Beyond juicing—Eat clean at these 8 Chicago restaurants

By Kat Odell

A new year always brings fresh attention to taking care of yourself—body and soul. Luckily, a number of top Chicago restaurants are paying attention to healthy-minded eats centered on both vegetables and thoughtfully sourced ingredients as a whole. Below, eight places to dine mindfully in Chicago this year.

Fare

Fare
This past summer, Fare hit Wells Street Market as a quick-serve, casual breakfast and lunch spot hinged on clean eats built with seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. That manifests as grass-fed bone broth and collagen-enriched smoothies on offer alongside avocado toast and build-your-own bowls with toppings like antioxidant slaw, sesame eggplant, and local Amish chicken.
Neighborhood: The Loop MAP

Cellar Door Provisions
This tiny, oft-overlooked lunch and dinner café in Logan Square quietly serves one of Chicago’s most exciting and inspired farm-to-table menus. Dishes—like carrot ravioli and Brussels sprouts with turnip hummus—change bi-weekly, making healthy eating new, exciting, and totally delicious.
Neighborhood: Logan Square MAP

Aba
Chef CJ Jacobson’s summer import Aba plates up an Israeli-meets-Mediterranean menu full of lighter, good-for-you plates. A section of the menu is dedicated to hummus variations—topped with lamb ragu or roasted mushrooms—with an overall emphasis on lean proteins and veggies. To start, expect a number of sashimi-style raw fish preps, in addition to hot and cold veg-focused mezzes. Kebabs center on simply dressed meats, marinated in yogurt or prepared with lemon and olive oil; there’s even frozen yogurt (a winning dessert from sister restaurant Ema) that’s actually yogurt put through a soft serve machine, anointed with olive oil and sea salt.
Neighborhood: Fulton Market MAP

Clever Rabbit
Despite its somewhat gastropubby design, Clever Rabbit is all about the veg. With more than half its menu dedicated to various plant-based preps, even the dishes that contain animal products still highlight local and seasonal produce. Think cauliflower with Thai chile and herbs, oysters with carrot cocktail sauce, and savoy cabbage garnished with clams, spaghetti squash, mushrooms, wheat berries, and malt vinegar. Unsurprisingly, cocktails also pay tribute to the earth, like the carrot margarita.
Neighborhood: Wicker Park MAP

Pacific Standard Time

PST
Paying extra attention to produce flown in from the West Coast, this airy, California-inspired eatery from chef Erling Wu-Bower serves as an ideal respite from Chicago’s ubiquitous meat-and-potato haunts. Celebrating New American cuisine with global touches, PST is the breakfast and lunch place from beloved restaurant group One Off Hospitality, serving up approachable yet inspired dishes built from better ingredients. Think salads like delicate squash with tahini and tatsoi, chile-laced crispy red snapper, and a whole roasted duck with pita and pickles.
Neighborhood: River North MAP

Little Beet Table
New York export Little Beet Table hit Chicago just over two years ago, bringing its totally gluten-free, veg-forward menu to the Windy City. Pop in to this bright, cream-colored space for fan favorites like grilled cauliflower and green curry, and sesame-chile chicken salad. Fun fact: Drinks are also inspired by veggies. Pick from boozy libations like Little Beet Mule (essentially a Mule spiked with beet) and the cinnamon-imbued Fallen Apple Old-Fashioned.
Neighborhood: Gold Coast MAP

Daisies
Not only does Chicago’s year-and-a-half-old Daisies celebrate the Midwest by sourcing most of its produce from nearby Frillman Farms in Prairie View, but the cozy restaurants from chef Joe Frillman takes healthful practices, like fermentation, a step further via its beverage program. Also an attempt to reduce waste, Frillman’s drinks list includes house-made kombuchas and shrubs made from surplus produce collected from local purveyors. Try one of Daisies’ many tart tonics, like grapefruit shrub with Champagne vinegar and winter grapefruit, beside one of the restaurant’s flavor-packed plant-based plates, like the parsnips with Parmesan and pine nuts, or gnocchi with sunchokes and sunflower seed pesto.
Neighborhood: Logan Square MAP

Beatrix
Local neighborhood chainlet Beatrix is your all-day American bistro where vegetables are never an afterthought. Think a healthier approach to familiar comfort food dishes from kung pao Brussels sprouts and Greek yogurt-dressed Caesar salad, to Wagyu pot roast and a vegan take on risotto made with a medley of mushrooms and faro in place of white ice.
Neighborhood: Multiple locations


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