7 Must-Try San Diego Restaurants If You Want To Eat Healthy

A fresh year usually implies a fresh resolve to set goals, and those ever-so-high expectations to finally eat healthy. Holiday indulgence is but a mere knowing wink in the past, and visions of a healthier tomorrow are on the horizon.

Well, allow me to give you permission to take a moment of pause before you run off to spin class, and hop on that full-fledged Whole30 train.

Let’s baby-step towards attainable changes, and set ourselves up for success, starting with where we’re going out to eat!

1. Cute Spot for a Healthy Breakfast: Parakeet Cafe

Parakeet Cafe, with locations around San Diego, has become our go-to place for a healthy breakfast in San Diego that’s also very tasty and filling.

Vegans will feel perfectly at home here, but there are also plenty of options for those hungry for eggs, chicken, and salmon.

It’s truly hard to pick favorite dishes here, because we love them all. But we do find ourselves returning to their Healthy Breakfast Bowl, Eggs Benedict on Toast, and Grilled Vegetable Bowl most often. Pair up whatever you eat with one of their coffees or teas – they have an amazing selection.

And do NOT leave without their Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie to power you through your day!

You will most definitely leave Parakeet Cafe satisfied and sure that you put something good into your body. Their organic ingredients are always perfectly fresh, bright, and flavorful – we don’t know how they pull it off!

2. Best Place for Date Night: Cafe Gratitude

It was truly a happy day when Cafe Gratitude opened its doors here in SD after already holding down several locations in LA.

For starters, the space is every bit as airy and bright as their menu. Their vision is one truly born out of intention, and that intention is to honor our environment and community through practicing sustainability, and utilizing the best ingredients for those they’re serving.

In terms of a charming date night (or day) spot to get something truly nourishing for your body, but not sacrificing, let’s say…a glass of wine, or brunch mimosa, this is definitely the place.

Not only are all of their bowls seriously hearty, with options like their “whole” bowl, featuring braised butternut squash, adzuki beans, sea vegetables, sauteed greens, kimchi, garlic tahini, and teriyaki almonds, all over a bed of sprouted probiotic rice or quinoa, but they also offer some unique entrees like grilled polenta and mushroom ragu, mole enchiladas, and a seasonal vegetable stuffed phyllo.

Clearly, carbs are still involved, so let’s just have a collective sigh of relief, and clink wine glasses over that.

3. Best Grab-and-Go Juice or Smoothie: Pure Press

Pure press is a sweet little departure from your average juice shop. Let’s just say, it’s less of a post-workout vibe, and more of a walk-your-dog-here vibe (PSA: I’m definitely more at home with the latter of the two.).

Pure Press’ tiny walk-up shack is 100% quaint, and their menu is streamlined. With a small offering of juices, smoothies, and customizable acai bowls, you’re sure to find something perfectly nourishing and delicious to enjoy on their deck in the sun, or on your walk through the neighborhood.

4. Best Farm-to-Table: Garden Kitchen

Garden Kitchen is a true local gem, run by husband and wife team, Coral and Russ Foder. Their focus is on locally grown, sustainable, organic, antibiotic-free ingredients all featured on a rotating menu that is all about seasonality.

This is the place to go if you are looking for something that feels inherently indulgent, but you know for a fact what you’re getting is truly good for the soul, and easy on the environment. They offer options of vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores alike, along with some seriously delicious desserts, and a strong selection of local wine and beer.

Bonus tip! Garden Kitchen is teaming up with a variety of other San Diego farm-supported restaurants for San Diego Farm to Fork Week starting on January 17th!

5. Best Place to Trick Your Friends into Eating Vegan: Moncai Vegan

This casual little spot nestled in Normal Heights is known for spinning straw into gold, aka, turning comfort food into vegan food.

Far too often, vegans really do get the short end of the restaurant stick, leaving them with maybe a crudite and hummus starter, with a side of something black bean adjacent. No qualms with hummus or black beans, but Moncai is turning the tables on comfort classics like chicken and dumplings, nachos, corn dogs, cinnamon rolls, Boston cream pie doughnuts, and more, making this a truly unique destination for some seriously satisfying vegan fare.

6. Best Place When You Just Want a Damn Burger: Plant Power Fast Food

Okay, listen. I am not here to wave a wand and turn plants into beef, or convince you that this will fully mimic that sweet, sweet, In-N-Out nostalgia. However, Plant Power Fast Food offers some seriously burger-esque, classic diner options that are sure to make you question just how much you really miss animal products of any variety. They even make all their sauces and aiolis in house featuring 100% organic ingredients, including those in their award winning ketchup.

So in the very worst case scenario, french fries and artisanal condiments are in your purview here. It can’t all be bad.

7. Best Guilt-Free Lunch in a Rush: Veggilish

There are few things as deeply annoying as being hangry (angry from hunger) while running errands. Finding convenient, let alone healthy options is a challenge, and can leave you making some, let’s say, more indulgent decisions.

Word to the wise, Veggilish is one fast, convenient, and satisfying option located right in the heart of Downtown SD. The concept is simple: choose your base of greens, herb pasta, quinoa, or beans. Then, mix in a variety of seasonal, sustainable veggies, followed by either wild salmon, free-range chicken, or organic tofu. Finally, add your dressing of choice and other add-ins like nuts, cheeses, etc., and get back to those pesky errands, hanger squelched!

See you there, San Diego!

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