The List: 9 Health-Centric Restaurants in Columbus
Bring up health food in conversation and you’ll typically get a divided response – the topic is either welcomed with enthusiasm or peppered with eye rolls. Regardless of your reaction, restaurants are responding in the former and providing more and more healthy, diet-accommodating meal options. Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free by choice, or because of health restrictions, Columbus has a plethora of restaurants that can serve you healthy food while catering to your dietary needs. Here are a few of the best:
Columbus classic Northstar is one the most health-conscious restaurants in the city. The entire menu is locally-grown, certified organic, and committed to sustainability; they support non-profits like the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, and the Ohio Environment Council. They have numerous vegan options available too, including the popular Buddha Bowl, a mix of long-grain brown rice, veggies, and seared tofu topped with peanut sauce.
If you’re searching for a healthier alternative to quell your cravings for a grease-covered slice, zpizza’s pie will end your quest. Starting with their dough made from non-GMO wheat flour, they use organic pizza sauce, skim mozzarella, and fresh produce for toppings. Their chicken wings are hormone-free. Additionally, they offer gluten-free and vegan options, including pizza, salad, and a selection of plates.
The mission of Portia’s Cafe is to provide healthful, sustainable food for a variety of dietary lifestyles. Their entire menu is vegan, gluten-free, GMO-free, and (for the most part) organic and locally-sourced. Dishes are served raw, and their water is specially filtered to remove fluoride and other possible contaminants. Health buzzwords aside, their food is tasty and reasonably priced. Swing by Clintonville and try their vegan Pad Thai, made with kale, carrots, dates, and kale noodles topped with a coconut-almond ginger sauce.
The Mediterranean diet is one of the most heart-healthy and doctor-recommended diets out there, high in veggies and monounsaturated fats like olive oil. If you happen to be following the diet (or just love kalamata olives), Lavash Cafe provides some of the city’s best Mediterranean fare. Try their seasoned fatoush salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, lemon, garlic, and sumac for a filling entree, balanced out with a bowl of their red split-pea lentil soup.
The Loving Hut is technically an international chain restaurant, but not of the grain you’d expect: the all-vegan restaurant’s menu is adjusted at every location to accommodate regional and seasonal cuisine using the healthiest ingredients possible. The Reynoldsburg location has an extensive vegan menu with tons of health-friendly options. Their rice paper Saigan rolls are filled with soy, sea slices, noodles, lettuce, carrots, cucumber, and cilantro with a side of almond sauce. Wash it down with one of their organic cashew and fruit-blend drinks.
Whole World Natural Restaurant and Bakery
This 100% vegetarian bakery serves up food made fresh and small-batch daily. Their menu includes a decent offering of pastries, sandwiches, soups, pizza, and delicious vegan banana pancakes. Stop by their storefront in Clintonville for vegan cookies, broccoli burgers, and eggless omelets (which are tofu with turmeric, if you were wondering).
Banana Leaf is a family-owned vegan/vegetarian Indian restaurant where unique house-made curries and mango juice flow freely. Their chaats, Indian street food traditionally hawked by vendors, are cooked and served in front of you. The lunch and dinner buffets are changed daily, carefully chosen to provide a healthy, balanced meal. Top off your meal with the vegan dessert of the day.
Looking for a salad that won’t leave your stomach growling an hour post-meal? Market 65’s salads and salad wraps are fresh and plentiful, with the added bonus of being completely locally-sourced from Gerber Poultry, Green Edge Gardens, Stan Evan’s Bakery, and more. A salad will run you around $10, but you’re truthfully paying for two servings. Seriously, they’re huge.
Acre Farm-to-Table To-Go
Acre, a farm to table restaurant that opened in Clintonville earlier this fall, is a casual-healthy restaurant that happens to be the only one on this list with a drive-through. Their breads, meats and veggies are locally-sourced, fresh and tasty. Try their Thai tacos, with mushrooms or chicken, pickled cabbage, and Bangkok peanut sauce.
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From January 5 – 11, Columbus Underground is featuring our Health & Wellness Week series, brought to you by the The Fitness Loft. The Fitness Loft is more than just a gym – it’s a visionary approach to developing a sustainable community and creating an atmosphere that encourages people to lead a healthier life. Our holistic concept includes biometric wellness screening, Technogym exercise equipment that records progress, free group fitness and nutrition classes, an on-site Registered Dietitian, and much more to give you a truly unique wellness experience. Located at 625 Parsons Avenue, Columbus, OH 43206.