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Philadelphia Restaurants with Figure-Friendly, Veggie-Friendly and Allergy-Friendly Fare



Eating out used to mean throwing dietary caution to the wind for a night. Fortunately, many Philadelphia restaurants now offer diners at least a few options that are on the healthier side. These options are especially important for patrons suffering from an allergy, or condition such as a gluten intolerance. Whether you're simply looking to watch your calorie intake, monitor your sodium or sugar, are looking for vegan dishes or gluten-free entrees, options abound in the City of Brotherly Love. Top-quality eateries pride themselves in catering to all kinds of diners, and aim to offer at least a few choices that err on the healthy side while still delicious. Are you or your dining companion a vegetarian? Try Vedge, where the stars of dinner are most certainly the plants! If you're opting for gluten-free, head to Giorgio On Pine for a great selection of foods to keep you and your gut happy. Many other hot-spots serve up plates that are beach-body-friendly, yet tasty at the same time. Don't think you're limited to club sandwiches and salads, either. Healthy food choices are available in many kitchen in a wide variety of cuisine choices. Let 10Best help you find the one that best suits your palate!


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This wonderful Israeli hummusiya in Center City will have you rethinking what you thought chickpeas were capable of. Situated next to Abe Fisher, this cozy eatery has seating inside as well as some tables outside in warmer weather. Lunchtime will find folks lining up to order some of the best hummus in the city, alongside fresh made pitas that you can watch rise in the oven while you wait with mouth watering. The menu periodically rotates, so interesting varieties are always available, keeping your meal experience from becoming stale. Never tried hummus for lunch? Get here, and get here quick.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Dizengoff serves up quick, fresh, affordable food, with many options that are vegetarian-friendly, gluten free and they can work with your allergies if needed.

Sharon's expert tip: Order an extra pita if you're hungry and make your meal last longer. They're affordable, fresh and incredibly soft.

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Stop into Smiley's Cafe for great Mediterranean food that's kind to budget-conscious diners. Many call it the best kept secret in Manayunk, and for good reason. Menu selections such as beef gyros, smoothies, falafel, pita bread and Greek salads made with quality, fresh ingredients breathe fresh life into their tasty lunch and dinner choices. Counter service along with a friendly waitstaff make dining here enjoyable, and the portions are not at all skimpy. Diners have the option of inside seating complete with comfortable chairs and couches, as well as a small outdoor area where they're free to enjoy the scenery.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Off the beaten track in Manayunk, Smiley's Cafe offers healthy options for those who like Mediterranean cuisine.

Sharon's expert tip: The homemade baclava is certainly a worthwhile meal-finisher here!

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Front Street Cafe brings heathy, fun, interesting food to the Fishtown neighborhood, and they do it quite well. Stop into this warm and friendly, farm-to-table eatery for delicious new American food combinations put together from locally-sourced ingredients. The coffee shop and organic juice bar opens early for those looking to grab a morning refresher on the way to work or school. There's also free WiFi should you need to stay and get a few things done. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, there are plenty of smaller or larger options to satisfy your hunger. Try food selections such as quinoa oatmeal porridge with berries, the tostada grain bowl, all-natural buttermilk fried chicken, shrimp zucchini cakes or glazed Scottish salmon.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Cozy, satisfying and offering healthy choices in a conveniently-located spot makes this eatery a great choice.

Sharon's expert tip: Be sure to try the cocktails here, which are made with fresh-squeezed juices, toss back a seasonal craft beer or sip something from the organic wine list.

Read more about Front Street Cafe →


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South Street
Pumpkin


This quaint Philadelphia restaurant is really just part of a larger enterprise including a cafe and a market. The restaurant utilizes fresh local ingredients (resulting in a menu that changes daily) and manages to retain an elegant rusticity mirroring its fresh-from-the-farm dishes. While the menu is subject to frequent updates, diners can expect dishes including Maine scallops in a lemon sauce, sea bream with a cauliflower puree, and pan-roasted Lancaster chicken served with stir-fried greens among other delicious options. Located in Rittenhouse Square, this place is also close to shopping, luxury hotels and pleasant scenery, making your dinner choice perfect for an entire evening out.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: It's wonderful to be able to dine at a place that specializes in using the freshest local and seasonal ingredients to make a great meal.

Sharon's expert tip: The five-course Sunday dinner option is not to be missed.

