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Restaurants in Naples for the Health- and Earth-Conscious Crowds



With its Midwestern United States roots and retirement community, Naples tends more toward the meat, seafood, potatoes and pasta genre than health conscious dining. That has been changing slowly and subtly over the past decade as the movement to know the origins of what you are eating has gained steam. Like most places nationwide, the "eat local" initiative has sparked a healthy trend in dining out - healthy for diners as well as Mother Earth. 

At the same time, aging populations and food allergies have caused restaurants to address dietary needs such as low sodium, low cholesterol, gluten free and peanut free. Organic growing is on the rise, making it easier for restaurants to source pesticide- and chemical-free products. 

In Naples, the leader in the field of healthy eating was Food & Thought, which opened nearly a decade ago as a market for organic food with a hot food component. More recently The Cider Press Cafe opened with an all vegan, all raw menu.

In between, restaurants all over town have cleaned up their menus to offer not just token vegetarian dishes but well thought out meals with the guest's well being in mind. 

This list picks the best of what Naples has to offer as far as locally sourced, healthy dining. Besides the strictly organic and vegetarian spots, it samples some fine houses that source carefully and even chain dining option that earns inclusion by its faithful adherence to good health.


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Seasons 52
Photo courtesy of Seasons 52


The warm brick dining room invites with a wood smoke-scented atmosphere of fire and low lights. In the Seasons 52 house of dining well, management and staff like to say that their flatbreads and Mini Indulgences desserts are their signature bookends to a healthy meal. Low sugar content and portion control keep the calorie counts down. Some favorites: steak and cremini mushroom flatbread, goat cheese ravioli, cedar plank roasted salmon, caramelized sea scallops and carrot cake. The menu changes four times annually - thus "Seasons." The 52? There's a side panel that changes 52 times a year â€" weekly in other words.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: The restaurant uses organic and locally sourced products where possible, and keeps meals healthy with low fat, low sugar and small portions.

Chelle's expert tip: The martinis are creative and delicious, lightly sweetened with agave nectar.

Read more about Seasons 52 →


9
East Naples
Three60 Market
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


Waterside and occupying a cheerfully painted old Florida-style house, this place could not be more inviting. Showcases and tables hold sandwiches, soups, salads, pasta, bakery goods and hot dishes made from scratch fresh daily. The goodness starts at breakfast with a selection of egg dishes, oatmeal, pastries and an unusual breakfast salad with hard boiled eggs, spinach and veggies. At lunch, diners browse the different stations for fresh made pastas such as wild boar or broccoli rabe and sausage ravioli, grilled vegetable panini with fresh mozzarella, tomato pie, blueberry and goat cheese pie and limoncello mascarpone cake. It offers a remarkable wine list along with beers and coffee drinks.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: It offers lots of vegetarian and healthy options, everything is freshly made and it sells organic and vegan wines.

Chelle's expert tip: The tomato pie is as good - maybe even better - than any you will try in Charleston, SC.

Read more about Three60 Market →


8
Old Naples
Chez Boet
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


Chez Boet labels its cuisine "French home cooking," but also delves into the north African cuisine that one finds in Paris. Hummus accompanies the crusty bread; tagine - slow roasted stew with couscous - is a specialty. The lamb variety is exceedingly hearty and flavorful. Mussels comes in a delicious light wine broth as an appetizer or as moules frites, an entree with hand cut French fries. Seafood, pates and fondue round out the menu. Less snooty than the French restaurant stereotype, intimate Chez Boet even caters to "well-behaved" kids with a menu that owners and Parisian transplants Lisa and Philippe Boet's daughter, Isabella, designed at age 7.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Most dishes are gluten free and handcrafted from locally sourced ingredients.

Chelle's expert tip: The canard orange entree is perfectly crisp and moist.

Read more about Chez Boet →


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Jane's Garden Cafe
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


The setting feels like provincial France, but the menu tips its hat to British and American fare with healthy notes for breakfast and lunch. Everything is freshly prepared at Jane's - from the quiche du jour and roasted beets salad with feta cheese to its popular lobster crab cake sliders, yummy grilled chicken and avocado sandwich, fish tacos in five flavors (including vegetarian) seafood crepes, vegan medley and slow-roasted short ribs with mango BBQ sauce. Ask about gluten-free bread and other options. The staff happily accommodates special dietary needs, but service can be a little slow, especially in the winter-spring season.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Jane's Cafe uses mostly organic produce and offers vegan options.

Chelle's expert tip: Grab a seat in the lush courtyard and ask about the day's muffin offerings no matter what time of day.

Read more about Jane's Garden Cafe →


6
Sea Salt-Naples
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


Chef Fabrizio Aielli comes from a stellar background that covers Italy, the Caribbean and two of his own highly hailed Washington, DC, restaurants. At Sea Salt, he conceived dining centered around the sea. To carry the concept, he stocks more than 100 different varieties of salt and infused flavored salts. Dinner at Sea Salt begins with a three-flight sampler of salt to season dishes to come. Convivial and inspired by chef's Venetian birthright, the setting transitions from the outdoor, pet-friendly patio to indoor casual elegance via a bar that circles outdoor to in. Colors from the beach and sea decorate the sweeping interior. The main menu intertwines cultures - charcuterie, sea urchin poached in duck fat, ravioli stuffed with braised veal, salt-encrusted branzino, akaushi beef and whole fresh fish from the showcase.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Chef Aielli carefully sources his product - organic whenever possible, grass-fed beef and artisanal chocolate and gelato. Everything is made in-house from scratch.

Chelle's expert tip: For a grand splurge, reserve the Chef's Table in the kitchen for a group of friends. Chef Aielli will cater specifically to your palates.

