King of Hayes at Little Gem

Eat this Now—The Wellness Edition

By Maryse Chevriere

It’s no secret: January is the month when you press the refresh and reset button, renewing your commitment to living your best life and being your best self. And after weeks of killing it softly with the indulgences of the holidays, there’s no better time to steer back toward feeling more alive by eating cleaner, too. But this doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself. In a city like San Francisco, some of the tastiest dishes around also happen to be inspired by wellness and mindfulness. Here are 10 of our favorites to start your year off right.

Green farro salad at Tartine Manufactory
Needless to say, sweets abound at this gorgeous new industrial-chic expansion from the beloved baked goods wizards at Tartine. But if you’re after a bite that will have you walking out feeling clean and ready to take on the world, set your sights on the lunchtime green farro salad. A generous portion of the hearty, nutty grain is tossed with sweet roasted carrots, sunflower seeds, crunchy-tart pomegranates, and feta in a zippy curry dressing. It’s just the kind of delicious, satisfying combo that leaves you wanting nothing—not even pastry.
Neighborhood: Mission District MAP


As Quoted

Kale-avocado Caesar at As Quoted
Presidio Heights’ favorite organic, seasonal, allergy-friendly newcomer has made quick success with a host of tasty, accessible-to-all eats. A definite standout from the casual café menu is the order-bait kale-avocado Caesar, a can’t-fail mix of kale and romaine lettuce, anchovies, gluten-free croutons, Pecorino cheese, and egg-free Caesar dressing. Add chicken or steak if you feel like kicking up the protein quotient.
Neighborhood: Presidio Heights MAP

Burnt octopus at Tawla
This young Mission spot has already earned great praise for its upgraded vision of Eastern Mediterranean cuisine focused through a California lens. If you’re looking for a gratifying meal that leaves you feeling revitalized instead of comatose, the bold, unique flavors at this charming spot do just the trick. Go for a smattering of the cold and warm mezzes, and from the latter, be sure not to miss out on the burnt octopus: charred, juicy tentacles dressed in squash amba (aka a mango pickle condiment) and braised dandelion greens.
Neighborhood: Mission District MAP

Limu poke with inamona at ‘Aina
This newish modern Hawaiian joint has been crushing the brunch game since its inception (guava custard–stuffed doughnuts, thank you very much), and now that it’s debuted dinner there’s even more for Dogpatch residents to love. While the butter bean cassoulet with Portuguese sausage is no joke, the super-fresh ahi tuna poke with heart of palm, smoked sesame oil, salicornia, and shiso hits the spot with a light, invigorating combination of elements and flavor that doesn’t quit.
Neighborhood: Dogpatch MAP


Project Juice Test Kitchen

Açai protein bowl at Project Juice Test Kitchen
If making a meal of just juice doesn’t quite satisfy you, the folks at this popular clean, healthy juice chain have debuted some heartier alternatives at their newest location in Hayes Valley. The Test Kitchen, as they call it, goes beyond liquids with a menu of shakes and açai bowls. Take advantage and go DIY composing one of the latter; a favorite combination is the açai superberry base (açai, banana, almond mylk, blueberry, and banana) with granola, banana, strawberry, cashew, cocoa nibs, hemp seeds, and a drizzle of local honey. If you still want more tastiness in your bowl, top it off with by mixing in “boosts” like almond butter and probiotics.
Neighborhood: Hayes Valley MAP

Pescado at Bellota
That moment when you’re hanging with your foodie pals at one of the city’s buzziest restaurants and your friend finishes ordering the steak with bone marrow, looking up as if to say “your move?” That’s when you order the pescado. Because when the plancha-roasted sea bass with kohlrabi-jamon salsa hits the table at this latest venture from the Absinthe Group, it’s checkmate.
Neighborhood: SoMa MAP

King of Hayes at Little Gem
Responsible, sustainable, seasonal eating is the calling card of this upgraded fast-casual Hayes Valley concept. Little Gem is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the latter features some of their best efforts, including a gorgeous piece of king salmon on top of red quinoa, kalamata olives, almonds, and wilted spinach, dressed in a bright lemon-scallion vinaigrette.
Neighborhood: Hayes Valley MAP


Sweetgreen

Curry cauliflower bowl at Sweetgreen
In case you needed reminding that nationwide restaurant chains can indeed provide eating options that are both healthful and delicious, in walks Sweetgreen with their debut SF location (having previously set up shop in Berkeley and Palo Alto). Organic, chock-full-of-good-for-you-ingredients salads are the specialty here, and the curry cauliflower warm bowl is an easy favorite: warm quinoa serves as a base for roasted chicken, curried cauliflower, chickpeas, and raisins, accompanied by a cucumber tahini yogurt dressing.
Neighborhood: SoMa MAP

Tandoori lamb chops at Babu Ji
One of the most anticipated openings in recent months, the vibrant Valencia Street spot is the first West Coast outpost of the popular NYC eatery, which has made a name for itself with a vision of Indian cuisine that goes beyond the standard expectations. To answer your deeper cravings for vitalization without compromising on flavor, look to the tandoori lamb chops, marinated in raw papaya and nutmeg and served with a cool Persian cucumber raita and a little spiced apricot chutney for sweetness.
Neighborhood: Mission/Valencia MAP

Kitchen Sink Cookie at Wholesome Bakery
It’s difficult to believe that it took this long for a city like San Francisco to get its first all-vegan-and-gluten-free bakery. (Okay, so technically they’ve been operating as a wholesaler for years; the first brick-and-mortar spot has only been around since April.) And if you can’t ignore that insistent sweet tooth, The Kitchen Sink is an easy favorite for working some confectionery into your feel-better meal, offering a winning combination of chocolate chips, caramel, oats, sea salt, and pecans.
Neighborhood: Mission MAP

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