Where to Dine for a Healthy Valentine’s Date in Philly
Date nights might seem harmless to your health, but think about it: all those indulgent nights out could easily add up to some serious pounds.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we asked Philly dieticians for suggestions for restaurants where you can dine well without wrecking your diet. Here’s where they would go for a special night out.
Em J’s Cafe
814 Lancaster Avenue, Berwyn, 610-644-8275
Sleep in late and enjoy brunch at this adorable little cafe. D’Orazio says the owners, John and Emily Smith, are passionate about good healthy food and have a deep sense of care for their community. They’ll go out of their way to accommodate any diner’s dietary needs, providing gluten-free options for the wheat-sensitive, low-carb meals for diabetics, or low-fat choices for those with heart problems, just to name a few.
1405 Locust Street, 215-735-7700
Recommended by Yatvin, this Greek Mediterranean restaurant provides the perfect spot to get romantic (think: upscale ambiance, attentive service, impressive presentation). The restaurant specializes in whole grilled fish flown in from the Greek islands. Guests are able to choose their own fish from expansive displays and see the chefs cook it to perfection over a charcoal grill in the sparkling open kitchen. And you’ll be getting your health fix, too, since fish is lean, low-calorie, and high in protein.
1225 Walnut Street, 215-922-3835
Recommended by Philly-based dietician Lisa Jones, every item at Fuel is less than 500 calories and made from 100 percent organic ingredients. It makes the perfect spot for a casual lunch date with a wide variety of salads, sandwiches and fun drinks from the juice bar.
Harvest Seasonal Grill
549 Wilmington West Chester Pike, Glen Mills, 610-358-1005
D’Orazio also likes Harvest Seasonal Grill, which sources many of its ingredients from local farmers. With an upscale-casual ambiance and a reasonably priced menu, it’s practically a no-brainer. (Side note: a new outpost of this restaurant is also coming to 40th and Walnut this June!)
723 Chestnut Street, 215-413-9070
This upscale Japanese restaurant is a fun spot to take your sweetheart. Yatvin recommends sushi as a healthy choice because of the lean fish and controlled portion sizes. If you’re watching your carbohydrate intake or are simply looking to cut more calories, nix the rice and get sashimi. Yatvin also says edamame makes a great appetizer because it counts as a veggie and is high in protein.
160 N Gulph Road Suite 101, King of Prussia, 610-992-1152
Eating fresh foods that are in season is important to a healthy diet, according to Cathy D’Orazio, who specializes in sports nutrition. That’s why she recommends Seasons 52, known for its seasonal menus. And since none of the entrees are over 500 calories, having a cocktail or two with dinner won’t break the scale.
1221 Locust Street, 215-320-7500
You’ve probably been told since you were a kid to load up on vegetables to be healthy and strong; you won’t have a problem finding a nutrient-packed meal at this trendy vegan restaurant recommended by Laura Yatvin, a dietician in Washington Square West. No, you won’t be munching on raw carrots: Vedge serves up creative dishes—portobello carpaccio, roasted maitake mushroom—that’ll keep even the biggest carnivores satisfied.
White Dog Cafe
3420 Sansom Street, 215-386-9224
Another D’Orazio favorite that’s dedicated to providing seasonal and environmentally sustainable ingredients. White Dog’s menu flags vegetarian and vegan options to make dining simple and easy for herbivores. Plus, with its lively bar, pretty decor, and gaggles of young people in the heart of University City, this restaurant has great energy for a date.