Ask the Health Coach: What Should I Eat During Restaurant Week?

Center City's Restaurant Week is upon us. Maura has some great tips for avoiding menu pitfalls while still taking advantage of great dining deals.

Maura recommends going for the red snapper veracruzana at El Vez.

Dear Maura,

Where should I eat during Restaurant Week that won’t completely derail my diet? Open to lunch and dinner options. Thanks!



Hi Kim,

I’m sure you’re not the only reader who’s dining out this week, so thanks for asking. Restaurant Week is a great opportunity to try new destinations and dishes without breaking the bank. With over 100 restaurants participating, the choices are vast, from lunch to dinner, appetizers to dessert.

Choices are great but can oftentimes overwhelm us, especially if our intention is to “stay on track,” diet-wise. But there are a few things going for you. First, all of the participating restaurants have listed their menus here, so you can do a little research to plan ahead. Second, lunch options tend to offer smaller portion sizes, a great way to indulge in a dish you might normally avoid. And let’s be honest: Most of the dishes during RW tend to be a little smaller, anyway, so portion control shouldn’t be a huge issue.

That being said, there are a few things I would look for if I was watching my waistline:

1. Avoid dishes that include heavy cream in soups or sauces. A tablespoon of heavy cream contains a whopping 51 calories and 6 grams of fat.

2. While delicious, salted meats are full of sodium, which causes bloating, and they pack a pretty mean caloric punch. One ounce of prosciutto weighs in at 71 calories, 5 grams of fat and 480 milligrams of sodium.

3. Look for fresh ingredients. Many chefs use locally sourced ingredients to create their masterpieces. For example, Farmicia is offering a beet and fennel salad that sounds divine. 10 Arts by Eric Ripert is doing a honey crisp apple salad. (Bonus: The recipe is included in the downloadable Center City Cooks compilation.)

4. Eat fresh fish. Ceviche and other under-the-sea options show up on quite a few menus, including Alma de Cuba’s wild striped bass ceviche and El Vez’s red snapper veracruzana. I know for me, a fish dish sits a lot differently in my belly than a big bowl of pasta. (Food coma, anyone?)

5. Finally, eat responsibly all day and drink lots of water so you don’t show up starving. Skip the complimentary bread. Nosh on a salad or broth-based soup instead. Eat slowly and enjoy every damn delicious bite, even if you are indulging.

And don’t forget, most of these prix fixe menus offer dessert, too. Save room for a slice of pumpkin cheesecake and have a bite for me.

Bon appétit!


>> What’s on your hit list for Philadelphia Restaurant Week? Anything on the menu that catches your eye? Share in the comments!

If you have a question for Maura,  email it or tweet it at us; your question could be answered in a future column. Find more of Maura’s advice here.


Maura Manzo is a yoga teacher and health coach specializing in integrating diet, health and wellness. She supports others in becoming their best possible selves. Maura is available for private instruction and coaching, as well as on-site corporate classes and speaking engagements. She is co-creator of the Beyond Asana 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training and the Art of Letting Go: Maya Tulum Mexican Yoga Vacation. Learn more about her teaching schedule, coaching practice and yoga trainings at