The 15 Best (Kind Of) Healthy Places For Dinner  guide image


The 15 Best (Kind Of) Healthy Places For Dinner

Where to go for a healthy meal that’s not just a bowl of kale.

In a town that’s truly passionate about cheesesteaks, roast pork sandwiches, and pizza spots, knowing where you can have a healthy meal is essential, too. And whether you want to go fully plant-based or are just looking to switch things up, our list is a good place to start. While you might find a lot of vegetables on this guide, we’re also here to tell you about Ethiopian and Turkish restaurants, great options for nigiri, and a staple Indian food truck. 

The Spots

Laser Wolf imageoverride image

Laser Wolf


1301 N Howard St, Philadelphia
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This Kensington Israeli grill from the team behind Zahav gives you ten free vegetable-based salatim before you even get to things like chicken skewers or shawarma-spiced cauliflower. Aside from the plate of sweet carrots and beets, lemony gigante beans piyaz, and hummus, they have shareable things like chicken shashlik and juicy tuna slices covered in a green chili sauce that proves everything they put to the flame here is exceptional. Finding a healthy option on the menu is the easy part here, the hard part is getting a reservation. 

As soon as you walk through the door of this Northern Liberties West African spot, you’re met with the scent of steaming jollof rice, plantains fresh out of the pot, and the sound of chicken sizzling on the grill. It’s a sensation that we can’t put a price on, but they have, and it’s notably affordable (the bowls are $13.89 or under and each comes with a side). Suya Suya is a comfortable counter-service place to grab a quick meal full of spicy brussels sprouts, juicy shrimp, and a zobo ginger tea.

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photo credit: GAB BONGHI

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Umai Umai

The Rock said in an interview once that sushi is his favorite “cheat meal.” For the rest of us, sushi is a perfectly acceptable option when we’re trying to eat something on the healthier side, and Umai Umai is one of the best places in the city for it. This place works especially if you’re looking for creative rolls that aren’t deep-fried or covered in aioli, like the Eternal Sunshine with cucumber, avocado, salmon, and apricot-miso sauce.

Pera is a Turkish spot that delivers one hit after another. Inside, there are a handful of long tables where you should post up with a couple of friends, along with two tops and four-seaters near the massive windows if you want to people-watch on a casual date. Their menu is full of things like tabouli, smooth hummus, lemony marinated lamb skewers, and a perfectly charred, super juicy whole dorado. Everything here is made to share so you can split a few plates with your friend, and in case you forget a bottle (it’s a BYOB), there’s a Fine Wine & Good Spirits shop down the street. 

If you’ve lived in Philly for longer than 10 seconds, you already know about Vedge and how great it is. You probably also know that it’s vegan, and every dish here is built around vegetables. That makes it the perfect place to go when you’re craving something light, but also want to go out for a nice meal where you don’t have to avoid entire sections of the menu. All of the food here is good, but you should start with the mushroom carpaccio, seared maitake, and wood-roasted carrot.

Primary Plant Based falls into the category of a tasty vegan spot where you can bring your favorite bottles (since it’s BYOB). This cozy Fishtown spot serves dishes like carnitas medianoche made out of jackfruit, kimchi pancakes with chia seed caviar and kimchi sashimi, comforting bowls of masa ball soup, and even Philly-style sandwiches like a roast pork made of yuba. The most expensive item on the menu costs $23, so you can bring a large group here and spread out at their long wooden tables, share a few plates of potato gnocchi, and wash everything down with a glass of rosé. 

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Talula's Garden



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If you enjoy knowing that your food comes from an organic potato farm out in Lancaster that has exactly 54 chickens, Talula’s Garden should be your first choice for dinner. They’ve been doing farm-to-table since before it became a thing, and most of the menu is both healthy and delicious. Find someone else who is trying to eat a little lighter and split the Mediterranean sea bass and bourbon-glazed chicken.

With Tomo Sushi and Ramen and Kisso Sushi Bar within blocks of each other, Old City has some of the best sushi spots in Philly–and Tuna Bar is no exception. And with some lighter options like ginger and seaweed salads, tuna crudo, and a few rolls that combine simple things like salmon, daikon, lettuce, and avocado, there are plenty of ways to have a sort of healthy dinner here. And with options like $2 oysters and $4 edamame on their Happy Hour menu, you can even start your night here early and stay true to your budget.

Abyssinia, an Ethiopian spot right around the corner from Penn’s campus, has a lot of different vegetarian dishes. Your best bet, though, is the $15 Vegetarian Combination, which includes six of their most popular vegetarian dishes—like split lentils in berbere sauce and spicy sauteed collard greens—all served on top of spongy injera. You can probably split one plate between two or three people because the servings are so big, or just get one for yourself and bring home the leftovers.

A vegan spot and a place to get some seriously good cocktails isn’t something you can find in every city. In Philly, that place is Charlie Was A Sinner, a cocktail bar in Midtown Village that makes their drinks with fresh fruit juice and organic liquor. When it comes to food, you can expect small plates like charred shishito peppers, avocado toast topped with radishes and red onions, and Turkish “lamb” kofa with a fig agrodolce.

Aksum is a Mediterranean BYOB in West Philly with things like a vegetable tagine served over couscous that’s one of our favorite vegetarian dishes in the city, and an especially large plate of lemon caper chicken for when you’re extra hungry. It’s super versatile and affordable, with most of their shareable entrees coming in at $30, so you can use it for everything from a casual weeknight date to dinner with your in-laws.

Nafi Food Cusine is a halal food truck in West Philly that serves some of the best Indian food in town. The menu has hits like grilled lamb, veggie biriyani, and smashed eggplant all for under $8. And they even have a light and peppery chicken salad that’s most certainly an upgrade to whatever you meal-prepped for the week.  

Sure, Isot is where you go when you can’t get into Zahav. But this Turkish spot in Society Hill also has a lot of things that Zahav doesn’t, like plates of grilled chicken and lamb kebabs served with sides of vegetables and about five different Mediterranean salads. This place gives you a ton of food, so you can reheat the rest the next night and further delay cooking that salmon filet that’s been in your freezer for the past two weeks.

When we want a simple juice bar and fast-causal wraps and sandwiches, we head to Hibiscus Cafe. It’s a cute West Philly all-day cafe with colorful floral murals on every wall and counter space. You can get salmon wraps, seitan fajitas, fresh-squeezed juices, and side dishes like curried chickpeas and smoky kale. They’re open every day at 10am, so you can head there for a morning smoothie, a quick lunch, or something light for dinner. 

Miss Rachel’s Pantry in South Philly is a small BYOB that serves a five-course, all-vegan $186 tasting menu for two. And since there’s only a handful of tables, you’ll feel like you’re having dinner at your friend’s house who does Orange Theory three times a week. The menu has things like cranberry-glazed seitan, butternut squash panzanella, rutabaga chowder, and cashew ravioli. Bring one of those bottles you’ve been saving for a special occasion and a date who isn’t obsessed with steak.

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Suggested Reading

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The Best Vegan Restaurants In Philadelphia

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Our 15 favorite places in Midtown Village.

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All the best restaurants in Rittenhouse, Midtown Village, Logan Square, and beyond.

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