Our favorite local spots for healthy eats and light bites.
Health is synonymous with Santa Monica: in a city lavished by refreshing breezes off the Pacific, a sense of nourishment is as ubiquitous as the sunshine. We rounded up our favorite healthy restaurants in Los Angeles, from vegan cafes to beachside sushi, for a summer where you feel your best, inside and out.
Now an LA health food institution, Cafe Gratitude was founded with the belief that food is medicine. Using nutrient-dense ingredients from local farmers, the menu is flavor- and health-driven, with dishes — ranging from the “Enchanting” salad with warm broccolini and edamame, and the “Fortified” summer vegetable bowl with garlic tahini — that evoke Cafe Gratitude’s spirit of joy and regeneration. It’s no surprise that it’s consistently ranked one of the best healthy restaurants in LA.
Gracias Madre’s traditional Mexican menu is entirely plant-based, drawing on local and organic ingredients. The prevailing ethos behind their cuisine is love, both for the planet and for ourselves. From lunch to dinner to weekend brunch, find creative takes on familiar dishes — from flautas to ceviche to nachos — with jackfruit, oyster mushrooms, soy chorizo and hearts of palm replacing meat.
For a libation, peruse their lineup of diffuser-free agave spirits. One of our favorite things about this hot-spot? Some of the proceeds from tequila cocktail sales support local charities.
Inspired by Greece’s airy, citrus-infused ambiance, stone-washed walls and lemon trees greet you at one of LA’s best healthy restaurants. Though you’ll find grilled chicken, lamb chops and New York strip on Avra’s menu, offerings are heavily driven by the sea, with fresh whole fish flown in daily and a selection of sashimi — evoking an open-air market with an upscale flourish. Appetizers have traditional Grecian flare, from hummus to haloumi to steamed mussels.
The Beverly Hills location is Avra’s first on the West Coast, with two others in New York.l
To flex your own healthy cooking abilities or to snack on fresh, seasonal fruit while wandering among stalls, the Santa Monica Farmers Market highlights the best of SoCal-grown food. Saturday’s market holds the crown for “Organic Market,” with the largest percentage of certified-organic growers in any market in Los Angeles. You’ll also find staples for Asian dishes, like taro and lemongrass, as well as choice selections from local restaurants. Go early and you could spot chefs sourcing what will make up the menu that evening, including Oceana’s Chef Ryan.