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6
University City


Located in the University City area as well as in Wayne, PA, this eclectic caf� serves wonderfully prepared New American cuisine and dishes up with a bit of social activism on the side. (It works diligently to benefit poor and disenfranchised people locally and internationally, and it supports sustainable sources of seafood, organic growers, and family farmers). Midday entrees include salads, gourmet sandwiches, burgers, and creative fresh fish dishes. Dinner options feature incredible selections like sherry cumin-glazed lamb sirloin, seared Alaskan halibut, and pan-crisped Peking duck breast. Dessert, beer and specialty cocktails, a wine list and a happy hour make the White Dog a fine choice for dining.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Unique contemporary American cuisine that's healthy, combined with fun decor and a good atmosphere makes this place a great bet for any meal.

Sharon's expert tip: Check out all of the fun, dog-themed decor here while you enjoy your organic and healthy meal choices.

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5
Washington Square


When craving Italian pasta done right, Giorgio's On Pine does not disappoint. Get your Italian on with a variety of dishes designed to please the palate. From rigatoni to linguine to ravioli and gnocchi, plenty of pastas are available on both the lunch and dinner menus. Choose from regular, whole wheat or gluten-free versions. Top them with one of their signature sauces, accompanied by a salad or soup. Interested in more than pasta? Giorgio's offers choices like Chicken a la Valentina, Veal Melanzane or Grilled Salmon. For finishers, there are homemade desserts, coffees and teas to send you off happily.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: There are gluten-free options here for patrons interested in pleasing their palate as well as their gut.

Sharon's expert tip: You may never want to move on from the bread with roasted garlic and olive oil that starts your meal - it's that good!

Read more about Giorgio on Pine →


HipCityVeg
Photo courtesy of Pat Furey Photography


Vegetarian fans rejoice: Philadelphia has great options for those who do veg only, and this eatery is high on the list of delicious venues. Swing in for lunch and sample an old favorite, or be daring and try something new and tasty. HipCityVeg offers choices like smoked tempeh spinach salad, udon noodle salad, curry tofu wrap and the classic veggie burger as well as a variety of drinks and desserts to satisfy your midday cravings and keep you coming back for more whether you're a tried-and-true veggie lover to just a lunchtime patron looking to shake things up a bit.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Locally-sourced ingredients help make this restaurant an excellent choice for the health-conscious diner.

Sharon's expert tip: This restaurant is designed to be primarily take-out, so don't be afraid to grab yours to go and enjoy it in the park or somewhere else of you choice.

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Before James Beard chef Michael Solomonov opened the only upscale Israeli restaurant in Philadelphia, he took his entire staff to Israel to give them a taste of the land, the spirit and the food. The result is a very modern experience that draws from recipes cooked since ancient times. Innovative drinks, a small-plates approach and one of the largest Israeli wine lists outside of the Middle East make Zahav an ideal place to go to learn about an unfamiliar cuisine or return again and again for old favorites. The restaurant Esquire rated a Top 20 Best New Restaurant in 2008 is romantic, intimate and lively enough to be provide a welcoming setting for couples, families and friends.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Places like Zahav, with its Israeli cuisine, make it clear that all sorts of eateries can have healthy eating options.

Sharon's expert tip: Plates are sized to be shared; order several and let the tasting begin.

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New American cuisine as well as vegetarian options are served up here. Pull up a seat and feel good about what you're throwing down. Fuel has plates that are as attractive as they are healthy, with options for lunch as well as dinner. Choose salads, wraps or smoothies, snack on wonderfully smooth hummus, or order something from the everything-under-500-calorie menu. The selections help you stay lean and mean, but are tasty and look delicious. Vegetarian diners as well as low-calorie meal seekers will enjoy the variety here, and all will feel good about the natural choices they're able to select from. Food should look good, taste good and be good for you. Fuel succeeds on all of these points.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Great selection of healthy, low-calorie and vegetarian food for lunch or dinner.

Sharon's expert tip: Be sure to try the hummus, as it is beyond delicious.

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Anyone who thinks vegan food can't be flavorful hasn't eaten at Vedge. Not only is this friendly and inviting Center City restaurant the best vegan/vegetarian joint in Philly and the entire United States (by leaps and bounds, it might very well be among the best restaurants. Period. The husband and wife team who run the kitchen at Vedge manage to produce amazingly flavorful French-inspired dishes that are so decadent, it's hard to believe they're not made with heaps of butter and cream. These creative culinary chefs do simply amazing things with brussel sprouts, broccoli, sweet potatoes, cauliflower and other garden-friendly foods.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Vedge does plant-based foods so well, they're known throughout the city and the country.

Sharon's expert tip: For the freshest selection of seasonal food options, order from the Dirt section of the menu.

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