The Healthiest Restaurants In The World
Salmon patties in whole-grain spelt bread with beetroot cold-pressed juice and roasted sweet potato at Flax & Kale, Barcelona. Photograph courtesy of Teresa Carles Healthy Foods
Jump start your new year with our guide to eating out, healthily.
It’s over! The marathon of over-eating and copious drinking is at an end. The constant stream of invites has finally dried up and you can lean back in your chair and bask in the fact that you have at least 11 clear months until it starts all over again. Christmas is at its most magical when it's back in its box, up in the attic.
Traditionally speaking, this is a time for resolutions and homegrown asceticism. Ordinarily, this starts with deflating the spare tyre, via sweating in the gym, and unbending pledges to give up carbs/gluten/sugar for good. But, while the huffing and puffing will make you fitter, and the endorphins released will make you cheerier, giving up all the pleasant and amusing food will be an unmitigated bore.
Fear not, there is a third way: the healthy restaurant. No, no, not the hair-shirt vegan café kind; this is a crop of decent restaurants that produce decent food that just happens to be good for you. What’s not to like? MR PORTER has scoured the globe to bring you seven of the best.
Flax & Kale, Barcelona
Tropical Superfoods smoothie at Flax & Kale, Barcelona. Photographs courtesy of Teresa Carles Healthy Foods
Something of a rarity in the Catalan capital, Flax & Kale is a bona fide flexitarian restaurant. Not familiar with the term? Well, step this way as it is having its moment in the sun. To be a flexitarian means you are a vegetarian with benefits, so the menu here is mostly vegetarian – think grilled watermelon and quinoa – with some vegan dishes, such as its raw lasagne, alongside some sustainable fish dishes for your cheat days. Created by the people behind the city’s famed vegetarian restaurant Teresa Carles, it is a mid-century modern locale designed with a hipster crowd in mind. Although anyone in need of a cold-press juice and a filling salad is welcome.
What to order: salmon mini burgers, served on wholegrain spelt bread with beetroot cold-pressed juice and roasted sweet potato
Macro Bowl at Farmacy, London
Photographs courtesy of Farmacy
The menu here might confuse you – what, for instance, is the difference between “certified organic” and “practising organic”? But bear with it, because Ms Camilla al-Fayed’s restaurant, all green banquettes and tastefully muted off-white walls, is undoubtedly one of the best health-food restaurants in the capital. Located on Westbourne Grove, its high-flying clientele are long of limb and glowing of face. Farmacy specialises in healthy comfort food reimagined in vegan form, with veggie burgers made from mushrooms and black beans, sourdough pizza and our personal favourite: a berry sundae confected from blueberries, coconut ice cream and meringue, a treat you can indulge in while still being on the side of the angels.
What to order: any of the earth bowls, which are a mixture of grains and greens
Plant Food + Wine, LA
Zucchini Cacio e Pepe at Plant Food + Wine, LA. Photographs courtesy of Matthew Kenney Cuisine
Seasonal, local, and smack bang on the coolest block on Venice Beach, it is no wonder that this vegan restaurant from Mr Matthew Kenney is seldom ever anything but groaning at the seams. The menu is LA down to its fingertips, composed of small and large sharing plates such as the tamale ranchero, made with an adobo squash filling, salsa verde black beans and pepper escabeche with lime cream. The 65-seat restaurant has a terrace prettily furnished with fig and olive trees, which provide a canopy against the LA sun. Indoors, it is all French oak floors and reclaimed stone. Go, see, be seen, and leave with a healthy spring in your step.
What to order: cacao e pepe, made with kelp noodles, peppery ginger, sunflower sprouts with a horse radish foam
Salted ricotta and lemon gnocchi at Transformer Fitzroy, Melbourne. Photograph by Ms Georgia McDermott. Courtesy of Transformer Fitzroy
Photograph by Mr Peter Clarke. Courtesy of Transformer Fitzroy
Transformer is a veggie bar with a difference, being about as haute as you’ll find anywhere across Australia. Award-winning local architecture firm Breathe took a double-fronted warehouse in the city and turned it into a fantasia of sexy low lighting and sinuous evergreen plants – a prime bit of date-night real estate. The wine list is expansive – healthy doesn’t need to mean wholly abstemious, right? – with some organic options. But the main event is chef Mr Luke Florence’s food, which is half vegan, half plain veggie, and wholly delicious. The menu ranges freely across the continents, taking in soba noodles with smoked tofu, as well as “gnocchi” made of airy golden puffs of rye flecked with ricotta and a pumpkin mousse. The salads are also top-notch, with a zingy Asian inflection. Head for a date, return on your anniversary.
What to order: grilled king oyster mushrooms served with confit garlic and pine nut puree
Cafe Clover, New York
Grilled Scottish salmon, ginger, flageolet beans, savoy cabbage, shiso at Cafe Clover, New York. Photograph by @threadsalt. Courtesy of Cafe Clover
Photograph by Mr Zeph Colombatto. Courtesy of Cafe Clover
The menu at this West Village joint might have been especially constructed to appeal to those resolution-makers after good food that won’t cause them to keel over from boredom and fall into the arms of Five Guys. Even the décor feels indulgent, having the vague air of a brighter-than-usual Parisian brasserie, with bronze side lamps and never-ending leather banquettes. The menu, by chef Mr David Standridge, an alumnus of Market Table and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, is veg-centric and light, but by no means strictly vegetarian, which means it is eternally popular with the waistline-conscious denizens of Manhattan (read: everyone). The lobster accented with coconut oil and kohlrabi, and the lentil risotto are both favourites of the MR PORTER office.
What to order: poached Nova Scotia halibut
Café Pinson, Paris
Assiette Pinson at Café Pinson, Paris. Photographs by Mr Paul Bowyer. Courtesy Café Pinson
We all know the French love butter. And meat. And bread. All things that are enemies of the taut waistline, in fact. So, what to do if you find yourself in Paris in January? Amble over to Pinson, a high-end health restaurant, which is part of a burgeoning scene in the capital and has garnered a committed following among the fashionistas of Le Marais, especially for weekend brunch. You won’t find any molecular gastronomy here, just veg and grains worked into elegant dishes by a chef who knows what he’s doing. As he should: Seattle-born chef Mr Cameil Kaundart has made a specialty of tasty health food. One taste of the rice with mushroom cream sauce and candied onions and you’ll know what we mean.
What to order: the trio of cereals (quinoa, black rice and round rice) with potimarron cream and coconut milk
Counter Kitchen, London
Beef Kombu Nation Soup at Counter Kitchen, London
Photographs by Ms Lucy Richardson. Courtesy of Counter Kitchen
Counter Kitchen bills itself as a mindful eatery, which, roughly translated, means they use only the very healthiest ingredients and are not averse to raw food. The establishment opens for breakfast and the avocado toast with homemade cucumber kimchi has featured in innumerable Instagram pictures since it opened in October. At lunch it is all about “Magic Mushroom”, sautéed wild mushrooms with healthy wholegrain soba noodle. As the temperature in London hits rock bottom, head for a soul-soothing bowl of 36-hour beef broth.
What to order: the aforementioned beef kombu-nation, which is made using with kombu seaweed, brown rice, edamame, kale, bean sprouts and tofu