whole30, you will find something to enjoy over your lunch hour. While it’s tempting to build your own option, we also love the Brussel Hustle salad, made with the freshest, seasonal ingredients you have to taste to believe.
Even the most die-hard carnivore can appreciate the plants-only menu at Shouk. Nestled in between Mt. Vernon and Chinatown, with another location in Union Market, this healthy hot spot lays claim to the best veggie burger patty in DC (and they’ll get no arguments from us). Grab a burger piled high with caramelized onions and tomatoes, or lose the pita and load-up with a veggie bowl. Either way, we insist you pair it with polenta fries — so good, you’ll never go back to potatoes.
As the first certified-organic fast-casual joint in the nation, Fruitive is one of our top picks for juice, smoothies, and acai bowls. While the menus vary slightly across each of their DC locations, we can’t get enough of their superfoods-in-a-glass meals and insanely delicious toasts, sandwiches, and collard tacos. With concoctions like the Coconut Colada (coconut, pineapple, banana) and delectable creations like their Strawberry Peanut Butter toast, your healthy meal will be JUST as good as dessert (or better?). Fitt Tip: during the summer months, you can catch them at some of the local farmers markets, too.
Chaia offers plant-based, seasonal tacos in flavors we promise you have never tried before. Their Creamy Kale & Potato is a noteworthy classic, but we also love the Smoky Collard Greens paired with Carrot Kohlrabi Slaw. If you’re partial to breakfast tacos (raises hand), hit their Georgetown locations on the weekends where you can an egg to any taco for just $1. And if you can't get enough of the Beyond Meat burger, their Chinatown shop offers Beyond tacos.
Indian food that's healthy? Sign us up! You’d never expect authentic flavors like those this place is serving up from a fast-casual spot, but with spices shipped directly from India and tandoor ovens on-site (in Fairfax and Sterling), that's exactly what you'll get. Alright, since you asked — we’re obsessed with their Paneer Chickpea Masala Bowl (can you believe they get their paneer from an Amish farm?), Salmon Tikka Masala Bowl, and Lamb Tandoori Wrap.
This family-owned, farm-to-table restaurant on H St. serves one of the healthiest brunches in the city. With organic eggs, multigrain toast, and market salads forming the base of the menu, you truly can’t go wrong. We can't get enough of their seasonal scrambles and veg-heavy apps. But if you get a hankering for DC Harvest in the PM, they also serve an awesome dinner menu.
The chefs at the helm of this plant-based restaurant are both James Beard nominees, so you know what you're getting is going to be nothing short of perfection. In the heart of the H St. Corridor, this intimate space offers an elevated dining experience and a menu of innovative plates and wood-fired delights. Not convinced? We've got two words for you: vegetable charcuterie. Fitt Tip: the restaurant also features a private dining area that's ideal for special events.
It may be counterintuitive, but if your goal is to eat clean, you’ve got to go to DIRT in Ballston Quarter. This fast-casual counter-service spot combines fresh and wholesome food to create simple, easy meals that are healthy and affordable. And the menu is full of colorful dishes, like the Pesto Spaghetti Squash Bowl and Chimayo Chili Bowl topped with house-made hummus, for all types of eaters, from vegan to paleo, and everyone in between.
Vegetarian or not, we should probably aim for more veggies on our plates. And at Beefsteak in Dupont Circle or at George Washington University, they make it easy (and tasty) for that to happen. They pair veggies with greens and grains, sauces and toppings, and proteins and fats to max out their full flavor potential. It’s veggies, unleashed.
Whether you’re paleo or vegan, counting macros or just cleaning up your plate, you’ll find something that suits you at True Food. Why? Because at True Food, real food rules. They start from scratch, cook with care, and acknowledge all allergens. The menu follows Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory approach to eating and changes with the seasons — you’ll never make a bad choice. Check ‘em out in Fairfax, Arlington, and Bethesda.
The founders of LEON believe that healthy and convenient are not mutually exclusive. That’s why they’ve created a modern, good-for-you take on fast food. So, instead of greasy burgers, soggy fries, and nuggets made of… well, we’re not sure what they’re made of, you’ll find plant-based patties topped with ingredients like kimchi and arugula, baked waffle fries, gluten-free nuggets made with real chicken, plus a variety of delicious hot boxes. They got their start in London, we’re thrilled that they’ve chosen DC to make their US debut with three locations around The District.
This Chinatown and Golden Triangle eatery specializes in Mediterranean plates inspired by the travels of owners and chefs Ronen Tenne and Nick Wiseman. And these two are also driven by their desire to create honest food that supports local farmers and delights local diners. The result? A plant-heavy menu of hummus bowls, pita sandwiches, and savory sides (the cauliflower, tahini, everything spice, and green onion mezze is to die for). So, you can understand why this place is a DC favorite.
This bright and sunny fast-casual eatery is a reliable go-to no matter what you might be in the mood for. Featuring a rotating menu of farm-fresh, scratch-made meals there’s always a new bowl, salad, or entrée to try. But don’t worry — they always keep around a few fan faves, like the Mother Earth Bowl made with ancient grains, sweet potato, portobello mushroom, avocado, and more. And many of their locations, including those around the DMV, also offer beer, sangria, and wine, so if you’re having one of those days, they’ve got you covered.
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