Read more about Sea Salt-Naples →


Body & Soul Cafe
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


Formerly, InnerG, this small takeout place with a few counter seats has a devoted following to its particular brand of plant-based, organic cuisine that caters to specific food allergies. Besides its dine-in and pick-up options, Body & Soul delivers and offers diners weekday meal plans at $12.50 per entrée or $60 a week with 24 hour notice. Its regular menu lists five breakfast and five lunch options plus "body bowls" you create yourself. Breakfast items include chia oatmeal with seasonal fruit and spinach or tomato mushroom bacon; for lunch, there's roasted veggie or mushroom Philly panini. For the body bowls, you pick a base of brown rice, zucchini noodles or green salad; decide on three veggie toppings; then finish it with curry sauce, Thai pesto, spicy red dragon or queso. Here's a sampling of meal plan options: orange cauliflower with snap peas and carrots, mushroom stroganoff, roasted veggie stacks with cauliflower mash, and mushroom walnut burger with sweet potato wedges. The chef formerly cooked for local celebrity athletes.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: It characterizes its food as plant-based, organic, and gluten-, soy-, and peanut-free.

Chelle's expert tip: Cookies, breads, muffins and smoothies satisfy any style of sweet tooth.

Read more about Body & Soul Cafe →


=H2O+
Photo courtesy of The Ritz Carlton, Naples


The bright, simple restaurant atop the Ritz-Carlton, Naples spa naturally complements a vigorous workout or relaxing spa treatment. But visitors are finding that =H2O+, despite its slightly mystifying name, deserves a visit from anyone, any day, looking to feed his or her body soulfully. Ingredients are all-natural and meals built for good nutrition. It's not strictly spa cuisine here; go ahead and order the classic burger if you so desire. Lighter dishes include gazpacho, a design-your-own salad option and a Cajun Caesar wrap. Juices and protein shakes quench after workout thirst, but mimosas, wine and beer are also available.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Known for its healthy beverages and light dishes, it appeals to spa-goers and light lunchers.

Chelle's expert tip: You can sit indoors, outdoors overlooking the pool or even have your meal delivered to your spa treatment room.

Read more about =H2O+ →


Food & Thought
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


It's thoughtful that a restaurant would strive to serve the best possible food for our good health. But it's even better that Food & Thought's dishes reflect the kind of creative thinking that raises them above typical health food juice-bar fare. Like most of its kind, Food & Thought's service is order-at-the-counter. It serves all the typical veggie juices, including wheatgrass, and fruit smoothies, plus your standard hummus wrap and tabouli salad. It breaks the mold, however, with its daily hot entrees, soup and side dish menu. These are served cafeteria-style, but somehow manage to taste made-to-order. On the regular menu, you will find breakfast items such as quiche and sprouted pancakes, plus chick pea salad and chicken salad wrap or sandwich. Everything is certified organic and homemade, and the indoor-outdoor setting as fresh as the food.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: An organic fruit and vegetable marketplace, it prepares fresh food daily with its healthy ingredients.

Chelle's expert tip: Come for lunch and buy your ingredients for a healthy dinner in Food & Thought's marketplace.

Read more about Food & Thought →


True Food Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


As fresh as its pea-green banquettes, True Food Kitchen opened in March 2017 fueled by the expertise and name-recognition of Dr. Andrew Weil, whose anti-inflammatory diet has made him a respected author. The spacious, open dining room presents a seamless experience of watching chefs and juice bartenders work magic with the freshest, healthiest ingredients possible. With nearly 20 restaurants nationwide, True Food's menu localizes somewhat to its venue. Every location's menu indicates vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan selections, plus organic wines and fresh-made cocktails. Don't-miss items: Medicine Man iced tea with blueberry, pomegranate and sea buckthorn; Torched Avocado salad with cuke noodles and turmeric ponzu; Charred Cauliflower with harissa tahini and dates; Inside Out Quinoa burger with hummus and tzatziki; Scottish steelhead; and coconut and chia flan. Even the lasagna – made with gluten-free noodles, house-made chicken sausage and fresh carrot brunoise – tastes healthy.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Its menu is 100 percent healthy, fresh and made from scratch.

Chelle's expert tip: Weekend brunch incorporates many of the regular menu favorites plus yummy egg dishes and muffins.

Read more about True Food Kitchen →


The Local
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton


Whether you choose deeply comforting food or a low-calorie or vegan dish, The Local promises the freshest, most local, homemade products available. So it's not only healthy for diners, but for Mother Earth as well. Owner-chef Jeff Mitchell trained at the Culinary Institute of America and works with local farmers to serve organic produce, artisanal cheeses, grass-fed beef and other good-for-you ingredients. At lunch, hearty salads of greens and grains star, along with flatbreads and sandwiches. For dinner, the pork rillettes appetizer gives a spectacular twist to antipasti as a starter. Most of the entrees are marked "gluten-free," and many "vegetarian," but that doesn't mean a compromise of flavor. Try the pork ragu with house-made potato gnocchi, Florida gulf shrimp atop capellini, pot roast, free-range breast of barbecue chicken or pan-seared local snapper with lemon and parsley. The difference is in the attention to detail: house-cured olives, house-pickled vegetables, house-made mozzarella.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Organic and locally sourced ingredients go into selections that are gluten-free, vegan, low-calorie and hearty.

Chelle's expert tip: Don't miss the roasted pork ragu with melt-in-your-mouth, lightly sauteed gnocchi and creamy house-made ricotta. Oh my!

Read more about The Local →


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Meet Chelle Koster Walton

Chelle Koster Walton – the Local Expert for Naples, Florida and the Caribbean – has been covering the destination for 30 years. Her top-selling Sarasota, Sanibel Island, and...  More About Chelle

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